Oculus Go Review
Our no holds barred review of the all-in-one VR Oculus Go assesses whether this standalone VR headset can take on the already more established VR systems such as PSVR and its older brother the Oculus Rift.
With plenty going for it on paper, it is fair to say we were a tad excited. Read our full Oculus Go review below.
Virtual Reality is something that has slowly seeped in to gaming over the last few years thanks to the Oculus Rift (for PC users), PSVR (for PlayStation users) and a handful of cheaper smartphone alternatives such as the Google Cardboard. Whilst all of these have made a splash in terms of pulling in new users to the world of VR, it could well be that the Oculus Go is the virtual reality product that really brings VR to the masses and makes it a mainstream entertainment platform.
At under $200 for the 32GB version, this standalone VR headset ticks a lot of boxes and promises more than just being a gimmick you show off with when your friends come round.
At Round Gadget, we could hardly contain out excitement when the Go appeared in the office – and so we quickly got round to putting it through its paces.
Oculus Go Tech Specs
Tech specs are one of those things that reviewers tend to talk about quite a lot in tech reviews. Whilst they are important, it is also fair to say that the raw specs of the Oculus Go are only going to tell you so much. It is interesting that Oculus themselves are very discreet in offering up such information but here is what we know:
Resolution: 2560x1440 (1280x1440 per eye)
Screen Size: 5.5 inches
Screen: WQHD LCD
Field of view (FOV): 100 degrees
Charging Type: Mini USB
The Oculus Go doesn’t look all that different from any other VR headset and they certainly haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel. What they have tried to do is to bring something to market that is accessible, easy to use and is portable (to an extent).
From first feel, you get the impression that the Go is a premium product. In the box you will find the headset, controller, micro USB charging cable (although you probably already own several) and a glasses spacer. At just 468g the Oculus Go feels pretty lightweight when compared to some of its rivals, with the PSVR weighing in at over 600g and its nearest rival the Samsung Gear VR weighing in at 345g plus the weight of your smartphone.
On first wearing, you will need to adjust the straps that attach around the sides and back of your head to adequately take the weight of the front load bearing headset and you will need to adjust the focus of the screen in accordance with your own vision – pretty simple stuff so far.
Design and Comfort
The design of the Oculus Go is very similar to that of most VR headsets – so if you are thinking you won’t look silly wearing one you are very much mistaken. Unfortunately, the enjoyment that you will get from playing the Go does come at the expense of vanity, but that is a small price to pay in our book.
At first, the level of comfort afforded feels quite impressive and Oculus have gone to great lengths to promote the efforts they have made to make this their most comfortable VR headset yet with breathable cushioning. We used this in some relatively hot conditions and generally speaking we all agreed that the Go was very comfortable to wear. The only issue that we found with the Oculus over some other brands was that much of the weight was on the front of the face rather then distributed from the top of the head. Some people will prefer this as there is less pressure on the top of your head but if using for a long period of time you may start to feel some strain from the front loaded weight. That being said, at under 500g it isn’t unbearable – even when using for 90 minutes or so.
The design of the Oculus Go certainly looks the part and you have the choice of either using headphones or listening to the audio through the built in speakers that are neatly located on either side of the arms that fit snugly to the side of your head. This makes the Oculus Go even more usable and feels very comfortable as well as providing impressive sound quality. Using these speakers may not be quite as fully immersive as using noise canceling headphones but if you want to use them you still have the choice.
The Oculus Go controller is well built, felt great in our hand and becomes an extension of your hand when you are fully immersed in a game or a movie. A trigger is used for most actions and a touch surface sits on top the controller. Two other buttons on the top of the controller are labeled as back and home and do what you might expect. The controller has sensors inside that allow you to interact, select, draw, shoot or complete any other kind of action you can imagine once inside the virtual world.
Oculus Go In Action
Okay, so you get that the Oculus Go is well built, feels great and is brilliantly portable – but is it actually any good? For a product that is new to launch it has a handy back catalogue of games from Samsung Gear VR and some of its own to boot. If you have used Gear VR then you aren’t going to be getting anything vastly different to what you have used in the past in terms of the software, but the Go certainly wins hands down in terms of hardware and ease of set up and use.
You have access to a whole range of games and we tested out the Go with Coaster Combat and Stranger Things (the latter being more of an experience than an interactive game) and both felt very immersive and brought an enormous sense of virtual realism. Coaster Combat sees you sitting on a rollercoaster and using the controller to shoot for coins that give you points – this is where you get a real sense of how intuitive and accurate the controller is – and really allows you to feel like you are effecting the world you have entered.
Stranger Things was more of a sit down and watch kind of experience but gives a real sense of how virtual reality can bring out raw emotions in you. For us, that emotion was generally fear… a lot of fear! But for a little bit of light seepage through the nose arch, it is very difficult to detach yourself from the virtual world you are in and there wasn’t one of us that didn’t scream at least once whilst experiencing Stranger Things.
Oculus Go Light Seepage
There is no getting away from the fact there is tiny amount of light seepage through the nose arch area. Whether this is going to upset you or not is probably going to be a personal thing. Once we were engaged in the content it really was not an issue and unless you look down with your eyes towards your nose it really isn’t something that is overly noticeable. Some people have said it ruins the whole experience but for us it is a bit of a non-issue. If you are looking down at your nose for the only negative that this product has, rather than enjoying the immersive VR worlds that you have put yourself in to, then you probably won’t enjoy VR period.
Access to TV, Netflix, Sporting Events & More
The Oculus Go is not just all about games as it has access to Netflix, Discovery VR, Movies and even world class sporting events. While we were testing we were lucky enough to experience the FIFA World Cup in full VR with various views from behind the goals and a central position. The ability to look around and view whatever parts of the action you want to is quite incredible and although the frame rate left a little to be desired it coped with the BBC output rather impressively.
Oculus Go Vs. PSVR, Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear
Many people will want to know how the Oculus Go stacks up against other VR headsets such as PSVR and the Rift. In truth it stacks up pretty well. The PSVR and Samsung Gear are probably its main competitors but the fact that the Go needs nothing else to run makes it streets ahead in our view. It has a better screen resolution than the PSVR and many smartphone screens and requires no cables like the PlayStation VR. The Rift is its more expensive (but older) brother but requires a PC to run – you can literally stick the Go in your bag and take it round to your mates. The only negative when comparing to the PSVR and Rift is that the Go only allows you to interact using one hand and your head – there is no movement control.
It’s fair to say that we really enjoyed our time with the Oculus Go and it could just be ‘the’ VR product of the year. What it lacks in technical areas it more than makes up for in comfort, design and most importantly value for money. $199 at launch, the Oculus Go is both affordable and enjoyable and could be set to bring VR to the mainstream market thanks to its out of the box functionality.
The Oculus Go is one of those products that has to be admired. It has not tried to reinvent the virtual wheel, but it has created a product that couldn’t be more accessible thanks to a low price point and lack of requirement of add on products. Available with a 32GB or 64GB trim, the Go is ready for use straight out of the box, is easy to use and actually does a darn good job compared to its competitors. Bravo Oculus… Bravo!
1000’s of games from launch
Value for money is incredible
Out of the box functionality
Set to bring VR to the masses
Minor light seepage from nose arch
Front weight load can cause fatigue after long periods