Oculus Rift Steam – 2017 Review

photo of Oculus Rift VR headset

The retail variation of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset lastly arrived in 2016, after several development packages and numerous years of work. Since then, the excellent Oculus Touch motion controllers have actually been contributed to the Rift as a single $598 package, slashing $100 each from the initial cost of both the headset and the controllers. The Oculus Rift stays practical and immersive, if you have a computer system that can handle it. With the addition of the Oculus Touch controllers, the Rift is more enticing than the now almost identically priced HTC Vive, though the Sony PlayStation VR is our Editors’ Choice for its ease of usage as well as lower price.Oculus Rift Steam

Prior to we begin, simply a note that you can find the headset by itself for around $499, though we highly advise 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 nearly similar to the requirements for the HTC Vive. Oculus advises an Intel i5-4590 or much 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 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 sensing unit. I checked 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 rectangular visor with rounded edges and little visual style. The front panel is totally flat, significant only with an Oculus logo design. The sides of the visor are similarly flat, and connect to arms that pivot somewhat up and down and attach 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, meeting at a cushioned triangle in the back. The straps are kept in location with hook-and-loop fasteners, and can be quickly 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.

On its own, the headset is relatively light and comfortable. You can use glasses with the Rift, however it will make the fit a bit tighter. I used my glasses when evaluating the headset, which assisted make sure that I saw crisp and accurate visuals. However it likewise made putting the Rift on and taking it off a bit awkward, and depending upon the size of your frames, they could injure your ability to wear the headset for extended periods of time.

The headset connects to your PC straight through a prolonged cable that divides off near the end into HDMI and USB 3.0 adapters. The cable unwind the left strap prior to running clear of the headset. It’s a little bit more awkward than the over-the-top-of-the-head cable of the HTC Vive, and I found myself struggling to find a comfortable position where the cable didn’t sit distractingly on my shoulder. But it’s not nearly as big an issue in usage as the HTC Vive’s cable, given that the Vive is created to work when you’re walking around a set area.

The Rift by itself uses a single external sensor, a black cylinder that sits on a nine-inch-tall metal desktop stand. The sensing unit can tilt up and down, and should be placed where it can keep a clear view of the headset when in usage. A second, identical sensing unit tracks the Oculus Touch controllers, and the 2 sensing units operate in tandem to enhance tracking for all the devices and cover a bigger location than the stationary position just one sensing unit enables.

Once you’re up and running, a 2,160-by-1,200 OLED panel is used to produce a 1,080-by-1,200 photo for each eye, separated by the lenses in the headset (similar to the Vive). The lenses can be adjusted using a small lever on the best underside of the visor. More on the visual themselves in a bit.

 

Controls

The Oculus Touch movement controllers initially launched as an optional addition, however have actually because been added to the $598 Rift package. They aren’t the only control choices included in package, however. The Oculus Remote is a little, 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 using the Rift. The Rift also consists of an Xbox One wireless controller and a Microsoft Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows with which you can utilize it, which is handy for VR games that utilize standard, non-motion-based control plans.

With the Oculus Touch controllers, the Rift’s controls reach parity with the HTC Vive’s, which has actually included movement controls out of the box since its launch. We go into more detail in our review of the Oculus Touch, but it’s a really comfy, natural-feeling control plan with responsive physical components like analog sticks and face buttons in addition to motion tracking.Oculus Rift Steam

 

Setup

Setting up the Rift is simple. You need to download the Oculus setup software on your PC, which will then walk you through the fairly few actions essential to obtain going. Initially, plug the headset and sensors into your computer system, using an HDMI and 3 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 set the gamepad with it. When these steps are complete, you can slip the headset on and delve into the Oculus software.

At this point in the setup procedure, you can play any software application available on the Oculus Store, but you can go further with relatively little hassle. By setting the Oculus software to load apps from unidentified sources, you can get the headset to deal with SteamVR, similar to the HTC Vive uses. The launch of Oculus Touch implies 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 does not quite support the very same whole-room VR as the Vive. You can utilize it while sitting, standing, or within an area defined by the two sensing units consisted of with the Rift and Touch. It supports a smaller sized space than the Vive’s wall-mountable sensors do, however this is a small sacrifice; given that the HTC Vive is connected to your linked computer system with a cable television just like the Rift, really walking around 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 movement in VR. The Rift’s head tracking, along with Touch controller tracking, work effectively within the area the sensing units enable.

 

The Oculus Experience

The Rift shares the exact 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 picture with smooth movement and head tracking. In testing, the 3D result of the stereoscopic images truly offered me the sense that the virtual things I was looking at were actually in front of me. Ultimately, the Rift headset is a display, so smoothness and visual fidelity will depend upon the power of your computer system and elegance of the software application. In regards to hardware, however, the Rift produces a compelling virtual experience for the eyes.

I played a few VR titles available on the Oculus shop, including EVE: Valkyrie, Farlands, and Lucky’s Tale. I also tried 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 area dogfighting game sent out in the EVE universe. You play a cloned pilot who runs sorties with your squad versus other, similar squads. It comes down to the area version of team deathmatch in any first-person shooter, however it’s an engaging and fairly deep flight game.

The format is perfect for utilizing the Rift while sitting. The view puts you in the cockpit of your selected area fighter, and you can freely take a look around it while remaining in place. The game itself is managed with the Xbox One gamepad, piloting the ship with the dual analog sticks and shooting with the triggers. Basically, the VR element of the video game is unneeded; the experience is actually similar to playing a dogfighting video game on a normal monitor, simply with the capability to look freely around your cockpit (which doesn’t provide any substantial tactical advantage). However, the immersiveness the Rift provides in entirely engulfing you in this cockpit viewpoint really makes the game feel more interesting and tense.

It isn’t really an intricate financial MMO like EVE itself, and the design of combat 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 feels like one of the most total games made specifically with VR in mind.

Farlands is a xenobiological play area. You play a researcher on an alien world, searching for brand-new life kinds. You can scan various creatures by staring at them, and improve your understanding of them by feeding them foods they want. It has an extremely mellow quality, searching for alien animals and enjoying them eat to gradually and steadily unlock new environments to explore. While the principle appears ideal for movement controls, it was simple to play with a conventional gamepad, utilizing a reticle in the center of your view to highlight things and move.Oculus Rift Steam

Lucky’s Tale is a basic cartoony third-person platformer where you control an animation fox as he goes through various levels aiming to save his pet pig. It’s an attractive experience that doesn’t really require VR at all. Using the Rift in a game like this lets you browse easily from your above-the-action perspective. Nevertheless, you cannot readily move the video camera to obtain a better view of an offered position relative to the character you’re managing, which proved to be extremely aggravating when attempting to get Lucky to gather lines of coins set in specific arcs in 3D area; without the ability to pan around Lucky, I couldn’t quickly align my dives.

Our review of the Oculus Touch goes into detail of what Oculus Rift games that support Touch resemble, but 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 efficiently as the Vive does. While SteamVR isn’t the Rift’s native platform, it showed the interface and packed the game completely, and I discovered it was simply as smooth and immersive as it is on the Vive (though, like with Lucky’s Tale, the real worth of playing stated third-person platformer in VR is still doubtful).

I likewise tried Virtual Desktop, a program that projects your computer’s screen in front of you in virtual space. It was just as functional and interesting as it was with the HTC Vive, revealing my display as a giant, curved display screen around me. The software application can also generate a flat screen, as well as show your desktop deem a tv mounted on the wall of a house theater. It’s a handy way to make VR helpful, even without VR-specific software. If you wish to view a video and it’s not readily available on a client for the Oculus Rift or on SteamVR, you can just pack it with Virtual Desktop.

The only downside is the resolution of the display screen. Given that the Rift shows a 1,080-by-1,200 image to each eye, and the virtual screen appears as a floating item, it’s really smaller sized than the headset’s per-eye resolution. That indicates text can appear blurred and grainy unless you discover a sweet spot from which to take a look at the screen, and reading can trigger eye stress. That said, enjoying video on Hulu and Netflix is really cool.

 

Final Thoughts

The Oculus Rift easily produces an immersive, crisp virtual reality experience that will continue to enhance with the advancement of brand-new software application, 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 bundle further adds to the worth, though the HTC Vive’s recent cut to $599 puts them on equivalent footing in rate and features. Both are technically impressive, powerful VR headsets, however our Editors’ Choice remains the PlayStation VR for its lower rate and ease of usage (though it just works with the PlayStation 4, rather than a PC).

If you want to try virtual reality, but you don’t wish to spend at least $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 currently get for around $100. However, you need a suitable phone to use them.Oculus Rift Steam