Google's First VR Headset, Daydream View, Feels Like Sweatpants For Your Face

The Daydream View is soft, lightweight, and $79.

Google just unveiled its first ever virtual reality headset. It's called Daydream View.

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Today, Google debuted Daydream View, its take on a virtual reality headset for smartphones, designed to bring 360º movies, games, and photos to life. The announcement follows the launch of the Daydream VR platform for Android, which was introduced at Google I/O earlier this year.

Daydream View is the successor to Google Cardboard, the dirt cheap, Android and iOS-compatible VR handheld introduced in 2014. Google's new headset, which competes with the likes of Samsung's Gear VR ($100), Zeiss's VR One Plus ($130) and LG 360 VR ($200), is more advanced than Cardboard in every way — but it still requires you to strap in a smartphone to work.

It offers a more comfortable, hands-free experience, and access to an entirely new platform focused on low latency head tracking (in other words, speeding up the time between when you move your head and when the screen adjusts to match that movement).

Daydream View will be available for pre-order on Oct. 20 through the Google Store and ships early November for $79. Before you mark your calendars, here's what you should know about Google's first attempt to strap an immersive photo and video machine on your head.

The first device that will work with Daydream View is Google's new Pixel phone.


Pixel, which starts at $649, is the first smartphone designed and manufactured entirely by Google, and will be the only "Daydream-ready device" at launch. Google is working with Samsung, HTC, ZTE, Huawei, Xiaomi, Alcatel, Asus, and LG on smartphones that will also compatible with the headset in the future. Unlike Cardboard, Daydream View will not be compatible with iOS devices.

There's no pairing involved: the phone and headset will perform a "wireless handshake" automatically.


To use the headset, open the front portal using the elastic band, and plop the phone into the viewer. The phone will recognize that it's in the headset and open VR mode automatically.

Users don't have to waste time lining up the device with the lenses — capacitive pieces in the headset detect where the phone is and will auto-align the content that appears on the phone's display.

The controller is stored inside of the headset itself.

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Most apps are controlled by looking left, right, up and down. But for some apps, like Street View, you can point and click the controller to move forward. The remote is also used to get back to the homescreen, where all of your apps live.

The controller has a clickable touchpad, a smooth multi-purpose "app" button, and a recessed home button.

Daydream View is very, very soft.

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Google's VR team took inspiration from athletic wear in designing Daydream View. The entire device is covered in a worn-in t-shirt type of material, which makes the headset feel like you're wearing sweatpants on your face. The ski goggle-esque band is made of a flexible, adjustable elastic. Google claims the headset is 30% lighter than similar, all-plastic devices on the market.

The face pad is removable and washable.

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Because putting on a VR headset dripping in sweat is one of the true horrors of the future, the part of Daydream View that touches your face is made of a soft, breathable material. The fabric is attached via velcro and can be removed for washing.

Here's what Daydream's home screen looks like.


The three apps up top will change, based on what content Google's editors want to feature. The middle five apps are ones that you've downloaded. Daydream predicts which apps you will be most interested in and displays them, based on past behavior. The bottom three buttons will take you to the Play Store, all apps, and settings pages, respectively.

The first available Daydream apps include Play Movies, Google Photos, Street View, and YouTube VR.


There are also a number of other apps coming to Daydream. Warner Brothers is also creating a Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them VR experience based on the movie, where the controller is turned into a wand that can cast spells. Star Chart will turn the headset into a planetarium. The New York Times will be bringing NYTVR stories to Daydream. Streaming video sites Netflix, HBO, and Hulu will display their content on a VR-enabled big screen. You will also be able to play games from Wonderglade, LEGO, Mekorama, Need for Speed, Home Run Derby, Hungry Shark World, Danger Goat, and more.

Daydream View will be available in the United States ($79), Canada ($99 CAD), the UK (£69), Germany (€69), and Australia ($119) in early November.

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On October 20, customers can pre-order the headset in Slate (the dark gray color). Google will release the two other colors, Crimson (red) and Snow (off-white) later this year.



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