Review: Oculus Go

By |2019-07-20T14:47:06+00:00December 24th, 2018|


The Oculus Go snuck up on many people – there was a limited formal announcement in advance of its reveal in 2018.  But it promises to be one of the more accessible VR options for the vast majority of people.  This is because it is a standalone wireless headset.  It does not utilize a smartphone for processing or display (as is the case with mobile headsets), nor does it require being tethered to a high-end PC or games console, either.  All of the technology needed – the display, processor, graphics, RAM, and other functionality – are all on-board inside the headset, along with wireless connectivity and a battery pack.  This effectively means that, once set up, you’re wire-free, and able to use the headset with a wide range of Oculus content.

Of course, to reach this price point, and get everything to work with on-board hardware, there are definite compromises in the area of specs and display.  What’s not compromised, however, is the commitment to quality that Oculus puts forth in all of their products.  There are two flavors of Oculus Go headsets – a 32 GB edition and a 64 GB edition, with a $50 MSRP differential.  How do these stack up against mobile, premium mobile, and tethered headsets?  Read on to find out more.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the Oculus Go, including its specifications, our detailed review, a list of pros and cons, and more!


DeveloperOculus VR (with Qualcomm and Xiaomi)
Headset TypeStandalone Wireless
Original Release Date2018-05-01
PlatformN/A (iOS 10.0+ or Android 6.0+ smartphone required for setup, recommended for browsing/downloading content)
ContentOculus Mobile
Resolution1280 x 1440 pixels (each eye)
Field of View110°
Refresh Rate60 -72 Hz
Onboard SensorsAccelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer
ControllersOculus Go controller x 1 (included
Room TrackingNo
AudioIntegrated speakers, 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones (headphones not included)
Headset ConnectionsUSB charging port
Additional Connections3.5 mm audio jack for headphones
Weight1.0 lbs
MSRP:$199 (32 GB Edition)/ $249 (64 GB Edition)

Our Detailed Review

The category of standalone wireless headsets is rapidly expanding, as a cost-effective way for people to get into the VR headset market.  These devices are typically much more powerful and robust than using smartphones in a basic mobile or premium mobile VR headset, though noticeably less powerful than tethered headsets.  Commensurate with that technical placement, they tend to be in the middle of the price range – costing somewhat more than premium mobile headsets, but a good deal less than leading tethered headsets.  For all intents and purposes, the Oculus Go review below covers both the 32 GB and 64 GB versions – they are identical in terms of hardware except for the difference in storage space, which costs $50 more in terms of MSRP.

Device Features

The Oculus Go offers a fully-integrated screen, adjustable optics, a comfortably-fitting headset, integrated speakers, and on-board processing, graphics, and wireless connectivity.  There is also a headphone jack, to allow users to connect their own high-quality standalone speakers to the headset if desired.  A wireless controller is used for navigation within the virtual space, like with most other headsets.  The onboard battery pack lasts 2-2.5 hours, and can be recharged by plugging the device into the USB charging cord that is included.  While a smartphone isn’t required, strictly speaking, beyond initial setup, it is a lot easier to use a smartphone to download apps, games, movies, and experiences, since you can type with your phone’s keyboard rather than trying to select letters from a virtual keyboard in virtual space with the wireless controller.

With the lack of a camera, or any kind of base stations for tracking, there is only head tracking available (3 degrees of freedom) with the Oculus Go.  This is compared to the 6 degrees of freedom that most tethered headsets provide.  So, your head is fully tracked, but leaning or moving towards or away from virtual objections doesn’t change the view or perspective in the headset, nor does physically moving around the room translate into the virtual space.

Build Quality and Performance

The Oculus Go specs are fairly impressive given the price point.  It utilizes similar design, adjustment, and optics as the Oculus Rift, with a definite attention to detail and quality in the build of the product.  While the adjustability and focal distance may be a bit compressed (which has led to difficulties in calibrating the image for some with extreme vision issues), it’s still quite generous in the flexibility and customization available, to give the vast majority of people a high-quality VR experience.  It’s durable (though still fragile technology and should be handled with care), reliable, and runs without any widespread kind of issues in the firmware or interface (which is currently available in 25 different languages).

The lower price is enabled by several slight downgrades, including an LCD display (vs. the more common OLED or AMOLED in higher-end headsets), lower refresh rate, and limited sensing as discussed above.  The chipset inside the Oculus Go is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, which is 2 years old as of the Go’s launch in May 2018.  It’s likely an upgraded or refreshed version, possibly at a higher price point, will come out in another year or so, based on the newer 835 chipsets.  Or, perhaps a new generation of standalone headsets, not bearing the “Go” name, will be brought out.  However, for the Oculus Go price, as it stands today, the performance is quite good.

Content Platforms and Compatibility

The content for the Oculus Go is stored in the onboard memory – hence why most people prefer to spend the extra money up-front for the 64 GB memory edition rather than the 32 GB one.  You can download, delete, and shuffle content via wireless Internet connection (a wireless network adapter is part of the onboard hardware in the headset).  Content primarily comes from the Oculus Mobile store, which features thousands of games, apps, experiences, and movies that are designed to be compatible with the Oculus Go headset.

You can also typically access and download third-party content and apps from around the web – bearing in mind the limitations of storage size in the onboard memory, and the fewer features in tracking than an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.  As most video content, for example, only uses head tracking, there are a lot of third-party sites offering movies, TV shows, sports, and adult content in VR that will work just fine on the Oculus Go.

Consumer Reviews and Ratings

Reception for the Oculus Go has been generally positive.  While true die-hard VR or tech enthusiasts may find it a bit watered-down compared to a full-fledged tethered VR headset (like it’s older brother, the Oculus Rift, or competitor HTC Vive), it’s a tremendous step up in quality, convenience, and performance from basic mobile and the majority of premium mobile headsets.  Not needing a high-end gaming PC or games console to get high-quality VR results is really a necessity for the technology to become as commonplace in the near future as smartphones are today.  Given the build quality, and with proper expectations as to how the performance stacks up against other options on the market, the Oculus Go fulfills its remit quite well.  Average review scores run from 80 to 85% positive on most consumer review sites.

The only real negative complaints from consumers generally include the isolated issue of defective units (which are fully covered under warranty, see the next section), or issues with adjusting and getting the images in focus.  This can be a common complaint with those who are new to VR, or who have extreme vision issues, such as astigmatism, being very near-sighted or far-sighted, or a combination of one or more of those factors.  Naturally, at the price point, there won’t be quite as dynamic a range of optical adjustment options as on a headset that’s 200% or more expensive, but the Oculus Go still provides a far better set of optics and adjustment options than mobile and premium mobile headsets, and most of the other nascent standalone wireless headsets that are starting to become present in the market.

Support, Customer Service, and Warranties

Oculus VR has a thriving community of users and enthusiasts, with active discussion and support forums on their site.  While many of these are die-hard enthusiasts who are focused on the Oculus Rift, but there are plenty of owners of the Oculus Go who are happy to help provide tips, advice, and information for newbies.  Self-service support in the form of FAQs and guides are readily available on the official Oculus website.  They also offer a support ticket system.  There are, further, many third-party sites with guides and additional help and information available for Oculus Go owners or users who may have issues.  However, compared to the Oculus Rift, the Go is super easy to use and setup – it’s much less complicated, and designed to be “frictionless” and extremely easy to use for most people.  US consumers receive a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty, and EU consumers a 2-year warranty, regardless of additional optional coverage that is available from some sellers.

Price and Value

The 32 GB and 64 GB editions of the Oculus Go retail for $199 and $249, respectively.  To put this into context, the Oculus Rift (the full-fledged tethered headset) has an MSRP of $399, and the HTC Vive an MSRP of $499.  Likewise, most basic mobile or premium mobile headsets are in the sub-$100 MSRP range.  So it’s clear that Oculus has priced the Oculus Go in the mid-range of the kind of entry-level, smartphone-based headsets and the more professional tethered headset offerings, which makes total sense, and provides a reasonable mid-point in value, functionality, and capabilities for consumers – whether they are new to VR or VR veterans who just don’t/can’t afford the higher-end tethered headsets.  There’s also something to be said for the wireless experience available with the Oculus Go – sometimes, tethered headsets can break the immersion of the virtual world, as you deal with wires or cables coming out of the headsets and touching your neck, shoulders, back, or body parts.  With a standalone wireless headset like the Oculus Go, this isn’t a problem, which is a definite plus.  For what it is, what it does, and what it’s designed to do, the Oculus Go is an exceptional value, and well worth the price.

Oculus Go System Requirements

As a standalone headset, there are no system requirements for the Oculus Go – you don’t plug it into any external device to handle processing or graphics, it’s all contained within the headset.  The only requirement, in terms of hardware, is a modern smartphone, running iOS or Android, in order to set up the device.  It is also recommended to use your smartphone to type and search for apps, games, and content, as it’s a lot easier than using the wireless controller to type by clicking on letters from within the virtual interface.

Pros and Cons

The Oculus Go’s key pros and cons are summarized below.


Highly affordable standalone headset – the retail price is your all-in price, without the need for a PC, console, or accessories (other than the cost of premium games, apps, or accessories)

No wires to get in the way or annoy you during your use of the headset

Oculus Mobile app/content library offers tons of games, apps, and experiences, plus ways to access other VR content from the Internet at large

High build quality, optics, and design from Oculus, without cutting corners on the physical durability or quality of the product itself

Far superior to premium mobile or basic mobile headsets in terms of the overall VR experience


Lower refresh rate and apparent resolution due to use of lower-cost LCD screen (as opposed to OLED) which definitely is a step below the headsets that cost 2 times as much or more like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive

Limited by battery life to 2-2.5 hours per charge vs. theoretically unlimited for tethered units

No room tracking or position tracking, only head tracking/3 degrees of freedom, which somewhat limit immersion (on par with mobile headsets)


Summary and Review Score

The Oculus Go is a compelling piece of hardware, that is designed to bring high-quality VR experiences to the masses, without a lot of the complexity that is found in tethered headsets, but with much better graphics and capabilities than smartphone-based mobile headsets.  On this promise, it delivers in spades.  It’s easy-to-use, high-quality, and fairly robust considering the price point and the rest of the price points in the VR headset market.  The VR experience that you get with an Oculus Go has definite elements of the Oculus quality, design, and performance ethos baked in, and is much more convincing and dynamic than what you get on smartphone-based headsets.  The people who will be most disappointed with the Oculus Go are diehard VR enthusiasts, for whom nothing but the highest resolution, most full-featured headsets – like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive/Vive Pro – will do.  For the masses, though, the Oculus Go represents one of the best blends of quality, function, price, and ease-of-use that is yet available in the VR headset space, and is well worth the price of admission.

Oculus Rift Review Score

FocusOnVR Mascot Thumbs Up