What is Google Daydream?
Daydream is the name of Google’s virtual reality platform. Its first device is the Daydream View, in which you insert your compatible Android smartphone. This includes the company’s own Pixel and Pixel XL. It works with the Moto Z family of smartphones and the ZTE Axon, all of which run on Android 7.0 Nougat. The headset is primarily constructed of a soft, breathable fabric and comes in three colors: slate (dark grey), snow (light grey), and crimson (deep red). The cloth is removable and hand washable. The Daydream View comes with a small controller that you can use like a Wii-mote to swing a bat, steer a vehicle, or whatever the game requires. The remote, which measures about 4 inches long and nearly 1.5 inches wide also has a volume button and can be stowed in the headset when not in use.
You can use earphones and plug in your smartphone while it’s inside the headset, which is handy since the VR apps will drain a lot of battery life. Reviewers report that the smartphone may overheat after continuous gameplay of 20 minutes or more, which could cause slow-downs, so it’s best to take frequent breaks.
Helpfully, the Daydream View is made to fit over most glasses. This is a big convenience since your VR experience will be diminished if you’re constantly squinting. It differs in design from other headsets in that it only has a strap that goes around the back of your head. The headset weighs just under half a pound. The Daydream View doesn’t have a strap that goes over your head, but despite this, it does stay in place. Many reviewers complain that over-the-head straps tend to cause headaches after long periods of use. On the other hand, the Daydream View may leave red marks on your forehead, and ambient light can seep in. It’s recommended to use the Daydream View in a dark room.
Daydream Games, Movies, and Experiences
Google has a Daydream version of its app store which you can access from the headset. Entertainment apps include YouTube, Hulu, HBO Now, Netflix, and Google Play Movies & TV. Content includes movies, sports, and concerts. There’s also Google Street View, which can be used to explore cities around the world, and Star Chart VR and Hello Mars for exploring the galaxy. Retailer Wayfair has an IdeaSpace app that lets you view its products in pre-designed rooms. The Google Arts & Culture VR lets you wander through museums all over the world.
You can also view your Google Photo gallery using the headset. The New York Times and the wall Street Journal each have Daydream VR apps, with interactive videos. All Daydream apps run at a frame rate of 60fps.
There are also a VR games which is when the included remote really becomes handy. In the Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts app it’s a magic wand you can use to cast spells, while in Danger Goat it helps you knock down obstructions to help a runaway goat get to freedom.
How Does it Compare to Google Cardboard?
The Daydream View is similar to Google Cardboard in that it’s powered by a smartphone, though obviously the construction is very different.
You can make your own Google Cardboard from scratch if you have the materials and the inclination, or you can order a kit from Google ($15) or from a third-party vendor (some simply assembly/folding will be required). Cardboard has a good number of apps, some of which have been optimized for Daydream. However, for the time being, most Cardboard apps are not compatible with the Daydream View; Google is working on an SDK update that will enable cross compatibility.
Comparison with other VR Headsets
The closest competition to the Google Daydream View is the Samsung Gear VR, which retails for $99, and works with compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Since Samsung has been at this longer than Google, it has a much larger content library, which is powered by Oculus. Oculus, of course, has its own VR headset, the Oculus Rift, but it must be tethered to a PC and costs $700. The Rift is more powerful, naturally, than the Samsung and Google models, but it’s really for a different audience. The same goes for the HTC Vive, which costs $800, and the $400 Sony PlayStation VR, the latter, of course, requiring a PlayStation console. The HTC, Oculus, and Sony models each have built-in displays, which means you don’t need to insert your smartphone, but each must be tethered to either a high-powered PC or console.
So, should you buy a Google Daydream View? If you’re a VR enthusiast, it’s certainly a good buy, and as more content is created and more apps built, it’s only going to get better. The downside now is that you’re limited to the Android platform and a small number of smartphones, but that should also change as the Daydream VR platform is built out. It’s low price is certainly a draw, especially early adopters who are used to paying a premium in order to be first. In addition to the online Google Store, the Daydream View is also available from Verizon and Best Buy, so it’s worth stopping in a local store to try the device out, especially if you’re not experienced with virtual reality, which can be overwhelming at first sight.
Best VR Video Converter for macOS Sierra
We all can have an immersive feeling when watching virtual reality videos. But unfortunately 360 degree VR video resources are limited and some VR videos can’t play. At this time, a VR video converter is urgently in demand.
Brorsoft’s Video Converter Ultimate (or iMedia Converter for Mac) is precisely an excellent VR video converter to convert virtual reality videos on macOS Sierra. It is capable of converting all your non-VR video files (Blu-ray and DVD included) to a VR SBS format supported by VR heasdet, changing a VR video format/resolution to be available to VR Players, or transcoding a virtual reality SBS video to 2D normal format for playback on Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, etc. The most important is that this macOS Sierra VR converter delivers a super fast speed for virtual reality video conversion with almost original quality reserved.
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