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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

Google Daydream View

This could be the cheapest, easiest way to turn a smartphone into a good entry-level VR headset with a bundled motion controller, too.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

It's notably smaller and lighter than Samsung's Gear VR headset -- and you don't need a Samsung phone to use it.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

It's fairly comfy, too, made of plush, cushy fabric with smooth ski-goggle-like straps. The lenses don't offer quite as wide a field of view as some of the competition, but it feels fairly immersive.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

As soon as you put a Google Pixel phone inside, it automatically switches to VR mode and calibrates nearly everything. No ports or cables to plug in. It's thanks to an NFC chip hidden inside the door of the headset.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

(For now, you do need to use a Google Pixel, but other Daydream-compatible phones are coming -- such as the Huawei Mate 9.)

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

When the two black rubber nubs inside the headset door touch the screen, they tell the phone exactly where to place the images for each of your eyes, so that they line up with the headset's magnifying lenses.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller

To close the door, you just pull up on this little bungie and snap it into place.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Just like that.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Here's how it looks on a guy's head. It's supposed to rest on the head a little more like a crown, a little less like ski-goggles.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

And here's the Daydream View on a woman.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The remote control bundled with the Daydream View makes a big difference, acting like a magic wand (or air mouse, if you prefer) to point the direction you want to go or swing objects in VR. You can't reach out and grab things, though.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

It feels way better than tapping your temple, if you ask me -- like you'd need to do on this Samsung Gear VR.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

When you're ready to put the headset away, that controller tucks away into this elastic-covered cubbyhole.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller

A typical position you might take when using the Daydream View.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Do note that the cushy fabric liner is pretty weak to velcro "hook and loop" fasteners. Don't put it in your bag if you've got any of those inside.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

You can just pull out the fabric liner to wash it, by the way, though Google isn't selling replacements yet.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The Daydream View and Google Cardboard side by side, in case you're curious.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

One last picture of the Google Daydream View headset.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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