The $200 Oculus Go is the most accessible VR headset today.
Up until now, one of the biggest barriers to entry for VR has been price. Headset adoption has taken a conservative growth path, mostly due in part to high prices of PC-required systems or just requiring consumers to own a specific line of VR compatible phones to pair with mobile headsets.
But now the Oculus Go is finally here and it’s a big deal, especially for the millions of iPhone users out there who up until today have had limited options to get into VR.
Starting today, the Oculus Go standalone VR headset is available for purchase for $199. Available for sale on Oculus.com in 23 countries, you can also pick up one online from Amazon or in Best Buy Stores in the U.S. The Oculus companion app used for initial setup is available for both iPhone or Android devices.
Last October during an opening keynote from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Oculus Go was revealed as a significant part of Oculus’ larger goal to getting one billion consumers into VR. “We have to make sure virtual reality is accessible to everyone and we have to work both on affordability and quality,” said Zuckerberg.
And that’s exactly what Oculus built with Go—quality VR at an affordable price.
Here’s five reasons why Oculus Go is worth every penny.
With a price tag of $199 for a 32GB headset (or $249 for 64GB), the cost is quite reasonable considering Oculus Go doesn’t require you to snap in an additional phone.
Out of the box, Oculus Go comes included with everything you’d expect from a VR headset. There’s a wireless controller, lanyard, power adapter, usb cable, battery, glasses spacer, and lens cloth.
So for less than $200, you have everything you need to dive into VR. And it feels way faster than the mobile VR headsets available today, largely in part because the standalone Oculus Go processing is only being used for VR. There’s no other phone functions running in the background hogging up resources on this device.
The days of sliding in your mobile device to enter VR are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Aside from an accessible price that is sure to get many new folks into VR for the first time, the Oculus Go is lightning fast at firing up. Hold the power button down to turn on the headset and you’re ready to go. I can pickup the Oculus Go, turn it on, and just hand it to anyone along with the wireless controller. From my testing over a week, you can expect 1.5-2 hours of gaming, or 2-2.5 hours of video watching with a full charge.
Although we’re only talking about seconds to start up in comparison to pulling out your mobile device and sliding it into a VR headset, they are precious seconds. You feel like you can just grab the Oculus Go and check something out quickly, almost like turning on the TV just to see if there’s anything to watch at that moment.
Apps & Entertainment
The idea of making Oculus Go an entertainment device in your home, like a TV, is only possible if there’s something to watch. Oculus can make the headset affordable and teleport me into VR quick, but you better have the content I actually care about.
Oculus Go is launching with over 1,000 apps, movies, games and experiences, nearly 100 of which are brand new or significantly updated titles. Aside from all the VR games and experiences that have been available on Samsung Gear VR to date, Oculus is going hard on new types of entertainment for the standalone headset. The only problem is that the ones i’m most excited about are still coming soon over the next months.
Oculus Venues isn’t available yet but the app is expected to let you watch live concerts, sports, comedy and other events around the world with your friends and thousands of other people in VR. Venues that Oculus is planning to launch with include Major League Baseball games, artists like Vance Joy in partnership with AEG, emerging musicians from School Night at the Bardot in partnership with NextVR, and standup events like Gotham Comedy Club.
Oculus TV is another potentially killer app that is coming in May to Oculus Go. It’s an entirely new way to experience and watch your favorite – you guessed it – TV shows. Oculus is building a 3D environment with a massive screen and seating area, letting you fire up apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Showtime. Oculus TV also has partnerships in the works that strive to make Oculus Go an entertainment portal for other content as well including Redbull, Pluto TV, Facebook video, and even ESPN, including the new service ESPN+ coming later this year.
For you news junkies, you can take a deep dive into stories with journalists or watch VR broadcasts of live sports events from folks like CNN, The New York Times, Fox Sports and Al Jazeera Contrast VR.
Other apps launching with the Oculus Go worth checking out include Coaster Combat, which is part roller coaster experience and part action game. I also spent a good amount of time in RÉPUBLIQUE. If you’re looking to introduce someone to VR, They Suspect Nothing and Petlab are overflowing with charm, polish, and ease of use.
While there’s a slew of new apps and video options for Oculus Go that can provide hours of entertainment, we all know VR is better with friends. And coming from Facebook owned Oculus, we wouldn’t expect any less.
Catan VR allows tabletop fans and new players alike to experience the best-selling board game in a fresh, fully-immersive format. You can take on other players around the world, no matter what Oculus device you’re using. So now you can join buddies who have an Oculus Go, Rift, or Gear VR.
Anshar Online is also another multiplayer game that is available on Rift and Gear VR, making it easy to join-up with your friends, no matter what device they’re on. The space shooter has co-op, race, and deathmatch modes.
Oculus Rooms has been fully redesigned with a customizable environment, more life-like avatars, and the ability to watch purchased and rented movies from among the hundreds of titles in the Oculus Store. Hasbro will be bringing tabletop games like Boggle, Monopoly, and Trivial Pursuit soon after launch. There’s also a killer Poker VR app that lets you face off with others. There are poker tournaments run daily and joining is as simple as taking a seat at the virtual table.
Clarity & Sound
Now that you’re spending time in VR with friends, you’ll want to see and hear them clearly. The Oculus Go has solid optics (538ppi; 5.5” 2560 x 1440) that looks better than current mobile VR headsets today. Display Refresh is 60Hz or 72Hz, depending on the app and experience.
Integrated speakers and microphone make things easy. There’s of course a 3.5mm headset jack if you want to use your own headphones, but Oculus Go’s speakers are built right into the headset and provide good enough spatial audio. Not needing headphones makes the Oculus Go again easy to share with someone else at any moment.
Design & Comfort
Last but not least, Oculus wants to not only make VR accessible, but also wants you spending more time in VR. That means the headset needs to be comfortable, especially if you’re going to be binge watching Netflix.
The Oculus Go design is superb. A finished consumer ready product made with breathable fabrics and soft elastic straps, Oculus Go is comfortable and fully adjustable. This doesn’t feel like cheap plastic. You can comfortably wear your glasses thanks to the included glasses spacer that comes with every headset. And for the first time, Oculus is also selling additional accessories “available soon” to further customize your headset that includes prescription lenses and an additional “facial interface fit” (for broader cheeks).
While the Oculus Go weighs only slightly less than mobile headsets or even the Oculus Rift at 468g, the design makes turning your head and longer sessions in VR seem way more bearable.
Verdict = Worth It
You can’t compare the Oculus Go to the Oculus Rift. The Rift lets you move and walk freely in VR, but it requires a powerful PC.
Oculus Go is a mobile VR headset, but it’s a standalone mobile VR headset for $200. Not cheap, but much more accessible.
While we can only expect the content to continue improving, Oculus Go has everything I was expecting from the device, with pleasant surprises in the arena of comfort, clarity, and speed.
The Oculus Go is a breath of fresh air in a market that honestly has gotten quite complicated with so many headset systems and device requirements. Now for the first time, we have an answer for anyone asking which VR headset they should buy to get started for a couple hundred bucks. No follow-up question on what phone they own needed.
We can expect Facebook to market Oculus Go hard for the rest of the year, especially into the Holiday season. Now we just wait to see if the rest of the world is excited enough to pick one up and join us all in VR—we’ve all been waiting.