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Up close with Google's Daydream View headset

Google's new VR headset costs $79, £69 or AU$119. For now, it only works with Google's Pixel phones.

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Josh Miller

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Sean Hollister

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google-daydream-3452-001.jpg
1 of 18 Josh Miller/CNET

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.

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Google Daydream View

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

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Google Daydream View

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.

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Google Daydream View

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.

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Google Daydream View

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

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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.

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Google Daydream View

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

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Google Daydream View

Just like that.

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Google Daydream View

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.

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Google Daydream View

And here's the Daydream View on a woman.

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Google Daydream View

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.

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Google Daydream View

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

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

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Google Daydream View

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

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Google Daydream View

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.

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Google Daydream View

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

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Google Daydream View

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

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Google Daydream View

One last picture of the Google Daydream View headset.

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