Google Daydream VR may not be the most high-end virtual reality platform out there (that award goes to the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive), but it is a big step up from the company’s first VR effort, Google Cardboard. But which Daydream-ready phones can you buy right now?
We already have a pretty in-depth article that covers just about everything you need to know about Google Daydream, but right now we’re going to talk about which smartphones are Daydream ready, which Daydream-compatible phones are coming down the pipeline, and the list of requirements for Daydream-ready phones.
Don’t miss: Google Daydream – everything you need to know
First, you might be wondering, what does “Daydream-ready” even mean?
What is Daydream ready?
“Daydream ready” is the term Google uses to define devices with all the necessary specifications required to effectively run Daydream VR content. As Google VR head Clay Bavor said at I/O: “We want to hold a very high quality bar, and for that to happen all the components need to be just right.”
It’s as simple as that — Daydream-ready smartphones need to be designed to run high-quality mobile virtual reality experiences through Google’s Daydream View headsets. As for specifics, we’ll talk about Daydream VR specs at the bottom of this article.
Confirmed Daydream-ready phones
Below you’ll find a list of all the Daydream ready phones on the market or coming to market soon:
- Google Pixel
- Google Pixel XL
- ZTE Axon 7
- ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe
- Motorola Moto Z
- Motorola Moto Z Force
- Huawei Mate 9 Pro
- Porsche Design Mate 9
- ASUS ZenFone AR
- Samsung Galaxy S8
- Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- LG V30
- Google Pixel 2
- Google Pixel 2 XL
- Motorola Moto Z2 Force
Notice anything missing? You may have noticed there are a few notable devices missing from the list, including:
HTC U11: The U11, HTC’s flagship smartphone for 2017, isn’t Daydream compatible. While it may check many of the Daydream requirements listed above, it’s missing one big requirement: an OLED display. Technically having an OLED display isn’t required, but Google hasn’t been particularly keen on granting devices with LCD displays compatibility.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro: While the Huawei Mate 9 Pro was compatible with Daydream, the Mate 10 Pro has for some reason not yet been certified to work with the Daydream View headset. There’s no word if Huawei plans any software updates to make the Mate 10 Pro work with Daydream. The company is also reportedly working on a stand-alone Daydream View headset, but so far it has not yet launched.
Future Daydream-ready phones
Okay, so those are all the Daydream-ready phones on the market right now, but what about the ones that are coming down the pipeline? Here are the not-yet-announced smartphones we’re expecting to sport Daydream compatibility out of the box:
ZTE Axon 9: Rumors surrounding the ZTE Axon 9 have been scarce so far, but we’d wager that the Axon 7 followup device will be Daydream compatible out of the box.
Samsung Galaxy S9/S9 Plus: It’s possible that Samsung could add Daydream support to its next flagship phones, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, as it did with the S8, S8 Plus, and the Note 8.
Daydream ready specs
Back in November 2016, Google finally clarified its requirements for Daydream-ready phones. The full list can be found below:
- MUST have at least 2 physical cores.
- MUST support sustained performance mode.
- MUST support Vulkan Hardware Level 0 and SHOULD support Vulkan Hardware Level 1.
- MUST support H.264 decoding at least 3,840 x 2,160 @ 30fps-40Mbps.
- MUST support HEVC and VP9 decoding at least 1,920 x 1,080 @ 30 fps-10Mbps, and SHOULD be capable of decoding 3,840 x 2,160 @ 30fps-20Mbps (equivalent to 4 instances of 1,920 x 1,080 @ 30fps-5Mbps).
- STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to support android.hardware.sensor.hifi_sensors feature, and MUST meet the gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer related requirements for android.hardware.hifi_sensors.
- MUST have an embedded screen, and its resolution MUST be at least be Full HD (1080p) and STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to be Quad HD (1440p) or higher.
- MUST measure between 4.7″ and 6″ diagonal.
- MUST update at least 60 Hz while in VR Mode.
- The display latency on Gray-to-Gray, White-to-Black, and Black-to-White switching time MUST be ≤ 3 ms.
- The display MUST support a low-persistence mode with ≤5 ms persistence.
- Device implementations MUST support Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth LE Data Length Extension.
The full list of requirements is available here. A quick note on verbiage: “MUST” means that the requirement is mandatory, while “STRONGLY RECOMMENDED” and “SHOULD” mean that Google allows manufacturers to go against its recommendations.
There are a few things worth noting here. For starters, you’ll notice that having an OLED display isn’t a requirement. However, the need for low latency and persistency probably means that LCD phones might not make the cut. In addition, 1080p displays are supported, but it’s strongly recommended for phones to have 1440p screens if they want to be Daydream compatible.
Did we miss anything? Let us know what else you’d like to know about Google Daydream in the comments below!