Facebook’s first standalone VR headset is now shipping. The Oculus Go is a $199 headset that doesn’t need to be tethered to a PC like an Oculus Rift, and which doesn’t rely on a phone for its display and processing power, like a Google Daydream View.
The company unveiled the Oculus Go last year, and speaking at the Facebook’s F8 developer conference today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the headset is now available an that it supports 1,000 apps, games, and experiences on day one.
Facebook is actually offering two models: a 32GB version that sells for $199 and a 64GB model priced at $249.
Both versions feature a self-contained headset with a 5.5 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel display (or 1280 x 1440 pixels per eye), a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, and a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones.
The system also comes with a controller that features trigger, home, and back buttons and a touch-sensitive area that you can use to navigate.
According to The Verge, using the Oculus Go feels a lot like using a Samsung Gear VR (which Samsung and Facebook/Oculus worked together on), and even runs the same apps and games. But there’s one key difference: you don’t need a phone to use it.
That means you don’t need a specific, expensive Samsung smartphone. And it means you don’t need to connect and align your phone every time you put on the headset. Just pick it up and put it on when you want to use it, and take it off when you don’t.
Not bad for a $200 device, which is only about twice the price of a Samsung Gear VR.
On the down side, this is distinctly smartphone-class hardware. You’re not going to be able to use the same apps or games that run on a high-end, PC-based headset like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. And you only get around 2-3 hours of battery life.
The Oculus Go is the sort of device that lowers the barrier for entry to virtual reality. Whether it provides the sort of experience that you’ll want to return to once the battery dies the first time remains to be seen.