Thursday evening I was able to try for some minutes a Google Daydream headset, thanks to guys of GDG Torino that invited us of Immotionar at their Sognando La Realtà event. This is my very little review about it.
If you have ever tried a Samsung GearVR headset… well, the experience is quite identical. Only differences with it are that it is more comfortable and that you can interact using a little remote. And that’s it with this review. I’ve told you that it was little… 😀
Just kidding, but in fact these are the most important things that I have to say. Google Daydream is a nice mobile headset, where you can insert your mobile phone and live virtual reality.
Only supported phone is Google Pixel at the moment, but more are about to come (for example one Motorola and one Lenovo). The advantage of Daydream platform over GearVR one is that it will compatible with lots of phones from different vendors, so it will be an open platform (and this is the reason why it will outperform its competitor in the end, I guess). Google Daydream is all covered in fabric… this has been a choice of Google, so that the headset resembles a piece of cloting and seems more a natural thing to wear (a very hippy marketing thing in my opinion :D).
The headset has just a strap around your head and the piece of it that goes towards your frown is made of foam. It feels really light and super-iper-comfortable. Until yesterday I had always said that the most comfortable headset was the Oculus Rift: since yesterday, I’ve a different opinion: the most comfortable one is Daydream. The part that goes towards your face is really soft, its like hugging with a giant fluffy panda… it makes you happy.
Sincerely… this headset did not make me crazy from a technical standpoint: it is exactly like a GearVR with S7; but from a comfort standpoint, Google won. Great job, Mountain View guys!
About the rest, I tried a little demo-tutorial (called Daydream, the GDG guy said) where I was in the forest and I had to use the remote as a torch to find some funny animals in the night. The remote is the second nice thing that Daydream has. It is a 3DOF controller: this means that it has absolutely no idea about its position in space, while it knows exactly its orientation. This way you can use it to point objects: it’s a pointer that you can use to substitute gaze interaction: using your hand is surely more comfortable than turning your head to activate objects.
When I reviewed Oculus Rift CV1, I told that I loved its remote… well, this is like an improved version of Oculus remote: you can use it to point objects, to select them (it is clickable), to drag and drop them, to swipe and to do other actions (it has two buttons, a clicker and a touchpad). For casual using it’s awesome and super-comfortable. For viewing videos and stuff like that it is great since you can use it with your hand almost at rest. And when you’re done with it, you can put it inside your headset to not lose it.
I tried Daydream only few minutes but I liked it: it’s like a mixture in design between GearVR and Oculus Rift CV1… really a great piece of hardware. If you already own a GearVR, there’s no need to buy it, since it’s almost the same thing… otherwise, my advice is to buy it, since it’s great. Of course you can’t expect from it the same performances of Oculus Rift of HTC Vive… this is obvious.
I know, there’s a question popping in your mind: is it better to buy GearVR or Daydream? My answer is: it depends mainly on the content you want to use (if you’re a consumer) or the platform it is more convenient for you to develop for (if you’re a developer). Go for the platform that offers you the best content options for your needs.
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