Oculus headsets have been the industry leaders and certainly the standard-setters in the VR headset market since it began making headsets. They released the Oculus Go headset in mid-2018 and followed up with the more advanced Oculus Quest in mid-2019, a year later.
The Oculus Go aims at introducing potential buyers of VR services to the world of VR and is aimed to be an interactive, user-friendly experience for media viewing and light gaming on the headset.
The Oculus Quest is a more advanced, feature-packed headset designed for buyers that look to get into gaming in the VR space, at the outset. It includes more gaming-centric hardware and features, as well as a separate store that offers more titles, that take advantage of its additional environment tracking sensors and advanced touch controllers.
I’ve come to find that both devices offer a fun, interactive VR experience, and come with their own respective pros and cons.
Bottom Line Up Front
While the Oculus Go is the entry level device to introduce users to the VR ecosystem and to make a cheaper option available for casual VR users, the Oculus Quest is a more powerful headset, aimed at users and players who wish to take VR gaming more seriously and engage in in more frequently.
If you wish to play light games and mainly use VR headsets as a showpiece or a gimmick tool, the Quest may not be for you, and you’d be best suited to get the lighter, more user friendly, easy to use and, at times, uncomplicated Oculus Go.
If you wish to enter VR gaming specifically and use VR as a more regular interface for interacting with games, then the more serious and hardware-stacked Oculus Quest would be suited to your needs.
Main Differences Between Oculus Go vs Oculus Quest
- The Oculus Go and Oculus Quest are both capable of featuring as independent, standalone headsets for VR media. They do not need connection to any other devices or power like the other headsets previously released, like the Oculus Rift.
- Both of the headsets come with displays built in and their respective internal hardware which includes in-built processing components, batteries and memory.
- The Oculus Go display panel features a 2K 2560 x 1440p LCD display, split evenly over each eye. The refresh rate of the display caps out at 60Hz. The device uses a Snapdragon 821 chipset from Qualcomm to power the onboard system.
- Contrastingly, the Oculus Quest features an OLED panel with a 2880 x 1600p resolution that is marginally more than the Oculus Go. However, the refresh rate on the Oculus Quest goes all the way up to 72Hz, to support the library of games that can run at a smoother refresh rate. The processing power behind the Quest is an 835 Chipset from Qualcomm, which offers a sturdier backbone to the Quest when running more demanding games.
- The battery of the Quest is larger on paper, but that comes with the added caveat of increased weight on the headset. However, at both the headsets running for about 3 hours on battery power, comfort and weight could be a potential criterion to consider when making a purchase decision.
As I stated at the outset, the Oculus Go is centred more around the light gamer and casual consumer. While the headset is excellent for making use as a multimedia device and playing lighter games, it does not have the room and hand-tracking sensors that the Oculus Quest has.
This means it serves a great purpose as a stationery headset, but you will find no feedback moving around when gaming using this headset. The controllers on the Oculus Go are fairly limited, allowing only for 3DoF (Degree of Freedom) movement. The device is limited to only one controller.
On the other hand, the Oculus Quest comes equipped with both hand and room-tracking sensors that allow for you to get more immersed in games as you move about in real time and get the same feedback in-game.
The controllers on this device also allow for 6DoF motion to be tracked as compared to the 3DoF tracking on the Oculus Go. There are also up to 2 controllers supported on the Quest because it is intended to house and run that type of game.
The Oculus Go display is capped at 2560 x 1440p split evenly over two eyes, running at a 60Hz refresh rate. The refresh rate can go up to 72Hz, however not a lot of the games optimized for the Go support this refresh rate as it is meant to be an entry level device.
The panel is an LCD panel, meaning you get a good display, but the contrast ratio and blacks will not be as deep as an LED panel.
The Quest uses a PenTile panel made by Samsung, that is a technology used to increase the pixel density of a display. The OLED nature of the display also means that it lasts longer than its LCD counterpart in the Go. The display is also sharper at 2880 x 1600p and operates at a constant refresh rate of 72 Hz, allowing for a smoother gaming experience throughout.
The graphics on the Oculus Go are powered by an Adreno 530 GPU as compared to the more powered Adreno 540 on the Quest. This coupled with the more updated Qualcomm chipset on the Quest make it a better option to run the more demanding games on the headset.
The Oculus Go has a fixed interpupillary distance (IPD) as well, and this cannot be changed. It rests at 63.5mm of viewing distance.
The Oculus Quest can be adjusted anywhere between 58 to 72mm, accomodating for users with a more varied IPD to use the headset more comfortably. This would be better suited if you have that level of IPD and require the adjustments made to the viewing distance.
However, both headsets are glasses friendly and the IPD is not a major issue for a large majority of the users of either product. I personally wear my glasses to play both products and it does not get too noticeable or uncomfortable over a single charge. However, glasses need to be less than 5cm high and about 14cm wide.
Surprisingly, the Oculus Go has a wider field of view than the Quest at 101 degrees and 95 degrees respectively.
The Oculus Go comes with only one motion controller that offers only 3DoF movement tracking. The use of the controller is well optimized for the device and is by no means lacking. It recognizes hand motions, orientation and is extremely easy to use for navigation within VR.
However, there is a clear winner in the Oculus Quest Touch Controllers in this department. Supporting two controllers with 6DoF, the Quest takes a massive leap forward in terms of VR interaction. The Controllers track hand movements and gestures and provide the feedback from real-time hand motion in the VR experience.
I found this hand tracking to be a super cool feature, that’s easy to see the benefits of in games that have come to support it and will be developed ot support it in the future.
Sensors and Tracking
The Oculus Go comes equipped with its own set of sensors that offer information it needs to be the best possible budget variant of a VR headset.
It includes an onboard accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer that aid its 3DoF tracking, for rotating and tilting. Moving around in real space, though, will not register on the Go, as it cannot track movement that is sideways, or forward.
Once again, the more advanced Quest takes the trophy here. The 6DoF sensors in place that track the immediate environment of the user, such as the room and the movements provide an infinitely more immersive VR experience.
This naturally includes the ability to sense when you are too close to your surroundings and display warnings and obstacles that you may encounter in real time, to avoid any damage to the headset. Or to you.
This is a deal-maker or deal-breaker for a lot of the potential buyers for these devices. If you’re looking to get into VR gaming even slightly more than casually, considering the advanced sensors on the Quest could be a worthwhile investment, as the more powerful specifications and features will serve you for a longer time.
The Go could be a great device if you’re looking for a multimedia experience like viewing content on a headset or playing games for fun or leisure and not looking to grow too much into the VR space and ecosystem. The cheaper price point is appealing, at the cost of an immersive experience.
The experience on the Oculus Go is by no means lacking in immersion. The headset is an excellent companion as a stationary device used for light gaming and media consumption.
For the more demanding games, though, this can feel a little dull, as the headset can fail to take full advantage of the developed games, that grow more and more tuned to the more advanced Oculus Quest and even newer Quest 2 headset.
The Oculus Go and Oculus Quest both accommodate with a 3.5mm Headphone Jack for connecting earphones or headphones with the devices. The straps on both the devices are friendly with over-the-head headphones as well.
The Go uses cinematic spatial audio that is built directly into the headset.
Contrastingly, the Quest, which allows for more freedom of movement, includes positional audio on the headset that let’s you hear what’s around you, with the relevant change in volume and position of the audio depending on the position and movement change inputted by you.
I’ve found that the speaker audio from the Oculus Go offers a better and less distracting experience than the Quest. However, when it comes to using Headphones for audio, the positional audio on the Quest is a more immersive experience by far.
The headsets look very similar from afar. The exterior is what you’d expect from an oculus headset, which is a minimalistic branding on the outside, along with the ports on the devices and the buttons to use them.
Specifically, the Oculus Go uses a soft strap that is lightweight and focused around user comfort and does not account much for the shake and movement on the VR, as that isn’t its intended primary use.
The Oculus Quest uses a harder strap that’s meant to provide a sturdier frame when the user is moving around during VR gameplay. It isn’t uncomfortable on the head, but has a frame that sits more rigid, ensuring the headset doesn’t more around too much when you are moving around.
- The Oculus Go was priced at a $400 starting point.
- The Oculus Quest can be picked up starting at $500, depending on where you find the 64GB version.
Alternatives to Consider
While the two devices were great at the time they were introduced, the Oculus Go has gone out of production by Oculus and the Quest is a little hard to find due to the release of its successor model – The Oculus Quest 2.
The Oculus Quest 2 tops the list of alternative headsets to consider. It’s been updated with a 120Hz refresh rate, a 1832 x 1920p resolution per eye and a far more advances Adreno 650 GPU.
It’s now the flagship VR headset from the company and is meant to give developers a true freedom to design the best possible VR experience due to the power packed processing and graphics inside the headset.
The Valve Index is another headset with a wider field of view than either of the two I’ve compared today. It’s focused on immersive audio and display tech. The controllers on the Valve are more advanced than even the Quest and offer not only hand tracking but finger movement tracking as well.
Lastly, the Pico Neo 2 Eye offers a great experience including the updated eye-tracking technology and a high-resolution display built in. It also has a weight at the back of the headrest, which helps counterbalance the heavy headsets, making for a less straining experience on your head and neck.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Do the two Headsets have the Same Store for Apps?
Answer: No, the Oculus Go store is separate from the Oculus Quest store, with the former focused on media experiences, while the latter offers a variety of media experiences along with the latest gaming titles in VR.
Question: Can the Oculus Go Connect to a TV?
Answer: Yes, you can cast content from your Oculus Go to a TV that is connected to the same Qi-Fi network, so long as the application you use allows for casting to an external display.
Question: Can I Charge and Use my Headset at the Same Time?
Answer: No. Oculus advises specifically to not use the headsets when they are charging. It is best to charge them overnight and have them ready to play after you’re done with them after a session.
The Oculus Go is excellent in its own right as a starter headset for newly interested users in the VR ecosystem and VR experiences. It is intended to draw customers in into the world of VR, rather than offer a full-baked VR experience at the outset. Both headsets work as standalone devices with enough immersive battery time to keep you entertained.
The Oculus Quest has a much better display than the Oculus Go including a higher resolution and a better OLED panel. It can also track head movement on more axes, and has two controllers with a more immersive hand-reading VR experience.
Neither of the headsets offers an expandable storage option, but for the libraries available, 64GB should be sufficient for you, if you’re looking for these headsets in the market presently.
Unfortunately, features such as eye tracking make it to neither headset as well. However, the positional tracking of the Quest offers some consolation if you’re looking for a more movement-based immersive experience.
While both headsets can be connected to PCs, the Quest is the one clearly intended to be tethered, if you intend to take up that option.
In conclusion, if you that wish to get a convenient, cheap, user-friendly headset that is immersive, comfortable and offers a fun, light-hearted media and gaming experience then you will find your needs pandered to by the Oculus Go.
Contrarily, if you wish to use your headset for more than one type of immersive experience, including heavier VR gaming and possibly tethering, and want to be able to immerse yourself as close to fully as possible in the VR world, you can opt for the motion and environment sensing Oculus Quest.