Google’s Daydream View VR headset is now available in India. The Daydream View VR headset was launched along with the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones in October last year. While the phones were introduced in India quickly, the headset has taken its time arriving in this market. The Daydream View VR headset is priced at Rs 6,499 and available on Flipkart. So how does the Daydream View VR headset fare? Should you buy this new device for virtual reality? Here’s what we thought in the course of our review.
Google Daydream View VR design, compatibility review
First, note that currently the list of Google Daydream VR ready smartphones is not very long in India. Yes, there’s Pixel and Pixel XL, and the Moto Z series. There are others on the list on Google’s Daydream website, but most of these phones are not available here. Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+ are supposed to get Daydream VR support, but that hasn’t happened yet. For those planning to get the Daydream View VR, make sure there’s a Pixel in your home.
In contrast to the plastic built of the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR headset, which makes it heavier, Daydream View VR is much lighter. The headset can be used with spectacles as well. Google’s Daydream VR is made of breathable fabric, and it has a cushiony feel given there is foam inside. The headset comes with its own Bluetooth controller, which can be charged via a type-C USB cable.
One of the challenges with virtual reality headsets has been their tendency to make most people feel dizzy, and these are bulky. With Daydream View, this is not supposed to happen. Though when setting up the headset, the Daydream app does warn people not to use it for more than half an hour at a stretch. Google’s advice is that one should be seated while using the Daydream VR headset, rather than move around and get injured.
As a VR headset, the Daydream View is any day lighter, and easier to fit across various head sizes. There’s a strap on the back that can adjusted. I used this with my spectacles on, and I wouldn’t say I experienced dizziness like I’ve done in the past with the Gear VR. However, I did get a dull headache after I had used the Daydream View VR for 15 minutes.
Google Daydream View VR setting up, experience review
Virtual Reality might still not be for everyone, but setting up the VR headset is not a challenge. One has to first open the Daydream app on the supported phone, and in my case, it was the Pixel XL. After that just follow, the instructions and the headset gets synced pretty quickly. The advantage is that because Daydream is on the Google Platform, one doesn’t need to sign into a different account, create one, etc. The Google Account sign-in is used to get access to the VR apps.
When setting up the Daydream View VR headset, you have to open the Daydream app on your phone. Once the phone has connected with the headset via the Bluetooth controller, just place the Pixel smartphone inside the headset, put it on and get to browsing.
The first time you enter Google’s virtual world, one is given a set of instructions on how to navigate. The Daydream VR headset does make you jump through some hoops, which help in getting a hang of the actual device and how to use it. I found this to be particularly useful and it helped me gain a sense of how to work my way around the virtual world with the controller. Personally, I prefer this Bluetooth controller system, rather that the norm where you’re left trying to figure out the navigation on one side of the headset.
Like all Virtual Reality headsets, this one requires reliable and fast WiFi connection in order to download VR ready apps. Coming to the apps, YouTube, Google Play Store, Google Photos (shows all your panorama photos), Google Play Movies, are some of the apps you’ll see when you first get into the virtual world. There are lot of games as well, but most of these VR games are paid, and I wasn’t in the mood to pay.
I did download a game called WonderGlade, and I found the experience of playing this virtual game really fun. It’s very immersive, you feel the push, the strain as you throw the basket-ball in the hoop or wave your wand around to catch some diamonds and coins. It is an exhilarating experience, which is how it should be with virtual reality.
YouTube in VR is also really interesting. I watched a video showing the history of clothing, and it feels like you’re in a private theatre with the 3D experience being eerily close. I also downloaded VR apps for news from Guardian, Wall Street Journal. One can read the news in VR, but then again, most people might not be too keen on doing this.
There are other apps like Discovery, etc, which shows content in 360 mode. I watched a video of two lions, and once again the feeling is that you are right there, in Africa, next to the lions. Honestly, it is a little freaky and cool at the same time.
Google Daydream View VR Verdict
My overall experience with the Daydream View VR was on the fun side. But virtual reality is still the kind of fun that leaves me with a dull headache, after using it for under 15 minutes. Oh, and those 15 minutes felt like half an hour. When it comes to graphics and VR feel, the Daydream View gets it spot on. I didn’t face any lag or stuttering, and even playing the game was fun.
So should you get the headset? I would say unless you own the Google Pixel or Moto Z and love the phone, this won’t be of any use. At least, not right now. This isn’t because the device doesn’t do what it is supposed to, it does that very well. The only problem is the number of phones supporting this is really limited in India right now. Sure, it’s only Rs 6,999 and Google has promised more phones will support Daydream platform. But until that happens, it is best to wait.