Gamers and entertainment lovers who already have a gaming pc with a powerfully enough graphics card and want to enter the world and atmosphere of VR will be able to enter this new world in a relatively inexpensive way with the Oculus Rift S. It indeed comes with some improvements in design and ergonomics over its predecessor the Oculus Rift CV1 but also with some limitations. Also, those who had tasted the freedom of the wireless VR experience and thought that PC-based VR was being replaced, they were mistaken. Let us review.
Unlike the Quest, the Oculus Rift S is a PC-powered headset. It replaces the hook-and-loop straps of the Oculus Quest and Oculus Go with an improved head strap system which has a dial at the back to tighten or loosen the HMD. It uses the same controllers like the Oculus Quest, and you don’t have to place extra sensors around the room, because the Rift S comes with its sensors embedded in the headset. The field of view is 110 degrees and has a positional tracking of 360-degrees. Unlike the Oculus Quest that has four cameras, the Rift S has the benefit of an additional one camera at the top portion of the headset, making a total of five. However, the difference between having one additional camera is almost invisible.
Video quality and display
With 1280 x 1440 pixels per eye compared to 1200 x 1080 pixels per eye for the original Rift, Oculus Rift S visuals are an improvement, but still less impressive than the 1440 x 1600 pixel per eye of the Oculus Quest. The Rift S also uses an LCD screen as opposed to the Quest’s OLED screen. The sharper display and next-generation lenses deliver bright, vivid colors and a reduced “screen-door” effect.
But unlike the standalone Oculus Quest, the Rift S is a PC-based headset, meaning that you need a gaming PC that meets some hardware requirements. That means the Rift S doesn’t shine has a technologic marvel that can display VR games, and it can play only what the host PC running the games can handle. So that means your host PC has to be VR ready, with a least a DisplayPort 1.2/Mini DisplayPort(with included adapter), at least 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GTX 960 or AMD R9 290 graphics card and an AMD Ryzen 3 1200 or an Intel Core i3-6100 processor
Using a laptop short of these VR specs will mean sluggish gameplay or even freeze. So the stronger you PC, the better the experience, which means you may have to factor in the cost of doing the upgrade before taking the plunge. But remember that the resolution of the headset is capped at 1280 x 1440 pixels per eye, meaning that is the optimum resolution you will see. It will not display all the power of your graphics card.
- Sharper display
- Reduced “screen-door” effect
With speakers innocuously embedded in the outlying crest of the headset, just like in Oculus Quest, positional audio in the Rift S has been handled expertly so you can hear what is happening in the surrounding without needing to put on headphones. You also have the option of separate headphones, and given that there is a considerable audio bleed from the headset, it is something you may have to consider.
- Integrated stereo speakers
- 3.5mm headphone compatibility
Oculus Rift comes with a fairly impressive head strap that you can adjust for comfort through a dial at the back of the headset. Compared to the improved but still strap-based Oculus Quest, or the basic head strap system of the Oculus Go, it gives you a much more comfortable fit. When removing it or transferring it to your friend, you don’t have to fiddle with straps that can easily get hooked on your hair.
- Halo headband
- Adjustment dial
But Rift S portability and appeal is somehow restricted by the lengthy tether that connects it to the host PC. Although it gives you 16.4 feet to play with, it cannot match the mobility that comes with the wireless Oculus Quest. For someone looking for a limitless immersive experience, the umbilical nature of the cord can become contentious and uncomfortable at times. It will be there to nag you during your gaming sessions like a young sibling.
When it comes to the library of games you can play, and the scope of games that it offers, Rift S is pretty much a shine here. First, Oculus store has a robust library of games, but in addition to that, you can play games from the Steam library with Rift S. a game like Minecraft VR which is not available for both the Go and the Quest, can be played with the Rift S. you will also find VR hits like SuperHot and Beat Saber.
- Oculus store
- Steam library
It is one of the most affordable VR headsets right now. The Oculus Rift S is now valued at roughly $399. When you consider that its cost is in the same range as PlayStation 4Pro, and Xbox One X at $399 also, or the Nintendo Switch at $299, then we can say its price is pretty affordable for a VR headset. Also, with its PC-powered VR headset competitors like Valve index valued at $999 or the Vive Cosmos at $699 you may take the plunge and buy. But remember that you need a robust computer to get the most VR experience out of it. So if you don’t already own a gaming PC, you may need to consider the expense of doing the upgrade.
Given that the Rift S is one of the most affordable VR headsets right now, it offers a great VR experience for the price. It offers plenty of games so that you can remain immersed with a sharp display and its more comfortable ergonomic design. It is true that VR enthusiasts were expecting a more significant move from the original Rift CV1 to the Oculus Rift S. But for those who are really into gaming, VR experience is about engaging gameplay not only stunning graphics. When ripping through games like Journey of the Gods or Vader Immortal you will be blown away by the immersive experience. The Oculus platform itself is an exciting one not only for the first time you strap on Oculus Rift S but each time as there are not only so many games to discover if that’s youre thing, but so many interesting apps and new worlds to discover. Its something you can only really understand once you have experienced VR and the Oculus Rift S does deliver an overall amazing virtual reality experience.