Is your phone Daydream-ready? Probably not.
Google’s big push into smartphone-based virtual reality has only begun to take form. Where Cardboard is an amazing way to make it so anyone and everyone can enjoy short VR experiences, Daydream is aiming much higher. You’ll be able to kick back and enjoy an episode of Game of Thrones, stand up and draw some amazing pieces of art with a big bubble around you as the canvas, and of course play an enormous number of immersive games. Daydream is going to be a big deal to anyone who can enjoy it, and in order to be on that list your phone must have Google’s “Daydream ready” stamp of approval.
Which phones have earned Google’s blessing? Glad you asked! Here’s a very short list of what’s available now, which we will be updating as frequently as possible.
- Google Pixel — Both the 5-inch and 5.5-inch versions of Google’s first Pixel phones are Daydream ready, and come with Daydream pre-installed. These phones are each packing an impressive Snapdragon 821 processor with 4GB of RAM and an AMOLED display, but the smaller Pixel is 1080p while the larger Pixel offers a QHD display. This means the larger pixel will offer a better VR experience in general, but both will offer highly accurate head tracking and are built to work well with the Daydream View headset.
- Moto Z — Both the original Moto Z and the shatterproof Moto Z Force are Daydream ready with the update to Android 7.0, and the Daydream app can be installed from the Google Play Store. These phones have a Snapdragon 820 processor with a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display and 4GB of RAM. Both of these phones support Moto Mods, which includes a battery addition that can allow Daydream to run for hours longer than normal. The flexible Moto Z Force display looks slightly different from the Moto Z in Daydream, but not enough that it will be noticeable by most.
- ASUS ZenFone AR — The new Daydream- and Tango-ready phone from ASUS is the first smartphone to have 8GB of RAM packed inside. It also has a Snapdragon 821 processor and a ridiculous 5.7-inch AMOLED display with a 1440×2560 resolution. Graphics are handled by a Qualcomm Adreno 530 GPU, which, when combined with the high-res screen, offer an amazing mobile VR experience.
- Huawei Mate 9 Pro + Porsche Design Mate 9 — Huawei announced during CES that the more premium of its two Mate 9 flagships, the Pro (and $1500 kin, Porsche Design Mate 9) would support Daydream in a future update. With Huawei’s own HiSilicon Kirin 960 processor and 6GB of RAM, there is plenty inside to power the 2560×1440 pixel display.
- ZTE Axon 7 — The ZTE Axon 7 was technically the first phone to claim Daydream support, but it took until early February 2017 for the phone to actually get updated to Nougat, and receive Daydream compatibility in the process. Like the Moto Z, the Axon 7 runs the slightly older and slower Snapdragon 820, but that should be plenty of power for most VR experiences.
What about the Nexus 6P?
The 6P’s thermal performance is not representative of the consumer Daydream-ready devices that will be launching later this year.
This doesn’t mean someone won’t figure out how to shoehorn Daydream onto the Nexus 6P for you to try out once the apps are available to the public, but officially this phone does not live up to the spec Google has in mind for the ideal Daydream experience.