Comparison: Oculus Go vs. Oculus Quest

By |2019-08-23T10:51:22+00:00August 23rd, 2019|
Oculus Go Comparison
Oculus Quest Comparison
Developer:Oculus VROculus VR
Headset Type:Standalone WirelessStandalone Wireless
Original Release Date:2018-05-012019-05-21
Platform:N/A (Oculus App for iOS 10.0+ or Android 6.0+ smart phone required for setup, recommended for browsing/downloading content)N/A (Oculus App for iOS 10.0+ or Android 6.0+ smart phone required for setup, recommended for browsing/downloading content)
Content:Oculus MobileOculus Mobile
Resolution:1280 x 1440 pixels (each eye)1440 x 1600 pixels (each eye)
Field of View:110°110° (unofficial)
Refresh Rate60 - 72 Hz72 Hz
Onboard Sensors:Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometerAccelerometer, gyroscope, 4 cameras

Oculus Go controller x 1 (included)Oculus Touch controller x 2 (included)
Room Tracking:
NoYes, Inside-Out via 4 cameras (Oculus Insight)
Audio:Integrated speakers, 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones (headphones not included)Integrated speakers, 2 x 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones (headphones not included)
Headset Connections:USB charging portUSB-C charging port
Additional Connections:N/AN/A
Weight:1.0 lbs.1.25 lbs.
MSRP:$199 (32 GB Edition)
$249 (64 GB Edition)
$399 (64 GB Edition)
$499 (128 GB Edition)

Core Hardware

The Oculus Quest represents a huge step up in hardware specifications from the Oculus Go.  Not only is it one year newer, but it features numerous upgrades.  The Oculus Go is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset, while the Oculus Quest is powered by the much more capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset.  This enables greater performance, with the Quest running 4 GB of RAM, 4 x 2.45 GHz and 4 x 1.9 GHz cores, and the Adreno 540 GPU.  By comparison, the earlier-generation Oculus Go has only 3 GB of RAM, 2 x 2.3 GHz and 2 x 1.8 GHz cores, along with the earlier Adreno 530 GPU.  In terms of graphical power, the Quest, with its superior 540 series GPU can achieve 737 gigaflops in benchmark testing, with the Go’s 530 limited to 519 – a 42% more powerful GPU in the Quest.

This is also noticeable in terms of the visual resolution and video choices in each unit.  The Oculus Go is limited to an LCD screen, with 1280×1440 pixel density in each eye (1.8 million pixels).  By contrast, the Oculus Quest uses an OLED screen, with a higher resolution of 1440×1600 pixels in each eye (2.3 million pixels), a premium of nearly 30% more-pixel density per eye.  The graphical bandwidth capabilities of the Oculus Quest, along with the display and processing, are simply superior to the earlier-generation Oculus Go. 

There are also a few other hardware-related points of note when comparing the Oculus Go vs. Oculus Quest specs.  For one thing, the Oculus Quest allows USB-C quick-charging functionality, whereas the Oculus Go is limited to slower, micro-USB charging.  That means less downtime and faster turnaround to get back in the gaming action with the Oculus Quest.  Additionally, the Oculus Quest has a much more sophisticated and immersive tracking system, which we’ll discuss in more detail in the relevant section of our comparison below. 

The bottom line in terms of hardware is you’ve got a much more powerful device in the Oculus Quest, and therefore, it has to be the winner in this category over the Oculus Go. 

Winner:  Oculus Quest 

Quality and Performance

In terms of the quality and performance of both units, neither the Oculus Go nor Oculus Quest have any major or notable flaws during use.  Both exhibit quality craftsmanship with high-quality components in most regards, consistent with all of the other Oculus VR headset products we’ve reviewed to date.  The optics are adjustable for an optimal virtual reality experience with both units, through both hardware and software means.  The headsets themselves are both sturdy and well-built.  You will find the Oculus Quest is heavier, as the additional hardware adds to the weight, but that’s really the only major difference you can feel when using either headset.

The biggest drawback that both units have is sound bleed from their integrated speakers, but since both offer headphone jack(s) as an alternative, this is easily overcome for those who want a bit more privacy in their virtual reality gaming or otherwise.  Again, the heavier weight of the Oculus Quest has also been seen as a negative by some users, as it tends to cause fatigue and make the headset uncomfortable to wear faster than with the Oculus Go or other, lighter-weight units. 

Naturally, the higher-specification Oculus Quest has more robust video performance, and allows for much higher resolution and more immersive game play, including the advanced room tracking functionality offered on the Quest, and not present on the Go.  But given the different price points and hardware of each respective unit, we’d say they effectively meet or exceed their raw specification potential equally well.  You’ll get more out of the performance on the Quest, but you’ll pay more, too.  On balance, we consider this category of our Oculus Go vs. Oculus Quest matchup a draw. 

Winner:  DRAW


When you compare the content available for the Oculus Go vs. Oculus Quest, it’s a bit complicated.  Originally, we were going to give this category to the Oculus Go, as less than 100 titles have been made or are in the works for the Oculus Quest, while a substantially larger catalog is available for the Oculus Go.  However, Oculus has announced that Oculus Go games will be available as Oculus Quest games, via native emulation, by later this year.  That more or less negates any advantage the Oculus Go had in this category.

Both VR headsets use the Oculus Mobile app to allow you to set up your device, and manage the content.  There are good Oculus Go games and good Oculus Quest games, as well as some clunkers for each.  On the whole, the Oculus Quest games tend to take advantage of the much-improved specifications on the Quest, and are more high-end.  Some have likened it to the difference between playing smartphone games and earlier generation console games in terms of the Oculus Go vs. Oculus Quest, and that’s probably overly broad but a reasonable interpretation.  Even with the Oculus Quest, while some progress has been made to bring better content to the VR world, most VR games still feel a bit flat, and aren’t the thousand-hour immersive titles that are available for PC or console in a non-VR setting. 

As far as VR experiences, movies, and other, non-Oculus content, both are evenly matched in terms of what is available from third-party sites, through the various browsers and players available.  You’ll get better performance out of the Oculus Quest with higher-resolution content and more demanding games, of course.  But in terms of what is actually available, it’s effectively a draw at this point. 

Winner:  DRAW

Tracking, Immersion, and Accessories

In terms of accessories, the Oculus Go comes with 1 wireless Oculus Go controller, whereas the Oculus Quest comes with 2 of the more advanced Oculus Touch controllers.  Both models are functional for their respective headsets, though are not interchangeable.  The Oculus Quest controllers are designed specifically to work with the outward-looking cameras (Oculus Insight) that are used for room-scale tracking on the Oculus Quest.  They’re much more responsive and a requirement to take full advantage of many of the game titles available for the Oculus Quest. 

At the same time, the Oculus Quest is far superior in terms of tracking.  The Oculus Go only has fairly standard on-board sensors – accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer – providing a limited 3 degrees of freedom only.  This limits immersion, as there’s no tracking within the play space (room-scale tracking), only X, Y, and Z for the “object” or user viewpoint within a scene or game.  By contrast, the Oculus Quest uses 4 cameras to accomplish room tracking, granting the full 6 degrees of freedom to represent the virtual space properly.  Normally, as with most other headsets, this would require tracking stations in the room.  But the cameras do what’s called inside-out tracking, letting you define the play space and using the cameras to constantly update your position within that play space.  That is then translated to movement within the game world.  It lets you move forward and back, side to side, and up and down, greatly enhancing the immersion possible in games, VR experiences, scenes, movies, and other content. 

In this category of our Oculus Go vs. Oculus Quest comparison, there’s no contest.  The Oculus Quest is clearly superior, offering a much more immersive VR experience, without the hassle of base stations and wires that accompany most traditional 6 degree of freedom capable headsets. 

Winner:  Oculus Quest

Price and Value

This is where things really get heated in our Oculus Go vs. Oculus Quest comparison.  There’s no question that the Oculus Quest is the superior piece of hardware with better capabilities, resolution, and immersion compared to the Oculus Go.  But the price tags for each of the headsets reflect those differences, too.  The Oculus Go has 2 models, a 32 GB and 64 GB edition, at $199 and $249 MSRP respectively.  The Oculus Quest is effectively double that, with a 64 GB model at $399 and a 128 GB model at $499.

The biggest consideration here is what you intend to do with your VR headset.  With the Oculus Quest priced essentially in line with the Oculus Rift, and at a higher price than the HTC Vive, most people generally won’t be able to afford both the Quest and a tethered headset.  By contrast, the Oculus Go could reasonably be called a more casual headset, and still exist for travel or wireless experiences even if you own a tethered headset.  If wire-free VR experiences matter to you, then either the Go or the Quest would be a great buy, and it comes down to what you can afford.  If sheer power and capability is what you want – even with inferior resolution compared to the Oculus Quest – then a tethered headset might be more your style.

Of course, there’s another consideration there too, in that the Go and the Quest are both self-contained, and do not require an external console or computer to work.  To get the most out of a tethered headset, you’re going to need a fairly high-end computer – especially if you’re pushing the device to the max, well beyond the comparable capabilities of the Oculus Go or Oculus Quest.  That’s a significant investment for a lot of people.  Add to that the fact that tethered headsets can require a lot of DIY tweaking and adjusting, and these self-contained Go and Quest units “just work” and are very user-friendly, and there’s a compelling reason to consider them for the average VR user, newbie or experienced alike.

Ultimately, we have to call this category of our Oculus Go vs. Oculus Quest comparison a draw.  Both units are priced reasonably for their hardware capabilities.  The Oculus Quest is more expensive, but it can do a lot more, and has better resolution, 6 degrees of freedom, and is a more advanced piece of equipment.  With that said, we recognize that it’s a lot more expensive, on par with a tethered headset, and that may put it out of reach of a lot of consumers compared to the Oculus Go.

Winner:  DRAW

Overall Winner:  Oculus Quest

As with the Price and Value category above, the bottom line for us in the Oculus Go vs. Oculus Quest matchup comes down to what you can afford, and what you intend to do with the headset.  Despite the superior specifications, the Oculus Quest comes at a much higher cost.  As a result, it’s not quite the blowout matchup that one might expect.  The Oculus Go is still a good buy, and much more affordable for a lot of consumers looking for a wireless, self-contained VR experience.  However, the immersion, capabilities, resolution, and more advanced hardware in the Oculus Quest give it the edge, despite the higher price tag.  It’s also one generation newer than the Oculus Go, making it a bit more future-proof and giving it more longevity to offset the higher price.