Gaming, News, Qualcomm, Virtual Reality (VR), Wearables

Oculus Go: The Smartphone-VR Hybrid We’ve Been Waiting For?

Oculus Virtual Reality DK2

Until recently, we’ve had only two options when it came to virtual reality. One of them was the big, tethered headset good for everything from shooters and racing titles to a real-time casino games and other content aimed especially at adults, and the other was the lightweight, portable headset powered by a smartphone with all its limitations and shortcomings, but a much better price. Now Oculus, the company that re-kindled the VR revolution, has come up with something in between called the Oculus Go. While it is not perfect by any means, and it still has a lot of ground to cover before it could bring VR into the mainstream, it’s the perfect first step in the right direction.


The Oculus Go headset is a lot like a smartphone-powered solution – sans the smartphone, of course. It has a miniature computer under its hood, powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 SoC with 4 Kyro CPU cores with a speed of up to 2.4GHz each, paired with the Adreno 530 GPU that supports OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0 full, Vulkan 1.0, and DX11.2. Its screen is a 538ppi 2560 x 1440 WQHD, fast-switch LCD masterpiece, and it comes with Oculus’ signature high-quality optics. It comes in two flavors – the one with 32GB built-in storage costs $199, making it the most affordable standalone VR headset today, and there is a 64GB version available for $249.


Hardware is not everything, though – so Oculus prepared a massive library of content for Oculus Go users, covering everything from “tried and tested” Gear VR classics to a series of brand new games and experiences to enjoy on the go. Plus, it has also added Oculus Rooms to the mix, a virtual reality social space where users can hang out, play games, share photos, and listen to music together – it’s a lot like a VR social network, and it sounds a little familiar.

The shortcomings

If you already have a high-end smartphone, say, a Samsung Galaxy S7 or above, you will probably be better off buying a Samsung Gear VR headset – it has the same Oculus optics, it comes with a controller, and costs around half as much as the Oculus Go. Compared to the Gear VR, the Oculus Go’s only major improvement is that it doesn’t need a high-end smartphone to work.

One of the things Oculus will want to work on is the device’s battery life – even if it does reach “up to 3 hours”, as advertised, it can quickly become too little when you finally get into the game. Another one is its weight – constantly wearing a one-pound (almost 500 gram) headset can become tiresome pretty fast. And then, there is also the lack of truly great content – after all, playing repetitive VR games gets boring pretty fast.

Even with its shortcomings, the Oculus Go is a headset that offers its users something new to explore. It’s a truly standalone device that will hopefully get its share of upgrades so it will become a new standard for everyday VR use.