Oculus is one of the biggest players in the VR market right now.
They’re the company that brought the current generation of virtual reality devices to the mainstream, and they have their fingers in many virtual pies. One frontier Oculus has been exploring over the last few years is mobile VR.
Smartphone processors are becoming ever more powerful, meaning they’re capable of running virtual reality apps and software.
Back in 2015, they partnered with Samsung on the Gear VR headset, one of the best mobile devices we’ve seen. However, they weren’t content to rest on their laurels. Earlier this year, they launched the Oculus Go standalone headset. It doesn’t require a smartphone, has some impressive specs, and is relatively affordable. So which is best? We take a look at the Oculus Go vs Samsung Gear VR to find out.
It’s hard to directly compare the respective costs of these headsets. On the face of it, the Samsung Gear VR is a lot cheaper; you can pick one up for around £99/$130 or less. Comparatively, the Oculus Go costs £199/$199 for the 32GB version and £249/$249 for the 64GB model. This is a significant difference if you’re just buying the headset.
Depending on your situation and which headset you choose, your costs could be higher or lower.
However, the Samsung Gear VR can only be used with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, and the experience depends on the quality of said phone. These flagship models aren’t cheap, adding hundreds of pounds/dollars to the budget. With the Oculus Go, everything you need to start experiencing VR comes with the cost of the headset. Depending on your situation and which headset you choose, your costs could be higher or lower.
Compare the best prices for each of these headsets:
In terms of features, there are a number of similarities between the two headsets. Both are capable of 3DoF tracking, come paired with a controller, and have max resolutions of 2560 x 1440.
However, the Go seems to have the edge overall. The display is better on the Go, as it doesn’t depend on a smartphone headset to produce images. This means that the usable pixels are greater on the Go than on the Gear VR. The sound is better too; the Go features a built-in speaker system that delivers spatial audio right by your ears, while the Gear VR depends on your phone speakers. However, both can also be used with headphones to a similar effect.
Perhaps the most significant feature that the Oculus Go has is a built-in battery. The Gear VR relies on your smartphone battery, which often drains at a ridiculously fast rate when running virtual reality software. The Go seems better optimised for long play sessions and means you don’t have to sacrifice your mobile battery.
Both headsets are well-designed for their purpose. The Gear VR is easy to use and connecting a mobile phone is straightforward. It’s comfortable to wear and fits snugly to the user’s head, although it can sometimes feel a little front-heavy depending on which phone you pair it with. Aesthetically it looks fairly nice, although there are other designs we prefer.
The Oculus Go is one such design; the cleaner, lighter colours make it more attractive, and Oculus has tried hard to build a device that’s comfortable. Like the Gear VR, it’s a little front-heavy, but overall the headset fits well. One element we noted in our Oculus Go review is that after extended use it can be a little tight on the cheeks. One design feature we did like is the Go’s on/off sensor built into the headset which activates when you put on or take off the device.
Oculus Go vs Samsung Gear VR: Content
Content brings another very close tie to this contest. Both use the Oculus Store and Oculus software, which makes the range of content available pretty much the same. One plus point is that apps are account-bound, meaning if you have one device and switch to the other, you can carry over your purchases. How well the content plays on the Gear VR depends only on the phone you’re using, as well as activity that’s going on in the background.
Both use the Oculus Store and Oculus software, which makes the range of content available pretty much the same.
One of the Go’s advantages is that it only has to run the VR platform, which means it’s pretty quick. However, the latest range of Samsung Galaxy phones are also extremely fast. As we’ve mentioned though, battery life is a big consideration.
Oculus Go vs Samsung Gear VR: Which is Better?
There’s not a lot that separates these two headsets. However, which one is better for you depends on your current circumstances. If you own a Samsung Galaxy 8 or 9, the Gear VR will be more than adequate as a mobile VR headset. You don’t need to spend the extra couple of hundred pounds/dollars to get the Go; the difference doesn’t justify it. However, if you’re not a Galaxy owner, the Oculus Go is definitely the choice for you. As a headset, we prefer it, just, thanks to its excellent design, standalone nature, and affordable price.