photo of Oculus Rift VR headset

Oculus Rift Intro – 2017 Review

The retail variation of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset finally arrived in 2016, after numerous development packages and numerous years of work. Ever since, the outstanding Oculus Touch movement controllers have been added to the Rift as a single $598 bundle, slashing $100 each from the original rate of both the headset and the controllers. The Oculus Rift stays functional and immersive, if you have a computer system that can handle it. With the addition of the Oculus Touch controllers, the Rift is more attractive than the now practically identically priced HTC Vive, though the Sony PlayStation VR is our Editors’ Choice for its ease of use as well as lower price.Oculus Rift Intro

Before we get started, simply a note that you can discover the headset on its own for around $499, though we highly advise getting it with the Oculus Touch controllers. The controllers are offered on their own for $99.

 

What You Need

Main requirements for the Rift$ 399.00 at Amazon are nearly identical to the requirements for the HTC Vive. Oculus advises an Intel i5-4590 or better CPU, an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or better video card, at least 8GB of RAM, an HDMI 1.3 output, three USB 3.0 ports, and one USB 2.0 port. Among those ports is for the additional sensor of the Oculus Touch controller, and you can establish the Rift itself with just 2 USB 3.0 ports: one for the headset and one for the external sensor. I tested it using the Origin EON17-X, which has a Core i7 6700K CPU overclocked to 4.5 GHz, an 8GB GeForce GTX 980M graphics card, and 16GB of RAM.

 

Oculus Rift Design

The Oculus Rift headset is basic and understated. It’s a plain black rectangle-shaped visor with rounded edges and little visual style. The front panel is entirely flat, significant just with an Oculus logo design. The sides of the visor are similarly flat, and link to arms that pivot somewhat up and down and connect to the three-strap harness for securing the device on your head.

A strap extends from each arm around the sides of your head, with a third strap extending from the top of the visor over the top of your head, conference at a cushioned triangle in the back. The straps are held in location with hook-and-loop fasteners, and can be quickly changed. A set of on-ear earphones sit on the arms, able to independently pivot and turn up and down to properly fit on your ears.

By itself, the headset is relatively light and comfy. You can use glasses with the Rift, but it will make the fit a bit tighter. I utilized my glasses when checking the headset, which assisted ensure that I saw crisp and accurate visuals. However it also made putting the Rift on and taking it off a bit awkward, and depending on the size of your frames, they might hurt your capability to wear the headset for long periods of time.

The headset links to your PC directly through a lengthy cable television that splits off near completion into HDMI and USB 3.0 adapters. The cable television winds down the left strap before running clear of the headset. It’s a little more awkward than the over-the-top-of-the-head cable of the HTC Vive, and I discovered myself struggling to discover a comfortable position where the cable didn’t sit distractingly on my shoulder. But it’s not almost as huge a concern in usage as the HTC Vive’s cable television, because the Vive is designed to work when you’re walking around a set location.

The Rift on its own uses a single external sensing unit, a black cylinder that rests on a nine-inch-tall metal desktop stand. The sensing unit can tilt up and down, and must be put where it can keep a clear view of the headset when in use. A second, identical sensing unit tracks the Oculus Touch controllers, and the 2 sensors work in tandem to improve tracking for all the devices and cover a bigger area than the stationary position just one sensing unit enables.

As soon as you’re operating, a 2,160-by-1,200 OLED panel is utilized to produce a 1,080-by-1,200 picture for each eye, separated by the lenses in the headset (just like the Vive). The lenses can be changed using a small lever on the right underside of the visor. More on the visual themselves in a bit.

 

Controls

The Oculus Touch motion controllers originally launched as an optional addition, however have considering that been contributed to the $598 Rift bundle. They aren’t the only control alternatives included in the box, however. The Oculus Remote is a small, rounded bar with a big, circular navigation pad and Back, Menu, and Up/Down buttons. The remote helpfully includes a lanyard to keep it attached to your wrist when you’re using the Rift. The Rift also includes an Xbox One wireless controller and a Microsoft Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows with which you can use it, which comes in handy for VR video games that utilize conventional, non-motion-based control schemes.

With the Oculus Touch controllers, the Rift’s controls reach parity with the HTC Vive’s, which has included movement controls out of package considering that its launch. We enter into more detail in our review of the Oculus Touch, however it’s a very comfortable, natural-feeling control plan with responsive physical elements like analog sticks and face buttons in addition to motion tracking.Oculus Rift Intro

 

Setup

Setting up the Rift is basic. You need to download the Oculus setup software application on your PC, which will then walk you through the reasonably few actions essential to obtain going. First, plug the headset and sensing units into your computer system, using an HDMI and three USB 3.0 ports. Second, sync the remote by pulling out the battery tab and pushing a button. Lastly (and additionally), plug the Xbox One receiver into a USB 2.0 port and pair the gamepad with it. Once these steps are complete, you can slip the headset on and jump into the Oculus software.

At this moment in the setup process, you can play any software application offered on the Oculus Store, however you can go even more with reasonably little trouble. By setting the Oculus software application to load apps from unidentified sources, you can get the headset to work with SteamVR, similar to the HTC Vive uses. The launch of Oculus Touch suggests you can now use all SteamVR video games that support motion controls with the Rift. They register as HTC Vive motion controllers when you set them up for Steam, and work perfectly with Vive-compatible video games.

While the Rift now has movement controls, it doesn’t quite support the same whole-room VR as the Vive. You can use it while sitting, standing, or within a location specified by the 2 sensing units included with the Rift and Touch. It supports a smaller sized space than the Vive’s wall-mountable sensors do, but this is a little sacrifice; since the HTC Vive is connected to your connected computer system with a cable much like the Rift, really walking with the headset on requires you to be extremely careful not to journey over the dragging wire. It’s an immersion-breaker that injures the experience of otherwise complimentary motion in VR. The Rift’s head tracking, together with Touch controller tracking, work extremely well within the space the sensors allow.

 

The Oculus Experience

The Rift shares the exact same resolution and revitalize rate as the Vive, and as such the experience is very comparable between the two. Like the Vive, the Rift produces a crisp picture with smooth movement and head tracking. In testing, the 3D result of the stereoscopic images truly provided me the sense that the virtual objects I was looking at were actually in front of me. Ultimately, the Rift headset is a display, so smoothness and graphical fidelity will depend upon the power of your computer system and elegance of the software application. In terms of hardware, though, the Rift produces a compelling virtual experience for the eyes.

I played a couple of VR titles offered on the Oculus shop, consisting of EVE: Valkyrie, Farlands, and Lucky’s Tale. I also attempted Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games and Virtual Desktop, introduced through SteamVR

EVE: Valkyrie is the star of the launch titles for the Oculus Rift. It’s an online, multiplayer space dogfighting video game sent in the EVE universe. You play a cloned pilot who runs sorties with your squad against other, comparable teams. It comes down to the space version of team deathmatch in any first-person shooter, however it’s an appealing and relatively deep flight game.

The format is ideal for using the Rift while sitting. The view puts you in the cockpit of your chosen space fighter, and you can freely look around it while staying in place. The game itself is managed with the Xbox One gamepad, piloting the ship with the dual analog sticks and firing with the triggers. Basically, the VR aspect of the game is unnecessary; the experience is actually much like playing a dogfighting game on a normal monitor, just with the capability to look easily around your cockpit (which doesn’t offer any significant tactical advantage). However, the immersiveness the Rift offers in totally engulfing you in this cockpit point of view actually makes the game feel more appealing and tense.

It isn’t an intricate financial MMO like EVE itself, and the design of combat is a bit arcade-like in how ships fly and fire, but it’s enjoyable to fly around in space, shooting at people while they shoot at you. It feels like one of the most complete video games made specifically with VR in mind.

Farlands is a xenobiological play area. You play a researcher on an alien planet, trying to find new life kinds. You can scan different creatures by staring at them, and improve your understanding of them by feeding them foods they desire. It has a very mellow quality, trying to find alien animals and watching them consume to slowly and gradually unlock brand-new environments to explore. While the principle appears ideal for movement controls, it was easy to have fun with a traditional gamepad, using a reticle in the center of your view to highlight things and walk around.Oculus Rift Intro

Lucky’s Tale is a standard cartoony third-person platformer where you control a cartoon fox as he runs through different levels aiming to rescue his family pet pig. It’s a distinctive experience that does not actually need VR at all. Using the Rift in a game like this lets you look around quickly from your above-the-action perspective. Nevertheless, you cannot readily move the cam to obtain a much better view of a provided position relative to the character you’re managing, which showed to be really discouraging when trying to get Lucky to collect lines of coins embeded in particular arcs in 3D space; without the capability to pan around Lucky, I couldn’t quickly align my dives.

Our evaluation of the Oculus Touch explains of exactly what Oculus Rift video games that support Touch are like, however to summarize the experience, the optional Touch controllers make things like spray-painting walls, aiming weapons, and using telekinetic powers feel very natural.

 

SteamVR

I ran Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games (ATMMHG) on SteamVR to see if the Rift could manage it as smoothly as the Vive does. While SteamVR isn’t the Rift’s native platform, it displayed the interface and loaded the video game perfectly, and I found it was simply as smooth and immersive as it is on the Vive (however, like with Lucky’s Tale, the actual value of playing stated third-person platformer in VR is still questionable).

I also attempted Virtual Desktop, a program that predicts your computer system’s screen in front of you in virtual area. It was simply as practical and interesting as it was with the HTC Vive, showing my display as a giant, curved screen around me. The software application can likewise produce a flat screen, and even reveal your desktop view as a television installed on the wall of a house theater. It’s a convenient way to make VR helpful, even without VR-specific software. If you wish to enjoy a video and it’s not readily available on a customer for the Oculus Rift or on SteamVR, you can just load it with Virtual Desktop.

The only disadvantage is the resolution of the display. Since the Rift shows a 1,080-by-1,200 picture to each eye, and the virtual screen looks like a drifting object, it’s really smaller sized than the headset’s per-eye resolution. That implies text can appear blurry and grainy unless you find a sweet area from which to look at the screen, and reading can trigger eye stress. That said, enjoying video on Hulu and Netflix is very cool.

 

Final Thoughts

The Oculus Rift conveniently produces an immersive, crisp virtual reality experience that will continue to improve with the development of brand-new software application, which has actually been steadily coming out on both the Oculus store and SteamVR. The release of the Oculus Touch controllers and the addition of them to the $600 headset plan even more contributes to the worth, though the HTC Vive’s recent cut to $599 puts them on equivalent footing in cost and functions. Both are technically remarkable, effective VR headsets, but our Editors’ Choice remains the PlayStation VR for its lower rate and ease of use (though it just deals with the PlayStation 4, instead of a PC).

If you wish to attempt virtual reality, however you don’t want to spend at least $400, the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View are strong options. They’re smartphone-based VR headsets that offer a few of the best mobile VR experiences you can presently get for around $100. Nevertheless, you require a suitable phone to utilize them.Oculus Rift Intro