Friday, November 11, 2016

Will Google Make Us Daydream Believers?

If you are wanting to dive into Virtual Reality, there are currently a multitude of options to choose from. High end headsets currently on the market include the HTC Vive (currently available for demo from EdTech!), Oculus Rift, and recently the Sony PlayStation VR. However, if you're looking for something a step above Google Cardboard, but aren't prepared to drop $399 and up (not counting the cost of supporting computer/console hardware), there is a new option: Google's Daydream, released yesterday.

With a price tag of only $79, Daydream boasts a high quality, yet simple VR experience. At the time of release, it is unfortunately only compatible with Google's also newly released Pixel phone, however broader Android compatibility is expected to come soon. Paired with a controller, the headset is comparable to Samsung's Gear VR, but due to its partially fabric construction, it is nearly 100 grams lighter and based on early reviews, much more comfortable to wear. 

Aesthetics and comfort aside, what sets the Daydream apart? The answer lies not within the headset itself, but its accompanying accessory. The Daydream's motion-tracked controller is a small and sleek device comparable to a presentation remote. Its intuitive use and lack of wires make it accessible when compared to the Gear's offerings.

As far as app offerings go, so far they are relatively slim. For those still under the spell of Pottermania, the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them VR App is a safe bet. Also included at launch are a number of games, museum tours, and VR experiences produced by news sources such as The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and USA Today. 


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