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Is Oculus Go Worth It?

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oculus go vr headset

Mark Zuckerberg has gone on the offensive with the launch of the Oculus Go, a brand new headset that is likely to be the most cost effective cutting edge VR experience yet, and one that Zuckerberg hopes will put VR well within the reach of the average person.

‘Virtual’ empathy

We’ve all heard the hype about Zuckerberg’s virtual trip to Puerto Rico, where he used a cartoon avatar to visit that devastated country. On that occasion, Zuckerberg said that virtual reality had the potential to make humans feel empathy and that we could usher in the future using this technology.

While one is left to question both the motives and empathy of the speaker in this little demonstration, the fact that Zuckerberg is forging the cutting edge of virtual reality today is undeniable.

oculus go vr headset mark zuckerberg

Making virtual reality accessible via both ‘Rift’ and ‘Go’

Besides the fact that the Oculus Go represents a quantum leap forward in terms of cheap, functional, and accessible VR headsets, the price of the Oculus Rift was slashed last year to a massive extent.

While the price of the Oculus Rift when it came out was nearly 700 euros, with a user having to shell out another 200 euros for the controllers, in 2017, the price of the Rift was slashed to just 450 euros. This was an obvious preliminary move by Oculus to counter the proliferation of mixed reality headsets being pushed by Microsoft, and manufactured by companies like Samsung, Dell and Lenovo.

Since those headsets range in price between 350 and 500 dollars, Oculus was forced to slash the price of the Rift to a considerable extent to keep it competitive within that price range.

However, it is now becoming obvious that slashing the price of the Oculus Rift was only an initial move before unleashing a product designed to directly counter and supersede most of the cheaper range of headsets on the planet today.

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Is the Oculus Go the wave of the future?

Zuckerberg obviously hopes so, with his company projecting sales of over a billion headsets.

While that may suit the ears of Zuckerberg’s stockbrokers, is it truly a possibility?

oculus go vr headset girl

What makes the Oculus go so special?

For one thing, the Oculus Go completely negates one having to use an expensive PC or an almost-as-expensive Smartphone to power the VR goggles or headset. Yes, the processing power of the Oculus Go is inbuilt. This makes the Oculus Go special in several ways.

As a matter of fact, it is so obviously a cutting-edge innovation that it is sure to be setting off alarm bells across the entire VR industry. It is a headset without wires.

Is that special? It certainly is, in an industry where even owners of the most expensive headsets complain about entangling their feet in the mass of wires that exit from those headsets.

Excellent graphics, even with limited processing power

The Oculus Go uses foveated rendering to deliver a surprisingly high standard in graphics. In foveated rendering, the centre of the image is displayed in extreme detail and high resolution, while places that the eyes aren’t looking directly at, that is to say, regions of the screen that are on the periphery of the vision, are rendered in much less detail, and with a much lower standard in graphics.

This little trick ensures that even a slower and less powerful processor can still deliver graphics that, since you’re seeing high-resolution graphics wherever you look (practically speaking), seem to almost equal those of the Rift or the Vive.

oculus go vr headset group

Cheap. Cheap. Cheap.

Not only does the Oculus Go solve a very crucial problem in being wireless, but since it doesn’t require an expensive PC or Smartphone to power it, and retails for under $200, it really goes a long way towards making VR truly accessible to the average person.

But what about the Gear VR?

What about Oculus’ supposed alliance with Samsung over the Gear VR, for that matter? The simple fact is that – if we put things bluntly – the Gear VR is nothing more than a shell.

Its heart is the Samsung Smartphone that powers the Gear VR. That Smartphone can cost anything up to $700.

When you compare the fact that you have to buy a Gear VR and a Smartphone, and you compare the combined price of those two with the price of the Oculus Go, which costs just $200, you begin to see just why Oculus believes that the Oculus Go will be the most widespread and far-reaching VR headset yet.

oculus-go-display box

Gear VRs gathering dust

While Gear VRs were extremely popular even a year back, the fact is that there certainly is a niche Oculus feels the Go can fill. And that niche is all about low prices and convenience.

Pros and Cons of the Oculus Go

The pros of the Oculus Go hardly need mentioning.

  • It’s the missing link between mobile low-end virtual reality goggles like the Samsung Gear VR, and the ultra-expensive high-end virtual reality headsets like the Rift and Vive.
  • It is an all in one headset which incorporates a processor and negates you having to buy an expensive Smartphone or a PC. The Go relies upon a permanently integrated Snapdragon 821 processor from Qualcomm, which drives the built-in WQHD LCD display (no, the Oculus Go does not use OLED).
  • It doesn’t use cables, which means that you will not entangle your legs or trip over the cables of your own virtual reality device.
  • The device delivers a resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels and has a refresh rate of between 60 to 72 Hz.
  • Foveated rendering ensures high-end graphics within the processing power of the device.
  • One final advantage is that the device provides positional audio, and can be used without necessitating your purchasing a dedicated or external set of headphones.

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The cons

They say there is no such thing as a free lunch, and while the Oculus Go is a magnificent piece of machinery for the price, there have had to be compromises to enable the company to deliver this excellent product at a price that stands within $200.

One of the major compromises that have been made is the controller and tracking system. The controller supplied with the Oculus Go is largely similar to that of the second Gear VR. This has an advantage in that developers that are presently creating applications for the Gear VR will find it very easy to also create applications that are compatible with the Oculus Go’s controller. However, what’s missing is the inside-out tracking that is such a trademark of advanced headsets.

oculus go controller

You will not be able to move freely in the room, with your movements automatically being transferred to virtual reality. That will be a major drawback to people who are used to the mobility and subsequent immersion of high-end headsets. And it goes without saying that the simple Gear VR clone controller cannot possibly match the extremely trackable controllers of the Rift, for example.

This is not to say that Oculus doesn’t see these issues and isn’t already moving to counter some of them.

For example, their project Santa Cruz is aimed at creating trackable controllers for the Oculus Go.

But that’s in the future.

For the present, the Oculus Go’s controller only tracks in three axes. However, as everyone knows, for movements in virtual reality you ideally need a controller that can track in six axes. One advantage, though, is that because of the compatibility in the controllers and aspects of the hardware, the entire library of the Oculus store, as well as virtually every app made for the Gear VR, will be compatible with the Oculus Go.

oculus go vr headset virtual reality

Conclusion

To conclude, there are many similarities between the Oculus Go and the Gear VR. The advantage that the Oculus Go has over the Gear VR is that at around $200 its price is a fraction of the cost of the Gear VR and the Galaxy S7 that allows it to become functional.

The Oculus Go is a dedicated VR platform

It is also very much more stable than most phone based VR headsets and goggles available today. For the moment, and speaking at the corporate level, the Oculus Go is the most accessible and hardest hitting VR breakthrough we are likely to the see in the near future, and Mark Zuckerberg is definitely within his rights to expect a billion sales of this new headset. The Oculus Go is light years ahead of the competition in terms of bringing VR within reach of everyone.

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Oculus Rift Sensor Overview

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Image credits: RoadtoVR

In the original Oculus Rift shipment, you get two Oculus Sensors. This basic setup will be enough for seated play, but not really sufficient if you want to enjoy standing 360° gameplay or room-scale VR. At Oculus they quickly realized that in order to compete with HTC Vive, room-scale VR is mandatory.

For this very reason, not long after the initial release of the Rift, standalone Oculus Sensor is available for purchase. Simply put, you will need to buy at least one additional sensor in order to enjoy room scale virtual-reality. This means there are three options – 2, 3 or 4 sensor setups.

Oculus Rift Sensor on Amazon

 The Basic – 2 Oculus Rift Sensor Setup

Two Oculus Rift Sensor setup works most of the time only if you are playing in a seated or stationary position. It can actually work very well with games such as Robo Recall. You will have a visual reminder to re-orientate yourself in cases you turn around while playing.

So, the conclusion is, with only two sensors you can’t really enjoy standing 360° play. The problem occurs when you turn away from the Oculus Sensors, and at these times tracking won’t work properly. While you are facing the sensors, the tracking is perfect for the most part. Unfortunately, this is as far as you can go with the 2 Oculus Rift Sensor setup.

SOURCE: roadtovr

To be completely honest, room-scale is technically possible even with this setup, but it doesn’t really work as intended, so it may become a frustrating experience. You will quickly stumble upon the “blind spots” which won’t track the Touch controllers. Be it as it may, the 2 Oculus Rift Sensor setup still provides an unparalleled experience compared to those you get when using Google Cardboard or Gear VR.

 The Advanced – 3 Oculus Rift Sensor Setup

With the 3 Oculus Rift Sensor setup, you can play 95% of the games with pin-point perfect tracking. You can only encounter issues when you are at the edges of your dedicated play space or facing a corner in which you do not have a sensor placed. Three Oculus Rift sensors may be unable to track Touch controllers in situations when you position them very close to your body. However, you can easily deal with this in most cases by simply turning around in real life.

To cover some technical details, Oculus Sensors won’t track objects past 10 feet. The sensors’ field of view is 100° horizontal and 75° vertical. The image below explains how Oculus Sensor perceives the space. You should have this in mind when placing your sensors around the room. User experience suggests that mounting sensors to the walls or the ceiling provides the best tracking. If you are unable to do so, look for high shelves or other surfaces around your VR room, since you want to elevate the Rift sensors off the ground as much as possible.

Eventually, in order to set up a perfect VR room, you are going to have to invest not only in additional Oculus Sensors, but some cables, wall mounts or tripods too. For that reason, make sure to check out VRBorg’s list of best Oculus Rift cable extensions! If all those cables start getting in the way, especially the extended HMD cable, you should also check out the Rift HMD cable management tips & tricks!

Get the third Oculus Sensor, you will never look back

The Enthusiast – 4 Oculus Rift Sensor Setup

While the 3 Oculus Sensor setup is sufficient for the most part, we are aware there are many enthusiasts among our readers which are willing to experiment and improve their virtual playground even further.

If someone asks you, hey, why you getting that fourth Oculus Sensor when it can work just as well with 3? While definitely not necessary, it really smooths out the tracking. You will be able to expand your dedicated virtual playground to the 3×5 meters area.

It is probably a good idea to think ahead before purchasing the fourth sensor and extend the HMD cable so you can cover the required area. Most of the time, 3 Oculus Sensor setup will work fantastically. However, if you decide on buying the fourth one, you will take care of the Oculus Rift Sensor tracking issues forever, since you will never again encounter any!

More space and better tracking? Get the fourth and final one & you are done!

What are The Best VR Controllers for iPhone?

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Best VR Headsets for iPhone Featured
Credit: ValueWalk.com

Let’s assume you’ve treated yourself with a VR headset for iPhone. You have enjoyed some of the best VR apps and experiences, yet you get a feeling that when it comes to iPhone VR games, you are missing a crucial tool. The next logical step aiming to enhance the gameplay is getting an iPhone VR controller.

Playing iPhone VR games with a controller really takes it to the completely different level. Apple started its MFi program way back (Made For iPhone/iPad/iPod), a certification program for hardware, which includes external controllers too. So let’s take a look at some of the MFi certified best VR controllers for iPhone and gamepads!

SteelSeries Stratus Wireless Gaming Controller for iPhone

SteelSeries Stratus controller for iPhone, despite the fact that it is very small (2.4 x 4.3 x 1.3 inches), packs a powerful punch in terms of real gaming experience! The compact design allows portability, so you will be able to easily carry it along with your other Apple devices. SteelSeries Stratus VR iPhone controller comes at a reasonable price too.

Pressure sensitive buttons and analogue controls do the best to emulate the console feel. Intuitive controls make the transition to mobile gaming effortless. Wireless connection is established via Bluetooth, and while the product is small enough to be easily portable, it is still large enough for you to hold and manoeuvre. Buyers confirmed that the SteelSeries Stratus worked brilliantly even with the iPhone X, therefore you shouldn’t worry about compatibility with latest iOS updates. It comes in two colors, white and black. The choice is all yours.

Check out SteelSeries Stratus on Amazon!

SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller for iPhone

Steel Series Nimbus Wireless Controller for iPhone
Steel Series Nimbus Wireless Controller for iPhone

If you aren’t really into small and compact controllers, SteelSeries Nimbus is built as a regular size gamepad. Once again, this iPhone controller is MFi certified, it comes with Bluetooth 4.1 with an approximate battery life of over 40 hours. The time it takes to fully charge it is around ~2 hours.

The SteelSeries Nimbus provides an authentic console-like feel, featuring 2 analogue sticks and pressure sensitive buttons. Same as the Stratus, it comes in both black and white colors. What singles Nimbus out from the competition is the Nimbus Companion App, the free app which gives you access to charts of top free and paid games which are compatible with this device.

Check out SteelSeries Nimbus on Amazon!

Apple Certified Mad Catz C.T.R.L.i iPhone Controller

Mad Catz C.T.R.L.i iPhone Controller
Apple Certified Mad Catz C.T.R.L.i iPhone Controller

The whole idea behind wireless iPhone controllers is to make mobile gaming more comfortable for the user. If you ever used the Xbox One Controller, the Mad Catz Micro C.T.R.L.i will make you feel like at home. The components include analogue sticks, triggers and action buttons. All of the buttons and controls work smooth, however pressing them sounds a bit louder than expected.

Bluetooth connection is established easily with your iPhone or iPad. The product features AA batteries which offer up to 40 hours of unobstructed gameplay. It comes in glossy colors – blue, orange, red, white and black. This may be the only thing you’ll dislike about it since fingerprints often tend to stick to glossy surfaces, and if your hands sweat a lot while playing, it may become a bit slippery.

All things considered, Mad Catz C.T.R.L.i brings mobile gaming controls as close to those of console gaming as possible. It will definitely help you bring the VR mobile gaming and experiences to a much deeper level.

Purchase Apple Certified Mad Catz C.T.R.L.i iPhone Controller via Amazon

Megadream Apple MFi Certified Gamepad Joystick Controller for iPhone

Megadream Apple MFi Certified App Store IOS Games Gamepad Joystick Controller for iPhone X 8 8Plus 7 7Plus 6S 6 5S, iPad Air 2 Mini 4 3 Pro, Apple TV – Clamp Holder Included
Megadream Apple MFi Certified Gamepad Controller for iPhone

Megadream came up with another Apple MFi certified game controller for iPhone which works perfectly with the latest iOS versions and Apple devices. Once again, if you are an Xbox player, this one is a no-brainer.

It is compatible with a variety of controller games which are available on App Store. The finishing is done with high-quality rubber oil, which ensures comfortable and smooth feel. Additionally, it is durable to scratches and ensures a tight, no-slip grip. The build quality is more than sufficient, all buttons respond perfectly, and I was unable to find any real flaws in this Megadream’s controller for iPhone. There is only one minor drawback – it doesn’t feature a start button usually used to pause the games.

Order Megadream Gamepad Joystick Controller for iPhone via Amazon!