The Oculus Go was already one of the cheapest standalone VR headsets available when it launched in 2018 for $199 and up. But since then it’s often been on sale for as much as $50 off — and now Facebook-owned Oculus has confirmed that the 25-percent price cut is permanent.
In a statement to Upload VR, Facebook said price drops are effective globally, which means while the new starting price in the US is $149, in the UK, for example, it’s now £139.
Those are the prices for the entry-level Oculus Go with 32GB of built-in storage. You can also spend an extra $50 for a 64GB model if you want twice the storage space.
The key selling point for an Oculus Go is that it’s a standalone VR device with everything you need to experience VR content built in, including a 5.5 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, and a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones. It comes with a motion controller for interacting with games, videos, and other apps. And it has an adjustable strap and foam molding to make it comfortable to wear.
But the standalone nature of the headset is also its weakest point — since this isn’t designed to be used with a powerful PC, for example, you won’t be able to play games or run VR apps that require more processing power than Qualcomm’s 2016-era smartphone processor can handle.
There’s also no support for position tracking, which means that you’re limited either standing still or using the controller to move through VR experiences.
While there are still a number of free and paid games and apps that can run on the Go, this is basically a VR-for-beginners device. So it’s nice to see the already low price tag drop a little further… especially now that Google has pretty much ended support for its Daydream VR platform (which was designed to let you experience VR by putting a high-end smartphone into a headset).
If ever there was a technology where you don’t want to go cheap, VR is it. It’s worth building a powerhouse PC for an incredible VR experience. Pay little? Expect sub-par. Don’t tarnish VR because of going cheap, but it’s likely to happen.
The sort of ill-fated product they’ll end up liquidating in a short while – VR is a niche, but trying to create a low-end niche in a niche was both laughable, and short-sighted given even Google and co couldn’t make it happen with ~$25 cardboard visors.
Go is terribly good and terribly bad, all at once. It’s a shame Facebook heavily implied to developers to switch games to Quest (a superb device as far as VR HMDs go), because there’s quite a lot in 3DOF first person view left unexplored.
Go is really good because it has a very well-working inertial tracking system. IMUs are very well-calibrated on the factory, so your center of view is likely to deviate only after 15 minutes of doing cardio.
It’s light, it’s convenient and it doesn’t pose problems for novice VR users as if you move your head, you stay in the same place in VR.
It can’t work as a proper video player though. The in-built 2600 [email protected] 16850 battery holds it for about an hour of usage. The device is not made to be disassembled easily, so most likely you’ll leave some scratches. Soldering in a 3400 mAh 18650 will give you about 1.5 hours of battery time and the device is about a centimeter too narrow to allow for three 18350s.
A powerbank helps, but there are two caveats. Go has only a micro-USB and Snap 820 inside plus display will take 6-7W, so it will still discharge, though much slower. Also, the cooling system is passive, meaning that over time the device if you were gaming will begin to throttle and the performance will be cut in half.
A Go 2 would’ve been an ideal low-cost device, but there isn’t one. If you’re interested in a VR device for normal human beings, I’d suggest looking for Oculus Quest instead (though HL: Alyx hype has inflated the prices significantly).
Better wait a bit. As usual with VR.
Oh, and HTC Vive DAS (a headmount with headphones) will fit onto Go almost nicely if you don’t mind applying some force and some duct tape.
And if you’re the kind of person who just happens to have a $100 niche audiostrap laying in the cupboard.
Used ones are going for $80 on ebay. I’ll wait for when they liquidate them (like the Steam controller).
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