Gadget review: Google's Daydream VR device
India’s first hands-on review of Google's Daydream VR device. Is it really a game changer like Cardboard?
Virtual Reality (VR) has made huge waves since ever since Google launched Cardboard in 2014. Literally made of cardboard, it housed two lenses and a magnet that turned your phone into a VR device. At the time, people were working on devices that were promising VR, but nothing at the cost of a piece of cardboard and two plastic lenses, which repurposed your existing smartphone. That changed the game.
This year, Google launched Daydream. The device is meant to be low-cost $79 (Rs. 5,400 approx.) and it gives you control in VR, which means you can now play games, move around in virtual landscapes and interact with the world, from your couch.
The Daydream has enough space to accommodate people with glasses and is light enough to not make your neck sore after a few hours of use. The cloth feel of the device is a lot more forgiving than the harsh cardboard/plastic usually seen on Google Cardboard devices. The strap is also in a comfortable position, making it easy to remove and put on.
The new controlling system is packed with sensors and can be charged with your regular C-type charger. You can use it to play Bowling, point at something, pick and drop things, throw things and even shoot at stuff. It is fairly intuitive and easy to use.
However, not looking at something while using it takes a little getting used to. The drawback is the list of supporting devices right now. To make the experience all it can be, Daydream is fairly selective of which phones it supports. So, while Google Cardboard can be used on a huge list of devices, the Daydream can only be used on the Google Pixel phone and some variants of Moto Z. Though there are other phones in the market that meet the Google qualification, they haven’t been included yet. The second problem is Daydream hasn’t launched in India yet, its price for India is also unknown.
Is it worth buying? If you have a compatible phone, the Daydream is a hoot. There a lot of fun experiences and the US pricing is well worth it. It is by far the best low-cost VR device we have used. If you have a compatible phone, get someone to buy you a Daydream from abroad.
Free must-try apps on Daydream
Wonderglade is a bunch of tiny games jam packed into a single game. The game is a good VR experience, uses the controller well and since there is a bunch to try out it remains fun for very long.
It’s a little late, but it is an outstanding VR experience especially for Harry Potter fans. You get to use a wand, cast spells and deal with creatures from the Fantastic Beasts.
The Turning Forest
The Turning Forest takes you through an endearing story about a creature with lots of music based interactions. It is recommended that you wear your headphones for this one.
PolyRunner is a virtual endless runner where you fly avoiding ever increasing obstacles without crashing, your score, as is with any runner, is the distance you use. Try sitting down for this one. The tendency to move backwards is hard to fight. Simple graphics, but it is intuitive enough to be fun.
Watch Netflix on a couch with a huge virtual TV. Netflix works like it should and the controls are touch based, which makes it easier to seek through any video. The app is free, though you need to have a Netflix account.
A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli