Oculus Go – worth the wait or are there better VR headset...

Oculus Go – worth the wait or are there better VR headset options right now?

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Monday, January 22nd 2018 by Marc Shoffman

Virtual reality fans are eagerly awaiting the chance to set their eyes on Facebook’s latest Oculus headset.

The Oculus Go was first unveiled in October with a launch date touted for early 2018. Users will be able to play games, stream video and keep up with social media on the new cordless standalone headset.

Very few details have come out since – and the headset didn’t get anywhere near as much stage time as was expected at this year’s CES, unlike new devices from rivals Google and HTC – but here is what we know so far.

A lower overall price

Oculus is advertising this headset on its website from 199USD (£144). This is just a little bit more pricey than the Samsung Gear VR, which you can get with a controller for around £120, or the Google Daydream for about £99. But there is a big difference – Oculus Go doesn’t require a snazzy and expensive smartphone. It works as a standalone headset.

No more wires

Oculus predecessor Rift, which costs around £400, also works without a mobile but needs to be tethered to a computer, as do others such as the HTC Vive, which costs around £600.

The Oculus Go will let you move around more freely.

The Oculus Go is a more affordable way of getting into VR than its predecessor the Rift

Clearer picture

The advertised resolution of the product is higher than the rest of the market at 2560 x 1440.

In comparison, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have a resolution of 1080 x 1200 while the quality on a Samsung Gear would depend on the phone being used.

The headset also uses built-in spatial audio to enhance the sound and the same impressive Snapdragon 820 processor behind the Google Pixel.

A less sweaty and clunky experience

This isn’t really something the virtual reality headset providers advertise, but wearing one of these devices can be a heavy and sweaty experience.

The Oculus Go promises breathable fabrics on the straps and says you can even wear it with glasses.

There also doesn’t seem to be a touchpad on the side so no more scrambling around for buttons.

Is the Oculus Go worth waiting for?

This is a good budget entry-option to the virtual reality market and gives more flexibility compared with the Samsung, HTC and Google offerings as it is wireless and doesn’t require you to have a top-end smartphone.

One thing that isn’t clear so far though is whether the current Oculus Rift apps can be transferred across. If you are a current Oculus Rift user you may already have a powerful gaming PC or laptop set up so it may seem a waste of money to downgrade.

If you feel like you still just can’t wait to get into virtual reality, there are plenty of options, from cheap and cheerful to very hi-tech.

Google Cardboard

The Google Cardboard is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to experience VR

As the name suggests, this headset is made by Google and is made of cardboard. It promises assembly in three simple steps and will work with Android and iPhones from 4 to 6 inches.

The headset costs £15 or you can get two for £25. Once delivered you simply follow the assembly instructions, download the Google Cardboard app and insert your smartphone to enter the virtual reality world.

This is by no means aesthetically pleasing, there aren’t even any straps to hold it on your head, but this is a basic entry if you just want to play around with virtual reality games on your smartphone.

Google Daydream View

The internet-giant has stepped things up a notch with this one.

The Google Daydream View is essentially a headset to accompany users of its Pixel phone, but it will work with other Android-powered handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 or LGV30.

Priced at an affordable £99, it is more attractive on the eye with a fabric design in a choice of three colours, charcoal, coral and fog. There is also a removable headstrap, but one element it has over other headsets is that it comes with a control as standard. This makes for a much more realistic experience than having to press buttons on your head to represent something in your hand.

Samsung Gear VR

This mobile-powered option unsurprisingly is compatible only with Samsung Galaxy handsets, from the S6 and Note5 models through to the S7, S8 and Note 8 series of phones.

It was first released in 2015 with an updated version in 2017 and is powered by Oculus with a range of games available through its app. There is a touchpad on the headset or you can buy a separate wireless remote.

You can pick up a Samsung Gear VR with controllers from Carphone Warehouse for £119.99, but also look out for mobile phone deals that often offer the headset for free.

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift spawned out of a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 before a takeover of the company by Facebook in 2014. It provides a fully immersive way to play computer games.

Unlike the Google and Samsung products, Oculus Rift is tethered rather than mobile. This means you don’t need a high-end smartphone with loads of apps to use it, but you will need a powerful PC to cope with the graphics and virtual reality games.

It promises a high 1080 x 1200 resolution for images and stereo sound that tracks your head movement, rather than worrying about the volume of your smartphone. It also has its own dedicated range of games. John Lewis and Currys are both offering the Oculus Rift at £399.99.

HTC Vive

The HTC Vive is a top-end VR headset that can emulate your real-life movements in a virtual world

Another tethered option but this isn’t just another virtual reality headset.

Its price is nearer the top of the market but it does offer extra. The HTC Vive comes with room trackers that monitor your movements and emulate them within the virtual reality game so your real-life space is emulated in the alternative world.

It also has a very decent screen resolution of 1080 x 1200. Currys offers an HTC Vive with controllers for £599.99.

PlayStation VR

PlayStation is the holy grail for plenty of gamers, so why wouldn’t you also choose this option for your virtual reality needs.

There is a range of dedicated games such as Resident Evil 7 but it is also compatible with some PS4 titles. Game.co.uk currently offers the PlayStation VR headset at £249.99, but you will also need a PlayStation camera, priced at £44.99.

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