What is the Oculus Go?
The first time you try virtual reality, it's hard not to get carried away by the feeling of immersion, the feeling that, for the first time, you're inhabiting a virtual world instead of just watching it from the other side of the screen.
But anyone who has spent money on products such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive can tell you, having to constantly take care of a strong cable that ties you to your PC is not like that. very immersive at all.
That's if you can even afford to buy a Rift or Live in the first place. Both are expensive hardware pieces, and will also need to be powered by a powerful independent computer.
Related: The best virtual reality games
Oculus has a solution to the problem: the Oculus Go, a new headset that offers a completely autonomous VR experience. It is wireless, which means that it is not necessary to have a PC for games, and it is not necessary to connect a phone with other mobile virtual reality solutions.
The company is selling the new handset for £ 199 / $ 199, which is a fraction of the price of its PC VR brothers, and even cheaper than the virtual reality of the economical console offered by Sony with its PlayStation VR headsets. A more expensive model that exceeds internal storage from 32GB to 64GB is available for £ 249 / $ 249.
Is this a handset that has only a fraction of the functionality of its older siblings, or does it increase your budget? Form factor?
Oculus Go – Design
Oculus Go is a stand-alone VR headset, which means you do not need a computer or console to function. There are some quite significant benefits for this, but there are also some drawbacks.
Let's start with the good things. Being independent drastically reduces the cost of using an Oculus Go. Instead of the full-sized Oculus Rift or the competing HTC Vive, the Go does not need a computer to run. As such, you will not have to spend hundreds of pounds on a decently equipped PC, and you will not have to be constantly connected to the tower through a strong cable.
Having said that, there are some drawbacks. The Oculus Go is limited to tracking the movement of rotation, instead of knowing its position. This means that it is very good to know when you are turning your head to the left, right, up or down, but you can not determine whether you are moving forward or backward.
The most expensive competitors include external tracking stations that can decipher their head position, but there's nothing like that with the Oculus Go. Everything is completely autonomous.
All Oculus Go headphones come with a motion controller. This is not as complete as the Oculus Touch controllers launched for the Rift. Instead of a joystick and numerous buttons, there is simply a trigger, a trackpad, a button to return and a start button.
It's not much, but we like the fact that, unlike the Gear VR controller, one has been included with every Go, which means that hopefully it will become a standard control scheme, rather than something that the developers admit as a last-minute idea.
As a final point, the ergonomics of the headphones is quite solid. At first we were worried that the strap would look quite weak compared to the HTC Vive Pro, but since the headphones are so light, we do not experience the level of discomfort we feel with the first generation of HTC Vive with extended periods of time. use
The cushions that rest on your face remain cool and pleasant while you use the headphones, and in general the Oculus Go feels like a consumer technology very well made instead of a prototype, even if there is only a little too much Light bleeds around the cutout of the nose.
Oculus Go – Specifications
The lack of an external PC in the configuration limits the amount of energy under the hood of the Oculus Go. Instead of a thick Nvidia or AMD graphics card, the Go uses a Qualcomm mobile GPU: the Snapdragon 821.
It would be crazy to compare this processor with what you would find on a gaming PC, but it compares pretty well to what You see in the virtual reality mobile solutions that run on phones. The processor is identical to the chip in the Google Pixel 2016 phones of Google Daydream, and is just a step better than the Samsung Galaxy S7 compatible with Gear VR that year.
The chip is not as good on paper as the Snapdragon 845 on the latest Samsung Galaxy S9, but since Go is not running its software in addition to an OS that saves power for everything else a phone has to do, the computer of Oculus believes it offers performance similar to the Snapdragon 835 found in the Pixel 2 and Galaxy S8.
The bottleneck we experience when using headphones is that it can take a few seconds to load each new application. It is not terrible, but it can interfere a little.
At least part of the test comes with the resolution of the screenthe Oculus Go is packaging, which at 2560 x 1440 is surprisingly better than the resolution of Rift and Vive of 2160 x 1200, although not quite at the level of 2880 x 1600 from Vive Pro.
Both Google's Daydream and Samsung's Gear VR are compatible with a variety of phones that offer different screen resolutions, and the Oculus Go compares very favorably with these.
Its 2560 x 1440 screen resolution is on par with the Samsung Galaxy S7 or Google Pixel XL, and although it can not compete with the Samsung Galaxy S9 (2960 x 1440) or Pixel 2 XL (2880 × 1440), these phones only gain in resolution due to their slightly wider aspect ratio.
With VR, the frequency of updating a screen: the number of times per second that it is image changes – it is very important. Too little and the world will seem to "stutter", ruining the dive. The Oculus Go refresh rate reaches 72Hz, and many games run at 60Hz, which is much less than the standard 90Hz PC headset, although it's better than most 60Hz screens.
The screen itself is an LCD panel, which has a bit of a mixed reputation for VR. OLED is commonly considered to be the superior type of headphone display, but this is not an area that we find particularly concerning with Go.
The biggest problem with all this technology is that the battery life simply is not good enough. With a maximum of 2.5 hours of use (less, if you are playing a game), this is a device that you will want to keep charged, especially when you need approximately 3 hours to complete completely from the void.
We know that not many people will use a VR headset for 2.5 hours at a time, but for us this is about ensuring that the headset has power when we need it, and this battery life means paying more attention to load levels. of what we would like Oculus is also pressing the headset as a great way to watch movies, which obviously will consume at that moment rather quickly.