Oculus Go: Facebook announces $199 Oculus Go VR headset

Oculus has finally launched a dirt cheap VR headset to rival the budget VR experiences offered under Window’s ‘mixed reality’ umbrella. Called the Oculus Go, this latest headset bridges the gap between Samsung’s smartphone-powered Gear VR and Oculus’ fully-fleshed out Oculus Rift.

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Following the announcement at the firm’s annual Oculus Connect 4 conference, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg describes the Go as “the most accessible VR headset yet”, priced at less than $200.

But, what else does Oculus Go offer that its fully-fledged sibling does not? Let’s find out.

Oculus Go UK price: How much will it cost?

The Oculus Go lowers the VR asking price to a paltry $199. There’s no word yet on an official UK launch price, but a direct pound to dollar conversion leaves us with a rough £150 asking price.

For reference, the bog-standard Oculus Rift is currently £400, and the HTC Vive can be picked up for £600. As for Samsung’s smartphone-powered Gear VR, you can grab one for just £120. Although, of course, you’ll need a smartphone to use that.

Oculus Go UK release date: When’s it coming out?

At the time of writing, Oculus hasn’t announced when the Oculus Go will hit UK shores. If you’re super-keen to get one, Oculus has provided a sign-up page if you’re interested, which will alert you when a release date and preorders are announced.

Oculus Go features: What’s new?

So, what’s so special about Oculus Go? Well, it’s a lightweight, self-contained VR headset designed to get VR first-timers interacting with Facebook’s own VR content. Given it’s so cheap, It also allows more developers to explore the possibility of creating VR experiences.

The Oculus Go still supports the same lineup of games and VR experiences as its fully-fledged sibling, and it takes advantage of a small handheld controller that’s virtually identical to Samsung’s effort. Unlike the Rift, there’s no spatial tracking, so you can spin around but you can’t move freely around the room.

Oculus Go design: What does it look like?

To get Oculus Rift owners frothing at the mouth, the cheaper Oculus Go is equipped with a pair of new, “fast-switch” 2,560 x 1,440 LCD lenses, complete with glare reduction and integrated spatial audio embedded in the headband.

Looks-wise, the Oculus Go is eerily similar to Google’s recent VR effort; the Daydream View. According to Facebook’s VP of VR, Hugo Barra, the standalone mobile headset feels “incredibly soft to wear”, although we’ll have to take him up on that when we get one in for review.

Before we close, it’s worth mentioning that this isn’t the wireless Oculus rift “Santa Cruz” prototype announced at last year’s conference, that particular unit is still in development and is currently slated for a 2019 release.

Oculus Go: Early verdict

Oculus has cooked up a very tempting alternative to the pricier VR headset it has offered thus far. It might not be as feature-packed, but the Oculus Go still offers a well-priced VR headset at a fraction of the price.

It’s also a worthy competitor to those cheap VR headsets under Microsoft’s new “Mixed Reality” umbrella. Whether or not it’ll be quite as good, we’ll have to wait to find out.

Stay tuned for my full Oculus Go review in the near future.

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