New Daydream View Hands-on: Incremental upgrades

New Daydream View

While Google’s new Daydream View headset may look nearly identical to its predecessor at the outset, one thing is certainly true: it’s significantly more comfortable than its predecessor.

As you may have guessed, Google’s new Daydream View headset is compatible with the company’s recently revealed Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones. While the original Daydream View was a solid virtual reality headset, it suffered from some comfort issues, especially if you have a larger head (like myself).

The new Daydream View features a top strap like the Samsung’s Gear VR that balances out its weight much better.

This makes the new Daydream View more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. An added magnesium heatsink also helps dissipate heat from the phone, which is a good move on Google’s part given how hot the original Pixel would often get inside the first-generation Daydream View.

Google Daydream View

The controller can also be stored in a loop located on the rear strap, making it harder to misplace the motion-sensitive gamepad. Speaking of the Daydream View’s controller, its buttons are now more pronounced making them easier to find without looking, and have additional pop to them.

The controller also feels slightly lighter when compared to its predecessor. Other than these changes though, the Wiimote-like wand is exactly the same as last year’s input device.

daydream view

Overall, the new headset also feels lighter and amounts to one of the most comfortable virtual reality headsets I’ve ever worn — and I’ve tried them all — thanks to its redesigned facepad that distributes pressure more evenly across the wearer’s face. It measures in at 16.6cm x 11.6cm x 9.9cm and weighs 0.2kg.

There is one issue though; while I still need to test out last year’s Daydream View to confirm, it feels like the new, more cushy lining in the revamped version actually leaks more light. Perhaps this is because the phone wasn’t properly positioned in the headset, though I’m not certain.

Daydream View

Google says that in general the new View works better with people with smaller head sizes but emphasized that it’s still recommended for users ages 13 and up.

During my hands-on time with the headset, I wasn’t able to play any games, though I did test out an Ed Sheeran concert experience, Cindy Crawford’s apartment (yes, you read that correctly) and an extremely brief Discovery Channel experience. Each of these demos worked great, with the headset responding to my movement in rapid fashion, though I also didn’t notice much of a difference in terms of performance with the first-generation device.

Daydream View strap

Google also claims that the lenses featured in the new Daydream View offer a 10-degree wider field of view, which means you’ll need to adjust the headset less to get a clear image. For what it’s worth, I didn’t notice a difference — more testing is definitely required.

One other new feature worth noting is that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL’s front-facing speakers result in a much better audio, though earbuds are definitely the ideal option because they make it easier to hear directional audio, which is important with VR.

Daydream View rear

It’s worth noting that along with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 Xl, the new Daydream View is also compatible with the Galaxy S8, the S8+, the Note 8, the Moto Z and the Moto Z2 (which likely isn’t coming to Canada).

The new Daydream View is now available for pre-order in Canada for $139 CAD on The Google Store and retailers and set to be delivered by October 19th. The Daydream View is set to to be available in ‘Charcoal,’ ‘Fog,’ and ‘Coral.’

Comments

  • Felix

    Also the V30

  • Mister E…

    and last year’s ZTE Axon 7.

  • Zach Murray

    Cant believe this is even more expensive than last years. Its “nifty” but you could throw a strap on the Google Cardboard and get the same result

    • dk

      yeah it’s too expensive ….but at least there r bigger proper lenses and the heat sink in the front is apparently magnesium

    • Zach Murray

      They always focus on improving its use for “extended periods of time” but whos playing with vr on their phone for more than 10 15 minutes top? 1. Its entirely single player, very antisocial and were trained now to have no attention span so theyre selling us pros we dont need lol

    • John Lofwire

      Love using such headset to look at movies and movies usually are more than 10 15 min 😉

    • Smanny

      You certainly cannot get the same result with Cardboard, especially when Daydream relies on the 3dof controller. Cardboard doesn’t rely on any controller.

    • John Lofwire

      Google cardboard lenses area joke.
      Its would also be VERY uncomfortable to wear.

      comparing daydream to cardboard is like comparing a luxury car to a Lada.. both get you from point 1 to point B but everything else is better on the luxury car ( beside price lol )

    • Zach Murray

      Of course theyre not directly comparable but its basically a glorified Cardboard for $130!!!!!!!

    • John Lofwire

      like a ferrari is a glorified sport car compared to a mazda..

      its how the market work.

      when you have better quality material.
      better quality lenses.
      better comfort.
      built in cooling.
      a controller.

      ofcourse its gonna cost more 😉

    • Smanny

      I think you missed the Bluetooth 3 degrees of Freedom controller as well. Cardboard doesn’t have that. Daydream does. If you had any clue what that controller offers, then you would have never have said that Daydream is a glorified Cardboard. Clearly you never used a Daydream headset with a compatible smartphone before. That controller is like the Oculus Rift controller or the HTC Vives controller in the sense it’s adding your hand to the mix for movements in VR. Something that only more expensive VR systems offered. Daydream gives users the ability to use your one hand in VR apps. Naturally the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift controllers give you two hands. But at least you can use one hand with Daydream. Something that no Cardboard currently offers.

    • Zach Murray

      You seem very passionate about this and have put a lot of thought into it, which is cool but its still very overpriced for what it is. I own the Daydream and Google cardboard with a Pixel. And ive used the Gear VR as well. Both are cool but i would never spend $100+ on either of them. I received both free through work. Anyways, enjoy your Vr!!

    • Zach Murray

      $50, $60 sure but $130? Holy crap

    • John Lofwire

      Its expensive that i agree but :

      1- made of better material than all cheapers model.
      2- has a heatsink made of magnesium to dissipate heat ( no others have this )
      3- had the best quality lenses of all mobile headset.

      So its better all around.. can easily ask for more..

  • Smanny

    Patrick missed 2 other things that are new with this version. The lenses are larger than last year’s. Plus it has a greater Field of View (FOV).

    • Croc Ography

      Yes, this was by far the biggest enhancement and reason to upgrade… sigh.