The fact that Daydream heats up your phone is no surprise, but the fact that you can mitigate this issue can be news to plenty of people. We took the time to test out a heat sink for Daydream and see whether it really did make a difference in our VR experience.
When you get a look at the heat sink, it's very apparent that this is not a mass produced accessory. Each heatsink is made by hand, and anyone who is handy with a soldering iron will be able to see that. The edges are a bit sharp, and the craftsmanship leaves a little bit to be desired but it does give a secure fit when you mount it onto your Daydream headset.
Thermal pads along the inside bars of the heatsink are the only parts that are ever going to connect to your phone and this works out in two ways. The thermal pads help to pull as much heat off of your device as possible, but they also have a smooth surface which won't scratch or irritate the surface of your phone.
A tight fit
When I first pulled the heatsink out of its bubble wrap, I was a bit apprehensive. At first, it didn't want to slide on, and I was concerned that it was going to tear the cover of my Daydream. I definitely had to put in a little bit of muscle to get it onto my Daydream, but it more or less slid into place. As soon as I got it properly seated onto the flap of my headset, it was very clear that this is an accessory that is really meant to stay in place after you attach it.
Once you've got it onto the flap, it's super secure and doesn't really impair much. It's even cut out so that your Daydream remote can still be stored in its proper place.
It gets the job done
While the heatsink does add a little bit heft and some edges that get in the way at times, but it definitely gets the job done. I tested out Daydream with my Pixel XL, playing Darknet with and without the heatsink. In both cases, I played for about half an hour (a single hacking mission in Darknet) and still had a good charge on my battery.
When playing without the heatsink my phone was seriously heated up after the same amount of gameplay.
With the heatsink on, I never really noticed any heat. The heatsink itself went from cool to slightly warm when I touched it while playing, but it wasn't a noticeable change at all. However the added weight of the headset did throw me off a bit, and I had to readjust my fit in order to deal with it. When I took my phone out of the headset after playing, it was warm but not particularly hot at all.
Comparatively, when playing without the heatsink my phone was seriously heated up after the same amount of gameplay. I couldn't feel the heat while I was in the game, but afterward, it was enough that I put it to the side to cool off.
I never ran into any issues with that heat affecting my gameplay, but keeping your phone cool is going to give you more play time in the long run. Even though I kept accidentally hitting the outside of the heatsink — and it's so bulky it destroys the soft lines of Daydream's design — it definitely gets the job done. It never even budged after I got it adjusted, and I didn't have any issues with getting my phone properly seated when I was ready to play.
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