My box arrived!!! Yes, my first trip into my personal VR experience had arrived in a shiny new white box. I have tried VR before at theme parks, but this this was MY VR, in my home! Yes, my Oculus Go 64GB had arrived, and how I was going to rip this box open like a 7 year old on their birthday… please watch for flying shrapnel.
I was giddy like a school child, all happy with my box of goodies. I proceeded to show off my shiny new Oculus box around the office. “It came!” “It’s here!” I couldn’t wait. First things first, take it to my desk and plug in power, and ogle over the rest of the goodies in the box. Headset.. check. Controller.. check. Box with cable and booklet.. Well, I can honestly say I have looked at the cable so far, because, why read a manual when you have adult language and ingenuity? To be completely honest the interface is pretty intuitive. On top of paying extra for the 64GB version, I also purchased a 10 foot USB extension cable (which is a requirement as far as I am concerned) and a inexpensive travel case (in the top left of the below image).
First off, I have to say that the packaging was really impressive. Other than a few pieces of protective film around the goggles, it was really quick to go from “open box” to “plant on face”. The bottom of the box is shaped to hold the various goodies in place, while the top lid of the box has a nice foam to keep the items from coming loose. Very well done Oculus! On a side note, I did purchase a carry case for $20, which has worked perfectly. I was looking at the SteelSeries Stratus XL, but I wanted to wait and see how the games fared with the included controller.
My biggest concern was with audio… of course. The audio from the headset are decent. Being as they are located in the visor, and not directly on your years, they did surprise me. Lacking much of the low end, and quite a bit of brightness, overall, not bad. Now, I was happy to hear it had a headphone jack, but how would headphones fit? When I first saw the unit, I was concerned that the straps of the headset would interfere with wearing large headphones, and possibly even ear buds. With the way the straps fit above the ears, even wearing my Sennheiser HD 280 headphones are comfortable. Earbuds fit without any issue, and will probably fall out of your ears naturally like they typically do. Now, I do wish they had a bit more power on the headphone amp, so if you are into some serious audio volume, you will probably want to add in an inline headphone amp. You may want to get a 90 degree headphone bend adapter as the headphone jack sits direct on the left of the unit next to the USB charge plug. This unit does not support Bluetooth headphones, which is a bit of a let down.
My Oculus Go made the rounds around the office. The roller coaster games at first got rave reviews, many expletives of joy were shouted. After a while that joy became sickness with the coaster apps that do extreme heights. Watching Netflix was a big success as well, huge screen, large beautiful spacious living room that can be shut off. My only wish here would be a few more “living rooms. Drive in theater, movie in a pool, or even movie in a cave would really make the Netflix VR experience great. Over all, the Oculus Go was a pretty big hit at the office.
Taking the Oculus Go home to my kids was a unique experience. My kids are pretty big gamers, so I was anxious to see their response. My daughter overall loved it, except for a few things. After a few min of explaining the basics of putting on the visor, and how to orientate the controller, she was off running and in awe of looking around a 3D environment. I started her off easy with Ocean Rift with some Dolphins. Awe and amazement lasted somewhat before the “There are no sharks, are they?” Gotta love 10 year olds. Now, let’s get her into some games. First off she was starting to love Pet Lab, but after 30 min or so got really frustrated “not being able to find the egg”. She loved My Virtual Pet VR, and being able to take care of her Virtual Pet. It was very entertaining to watch her reach out and try and pet the creatures. But overall, watching Netflix on the Go blew her mind, and she is hooked. Plus, the portability of this Go really makes this unit great. restaurants, road trips, whatever. All you need is a car charger and a traveling hot spot, and you are good to go. Plus, sneaking up on your kids and poking them to freak them out is a major bonus.
The visor tracks pretty smooth feels comfortable. The Fresnel lenses (as apposed to the magnifying-glass lenses) take very little to get used to, and getting your head to fit just right and straps tight to keep your eyes in perfect position is not too difficult. The 470g weight is not uncomfortable at all. I would say that the controller, which uses a single AA battery, works pretty well. I would of liked to been able to purchase a second one, but alas, only 1 controller can be connected at once, so dual controllers like its bigger brother are not possible. You are supposed to be able to use a small selection of game controllers, but I did not have one on hand to try out.
Now, there are a few negatives I have found with this device. First off, just because this is VR, does not mean Shooter Simulators and Roller Coaster apps are entirely what people want, or variations of those two things. One of the major downsides of the Go currently is how it seems most of the available apps are roller coasters, training shooters (or a combination of the two), or 360 videos. Those are interesting for a short while, but lack entertainment longevity. There are a few interesting and unique games, but very limited. But, there are a few really good games, and we can only assume that there are more on the horizon. Underworld Overlord has been keeping me entertained (reminds me of Dungeon Keeper). Now that I have purchased a few games, I am seeing less and less of the roller coaster games appear, but why are they the default “trust me, this is what you want” on the home screen?
Now, I am going to say one of the biggest negatives of the Oculus Go, and that is the Facebook 360 app. You would think that the company that makes this device, would make an experience for their social media site that would bring a whole new experience to it. Seeing your friends and family’s posts, images, and videos in a whole new and interactive way, but we did not get that. Not even close. What we got is what I can describe as a Roku like interface for videos. THAT IS IT! The VR 360 videos that I can find are all low quality, highly compressed videos, that can be painful to watch. Watching live streaming videos and pre recorded videos are pretty good. But not seeing the regular family posts, and images just hurts. They should of just called the app “Facebook 1/8th” as you are only able to enjoy a very small fraction of the social media site. I really think they should go back to the drawing board on this.
One last thing, why is there no Doom or Quake port for the Oculus Go? I am looking straight at you John Carmack! How dare you become CTO of Oculus, and not have a working port of Doom, Doom 2, Quake or Quake 2? Don’t they have those running on refrigerators on source ports? You have no valid excuses for this good sir, none. I am a little let down here. ;^b…
Over all, I am enjoying my Oculus Go. I have been interested in VR for some time, but the idea of being tethered to my computer or console for VR was not appealing to me. Not that it was bad, but I wanted to be able to take my VR with me. The Oculus Go was the first VR device that was affordable, and portable, both what I have been looking for. You can definitely tell where they shaved costs, no Bluetooth headphone, and in the screens, but I do feel that they were done in the right proportions given the reasonable price tag. The Snapdragon CPU is from 2016, which does do a really good job, really helps to make this unit affordable. $400 for a VR headset that keeps you tethered to a computer, but still requires a high end gaming system to run, or $250 for a self contained portable one. I am happy with my choice. Is this a VR for the hardcore game, probably not, the Oculus Go is more of a mainstream VR headset. Let your kids play with on a road trip, enjoy on your break at work, or lay in bed and enjoy a Netflix movie. The battery time is pretty good, but a bit more time would be appreciative.
Would I recommend the Oculus Go, yes. If you are a casual gamer, you will enjoy this unit. Simple to set up, and self contained. There are enough decent games to get anyone going while developers catch up and get on board with the Go. I really think this unit will be a hit or miss for the hardcore gamer, but all of the casual gamers I have allowed to try out this unit have been amazed. I can only image how things will get better in future generations, and how better the visuals will be improved (should I give you my money now?). Front facing camera for augmented reality? (ok, I know I am dreaming now)
Now, what I would like to see with the Oculus Go. I would like to see the ability to have multiple accounts, like a Parent/Children system implemented. My daughter loves to take the unit, and the ability to lock her out of some apps, browser, etc would perfect. I want to see Netflix include more “living room” types (watching movie in Atlantis, moon, 70’s drive in theater?). The ability to create your own 360 images for the home page, or be able to submit them for review? There is only a few currently, and I hope there will be more. This unit is also desperately missing a YouTube and Twitch app. My daughter would be greatful for Roblox VR, if that is possible.
OCULUS GO SPECS:
SCREEN: 2560×1440 5.5″ (538ppi) fast-switching LCD with 60Hz refresh rate
OS: Android 7.1.2 Nougat
CPU: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
GPU: Adreno 530
STORAGE: 32GB (64GB for $249 model), non-expandable
NETWORKING: 802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS
PORTS: Micro-USB, 3.5mm headphone jack
SIZE: 190 x 105 x 115 mm
WEIGHT: 470 g (1.04 lbs)
BATTERY: 2600 mAh
PRICE: $199 (32GB) $249 (64GB)
ADDITIONAL: Built-in speakers, Oculus Go controller, proximity sensor, 3DOF sensors