Google’s no stranger to mobile-powered virtual reality headsets. Google Cardboard is still one of the cheapest ways to experience VR with only a mobile phone. But with Daydream View, the search and advertising giant is taking VR a little more seriously, creating another reason to seriously consider its new Pixel phones for your next upgrade, and taking the fight for dominance in the budget-VR space to Samsung.
Originally announced at Google’s I/O event in May, Daydream is Google’s VR platform that it hopes to get both consumers and developers to buy into. The idea is to make VR affordable, portable and comfortable and easy to use… which is where the Daydream View VR headset comes in.
Covered in “soft, breathable” fabric, available in three colours (slate, snow and crimson), and designed with the glasses-wearing public in mind (way to stereotype, Google), the Daydream View comes with its own wireless remote — that can be stored in the headset when not in use — and works with any “Daydream-ready” handset. For now that’s going to mean Google’s own Pixel devices, but it’ll also mean third-party phones running Android 7.0 Nougat in due course.At first glance, the Daydream View looks a lot like a lighter, comfier Gear VR… until you consider the Daydream Controller. You can use it to point, gesture or draw in VR apps and Google suggests it’ll be as intuitive as it is accurate. We’ll have to wait until we actually get our hands on it before passing judgment on that front.
As for content, there’s the existing Google VR fare like YouTube and Street View and the option to view your 360-degree photos stored in Google Photos. And Google has roped in Warner Bros to create a VR Harry Potter game called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and promises additional games, apps and content from partners like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
The headset will go on sale in November in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Germany. It’ll cost $79 in the US, which makes it $20 cheaper than Samsung’s Gear VR. No word on when we can expect it here in South Africa, of course, but you can bet the Orange Store, Takelot and others will be offering them as soon as they can.