News Oculus Unveils $399 Rift S Headset Made With Lenovo

abryant

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Oculus today announced a new Rift S headset with a higher resolution display, integrated audio and other features meant to improve on the original Rift. Read more here.

NATHANIEL MOTT
@nathanielmott

Nathaniel Mott is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software and hardware component news.
 
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Inside out tracking is nice as an incremental improvement to the Oculus, and will benefit new purchasers, but until the display resolution changes significantly or wireless connectivity for the PC version is implemented, I personally see little incentive to consider another Oculus. After looking to TPCAST for a wireless solution, I've decided it's too expensive, too problematic, and too limited for Oculus, with the added concern of an announced second revision never materializing, speaking very poorly for the company, meaning sub optimal performance with the original Oculus and worse support for any new headsets.
 
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I am torn.

Taking it for what it is: a mid generation upgrade. If the tracking works as advertised (as a 4 camera setup, WMD reviews are useless for comparison) it is good. It is hopefully easier to use and higher resolution for a wide range of mainstream pc gamers. E.g. the 1060 and I hope now 1650 cards and amd equivalents. If this came out 1 year ago I would be excited. I have gotten by with 2 cameras (Rift CV1) but I worry about waist height and games like superhot where I did things without looking for fun.

What I want: a gen 2 oculus rift for the 1080+ crowd. I fear oculus has given up on the enthusiast pc gamers to go all Facebook.

I am more excited by the HP reverb.

But that may be because I kind of want two headsets. One for multimedia (high def for video and experiences like google vr) and easy to move into my living room or sit at my computer with and one for full immersive experience like superhot. My gaming space for my rift us behind my computer and down a floor due to room setup (loft).

That said I feel like true gen2 needs foveated rendering and eye tracking. Which are not mature yet.

It feels like we've got:
Commercial VR: $1,500+
Vive: premium vr: $800-$1500
Affordable WMD: high def multimedia and work applications (virtual monitors): $400-$600
Rift:best bang for your buck as a pc gamer: $400
PS5/XBox: best for non-pc gamer: $200+system
Quest: stand alone 3ds equivalent - $300-$400.
Go: Education/gimmick toy

I worry that we'll totally stratify and have no competition within the premium consumer vr tiers, with Rift possibly stepping out.

In other words I am disappointed by Rift S because it seems to signal OCULUS abandoning the cutting edge, but I think it is a good system in a vacuum and maybe even really good. It tries to maximize performance on mainstream gfx cards, maintain price, upgrade resolution and eliminate the inconvenience of sensors and difficult setup (THIS I can bring to a friend's house or move around my house easily. He has a 1080. It was too much work with the CV1.) If the tracking works as advertised (4 cameras, better than everything but the Vive) and is playable on a 1660 (or even better, 1650) gfx despite the resolution bump and the 80 Hz is not noticeably worse I would say this is a better product than the CV1 and great at this price. I may finally have something I can push on friends. The oculus resolutiom amd setup were the two things holding back my recommendation, and I know they couldn't do HP resolution and 6 cameras at $400.And I would still recommend this over the HP by a huuuuge margin if you don't yet own a Rift or a Vive. But if you already own a Rift? Meh.

My complaints are all the other things that Oculus is not doing.
 
Inside out tracking is nice as an incremental improvement to the Oculus, and will benefit new purchasers, but until the display resolution changes significantly or wireless connectivity for the PC version is implemented, I personally see little incentive to consider another Oculus.
The resolution is at least quite a bit higher than the original Rift. Like the article states, the display has over 40% more pixels, and since the panel uses individual RGB components for every pixel rather than sharing half of them, that works out to more than twice as many subpixel elements. Even though it won't quite offer the color quality and contrast of OLED displays, doubling of subpixel resolution doesn't seem so bad. And without eye-tracking combined with an effective foveated rendering implementation, most current graphics cards would have a hard time pushing significantly more than 2560x1440 resolution at the kinds of frame rates VR requires anyway.

At the very least, this brings the Rift's hardware specifications more on par with the Windows Mixed Reality headsets that have been mostly priced under $300 for the last year. The price is higher than most of those, but that could perhaps be somewhat justified by better ergonomics, controllers and other features, like integrated audio. I imagine it will perform more or less in line with the higher-end Windows MR headsets, like Samsung's Odyssey, which also sell for around $400. That is a bit underwhelming though, considering those headsets have been out for a while, and this feels more like the headset Oculus should have been releasing a year ago. As it is, it seems like they're simply catching up to what the rest of the market is doing. And it is a bit disappointing to see that they took some steps backward, like with removing hardware IPD adjustment and reducing the refresh rate. The headset appears to be designed around reducing manufacturing costs compared to the original Rift more than anything. No doubt it will be better than other headsets in its price range in some ways, but it will undoubtedly be worse in others.

Perhaps there will be a higher-end offering as well though. The Rift S might simply be the lower-end option that launches first, while a more premium model with greater resolution, eye tracking and wireless might potentially launch later. Or, maybe they're just leaving that for the next generation, and we'll see others offering those things first.
 

alextheblue

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The price is higher than most of those, but that could perhaps be somewhat justified by better ergonomics, controllers and other features, like integrated audio. I imagine it will perform more or less in line with the higher-end Windows MR headsets, like Samsung's Odyssey, which also sell for around $400.
The Odyssey has integrated audio as well, and can very often be had for far less than the Rift S. I've seen the Odyssey on sale pretty regularly. In fact it's on mega-sale at Samsung direct right now for $250. Very tempting, but there's no "must-have" VR titles (for me personally) so I'm going to wait until the dust settles a bit.


Again, this is a sale price but you can often get it for less than $400. I guess the bottom line is that the Rift S is launching into a crowded arena, and I sort of doubt they were expecting to be hemmed in on both sides like this. I will say that I feel the Odyssey+ is too expensive. I suspect they'll drop the price on it once the Rift S hits shelves.
 

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