Oculus Rift Facts – 2017 Review

photo of Oculus Rift VR headset

The retail variation of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset finally showed up in 2016, after multiple development sets and a number of years of work. Since then, the outstanding Oculus Touch movement controllers have been added to the Rift as a single $598 bundle, slashing $100 each from the initial cost of both the headset and the controllers. The Oculus Rift remains functional and immersive, if you have a computer that can handle it. With the addition of the Oculus Touch controllers, the Rift is more appealing than the now practically identically priced HTC Vive, though the Sony PlayStation VR is our Editors’ Choice for its ease of use and even lower cost.Oculus Rift Facts

Prior to we begin, simply a note that you can discover the headset by itself for around $499, though we strongly advise getting it with the Oculus Touch controllers. The controllers are readily available by themselves for $99.

 

What You Need

Main requirements for the Rift$ 399.00 at Amazon are nearly similar to the requirements for the HTC Vive. Oculus suggests an Intel i5-4590 or much better CPU, an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or better video card, a minimum of 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 extra sensing unit of the Oculus Touch controller, and you can set up the Rift itself with simply two 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 easy and understated. It’s a plain black rectangle-shaped visor with rounded edges and little visual style. The front panel is totally flat, marked only with an Oculus logo. The sides of the visor are similarly flat, and connect to arms that pivot slightly up and down and attach to the three-strap harness for protecting the gadget 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 easily adjusted. A set of on-ear headphones sit on the arms, able to individually pivot and flip up and down to correctly fit on your ears.

By itself, the headset is relatively light and comfy. You can wear glasses with the Rift, however it will make the fit a bit tighter. I utilized my glasses when evaluating the headset, which helped ensure that I saw crisp and accurate visuals. But it likewise made putting the Rift on and taking it off a bit awkward, and depending upon the size of your frames, they might harm your capability to wear the headset for long periods of time.

The headset connects to your PC straight through a prolonged cable television that divides off near the end into HDMI and USB 3.0 ports. The cable television winds down the left strap before running clear of the headset. It’s a little more uncomfortable than the over-the-top-of-the-head cable of the HTC Vive, and I found myself having a hard time to discover a comfy position where the cable television didn’t sit distractingly on my shoulder. However it’s not almost as big a concern in usage as the HTC Vive’s cable, considering that the Vive is designed to work when you’re walking a set area.

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 sensing unit can tilt up and down, and need to be positioned where it can keep a clear view of the headset when in usage. A 2nd, identical sensing unit tracks the Oculus Touch controllers, and the 2 sensing units work in tandem to improve tracking for all the devices and cover a bigger area than the stationary position simply one sensing unit enables.

When 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 adjusted utilizing 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 released as an optional addition, however have actually given that been added to the $598 Rift package. They aren’t the only control alternatives consisted of 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 connected to your wrist when you’re utilizing the Rift. The Rift likewise includes an Xbox One cordless controller and a Microsoft Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows with which you can utilize it, which comes in handy for VR 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 consisted of motion controls out of package considering that its launch. We enter into more information in our evaluation of the Oculus Touch, however it’s a really comfy, natural-feeling control scheme with responsive physical components like analog sticks and face buttons in addition to movement tracking.Oculus Rift Facts

 

Setup

Setting up the Rift is easy. You have to download the Oculus setup software on your PC, which will then stroll you through the fairly few steps necessary to obtain going. First, plug the headset and sensors into your computer system, utilizing an HDMI and 3 USB 3.0 ports. Second, sync the remote by pulling out the battery tab and pressing a button. Lastly (and additionally), plug the Xbox One receiver into a USB 2.0 port and set the gamepad with it. When these actions are total, you can slip the headset on and jump into the Oculus software.

At this moment in the setup procedure, you can play any software available on the Oculus Store, however you can go even more with relatively little inconvenience. By setting the Oculus software application to load apps from unidentified sources, you can get the headset to work with SteamVR, much like the HTC Vive utilizes. The launch of Oculus Touch means you can now use all SteamVR games that support motion controls with the Rift. They sign up as HTC Vive motion controllers when you set them up for Steam, and work perfectly with Vive-compatible games.

While the Rift now has motion controls, it doesn’t quite 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 included with the Rift and Touch. It supports a smaller area than the Vive’s wall-mountable sensors do, but this is a little sacrifice; considering that the HTC Vive is tethered to your connected computer with a cable television just like the Rift, in fact walking with the headset on needs you to be very careful not to trip over the dragging wire. It’s an immersion-breaker that harms the experience of otherwise totally free motion in VR. The Rift’s head tracking, together with Touch controller tracking, work very well within the area the sensors enable.

 

The Oculus Experience

The Rift shares the very same resolution and revitalize rate as the Vive, and as such the experience is really comparable between the two. Like the Vive, the Rift produces a crisp photo with smooth motion and head tracking. In screening, the 3D effect of the stereoscopic images truly gave me the sense that the virtual objects I was staring at were really in front of me. Ultimately, the Rift headset is a display screen, so smoothness and graphical fidelity will depend upon the power of your computer system and elegance of the software. In regards to hardware, however, 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 likewise tried Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games and Virtual Desktop, launched 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, similar squads. It boils down to the space variation of team deathmatch in any first-person shooter, however it’s an engaging and fairly deep flight video game.

The format is perfect for using the Rift while sitting. The view puts you in the cockpit of your chosen area fighter, and you can easily 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 element of the game is unnecessary; the experience is really just like playing a dogfighting game on a regular monitor, simply with the ability to look easily around your cockpit (which does not provide any significant tactical advantage). Nevertheless, the immersiveness the Rift offers in totally engulfing you in this cockpit viewpoint actually makes the game feel more interesting and tense.

It isn’t a complicated economic MMO like EVE itself, and the style of combat is a bit arcade-like in how ships fly and fire, however it’s pleasurable to fly around in space, shooting at individuals while they shoot at you. It seems like among the most complete video games made particularly with VR in mind.

Farlands is a xenobiological playground. You play a researcher on an alien world, trying to find new life forms. You can scan various creatures by staring at them, and improve your understanding of them by feeding them foods they desire. It has an extremely mellow quality, trying to find alien animals and seeing them consume to slowly and gradually open new environments to check out. While the concept seems perfect for movement controls, it was basic to play with a traditional gamepad, using a reticle in the center of your view to highlight objects and move.Oculus Rift Facts

Lucky’s Tale is a basic cartoony third-person platformer where you control a cartoon fox as he goes through various levels attempting to save his animal pig. It’s an appealing experience that does not actually require VR at all. Utilizing the Rift in a game like this lets you look around easily from your above-the-action perspective. Nevertheless, you can’t easily move the video camera to obtain a much better view of a given position relative to the character you’re controlling, which showed to be very discouraging when attempting to get Lucky to collect lines of coins set in particular arcs in 3D space; without the ability to pan around Lucky, I could not quickly align my dives.

Our evaluation of the Oculus Touch goes into detail of exactly what Oculus Rift games that support Touch resemble, but to sum up the experience, the optional Touch controllers make things like spray-painting walls, aiming weapons, and utilizing telekinetic powers feel extremely natural.

 

SteamVR

I ran Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games (ATMMHG) on SteamVR to see if the Rift might handle it as smoothly as the Vive does. While SteamVR isn’t really the Rift’s native platform, it displayed the interface and loaded the 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 real value of playing said third-person platformer in VR is still questionable).

I likewise tried Virtual Desktop, a program that forecasts your computer system’s screen in front of you in virtual area. It was just as functional and appealing as it was with the HTC Vive, revealing my screen as a giant, curved display screen around me. The software application can also create a flat screen, and even show your desktop consider as a tv mounted on the wall of a house theater. It’s a convenient way to make VR beneficial, even without VR-specific software. If you wish to watch a video and it’s not offered on a client for the Oculus Rift or on SteamVR, you can just load it with Virtual Desktop.

The only disadvantage is the resolution of the screen. Given that the Rift shows a 1,080-by-1,200 photo to each eye, and the virtual screen appears as a drifting object, it’s really smaller than the headset’s per-eye resolution. That implies text can appear blurred and rough unless you find a sweet spot from which to look at the screen, and reading can trigger eye pressure. That said, seeing video on Hulu and Netflix is very 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 steadily 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 bundle even more adds to the value, though the HTC Vive’s recent cut to $599 puts them on equal footing in rate and functions. Both are technically remarkable, powerful VR headsets, however our Editors’ Choice stays the PlayStation VR for its lower rate and ease of usage (though it just deals with the PlayStation 4, instead of a PC).

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