REVIEWS

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

2017 Cadillac XT5 Platinum

Linksys VELOP Whole Home Mesh Network

Fitbit Alta HR

2016 Range Rover

2016 Ford Flex Limited

Timex IQ+ Move fitness tracking watch

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature

2016 Mazda MX-5

Sennheiser PXC-550 Bluetooth headphones

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4MATIC Sedan

Sudio Regent Bluetooth headphones

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

VisionTek SoundTube PRO Bluetooth speaker

Fitbit Charge 2

2017 GMC Acadia Denali

Apple AirPods

Apple MacBook Pro (Late 2016)

808

Game of Thrones Season Six Blu-Ray

Michelin Premier all-season tires

Tom Tom Spark 3 Cardio +

Google Daydream View VR headset

ASUS ZenBook 3

Jaybird X3

JBL SoundBoost Speaker Moto Mod

Moto Insta-Share Projector for Moto Z

Google Pixel XL

Apalon's My Alarm Clock app

Lenovo Moto Z

Apple Watch Series 2 and watchOS 3

iOS 10

Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Dyson 360 Eye Robot Vacuum

Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless vacuum

Tablo by Nuvyyo

Samsung Gear Fit 2 fitness wearable

Ulysses for macOS and iOS

Epson SureColor P600 Wide Format inkjet printer

HBO's Vinyl Season 1

Apple MacBook (2016)

Papago! GoSafe 268 mirror mounted dash-cam

Piper all-in-one security

JayBird Freedom headphones

SF MoMA app

Fitbit Blaze fitness tracker

UA HealthBox

Dyson Pure Cool Link

Lola by Blue

HTC 10

Apple iPhone SE

Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

Dell XPS 12 with 4K Ultra HD display

RHA S500i Noise Isolation headphones for iOS

Samsung Galaxy S7

2015 Mazda CX-9

Moto 360 (2015)

Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear headphones for Android

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Thursday
Nov102016

Review: Google Daydream View VR headset

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

2016 is truly the year that Virtual Reality (VR) breaks into mainstream consumer consciousness with products like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR being made available with game support in many markets. 

For Google, VR has been an aspirational part of their ecosystem every since they revealed Google Cardboard a few years ago and this cheap introduction into smartphone-based VR, has been an evolving part of their ecosystem. 

Daydream View is Google’s next VR headset and is designed to correspond with the Pixel and Pixel XL but is also open to other devices that fall into the required specs.

The Hardware


Another one of the Made By Google products, the Daydream View offers a friendlier and more comfortable way to watch VR on your smartphone. Rick Osterloh, formerly of Motorola, probably brought former Motorola designer Rhea Jeong along to Google with him, she was one of those talents that made the Moto X and its accessories like the Moto Hint look and feel unique.

The style and colour palette of that device seem familiar in the Daydream View which isn’t made out of hard plastic or cardboard but which merges various rubber and cloth materials into a device that looks and feels organic and inviting. After using it for a week, Daydream  VR felt as inviting  and comfortable as a familiar pair of jeans. I also like that you can remove the faceplate and wash it if it gets too sweaty or gross from too much use.

There are many clever touches to the Daydream VR that set it aside from other headsets. The neat way it snaps your smartphone into place, the small recessed holder for the VR controller and even the fact that it comes with a remote are huge features that do set it apart from other non wired headsets.

The Pixel XL slots in nicely and its high-res screen is suite to work with this  Pixel XL does have a 2K HD display, which plays a big part in creating an immersive and engaging experience. 

The Daydream View plus Pixel XL make a good combination, but I found that it was a bit heavy on my face (the device kept sagging), the belt that is used to secure the headset to your face can barely hold it (at least that was my experience). It doesn’t help that the Pixel XL is a bit too big for the Daydream as it sticks out a bit. 

After around 20 minutes of use, the Pixel got rather hot to the touch and I noticed that there is a threshold of about 30 minutes where you may want to stop to let the hardware cool off (and also to rest your poor eyes). 

The Software


Google has an entire Daydream ecosystem in store for users. There’s the Daydream app, which is available for download starting today. The Daydream software offers an entertaining menu system with various app suggestions, most of them are paid though. But there are Google specific apps that are free and worth checking out, YouTube VR is by far the most useful one since there’s already a lot of 360’ video on that service. 

Some of the apps I downloaded included Google Arts and Culture which is a virtual art museum where you can learn about artists and their work and even zoom into photos and paintings, Wonderglade which has a variety of puzzles and games that require the use of motion control on the remote. Google Street View brings an even more immersive experience with 360’ views and other applications like the Wall Street Journal App, take the VR approach and place you in the middle of an office with access to articles (text articles. for some reason), some video as well as the latest stock information displayed in 3D.

Daydream VR and the Moto Hint are cut from the same cloth or at least feature the same organic look and feelStar Chart VR makes looking at planets and nearby galaxies possible in VR. The graphics are a bit low-resolution here and I understand that this was necessary in order to make navigation and animation smoother. Just this week I received a VR press release, an introduction to the Baci Perugina specialty chocolate , via a VR YouTube link, introducing the brand ,which took me to sunny Italy where an attractive Italian guide explained the history as well as the creation of these delicious and storied chocolate bonbons.

Compared to more intensive VR experiences like the HTC Vive or the PlayStation VR, the quality and resolution of what is available on Daydream View isn’t as detailed or smooth but that’s fine. Daydream VR costs a lot less ($99 Canadian) than those other solutions and it is far less cumbersome. Daydream View is a great introduction to VR content consumption and definitely does more for users than the Galaxy VR and cardboard-type VR glasses can provide.

There’s not too much content available for Daydream VR right now, unless you count the hundreds of 360’ videos on YouTube right now, so there’s definitely some merit in waiting for more titles to come to the platform. There’s also the chance Google might discount Daydream VR even more as we head closer to the holidays.

 

Hits:

 

  • Comfortable, stylish VR headset that feels organic and friendly
  • Handy VR remote extends functionality of VR experiences and makes them more interactive

 

Misses:

 

  • VR titles are few as of the moment
  • Pixel XL devices tend to get hot while using Daydream VR
  • VR remote can be a bit kludgy

 

 

Verdict:


Daydream VR is one of the easiest and most affordable tools to get into VR today provided you have a smartphone that can support it. While it may not offer the detail and graphics horsepower of more expensive VR platforms, it does a lot to democratize the experience as well as bring serious VR content such as games, videos and immersive experiences into the mainstream.

Rating: 4 out of 5 

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