One thing that Facebook and Oculus somehow forgot to mention regarding the new Oculus Quest standalone headset at its Oculus Connect 5 event was which processor is driving the whole thing. Only after questioning by Gizmodo (opens in new tab) did Facebook spill the beans: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system on a chip (SoC).
As Gizmodo points out, this chipset is of course more powerful than the Snapdragon 821 that’s within the entry-level Oculus Go, and the same chip that was used in the Lenovo Mirage Solo from earlier this year.
However, it’s important to note that this chipset is a dated – and will seem even older when the Oculus Quest headset actually comes out. The Snapdragon 835 most notably powered last year’s Samsung Galaxy S8. The latest available flagship mobile processor from Qualcomm is the Snapdragon 845, which drives the early 2018 Samsung Galaxy S9 as well as the even more recent Galaxy Note 9.
Nigh PC-grade VR from a dated mobile processor?
This is particularly interesting, as Facebook claims that the Oculus Quest delivers nearly the same level of visual fidelity found in today’s Oculus Rift, which is powered by a connected PC with a dedicated graphics card.
In our hands-on review, we found the Oculus Quest to produce surprisingly vibrant and crisp visuals – all while providing audio and tracking your every move. How is this possible with a processor that’s not only more than a year old, but was designed for smartphones? Not to mention that we’ve seen how well the Snapdragon 835 performs on other device form factors.
Only Facebook and Oculus’s crack engineering teams know the answer to that, and we still don’t know long the device’s battery will last on a charge.
Even though we now know what’s powering this exciting development in virtual reality tech, there are clearly still plenty of questions to ask of Oculus Quest. Questions we hope are answered before the headset’s mid-2019 release window.
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