Despite its other qualities, there is one glaring issue with the Oculus Go that myself as well as others have with it: the battery life.
Because the Go does not need to connect to a PC to power it, it runs on its own rechargeable power supply. Oculus claims the Go will run for roughly two hours on a single charge (a little less for games, and a little more if you are just watching videos), and my testing showed that this claim is fairly accurate.
The battery also dies while it’s just sitting there. If this sounds like an exaggeration, it is not. You take off the headset, put it on your desk, and come back a few hours later or the next day, and the battery is either fully drained or dead. For any device that is in standby mode and not in use should not be exhausting its power supply that quickly to do so.
Luckily, there are some tips to make the battery easier to deal with in the mean time.
(Keep in mind, the battery of the Oculus Go is not designed to run for longer than around 2 hours at a time, and could run the risk of overheating.)
- Leaving the go Plugged in While Using
- How Much Battery Power/mAh Does the Go Have?
- Turning Off the Go Correctly
- How Can I Tell If My Oculus Go Is Off Instead of in Standby/Sleep?
- Avoid Accidentally Turning On the Go
- Downloading Videos in Advance Instead of Streaming
- Is Quick-Charging Oculus Go with USB Possible?
- External Battery
- Closing Games/Apps Before Putting it in Standby Mode
- Rechargeable batteries for oculus go remote
How to Improve Oculus Go Battery Life
Leaving the Go Plugged In While Using
The Go can be used while it is charging, so you won’t run into the conflict of having to sacrifice usage for charge time. Your best bet would be to plug in a long and sturdy micro USB charging cable during use with enough slack so you can move your head freely without feeling restricted to a charging source. Because the standard cable that comes with the device may not quite suffice, these 10-foot-long micro USB charging cables from Amazon should do the trick due to their thickness and durability:
How much Battery Power / mAh does the Go Have?
According to a recent tweet by Palmer Luckey (Oculus VR’s founder) detailing his teardown of Go, the headset contains a standard 2600mAh cell (bottom right), which he concludes “[s]hould be an easy upgrade.” The battery appears to be a single 18650, which is a cell type used in many laptop computer batteries.
If Luckey didn’t damage the headset beyond repair during his teardown, it would be possible to swap the battery for a higher-capacity cell in the 18650 format, therefore lengthening the unit’s battery life but most likely also voiding the warranty in the process.
Turning Off the Go Correctly
To avoid the battery dying while the Oculus Go is in standby mode, the device should be fully powered off. To fully power off the Go when it is not in use, press and hold the power button while wearing the headset for 5 seconds until the power menu appears, then choose the Power off option.
Alternatively, you can just hold down the power button on the front of the headset for 10 seconds to do a hard shutdown. The white LED light next to the power button should turn off when the device is powered off.
How Can I Tell If My Oculus Go Is Off Instead of in Standby/Sleep?
When the Oculus Go is off, the LED light next to the power button will remain off as well. It won’t be activated by the proximity sensor either. There are two ways to tell whether the device is off rather than in standby mode. The first way is to put your finger in front of the proximity sensor.
If the device is in standby mode, the lenses will light up, the Go will make a noise (indicating that you just turned it on), and the LED light next to the power button will turn on. The light will either be white or orange-red (if the battery is low).
The second method of checking would be to click the power button to achieve the same result as putting your finger in front of the proximity sensor. If you click the power button and nothing happens, this means that your device is either fully powered off or dead. To turn on the Go, simply hold down the power button for 5 seconds or until the LED turns on.
Avoid Accidentally Turning On the Go
When it comes to accidentally turning on the Go, the proximity sensor is the main culprit. Because the device is designed to automatically turn on when you put it on your head, there are instances where the device turns on by accident when it is supposed to be in standby mode. This is mainly caused by the Go’s headstrap activating the proximity sensor when the device is put down, draining the battery even further. This can be avoided by making sure the headstrap does not get in the way.
The device should be placed down like this (pictured above), with the headstrap completely out of the way of the sensor. I found that the sensor is activated when an object comes within 1/2” contact with the sensor, but keep it further away just to be safe.
Remember that all of this applies if the Go is in standby mode. If the Go is fully powered off, activation the proximity sensor will not turn the device on. If you accidentally turn on the Go without wanting to, simply click the power button once to put the device back in standby mode.
Also, the headset automatically turns on when it’s nearly fully charged, so after you take it off the charger, be sure to turn it off if you don’t intend to use it right away.
Downloading Videos in Advance Instead of Streaming
If you are mostly using your VR headset for watching videos, you can save a little bit of battery life by saving the videos or movies directly to the headset rather than streaming them upon viewing. Netflix and Youtube do not support direct downloading through their websites/apps for the Go, but don’t worry; if you are able to download these videos directly to your computer somehow, you will be able to upload them to your Go. This does save processing power, even if it is just a little bit.
Assuming that resolution/quality is the same for both formats with the same screen brightness on the same device, watching anything locally will use up less battery.
Just think about it, your wifi modem isn't running at full power, you're not using extra application processes in streaming the content from the cloud, and CPU throttling is generally more aggressive as less resources are being consumed.
Once you start playing locally it's no longer using the network, and only reading from memory.
Luckily, uploading videos to the Go isn’t hard at all. The device comes with a micro USB port for charging purposes. However, you can also use the same port and micro USB cable that the Go ships with to connect the headset to your computer’s USB port and transfer data.
Is Quick-Charging Oculus Go with USB possible?
Feedback from Oculus Support states that all normal micro USB Chargers are supported for Oculus Go and they advise to not use use any quick chargers because the built-in battery is not developed for any quick charging solutions.
Oculus recommends just using the standard micro USB cable that comes with the device to charge it normally, but also mentioned that any micro USB cable can be used to do so as well.
Just make sure the micro USB cable you are using is of good enough quality to provide a stable 5 volts at up to 2.1 amps and it should be able to charge anything.
These 10-foot-long micro USB Standard charging cables from Amazon should do the trick:
Luckily, since it is possible to use the Go while it is charging, it is possible to connect an external battery to the Go via the micro USB port and cable while in use. These are the best options for external batteries you can get for your Oculus Go:
Closing Games/Apps Before Putting it in Standby Mode
If your Oculus Go is running a program such as a game that uses a good amount of processing power to run, it will eat up your battery more quickly than if you were doing something less extensive such as watching a video. Make sure that if you are running a game that you suspect is utilizing a lot of processing power, to quit it before putting the device in standby mode. Leaving it in standby mode while the app continues to run is likely to drain your battery. To do this, simply click the Oculus button while running an app, and an option to Quit or Resume will prompt.
Make sure to select the Quit option. This will take you back to whichever main menu you accessed the app from initially. It is safe to put the Go in standby mode now.
Rechargeable Batteries for Oculus Go Remote
If you really want to avoid an encounter with dead batteries all around, you can load your Oculus Go remote with a rechargeable battery. The Go’s remote takes a single AA battery to run, and this rechargeable battery charger is small and convenient enough to take with on the go (no pun intended), or in a case that you store your Go in. If you use an Xbox One controller for your Go, which takes 2 AA batteries to run, this charger works for it as well. The charger can charge up to 4 batteries at a time. Granted, you have to buy the batteries separately, but they are worth the investment in the long run.
Two hours of use against a three-hour charge may seem like a poor trade, and it is a factor to be considered when deciding to buy this headset, especially if the headset is intended to be shared within the household. Depending on what you use your headset for, you may only only be immersed in VR for as little as 60 minutes before the battery decides that it is time to take a break.
Unfortunately, for those of us who already own the Oculus Go, we may have to deal with the poor battery life until Oculus is able to optimize the battery usage with upcoming software updates or until the next version of the Go is available.
Written by Brandon Kerman