The Oculus Go is the first standalone headset offered by Oculus. Standalone headsets are not tethered to a computer or to a console, also the user does not have to slide in a mobile phone. These kind of headsets are completely self-contained, wireless and users can just put them on and delve into virtual reality.
Now there is a lot to like about the Oculus Go. First and foremost, the very affordable price point. With only $199 the Oculus Go finally is a VR headset that lots of people will be able to afford. Especially since there are no additional hardware costs involved in order to enjoy VR. The value offered for that money is quite astounding.
Let’s start with the display and lenses. The LCD display built into the Oculus Go offers a resolution of 1280 * 1440 pixels per eye. That is a higher resolution than both Vive and Rift offer and very close to the Windows Mixed Reality headsets. And even though the resolution cannot quite match those of Vive Pro and Samsung Odyssey the picture quality is very comparable and looks even better in terms of Screen Door Effect. The reason is that the Oculus Go uses an RGB Stripe matrix that uses 3 sub pixels as opposed to the 2 sub pixels that most other headsets use. On top of that the lenses that are used here are simply the best to be found on the market right now. Even though they are Fresnel lenses, there are nearly no godrays to be found. In a nutshell the visual quality of the Oculus Go is fantastic.
Also in terms of comfort the headset shines. It is very easy to put it on and thanks to the fabric face padding that gets in touch with the user’s face it is very comfortable to wear it. The headstraps are of course adjustable and even though I am personally not a big fan of the ski mask type of headset that Oculus seems to prefer, in this case I would make a exception. The reason is that using a headstrap makes it more comfortable to lie down while watching a movie in the headset. Also it makes it much more portable than for example having a rigid headband.
Another nice touch are the built-in speakers. Finally users do not need to find their earphones and can just put the device on without having to worry about the sound. The speakers do a good job and according to Oculus even offer spatial audio. One thing to mention though is that not only you can hear the sound generated by those speakers. So if you do not want your environment to hear what you hear in VR you will still need to connect your own headphones.
The Oculus Go is built upon the GearVR architecture and the games and apps are one to one binary compatible. That’s the reason why directly at launch there were hundreds of apps available for the system. There is a broad selection of games and apps and Oculus makes sure that there is a steady flow of content. The device comes with some first party apps that make it easy to meet your friends or family in VR and play games or watch movies together (Oculus Rooms) or even watch live events with total strangers just as if you would attend it live (Oculus Venues). Apps like Netflix or Hulu allow you to watch TV-shows and movies on huge virtual screens no matter where you are and this kind of content consumption might even be one of the major selling points of the device.
So what are the weaknesses of the device? Well, first of all the Oculus Go only tracks in 3 Degrees Of Freedom (3DOF). What that means is that while you can look around in VR your movements are not tracked in space. While the PCVR headsets and the PSVR will allow you to lean, dodge and simply move around in VR, you won’t be able to do so when using the Oculus Go. That is quite a limiting factor when it comes to full immersion. The same is true for the single controller. It is also only a 3DOF controller which means that you can point like you would with a laser pointer, but you cannot reach out into the virtual worlds. The more advanced VR systems all use two 6DOF controllers that will make the experience much more immersive.
Moreover, if you hoped you could play SteamVR games like Beat Saber or Skyrim, then I must also disappoint you. You do not have access to those highly immersive SteamVR games that can be played by Vive, Rift or Windows Mixed Reality headsets. As mentioned above, you do have access to quite a big catalog of games that had been developed for GearVR but those are far less immersive. If you happen to own a VR-ready gaming PC and you want to delve into those highly immersive SteamVR games without breaking the bank, have a look at the Lenovo Explorer instead.
Anyways the Oculus Go is still a fantastic device for people who would like to make their very first steps in VR and for those who would like to own a portable VR solution that is easy to carry around. The fantastic display makes this the ideal solution for consuming content in VR and the game library is big enough for the occasional distraction from the real world.