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LiveSYNC on Oculus Go


Oculus Go standalone VR headset.

The Device

What is it?

Oculus Go is an affordable standalone VR headset from Oculus, a company owned by Facebook.

Oculus was founded in 2012 and allegedly started the current VR boom. Oculus released their first headset Oculus DK1 for developers back in 2013. Facebook famously acquired the company in 2014 for US$2.3 billion. Oculus is considered one of the leading VR companies.

Oculus Go was released 5 years after DK1 in may 2018. It is mainly targeted for 360-degree media and simple VR games. The headset has many similarities to GearVR, a product made by Samsung. In fact, GearVR uses technology and software from Oculus. It is also marketed under Powered by Oculus term. GearVR was released already in November 2015, but it is still very similar to the original version despite of yearly updates.

The main difference between GearVR and Oculus Go? Oculus Go is a new standalone device whereas GearVR consists of a combination of a VR frame and a compatible Samsung phone. In both cases applications are installed from Oculus Store and same app builds can work on both products. The user experience, image quality and interaction mechanism are almost the same.

Both products are 3DOF devices (three degrees-of-freedom). This means that user can look around in VR by turning his head, but not walk in VR by physically taking steps. In September 2018, Oculus announced a new headset Oculus Quest. It will be a 6DOF device and thus able to track walking. Yet, it is more expensive, mainly targeted for games, and brings little benefit for 360-degree media users. Thus, Oculus Go is not going to become outdated anytime soon.

Compared to PC or game console based VR, mobile headsets have less rendering power. From 360-degree media point-of-view this is not very significant. Mobile headsets also have a couple of huge benefits: no computer, no wires. You can go anywhere you like, take the headset out of your bag, put it on your face, and start using it right away.

Usage is simple with the bundled hand remote. It works as a pointer when selecting objects from the screen. You can also swipe the touchpad with your thumb to scroll. The touchpad can be clicked but there is also a selection button for your index finger. For navigation, the remote offers a separate Back button and an Oculus button. The latter is used for calibrating the hand remote (long press) or returning to Oculus Home (short press). The headset itself has only power and volume up/down buttons.

Built-in speakers are cleverly hidden inside the head strap. They provide stereo or spatial audio without a need to plug in external headphones. The head strap is flexible and easy to adjust. The headset has a detachable soft face mask, which makes it fairly comfortable to wear. Oculus Go is quite heavy, though. Normal size eyeglasses fit inside, but you can also order prescription lens inserts.

All in all, Oculus Go is a great VR headset especially for 360-degree media.

Should I get an Oculus Go or a GearVR?

If you already own a compatible Samsung phone, purchasing only the VR frame is an affordable choice (about $110). GearVR headset is a lightweight addition to your bag, which you will probably value if you travel a lot and carry a large-screen phone anyway.

However, in most cases Oculus Go is a better choice. Since it is a standalone device it has a battery of its own and you can dedicate the device for its sole purpose: VR. You will also save a fortune if you need a large number of headsets.

To learn more about their differences, read comparison articles:

How do I get one?

You can purchase an Oculus Go directly from Oculus, from various online stores such as Amazon, or from local computer and electronics stores.

A 32 GB model costs $199 (€219) and a 64 GB model $249 (€269).