How my VR headset is getting me through isolation: I went on a safari from my sofa

Anya Meyerowitz
·3-min read
You don't have to be a gamer to enjoy this affordable virtual reality headset. (Getty Images)
You don't have to be a gamer to enjoy this affordable virtual reality headset. (Getty Images)

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If you’d have asked me what a Virtual Reality headset (VR) was a few weeks back, I would have scrambled around for an answer before telling you that it was “some sort of nerdy tech gadget for gamers”.

However, strange things happen to us all during isolation, and so last week I splashed out on a VR kit for myself, and the result was nothing short of a miracle.

This past weekend, our first on official lockdown due to the coronavirus in the UK, I visited no less than five different countries: I climbed Mount Everest, swam with sharks in the Bahamas, went on safari in Kenya and explored the eerily-empty streets of Paris - and all from my sofa.

The headset, with it’s boundless opportunities to exploration and fun, saved myself and my partner from what would have otherwise been a restless weekend of binge-watching shows we only half cared about on Netflix and bickering over who should clean the loo.

And best of all, the entire set cost £139, which is good news for anyone who has wanted to try out VR for a while but hasn’t been able to shell out the £499 that lots of the top-end variations cost.

I know that £139 isn’t cheap, and particularly not at the moment, but bear with me because you get a huge amount for your money.

But I didn’t just opt for the Oculus Go 32GB VR Headset due to price, it also felt like the easiest and most accessible way for newbies to jump into the world of virtual reality.

Oculus Go is portable, comfortable, and easy to use.

Simply put it on, switch it on, and watch a movie on a 180 inch screen, catch a concert from the first row, play games right at the centre of the action, or hang out with friends in an immersive, interactive setting.

Buy it: Oculus Go 32GB VR Headset | £139 from Argos

The standalone headset doesn’t need any other bits of hardware to get you started and is super simple to set up. Proved by the fact that it took me just ten minutes to go from ripping open the box to playing tennis against a virtual opponent.

Though I might have scoffed at VR obsessives before, I now can’t think of an activity that won’t be enriched by its abilities: from keeping fit to preventing cabin fever.

And it seems I’m not the only one.

The Oculus Go 32GB VR Headset has received over 2,000 five-star reviews on the Argos website.

One converted customer gushed: “Being a mum to 4 children ages 7-15 it’s hard to find something to entertain everyone and drag them away from their consoles or phone screens. This has everything, games, apps, various VR experiences/ interactive stories and there’s Youtube or Netflix for me! (Plus lots of other streaming options) I have raved to everyone about the Oculus Go, its 10/10 for me.”

While another wrote: “It's great for watching YouTube videos of 70's bands, roller coasters, mirroring my laptop, viewing things from my NAS drive, the options are endless.”

Convinced? You soon will be.

Now, where was I? Ah, yes, skydiving over France.