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Jeremy Andrews
1,123 followers -
Web developer, Global Affairs researcher, lover of travel and transportation
Web developer, Global Affairs researcher, lover of travel and transportation

1,123 followers
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First Impressions of the Daydream View

OK so I've been trying out the Daydream View today, and I've perhaps not used it enough to give a comprehensive review, but there's a few things you should be aware of if you're considering buying one.

The tl;dr is that I really don't think this is ready as a consumer product yet. It is quite fun to play around with if you're a geek, but it still seems like a prototype, I can't imagine the average consumer wanting to use this at great length.

Pros

To start with, there are some positives about the Daydream VR. For anyone who has used Google Cardboard before, this like a Cardboard except 10x better. It is much more comfortable to have on your face, and it stays there with a strap. The remote control adds a lot of functionality to every app that you use, since you no longer have to rely on using your neck to point at everything, you have three buttons plus volume controls, and you have a track pad to scroll with. I found a couple of the games were quite interesting, and it was neat to use the Street View and YouTube VR apps. You can search for YouTube videos using voice commands, reducing the need to use time-consuming VR keyboard typing.

In terms of the construction of the actual device, it is well thought out. My phone fits in it with my case still on. The materials are quite comfortable on the face. The strap mechanism works quite well once you figure out how to position it properly and keeps the device securely pressed against your face. The washable portion will come in handy if I want to give it to my friends to try out.

Cons

Now for the not so good. There are essentially two main problems that I think prevent this from being a mainstream consumer product.

First off is the video resolution. 1080p or 1440p may seem like a lot when you're watching regular videos on your phone, but the quality and clarity just aren't there in VR. For one, in a 360 degree video, those pixels are spread more thinly, so actually a lot of what you see is more equivalent to 480p on a normal screen. Plus, there seems to be an odd black grid pattern overlaid on the entire screen. I'm not sure what exactly causes it, if it's the nature of the screen or something to do with the lenses. It was there on the Cardboard and I was hoping that would be fixed on Daydream. Well, it is significantly better on Daydream, but still present. In short, video quality and screen resolutions just need to get higher and they need to remedy that problem with the black grid before this becomes truly enjoyable.

The second big problem is with the sheer amount of power it requires to run Daydream. I can see why now they restricted this to the Pixel and newer Daydream-ready phones. When I sat down to use it, I had it on for about half an hour each time, before I started getting warning messages about the phone overheating. Plus, all that power consumption was just killing the battery--I would estimate double the battery consumption of watching regular videos. If the battery isn't going to last long enough, and if I can't use it more than 30 minutes at a time without it overheating (and frankly I'm a little afraid it's gonna blow up on my face or something), it's really not practical for using it as I had intended, i.e. taking it on flights and train rides to watch videos on.

Bottom line

So in conclusion, I don't regret purchasing the Daydream View. It is a step in the right direction and a solid improvement over Cardboard. However, right now it is primarily for geeks and early adopters who just want to have fun playing around with it. For the average consumer to do serious media viewing and game playing, the View is just not ready. If you already have a Pixel and you can spare $100 then I'd say it's worth giving it a shot. However, if you really want a full VR experience, I think you'll have to look elsewhere.

First Impressions of the Daydream View

OK so I've been trying out the Daydream View today, and I've perhaps not used it enough to give a comprehensive review, but there's a few things you should be aware of if you're considering buying one.

The tl;dr is that I really don't think this is ready as a consumer product yet. It is quite fun to play around with if you're a geek, but it still seems like a prototype, I can't imagine the average consumer wanting to use this at great length.

Pros

To start with, there are some positives about the Daydream VR. For anyone who has used Google Cardboard before, this like a Cardboard except 10x better. It is much more comfortable to have on your face, and it stays there with a strap. The remote control adds a lot of functionality to every app that you use, since you no longer have to rely on using your neck to point at everything, you have three buttons plus volume controls, and you have a track pad to scroll with. I found a couple of the games were quite interesting, and it was neat to use the Street View and YouTube VR apps. You can search for YouTube videos using voice commands, reducing the need to use time-consuming VR keyboard typing.

In terms of the construction of the actual device, it is well thought out. My phone fits in it with my case still on. The materials are quite comfortable on the face. The strap mechanism works quite well once you figure out how to position it properly and keeps the device securely pressed against your face. The washable portion will come in handy if I want to give it to my friends to try out.

Cons

Now for the not so good. There are essentially two main problems that I think prevent this from being a mainstream consumer product.

First off is the video resolution. 1080p or 1440p may seem like a lot when you're watching regular videos on your phone, but the quality and clarity just aren't there in VR. For one, in a 360 degree video, those pixels are spread more thinly, so actually a lot of what you see is more equivalent to 480p on a normal screen. Plus, there seems to be an odd black grid pattern overlaid on the entire screen. I'm not sure what exactly causes it, if it's the nature of the screen or something to do with the lenses. It was there on the Cardboard and I was hoping that would be fixed on Daydream. Well, it is significantly better on Daydream, but still present. In short, video quality and screen resolutions just need to get higher and they need to remedy that problem with the black grid before this becomes truly enjoyable.

The second big problem is with the sheer amount of power it requires to run Daydream. I can see why now they restricted this to the Pixel and newer Daydream-ready phones. When I sat down to use it, I had it on for about half an hour each time, before I started getting warning messages about the phone overheating. Plus, all that power consumption was just killing the battery--I would estimate double the battery consumption of watching regular videos. If the battery isn't going to last long enough, and if I can't use it more than 30 minutes at a time without it overheating (and frankly I'm a little afraid it's gonna blow up on my face or something), it's really not practical for using it as I had intended, i.e. taking it on flights and train rides to watch videos on.

Bottom line

So in conclusion, I don't regret purchasing the Daydream View. It is a step in the right direction and a solid improvement over Cardboard. However, right now it is primarily for geeks and early adopters who just want to have fun playing around with it. For the average consumer to do serious media viewing and game playing, the View is just not ready. If you already have a Pixel and you can spare $100 then I'd say it's worth giving it a shot. However, if you really want a full VR experience, I think you'll have to look elsewhere.

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Christmas came early
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14/11/2016
4 Photos - View album

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I finally got the halo effect, but considering this was shot directly into sunlight that was too bright to look at with the naked eye, it's not a horrible result. Hopefully will get fixed with updates.
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Will you be buying a Daydream View when it comes out Nov. 10?
Also, is it available for pre-order yet in your country? Seems like it's not so far in Canada, even though release date is supposed to be same as US...
181 votes
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votes visible to Public
37%
Yes, will buy Nov. 10
25%
May buy, but waiting or reviews first
38%
No, not planning on buying

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You can just about make out the faces of the people 4 stories below me if you zoom in
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Video clear enough to observe the elevator going up the middle of the CN Tower; then a train passes by in a nearly pitch dark gorge while surrounding details are still visible.
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Video
21/10/2016
2 Photos - View album

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4k video at night of approaching streetcar
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