Oculus Go was introduced months in the past, nevertheless it wasn’t till this week at GDC 2018 that the corporate really made the headset out there to attempt.

At the Oculus sales space as we speak we bought our first good have a look at Oculus Go, the $200 standalone VR headset that the corporate hopes will hit a candy spot of value and accessibility. The Go is loads like Gear VR, however as a substitute of snapping your cellphone into the headset, every little thing is constructed inside. That spares you from needing to empty your cellphone’s battery as you play, and unlocks the ability of the inside by providing improved thermals and eradicating pointless parts.


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Putting on the headset, the brand new lenses (now Fresnel) provide what seems to be a bigger subject of view than the newest Gear VR, attaining a view near that of the Rift. In phrases of decision, the Go (like Gear VR) really packs fairly just a few extra pixels than the Rift: 1,280 × 1,440 vs. 1,080 × 1,200.

Of course, decision is just one a part of what determines the general visible constancy, and whereas the view inside is noticeably extra sharp than within the Rift, with a lot much less display door impact, the extra restricted horsepower signifies that the graphics of the video games contained in the headset nonetheless fall simply into the “cellular” class. Granted, Go’s sharp show would in all probability be preferable if photograph or video viewing is your main use-case. We’ll want extra hands-on time with the headset to essentially get a great really feel for the finer particulars of the show, but when ‘Gear VR graphics with an Oculus Rift subject of view’ means something to you, then you definately’ve already bought a great sense for Go’s visible efficiency.


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The Go controller, which appears to borrow its core form from Touch, feels extra snug than the Gear VR controllers that launched final 12 months. Its rounded design simply appears to suit so properly in your hand, and the bend on the high makes reaching the trackpad and buttons straightforward, whereas the set off is in an amazing spot and depresses alongside a hinge (which feels extra pure), reasonably than being a glorified button.

Like the headset itself, the Go controller solely helps rotational (3DOF) monitoring. Games use the rotational motion to roughly infer the motion of your arm, however in the end the expertise is like enjoying a recreation the place your arm is connected to your torso by your elbow—which means your can swing it round, however solely from a singular level. It’s higher than having no controller, however not practically pretty much as good as having a absolutely tracked controller (6DOF), like we see with extra superior headsets just like the Rift and Vive. For extra on how the controller is used with the headset and as enter for VR video games, a lot of our Gear VR Controller Review applies (as each controllers have feature-parity and are cross-compatible so far as apps are involved).

Convenience Over New Features

Given that Go helps all Gear VR apps, you gained’t be shocked to seek out that the in-headset expertise is similar to Gear VR, which suggests it’s decidedly ‘cellular class’ by way of interactions and graphics. However, a lot of Go’s greatest advantages are about comfort and ease of use reasonably than variations in options and features.

For occasion, the audio from Go’s built-in audio system is well routed by way of the stiff struts of the headstrap; a small slit lets the sound out proper close to your ears. That means you may get first rate audio while not having to fiddle with headphones after you’ve placed on the headset (a surprisingly grating annoyance). And whilst you may at all times do the identical with Gear VR, in that case it could simply use the cellphone’s audio system, which aren’t very prime quality, are muffled by the headset, and may’t provide correct stereo. With Go, you get higher headphone-free audio, and it’s stereo too.

Sound from the headset’s audio system comes from these slots within the headband (that are proper subsequent to your ear whereas sporting). | Photo by Road to VR

It was sadly too loud the place we had been testing Go to get a great really feel for the audio high quality, so we’ll should revisit that side. At very least, it will possibly get fairly loud, simply loud sufficient for me to listen to the sport I used to be enjoying towards the background of 1000’s of convention goers on an expo ground. Luckily, there’s additionally a 3.5mm audio jack on the headset in case you do need enhanced high quality or a bit of extra audio privateness.

Another comfort is just not needing to A) personal one specific kind of cellphone to be able to use a Gear VR, and B) not needing to sacrifice the usage of your cellphone to your VR session. With Gear VR, you must slap your cellphone into the headset which suggests draining its battery, making you unavailable calls, texts pictures, and so forth, and coping with fingerprints, filth, and mud in your cellphone’s display. With Go, all of the is constructed in so you’ll be able to simply decide it up, put it on, and …Go (I see what they did there).

What’s extra, constructing the into the headset to be optimized for VR has enormous benefits over attempting to make use of phone-optimized . The secret’s that, as a result of Go doesn’t should be a cellphone, Oculus can eradicate pointless parts, unfold issues out, optimize parts (like placing in a much bigger battery that couldn’t slot in a cellphone), and total create far more environment friendly thermal dissipation from the identical type of which is in any other case crammed into your cellphone and tuned for very various kinds of utilization. Better thermal dissipation means the inside can run quicker with much less danger of overheating, which Gear VR is usually susceptible to do.

So though Oculus Go is powered by cellphone that’s a number of years previous, Oculus says it will possibly carry out higher than Gear VR, as a result of the additional effectivity permits it to run at increased efficiency, which suggests cranking up the rendering decision and even the framerate.


Photo by Road to VR

Like the Rift, it’s clear that quite a lot of thought has been put into the Go’s aesthetics. The headset feels very solidly put collectively, and made with supplies that really feel extra like a ‘machine’ than a mere accent. And whereas the headset feels a bit front-heavy, the strap design helps offset that with just a few good additions, just like the inflexible struts round which the headset can pivot towards the consumer’s face, and the double-strap within the again that finds a pleasant place to hug your head. Short time period consolation appears promising, however till we’ve got a great hour or so to put on the headset, it’ll be robust to guage long run consolation.

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While the Oculus Go lacks some options (like 6DOF headtracking) provided by different forthcoming standalone headsets just like the Lenovo Mirage Solo ($400), it’s additionally going to be priced at half the associated fee ($200), regardless of a really comparable visible expertise. In the tip, Oculus’ concentrate on accessibility (each by design and by value) looks as if it may extra readily enchantment to the type of informal VR consumer that the Go and lots of different standalones are focusing on.

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