Oculus Rift Available – 2017 Review

photo of Oculus Rift VR headset

The retail version of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset finally showed up in 2016, after multiple development kits and several years of work. Since then, the outstanding Oculus Touch movement controllers have been added to the Rift as a single $598 package, slashing $100 each from the initial rate of both the headset and the controllers. The Oculus Rift stays practical and immersive, if you have a computer that can manage it. With the addition of the Oculus Touch controllers, the Rift is more enticing 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 Available

Before we begin, just a note that you can find the headset by itself for around $499, though we highly suggest getting it with the Oculus Touch controllers. The controllers are available by themselves for $99.

 

What You Need

Main requirements for the Rift$ 399.00 at Amazon are almost similar to the requirements for the HTC Vive. Oculus suggests 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, 3 USB 3.0 ports, and one USB 2.0 port. One of those ports is for the additional sensing unit of the Oculus Touch controller, and you can establish the Rift itself with simply two USB 3.0 ports: one for the headset and one for the external sensor. I evaluated 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 easy and understated. It’s a plain black rectangular visor with rounded edges and little visual flair. The front panel is entirely flat, significant only with an Oculus logo design. The sides of the visor are likewise flat, and connect to arms that pivot somewhat up and down and connect to the three-strap harness for protecting the device on your head.

A strap extends from each arm around the sides of your head, with a 3rd strap extending from the top of the visor over the top of your head, meeting at a padded triangle in the back. The straps are held in place with hook-and-loop fasteners, and can be easily adjusted. A set of on-ear earphones sit on the arms, able to individually pivot and flip up and down to effectively fit on your ears.

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

The headset links to your PC straight through a lengthy cable television that divides off near completion into HDMI and USB 3.0 adapters. The cable unwind the left strap before running clear of the headset. It’s a bit more awkward than the over-the-top-of-the-head cable of the HTC Vive, and I discovered myself having a hard time to find a comfy position where the cable didn’t sit distractingly on my shoulder. But it’s not nearly as huge a concern in use as the HTC Vive’s cable, considering that the Vive is designed to work when you’re walking a set location.

The Rift on its own usages a single external sensing unit, a black cylinder that sits on a nine-inch-tall metal desktop stand. The sensor can tilt up and down, and must be put where it can preserve a clear view of the headset when in usage. A 2nd, similar sensing unit tracks the Oculus Touch controllers, and the two sensing units operate in tandem to enhance tracking for all of the gadgets and cover a bigger area than the fixed position just one sensing unit permits.

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

 

Controls

The Oculus Touch movement controllers originally introduced as an optional addition, but have actually because been contributed to the $598 Rift package. They aren’t the only control options included in the box, though. The Oculus Remote is a small, rounded bar with a large, circular navigation pad and Back, Menu, and Up/Down buttons. The remote helpfully features a lanyard to keep it attached to your wrist when you’re using the Rift. The Rift also includes an Xbox One cordless controller and a Microsoft Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows with which you can use it, which is handy for VR games that use 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 manages out of package because its launch. We enter into more information in our review of the Oculus Touch, however it’s an extremely comfy, natural-feeling control scheme with responsive physical components like analog sticks and face buttons in addition to movement tracking.Oculus Rift Available

 

Setup

Setting up the Rift is simple. You have to download the Oculus setup software application on your PC, which will then walk you through the fairly couple of steps required to get going. Initially, plug the headset and sensing units into your computer, utilizing an HDMI and three USB 3.0 ports. Second, sync the remote by pulling out the battery tab and pressing a button. Lastly (and optionally), plug the Xbox One receiver into a USB 2.0 port and pair the gamepad with it. When these steps are total, you can slip the headset on and delve into the Oculus software application.

At this point in the setup procedure, you can play any software application readily available on the Oculus Store, however you can go further with reasonably little trouble. By setting the Oculus software to load apps from unknown sources, you can get the headset to work with SteamVR, just like the HTC Vive utilizes. The launch of Oculus Touch suggests you can now utilize all SteamVR video games that support motion controls with the Rift. They register as HTC Vive movement controllers when you set them up for Steam, and work flawlessly with Vive-compatible games.

While the Rift now has movement controls, it does not rather support the same whole-room VR as the Vive. You can utilize it while sitting, standing, or within a location specified by the two sensors consisted of with the Rift and Touch. It supports a smaller sized area than the Vive’s wall-mountable sensors do, but this is a little sacrifice; given that the HTC Vive is tethered to your connected computer with a cable much like the Rift, in fact walking with the headset on needs you to be really mindful not to trip over the dragging wire. It’s an immersion-breaker that injures the experience of otherwise complimentary movement in VR. The Rift’s head tracking, together with Touch controller tracking, work very well within the space the sensing units permit.

 

The Oculus Experience

The Rift shares the very same resolution and refresh rate as the Vive, and as such the experience is very similar in between the 2. Like the Vive, the Rift produces a crisp picture with smooth motion and head tracking. In testing, the 3D result of the stereoscopic images truly provided me the sense that the virtual things I was looking at were in fact in front of me. Eventually, the Rift headset is a display screen, so smoothness and graphical fidelity will depend upon the power of your computer and sophistication of the software application. In terms of hardware, however, the Rift produces a compelling virtual experience for the eyes.

I played a few VR titles available on the Oculus store, consisting of EVE: Valkyrie, Farlands, and Lucky’s Tale. I likewise tried Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games and Virtual Desktop, released through SteamVR

EVE: Valkyrie is the star of the launch titles for the Oculus Rift. It’s an online, multiplayer space dogfighting game sent out in the EVE universe. You play a cloned pilot who runs sorties with your squad versus other, comparable squads. It boils down to the area variation of group deathmatch in any first-person shooter, however it’s an interesting and fairly deep flight video game.

The format is perfect for utilizing the Rift while sitting. The view puts you in the cockpit of your picked area 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 double analog sticks and firing with the triggers. Fundamentally, the VR aspect of the game is unneeded; the experience is actually just like playing a dogfighting game on a regular monitor, simply with the capability to look easily around your cockpit (which does not provide any considerable tactical advantage). Nevertheless, the immersiveness the Rift uses in completely engulfing you in this cockpit viewpoint truly makes the video game feel more engaging and tense.

It isn’t a complex financial MMO like EVE itself, and the design of battle is a bit arcade-like in how ships fly and fire, however it’s enjoyable to fly around in space, shooting at individuals while they contend you. It seems like among the most complete games made particularly with VR in mind.

Farlands is a xenobiological playground. You play a scientist on an alien planet, trying to find brand-new life kinds. You can scan various creatures by staring at them, and enhance your understanding of them by feeding them foods they want. It has an extremely mellow quality, looking for alien animals and viewing them consume to slowly and progressively unlock new environments to explore. While the idea seems ideal for movement controls, it was basic to have fun with a standard gamepad, using a reticle in the center of your view to highlight things and move around.Oculus Rift Available

Lucky’s Tale is a standard cartoony third-person platformer where you manage a cartoon fox as he runs through various levels attempting to save his pet pig. It’s a captivating experience that doesn’t really require VR at all. Using the Rift in a video game like this lets you browse quickly from your above-the-action viewpoint. Nevertheless, you cannot readily move the camera to get a much better view of a given position relative to the character you’re managing, which proved to be really frustrating when trying to get Lucky to gather lines of coins set in specific arcs in 3D area; without the capability to pan around Lucky, I could not quickly align my dives.

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

 

SteamVR

I ran Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games (ATMMHG) on SteamVR to see if the Rift might manage it as smoothly as the Vive does. While SteamVR isn’t really the Rift’s native platform, it showed 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 worth of playing said third-person platformer in VR is still doubtful).

I also attempted Virtual Desktop, a program that predicts your computer’s screen in front of you in virtual space. It was simply as functional and interesting as it was with the HTC Vive, revealing my display as a giant, curved screen around me. The software can likewise generate a flat screen, and even reveal your desktop consider as a tv installed on the wall of a house theater. It’s an useful way to make VR helpful, even without VR-specific software application. If you want to enjoy a video and it’s not available on a client for the Oculus Rift or on SteamVR, you can simply pack it with Virtual Desktop.

The only drawback is the resolution of the screen. Since the Rift shows a 1,080-by-1,200 picture to each eye, and the virtual screen looks like a floating things, it’s really smaller than the headset’s per-eye resolution. That indicates text can appear blurred and rough unless you discover a sweet area from which to take a look at the screen, and reading can trigger eye pressure. That said, watching video on Hulu and Netflix is extremely cool.

 

Final Thoughts

The Oculus Rift easily produces an immersive, crisp virtual reality experience that will continue to improve with the development of brand-new software, which has been progressively coming out on both the Oculus shop and SteamVR. The release of the Oculus Touch controllers and the addition of them to the $600 headset package further contributes to the value, though the HTC Vive’s recent cut to $599 puts them on equal footing in price and functions. Both are technically impressive, powerful VR headsets, however our Editors’ Choice stays the PlayStation VR for its lower cost and ease of usage (though it just works with the PlayStation 4, instead of a PC).

If you wish to attempt virtual reality, but you do not want to invest a minimum of $400, the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View are solid options. They’re smartphone-based VR headsets that offer some of the best mobile VR experiences you can presently get for around $100. Nevertheless, you require a compatible phone to use them.Oculus Rift Available