Both the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream are mobile virtual reality (VR) platforms, which essentially means that the head-mounted displays (HMDs) are powered by a smartphone handset. The two platforms each have their own requirements and limitations, though as would be expected given Google Daydream’s recent unveiling and the fact that the Samsung Gear VR is already available to purchase, the facts for the latter are much clearly than the former. VRFocus has of course dug in deep to find out which HMD will be right for you based on your choice of smartphone handset.
Samsung Gear VR Phone Compatibility
The Samsung Gear VR is currently available in three editions: the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition for Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition for Samsung Galaxy S6/S6 Edge, and the Samsung Gear VR. However, the latter of these is the head-mounted display (HMD) intended for consumers and the most readily available to buy. The Samsung Gear VR is notably limited in the options it offers for consumers by restricting compatibility to Samsung’s own smartphone handsets. Given that many software experiences are no longer built for compatibility with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 it’s this ‘consumer edition’ that we will be focussing on.
Compatible devices: Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy Note5, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge.
A wide range of smartphone handsets certainly, but still limited to Samsung’s own devices due to the fact that it is their own HMD. A curious situation, given that the Samsung Galaxy S6 has also been mentioned as being compatible with Google Daydream…
Google Daydream Phone Compatibility
Google has not yet announced which smartphone handsets will be compatible with the Google Daydream HMD, however the company has announced the ‘Daydream Ready’ initiative which, in time, will reveal those devices which will be capable of the performance required for mobile VR.
Google Daydream has the advantage over Samsung Gear VR due to the more open nature of its compatibility. There will be multiple manufacturers that offer compatible smartphone handsets for the HMD, thus there will be less limitation on the audience available for the product due to a much wider choice of optimised hardware. Don’t like Samsung smartphones? Google Daydream won’t restrain your options to look elsewhere whilst still allowing you to jump into mobile VR.
Partners already announced to have or be working on smartphones compatible with Google Daydream include Samsung, Huawei, Alcatel, Asus, HTC, LG, Xiaomi and ZTE. It’s been mentioned that the Samsung Galaxy S6 will be the base level for Google Daydream, and that other handsets will be announced in due course. Exactly when that announcement is coming will largely be based on when these smartphone manufacturers reveal their new devices, so if you’re planning on jumping into Google Daydream as soon as possible it might be worth holding-off on that smartphone upgrade until compatibility has been confirmed.
Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR: Phone Compatibility Summary
Essentially, Samsung Gear VR is winning the race right now as the handsets compatible with the device are already on the market. However, this may also be its undoing, as smartphone technology is currently moving faster than VR and as such Google Daydream’s open-ended compatibility may well see vast quantities (and thus more options for consumers) of compatible handsets coming to market.