Oculus Go, the company’s $200 standalone VR headset, launched at Facebook’s F8 developer conference yesterday to much fanfare—likely because everyone in attendance got one free. Now that anyone can get their hands on one, Oculus founder and ex-employee Palmer Luckey took it upon himself to post a single image of the headset laid bare, revealing a few interesting bits including what might be a replaceable battery.

Usually sites like iFixit are the first out the gate to post teardown images—admittedly their job is tad time-intensive though considering they also have to rate it on repairablity, and document every step of the way—but Luckey’s first image does reveal some information we didn’t already know.

According to a recent tweet by Luckey 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 is used in many laptop computer batteries.

Image courtesy Palmer Luckey

If Luckey didn’t damage the headset beyond repair during his teardown, it could be possible to swap the battery for a higher-capacity cell in the 18650 size format, therefore lengthening the unit’s battery life and most likely also voiding the warranty in the process. Oculus Go is rated for a 2 to 2.5 hour battery life for normal use, so this might be a nifty upgrade—barring any problems with the headset’s ability to remain cool during use, that is.

On the faceplate itself, the picture reveals copper heat sink designed to better distribute heat from the Go’s Snapdragon 821 processor, the same that drives the first-gen Google Pixel smartphone. Because Go has a greater surface area for passive cooling, the processor has been overclocked to allow for a max 72Hz refresh—something Gear VR can’t do.

Image courtesy Palmer Luckey

Another interesting bit from Luckey’s teardown image is the integrated speakers, which cleverly hides in the hinge of the headset’s side straps.

Image courtesy Palmer Luckey

While the speakers aren’t super impressive in audio quality, they’re a nice addition for less audio-intensive sessions, that upon reflection of Luckey’s image, are also an elegant solution to a problem that plagued Gear VR’s sub-par monospeaker audio output.

We’re still waiting on a professional teardown for the full report on just how practical opening up the headset will be, and a clearer shot of all the internals, but this is certainly a promising candidate for aftermarket hardware-hackery.

While you wait, check out our deep dive review of Oculus Go to see if those two Benjamin Franklins should stay or leave your wallet for good.

Update (1:00 PM ET): A previous version of this article stated the battery seen in the image was an 18500 type cell, when Luckey implicitly confirmed that it is in fact a 18650. The article has been updated to reflect this correction.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • realtrisk

    Wait, are you sure of the battery’s mAh rating? I’m having trouble finding 18500’s that go above 2,050 mAh…

    • VRfun

      Wonder if they meant 18650s. Those are typically 2600mAh. Hope iFixit jumps in with a complete teardown. I hadn’t been able to find a YouTube teardown yet.

    • atabbott

      The tweet actually says it’s a 18650 https://twitter.com/kwiens/status/991508868239736833

  • VRfun

    Please correct Article: Per Tweet by Luckey: Cell appears to be a 18650


    • Thanks, VRfun. We’ve updated the piece!

      • VRfun

        Awesome Guys! Should be interesting. There are a lot of 3500mAh options for 18650s. Looks like there is a connection lead off of the battery in the picture. Look forward to iFixit’s detailed teardown. Maybe someone can swoop in and take advantage of this simple upgrade if it is deemed easily upgradable by iFixit’s rating system.

  • Simon Wood

    Just a warning to those looking to upgrade the battery; If they implemented it correctly, they will have a charging controller IC to manage the battery. This may lock out the battery if the cell voltage drops below a particular threshold (ie. if you just disconnect the cell).

    It looks like a well engineered product, looking forward to the mod’ing and hacking of it…

    • VRfun

      Well, after looking at the pics it would appear that they have a simple connection lead attached to the battery, as if to allow it to be “Fixed” or switched out if there was a problem. So, with a little bit of hope and awaiting iFixit’s detailed write-up, I’m hopeful that someone could come in and create a decent quality replacement 3500mAh 18650 battery cell. There are quite a few high rated Flat Tops on the market already. Here’s to hoping right? It’d be nice to be able to get through the extended ed of LoTR without the need of a charge or Anker style backup battery. =)

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Why only a 3500mAh if there are also 5000mAh’s out there (maybe even more?).

        • VRfun

          Ah! Didn’t realize that haha. The 2x sites I checked out that were pretty legit battery sellers didn’t have any 4k or 5k listed. Even more giddy now!

        • Everything abowe 3500 is fake, as for now of course, May 3 2018r

  • Porn Jack

    Did he manage to put it back together again? Anyway I like that there is no too much glue, maybe later when there is a high capacity battery we can upgrade it…

    • brandon9271

      He has so much money he probably threw it away and bought another. Hell, he probably go that one for free because I’m positive he still has friends at Oculus. He was Facebook’s sacrificial lamb for thinking out if line in the age of group-think.

    • G-man

      There apready are higher capacity batteries. Strange that they would cheap out by like $3 and lose on the sales pitch of extra battery life.

      Plus its not like the 64gb version cost them $50 more to make. So it is pretty bs they didnt put in a 3600mah battery

      • Would it be possible to dyi a better battery in there? And if yes… which one?

  • NooYawker

    I’m sure there’s lots of little things that could be upgraded on the Go but then it would be more expensive.

  • andywade

    Please note that you will need a phone with Android Marshmallow (v6.0), Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11 b/g/n wireless or an iPhone with iOS 10 or higher to set it up – making a bit of a mockery of the whole “smartphone free” sales pitch.

    • G-man

      Exactly. I cant even figfig why they would need to do that. Has to be some locked down drm bs. Its a device, it should just power on and oup in your wifi password and then log into your oculus account.

    • amanieux

      the go does not have a wifi chipset to connect to content online and do ota updates ?? is it at least less front heavy and more comfortable than gearvr ?

  • Brendon Cromwell

    For those interested, getting the battery out isn’t that easy, you have to remove the front panel, which has the copper heatsink on it to disconnect the power connector then you can remove the battery compartment from behind the lenses

    Also theres custom circuitry embedded in the battery wrap which attaches to the positive and negative of the cell and has a proprietary connector.

  • Zeb Mason

    How much, by weight, can be moved so that it is at the back of the head in a nice airy box?

  • David Hendrix

    I know it is not recommended but I have been using a go with a 10,000 mAh backup battery connected for a few weeks now. No problems if you start with 100% charge on headset. Gives about 4 hrs then can unplug and have 2 more from internal battery.