Three years after its release, Oculus replaces its virtual reality headset, the Rift, with a revamped version.
This Oculus Rift S is presented as an intermediate model rather than as a true second-generation device. Designed to make VR easier to access and easier to use, it makes certain compromises that do not suit everyone. He also has to deal with the Oculus Quest, which comes out the same day and pushes RV accessibility to a level never seen before.
This Tuesday, May 21st marks the release of the Oculus Rift S, Facebook’s new PC virtual reality headset. This is a revamped version of the Oculus Rift, the brand’s first helmet released in 2016.
It arrives on the market simultaneously with the Oculus Quest, an all-in-one VR headset that achieves the feat of offer roomscale experiences.
Although it is presented as a replacement for the Rift rather than a true successor (a possible “Rift 2”), the changes are many: integrated sensors, higher resolution and modified attachment system.
They are the result of Oculus’ ambition to offer a qualitative VR that is the easiest to access. But if the Rift S is better than its predecessor in many ways, it is not without compromise, as we will see.
The most important difference between the Rift and the Rift S is the use of the Oculus Insight positioning system, which uses helmet-mounted cameras rather than external sensors. The Rift came with two cameras and required a third one purchased separately to provide true roomscale tracking.
The Rift S does not need it. Just plug it into the computer and it works. If you use a laptop, you can move your play area at your leisure, you just have to reconfigure the Guardian system (which delimits the playground to avoid shocks).
This makes a huge difference with first-generation headsets in terms of ease of use, especially since the external Rift sensors each required a USB port on the computer.
Definition up, but refresh rate down
Its design was done in partnership with Lenovo. On the features side, the first change is at the two screens, whose definition changes from 1080 x 1200 pixels (AMOLED) to 1280 x 1440 pixels (LCD).
However, it is still less than the Oculus Quest standalone headphones and its 1600 x 1440 pixels per eye.
The field of view also increases slightly from 110 ° to 115 °. But The Verge explains that the cooling rate is on the other hand revised downward: from 90 Hz on the Rift to 80 Hz on the Rift S.
Nate Mitchell, head of VR products at Facebook / Oculus, explains to our colleagues that this change keeps the same minimums required despite the increase in definition: “We strive to keep the same characteristics, because we did not want customers who love their Rift need to buy a new PC.”
Insight Tracking, Passthrough+ and Enhanced Audio Part
Like the Quest, the Rift S leverages Oculus Insight Tracking technology that “translates your movements into VR without using external sensors and whatever you’re playing.” Five sensors / cameras are integrated in the helmet to ensure real-time monitoring.
The Passthrough + technology allows to display in the helmet the outside / real world with “a minimum depth disparity”.
The audio part is the same as the Oculus Quest and Go, but a jack allows you to use your own headphones if you prefer.
Finally, for a buyer with no PC powerful enough or wishing an experience with the least possible constraints, we recommend instead the Oculus Quest, with the caveat that it will not have the best VR games on PC.