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.

Facebook also announced it’s working on a new Oculus TV service that will provide video content from partners including Hulu, Showtime, and ESPN.

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.

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7 replies on “Oculus Go standalone VR headset ships today for $199”

  1. VR’s dead. Now there seems to be a jump towards AR now which I’m thinking will only be successful for smartphone non-headset use cases (Pokemon Go anyone)? The 1990’s was the last wave for VR. The current wave seems to be ending. I wonder if there’ll be another resurgence in the 2030s.

    I wonder how long these VR companies will keep funding a dead product category.

    1. At least for research/early stage development, it does seem there’s a large move away from VR to AR. An example was a conference I attended where startups and some larger companies were touting their AR initiatives/development.

      Certainly, there’s a good amount of people who are interested in VR but not enough to buy into it even if it’s an accessory to their existing smartphone or a somewhat cheap standalone headset like the Go. Companies and VR fans can keep talking about all the cool tech going into these things but the use cases target a fairly limited audience.

  2. So it’s a Google Daydream visor with built-in hardware, but it’s still going to be limited to mobile games/apps.

  3. How does this compare to Google’s VR platform? If I’m not interested in gaming just watching movies/videos in VR what is the best option? I prefer a stand alone device that doesn’t require a phone or computer.

    1. Notice how the SD 821 is the bare minimum for Daydream VR requirements, this thing will run off Android and use Android apps/games.

  4. HP mixed reality w/ controllers is on sale for 225 on msft website. Even though it’s not the best headset ever (especially for gaming given it does not use oled displays), imho it’s still a much better value proposition compared to this overpriced mobile vr on steroids.

  5. The 2-3 hour battery life is the only issue I see with this. Probably the only entertainment I got from my Gear VR was watching movies on it.

    It sounds silly to watch movies in VR, but it’s actually amazing.

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