Google’s Daydream View 2 VR headset more design refresh than big upgrade

Thanks, Google! $40 worth of games come with each new Daydream View

It’s been nearly a year since Google launched Daydream View, a virtual reality headset designed to work with Android smartphones. Now, the company has launched a successor alongside the new Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

Price and release date

The new $100 Daydream View is available for pre-order from the Google Play Store. It comes in three colors, Charcoal, Fog, and Coral.

For a limited time — until December 31 — Google is throwing in $40 worth of games with the purchase of a new Daydream View. The bundle includes Eclipse: Edge of Light, Wands, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Lola and the Giant, and Virtual Rabbids, and customers who take advantage get a promo code via e-mail once they activate their headset.

A familiar design

The new Daydream View is pretty similar to the original — in fact, it could be argued that it’s nothing more than a design refresh.

It looks remarkably similar to the original headset. Its rounded corners curve a bit more gradually than the first-gen Daydream View, and the magnetic flap on the front sits a bit more flush with the visor. And although it’s tough to tell from a rendering alone, the new headset’s material is thinner and finer — and possibly more absorbent.

The new headset comes in at $99 — which represents a $20 price bump over the original Daydream View. Why the extra cost? Well, apart from the extra colors, the Daydream View also has a wider field of view thanks to new lenses, which is an important consideration — it helps make the experience a little more immersive.

Daydream-View-onstage

While it’s not necessarily due to the headset itself, the Daydream experience has also been upgraded a little bit. You can now cast what you’re seeing to a TV through Google Cast, so others can join you on your virtual reality experience.

Still, we’re expecting some more updates to Daydream in the near future. Google announced Daydream 2.0 Euphrates at Google I/O in May, but the new VR operating system has yet to be released to the public.

On a technical level, Daydream 2.0 promises much richer and more visually detailed experiences than Daydream 1.0. A new rendering technique named Project Seurot (after the French pointillist painter) aims to bring desktop-grade graphics to Daydream 2.0 headsets. It’s able to compress a scene with 50 million polygons to 72,000 with little-to-no loss in quality, Google said at I/O, and generate scenes that look nearly like real life.

Update: Added news of Google’s $40 game bundle.

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