It’s the small changes that will make you stay in VR longer.
At first glance, the second generation of Google’s Daydream View VR headset may not look much different. Available in stores today and coinciding with the release of Google’s Pixel 2 phone, Daydream View is an improvement—but you’re probably not going to notice until you actually put it on.
When the Daydream View was released last year before the holidays, Google surprised us all with a comfortable headset that made VR more accessible to more people. And while improved comfort is still heavily emphasized with the second generation Daydream View, Google has taken the past year to improve upon just how long you’ll actually stay in VR.
They may seem like minor refinements to weight, build, and comfort. But these small changes to Daydream View actually add up to keeping you inside of VR longer, which makes this one device that will get used more often—and for the price $99, folks sitting on the fence might want to jump in.
The Daydream View got a makeover. The first thing you’ll notice is that the new headset got a top strap. Helping to distribute weight more evenly on your head, I no longer felt like the headset was digging into my cheek bones in comparison to the first Daydream View. This design change also helps with fit for those of you with smaller heads.
In addition to a new top head strap, Google also changed up the materials. If you remember my review of the first Daydream View headset, the soft outer material felt like “wearing a pair of Lululemon yoga pants on your face.” Now the new Daydream View uses a more durable fabric that’s likely less prone to wear and tear. The same unique fabric used on other Google devices like the Home Mini, it’s unclear whether its more stain resistant. Reviewing a fog color headset over the past week, I already left finger smudge stains from my incessant over use of dry erase markers.
It’s not the outer materials where Daydream View really shines though. Probably the most comfortable face padding i’ve tried in a VR headset to date, Google has kept that soft breathable cushion and reshaped it to better form to your face. A tighter fit that lets less light in, makes this more comfortable and makes me want to stay in VR longer.
The other small change that keeps you in VR longer is the introduction of a passive heat-sink. For those of you familiar with the original Daydream View, when you weren’t using that little hand controller, you tucked it away inside the front of the headset where your phone slotted in. Now the controller holder has been moved to the back of the headset strap and the front flap that comes in direct contact with your mobile device while in use has a heat-sink. The passive heat-sink is designed to pull away heat from the outside of your phone which, you guessed it, keeps your device from overheating and keeps you in VR longer.
One other notable change that adds to comfort and longer VR sessions is the dramatic improvement to the lenses. Upgraded with a pair of Fresnel lenses, the field-of-view appears much wider. This can contribute to a greater sense of presence, cutting back on that screen door effect where it feels like you’re peering into a world with blinders on the side of your noggin. A greater field-of-view can cut back on unnecessarily looking around a virtual environment, straining your neck, as you immerse yourself in VR.
If you’re in the market for a Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, you’re probably going to want to pick this one up. If you already own the original Daydream View, consider how often you use the device. If frequently, this might be the comfort and extension of VR sessions you’ve been looking for.
An upgrade over last year’s Daydream View, Google is showing us another step forward in making VR more accessible and in the process, keeping us hungry for the next Daydream VR experience we’ll be spending all weekend immersed in.
The New Daydream View is available in the Google store, Verizon, Best Buy, Amazon, and other retailers.