Which VR headset delivers a better experience with Galaxy S8?

Samsung's Galaxy S8 is the first phone capable of accessing content on either Gear VR or Google Daydream, which means it's the first headset that offers users a choice. So which headset is going to deliver the better experience? We've done the research for you to ensure that you can spend less time investigating, and more time exploring the new worlds delivered by VR.

Hardware and portability

One of the great things about both Gear VR and Daydream is how portable these headsets are. Unlike beefier VR systems, all you need is the headset yourself and your S8, and you're ready to dive into which ever VR experience catches your fancy. If portability is your overall goal, it's definitely true that the Daydream headset is much more compact, making it easier to toss into a carry-on bag or purse when you are traveling.

Using Daydream while flying is a dream, check out how it works!

Gear VR is the larger of the two headsets, but it's also a bit easier to keep clean with its hard plastic exterior. This makes it easier to wipe down when sharing your headset with friends, and it. means that a minor spill will stay just that, minor. The Gear VR Controller doesn't tuck away quite as nicely as Daydream, but you can still keep it with your headset even when traveling. Gear VR also has the ability to adjust the focal point of the lenses inside the headset, making it the better choice for those who wear glasses since you can adjust things so that your glasses aren't entirely necessary while in VR.

Bottom line? If you plan on toting your VR headset along with you then Daydream's smaller form is going to be the better choice. That's because it is smaller in essentially every dimension, and has a compartment where your Daydream controller lives when you aren't using the headset. Since it's got a cloth cover it is more susceptible to accidental spills, but you won't have to worry about scratching the exterior when you toss it into a bag.

Content

The big question with any VR experiences is apps, particularly where the best apps live. Daydream operates using Google Play, where all of your other Android apps come from. This means the card you already have stored for Google Play already works in Daydream, and can be accessed quickly. Gear VR are acquired through the Oculus Store, which is a separate purchase system maintained entirely by Oculus. You need to add your credit card separately, and things like return policies and discounts are done entirely through this separate system. T

Oculus has been creating content for Gear VR since long before Daydream arrived on the scene, but Daydream has been adding new titles at a prolific rate. If you're interested in sheer volume, you'll fine a larger selection on the Oculus Store. If you're looking for quality, you'll find the options are a lot more varied. Both platforms have great exclusives, so it really comes down to the kind of things you want to do in VR.

It's also worth mentioning that many of the games that require a full gamepad are available on Oculus, while Daydream only uses the controller that comes with the headset. This means that Gear VR has access to more complicated games such as Minecraft Gear VR which require a full gamepad to function. This also means you need to carry a gamepad with you to use those games, which is not always an option. In the end, that means that if you want access to more exclusive content then Daydream is the better choice, while Gear VR gives you better access to a wide swathe of games for VR.

Affordability

One of the big questions, when it comes time to decide which headset you want to pick up, iis which one is going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. Since these headsets run directly off of your phone, you've already made the big investment with your headset. Both Gear VR and Daydream are fairly inexpensive, but Daydream is definitely easier to fit into a tight budget.

You can snag a Daydream headset for $79.99 from the Google Store, or you can head out to a local best buy to pick one up in person.

Gear VR is a bit pricier at $129.99 from Amazon, and is also available at local Best Buy locations.

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Experience

All other things considered, the most important factor to consider is the experience you get out of your headset. There's no difference in FPS, or display, since both headsets are running off of the same hardware. The difference lies in the design and usability of your headset.

Once I got used to how I needed to set the S8, the Daydream was much easier to jump right in with.

A lot of this revolves around how the Gear VR was built to function only with the Samsung hardware, and the fact that the Galaxy S8 rocks a ridiculously nice display. This means that it's easier initially to dock your S8 into a Gear VR. With Daydream I found myself having to spend a few minutes adjusting how the phone sat in the headset so that the screen wasn't cut off by the actual size of the phone.

Once I got used to how I needed to set the S8, the Daydream was much easier to jump right in with. This is mostly due to the fact that all that I needed to do was place my phone onto the flap since Daydream launches using an NFC connection. Remembering to keep my Daydream controller properly charged was also an issue that didn't come up when using Gear VR, since the Gear VR controller runs off of batteries.

The experience inside the headset was unchanged between headsets. Both delivered a great experience, and playing the same game on both headsets showed absolutely no difference between them. Where I did notice a difference was the weight of the headset after an extended play session. The Gear VR was noticeably heavier after about half an hour, while Daydream stayed light on my face.

Which headset is superior?

The bottom line is that both Daydream and Gear VR are fantastic headsets with a wide array of apps and experiences to enjoy. While both of them deliver plenty of content, the Daydream pulls ahead in a few small ways that end up making a pretty significant impact.

Daydream is the less expensive option by $50, it's lighter which makes it the better option for marathon VR sessions, and it has the wider array of exclusive content. The number of apps being regularly added to Daydream is also staggering considering it hasn't yet hit the one year mark. Daydream is also the more portable headset, although it isn't quite as easy to clean as it's competitior.