Cheapest but not close to weakest

(I’m reviewing Oculus Go 32 Gb for 219 euros. Everyone already knows it works great as a media device, so I’ll concentrate on pure gaming use.)

Previously having continuously used Oculus Rift my hopes were up with reports of better lenses and higher resolution and I have to say I’m not disappointed. My previous attempts at mobile VR were halted by my wide IPD of 70.5 mm, but the lenses of Oculus Go seem to mitigate of of the problems making it pretty comfortable to use without eye strain. The experience is so much ahead of my old Cardboard or Daydream experiences that it’s barely comparable. There is noticeable chromatic aberration (red and blue lines) on top and bottom of the screen, but on many apps you end up not paying attention to it. Other negative is the stress the Oculus Go standard interface puts on my face and especially cheekbones. I ordered “Fitted Interface” facial foam for wider cheekbones. It cost 20 euros shipped and brings the bottom of the screen and lenses closer to my giving me better view of bottom of the panel while closing the gap around my nose. However it’s harder to align screen properly for clear image and it feels less comfortable and less gap means less ventilation for my face. I’ll leave the choice on this for the person involved.

The 3DOF controller with its limits works fine enough in menus, but in games you might notice a bit of drifting at times and might have to reset the position every now and then. Shooting is functional but really lacks the immersion and I would say fun that 6DOF can provide you. Combined with 10+ year old graphics the mobile chip can provide and lack of free movement most apps end up more of a proof of concept than actual proper games with longevity. Even better made shooter games like Coaster Combat can become stale after a short while. Some games work better than others though. RUSH uses head movement as a way to guide you while controller is simply used as a boost button. End Space combines that with controller aimed weapons. Virtual Virtual Reality takes a game that would normally be limited to 6DOF and makes it work with 3DOF giving you illusion of more control. Smarter controller use and knowing its limits helps to give games more depth and replay value. One major limit is the controller is nearly unusable as 2D trackpad, so getting a bluetooth game controller is highly recommended. I’ve personally used Xbox One and 8Bitdo controllers on games like BlazeRush or Omega Agent.

Oculus Go come with 2600 mAh internal battery. For extended mobile use I’ve also connected 6700 mAh battery backs with velcro tape to back of the head strap and they can be easily removed or swapped without effecting continuous use. Some people have however reported overheating while charging their Go during use, but luckily my unit has none of those issue. Reports are conflicting so there may be quality differences on well different units handle.

The real power of Oculus Go is however released when you connect it to your SteamVR gaming PC. I’ve bought and played around with Riftcat Vridge and got some decent results, but it was never really a spot on for me and I was waiting for them to improve it. However I read about ALVR and decided to give it a shot and holy s**t it’s smooth and easy to use. I did the installation, plugged in my Xbox Elite Controller, installed Overload and Star Trek: Bridge Crew and was instantly in 100% functional (3DOF) VR setup with no noticeable latency. Sure you can’t move your head sideways, but in many games it’s not required or even needed. I can without reservation suggest Oculus Go for anyone who wants to try out VR simulation games with HOTAS or racing setup, but doesn’t want to break their bank for Samsung Odyssey or such. You’ll also get to use a fun little mobile HMD for the same price!

Summary
Great secondary HMD for people who already have a tethered set or even a primary one for someone who only needs it for simulators / media consumption and doesn't mind the lack of 6DOF and controllers. Still I would strongly recommend trying out similarly priced WMR sets for primary use.
Good
  • Affordable
  • Wireless
  • Lenses and resolution
  • Works with wide IPD
  • SteamVR connection via 3rd party software
  • Shares bought games with GearVR
Bad
  • Complete lack of 6DOF
  • Single controller with just 5 buttons for games
  • Overheating issues on some users
  • Doesn't share anything with Rift
8.5
Great
Features - 8
Comfort - 0
Display - 5

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