Oculus Go Review – GO Vs Oculus Rift Display

In this video we take a look at the Oculus GO vs Rift when using both devices as a media player watching video based content. So, in a way an Oculus GO review looking specifically at using the device for movie viewing. The Rift released in 2016 compared to the GO which uses better lenses and higher resolution panels. Which is better though?

Full Video Transcript:

Hi I’m rob cram and today we’re taking a look at the just released Oculus GO versus the now old Oculus Rift in terms of the display most notably when watching video based content. To be clear on the basics, the Oculus GO is a complete wire-free standalone device which you can just pop onto your head and start viewing content and playing games, however there is no movement other than turning your head to look around and no hands in VR to interact with objects. The Rift on the other hand is tethered to a reasonably powerful PC or laptop but does offer full movement and hands which can interact via the two Touch controllers. There is a price difference when considering the PC as well of about £600-800. The Rift without the PC cost £399 and the GO £199. The purpose of this video however is to look at the differences between the two displays as Oculus have improved the lenses and used higher resolution panels in GO compared to the rift which released in March 2016.

For this test I am going to use the same source material which in this case on the GO will be using Niki Minaj’s just released Chun-li music video on Youtube using the browser app and on the rift viewing Youtube via Virtual Desktop with the same dimensions and distance from screen – I will say that I am using supersampling of 1.8 on the Rift with the Oculus Tray Tool. What I have done is after careful viewing looked at three freeze frames at the exact time alongside how it looks overall in motion. So here are the three places in the video where I have paused the video.

first image is good because it shows off the depth of darkness and has a fairly static moment in the video without too many distracting colours or lights. Looking at the image you can see detail of her clothing, dragon necklace and lion belt detail alongside the white Chinese text at the bottom which highlights any godrays.

The Second image is more colourful and shows off the color range between the rift OLED screens and the GO LED.

The third images shows off the more natural range of colour under less impacting lighting effects showing off the details in the face and necklace.

Starting with the first image then and putting on the Oculus Rift. If I start from the top and work downwards, the first port of call is the detail in the necklace which on the Rift loses detail and is quite hard to make out what it is. Some sort of Chinese design but its type is unclear as the director really wants you to focus on the cleavage so it’s slightly out of focus anyway. Moving down to the area above the lion head belt and we have this deep black area which looks good on the rift but does not compare to the deep black of my KS7000 TV when looking at the two. If we look at the detail on Niki’s top here and whilst it’s easy to see it reflecting the light in places, on the rift screen this is more blurred. Moving on to the lionhead buckle and this is obvious in the rift without any need for head scratching, however, there is an overall lack of clarity here and does appear to be quite blurred, like there is a sheen over creating a softer tone at the expense of detail. Lastly looking at the Chinese text at the bottom of the screen and it’s here where the Rift god rays make themselves known as white text on dark backgrounds really bring this unwanted effect to the fore. It’s not a good look but something Rift users have learned to live with over time.

So… keeping the same location in the video but this time putting on the Oculus GO and using Youtube via the browser and we can compare to the Rift. Again starting from the top and we have the same necklace detail which again isn’t clearly focused. It’s hard to tell what this shape is but looks like a small dragon or at least a Chinese design. It’s certainly clearer than on the rift. Interestingly you can notice the pixel arrangement on Niki’s skin area perhaps slightly more than you can on the Rift – both are quite similar in this regard but the overall sharper image on the GO highlights this more in lighter areas of the image.

The dark area above the Lion head belt looks very similar to the rift and could be made a little darker thanks to an option to lower the brightness setting. However, I would say they are comparable. Again, not a true deep black as seen on my 4K TV when swapping between both.

The Lion head itself shows the differences quite a lot now as this area is focused more in the image. This is much clearer to look at, sharper and showing off slightly more detail. On the rift, that sheen of blur takes away the sharpness but on the GO all is clear making it superior. lastly and perhaps another major difference is the diminished god rays when looking at the Chinese text at the bottom of the screen. They are still there for sure but no where near as pronounced or in your face as on the Rift. This certainly makes a difference when moving one’s head across from each side of the screen however, on the GO this movement does display some chromatic aberration which gives the edges a coloured look, in this case a blueish hue. This can be fixed apparently with the GO but takes up more resources, perhaps this will be addressed in future updates.

Moving on to the second image and comparing the two it’s here where the rift comes out on top ever so slightly, most probably due to the OLED display. The colours are just a little more enhanced compared to the GO. It’s not the best shot for showing off detail due to the director’s effects used here. So we’ll move on to the last image.

Again, this has a lot of lighting effects but at least we can see more details especially on Niki’s skin and that necklace again which can clearly see now is a small dragon. This image simply looks much more crisp and detailed on the GO compared to the RIft. Sadly the slight soft sheen on the Rift makes the image less detailed to look at and with a keen eye you can spot the differences immediately when swapping between the two displays.

So, to conclude, the GO has a larger sweet spot, better overall image clarity and sharpness, diminished, not completely absent god rays but suffers from chromatic aberration when moving one’s head from one side of the screen to the other fairly fast – something you might do in high action scenes in a movie. The Rift though comes out on top in terms of colour details though thanks to its OLED pannels and just feels a little more vibrant. That said, a massive trade-off is the god rays which although can be ignored are much more pronounced compared to the GO. Black levels are pretty close for both displays I would wager, but the handy brightness control in the GO settings means if you want to tone it down on the fly you can. So in terms of watching video content in VR I would certainly give the Oculus GO a distinct edge over the Rift and the device of choice.

Written by: Robert Cram

Robert Cram has hundreds of video game reviews and thousands of articles under his belt. He aims to remain objective and fair in his analysis. With years of experience, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement is entirely optional.