There’s a whole new world of VR out there and the Oculus Go has found its place in the market as one of the best affordable VR headsets in 2019. Retailing at around £199, the Oculus Go is steep competition for its older brother, the Oculus Rift. This standalone headset needs no wires or other hardware to operate and, as such, is a piece of kit that’s incredibly simple to use. We can see how the Oculus Go will appeal to the VR curious among us, so we put it through its paces. Ready, Steady…. Oculus Go!
When we got the Oculus Go out of the box, we were impressed by its simple design and that everything you need to run the VR headset is contained within the device itself. One noticeable drawback of the Go is the LCD screen. Those of us who have used many a VR headset know that OLED screens are superior in their quality, with black and dark colours appearing deeper and minimising ghosting. Of course, this is one of the ways in which the manufacturers have cut corners as OLED screens are much more expensive due to their raw materials, as well as the fact that they are much more difficult to calibrate. Having said this, the Oculus Go has a WQHD LCD screen that has a better quality than the older type LCD screens. It has a combined resolution of 2560 x 1440, which is greater than many competitor VR headsets. It also utilises “fast-switching” technology, which means it operates much better too.
In terms of its other specs, it has a 32GB RAM as standard (although a larger 64GB unit is available at a cost). It also has a micro USB and 3.5mm headphone jack, although it does have audio built right into the headset strap, providing cinematic, immersive sound without the need for headphones. Weighing in at 470g, it is a little on the heavy side for a VR headset and its size (190 x 105 x 115mm) is also a little bigger than some. It comes with a very intuitive controller, a proximity sensor and 3DOF sensors in both the controller and the headset.
When we tried on the headset for the first time we were immediately impressed that the straps were both soft and adjustable, although I did find it a little difficult to adjust when I was trying it by myself. It did feel secure but there was a little slippage on the odd occasion. For the price, once on, this product really did feel like it was a premium VR headset as it was surprisingly comfortable. The weight is mostly distributed in the front and it rests on the top of the cheekbones. We did notice there was some achiness after wearing it for a while, rather like your cheeks would ache from laughing hard for a period of time, however, I’ve yet to encounter a VR headset that had perfect weight distribution for me. I actually found myself using this headset for longer than I realised and more than I have with some of the others I’ve tried as it was so comfy!
What impressed me most about this headset though, was how easy it was to use. There was no mounting of phones (like with the Samsung Gear) or prepping my desktop computer. It was just there, ready to GO - it certainly lives up to its name in that respect. Being so simple, everyone in my house was chomping at the bit to try it out for themselves.
For a VR headset, the experience with the Go is nearly as good as the Rift. Whilst you won’t mistake it for the Rift, I haven’t failed to be impressed by just how good its VR is, especially given that it’s a standalone device. When you’re in a game, it's certainly difficult to find fault. The tracking is comfortable, accurate and didn’t bring on any motion sickness that some cheaper headsets bring with their jerkiness.
The sound of the headset also really impressed me. There are no inbuilt headphones. Instead, the Oculus GO has plastic arms with slits where there are speakers. This is impressive and the headset therefore has a very neat profile.
One thing we did notice, there was a bit of light that came in through the nose bridge (whether or not this is because our noses are particularly small remains to be seen!). For most, it was something that could easily be ignored, but for the VR purists out there it would no doubt spoil their immersion a little.
Another point to note is that the Oculus Go has a movement system that is “orientation only” - this is referred to as 3DOF. This means that you can move your head from left to right and view the world in 360°, you cannot move into the virtual space by walking forwards or leaning. Of course, this headset is designed as an introductory headset for those trying out VR who maybe haven’t before and so some of these limitations can be overlooked - it depends on the user profile.
The Oculus Go is the new kid on the block in terms of affordable VR. It is suitable for everyone, especially the casual consumers and relaxed gamers who do not have the time or inclination to set up other devices to power their VR headsets. I really loved how easy it was to use. I could simply put it on and GO, with no need for faffing about with wires or phone setups. Whilst I love the experience of the higher end products, this has the potential to be a game-changer in the affordable VR market. The hyperbole around this product isn't just hype – they really show just how good it is! Why not give it a Go?
Have you got the Oculus Go or used it? Share your thoughts and opinions with me using the comment box below.
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