Table of Contents

Setup & Experience

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Plug and Play

Getting the Oculus Rift up and running was a buttery smooth process, especially compared to the tribulations endured by those of us who used the Rift DK1 or DK2.

oculus rift review photos (4)The Oculus desktop software walks you through a polished setup wizard which tells you what to plug in and when. The Rift has a single cable which ends with an HDMI and USB port, while the Sensor has a cable ending in a single USB port. The hardware setup is really just plugging in the Sensor and sitting it on your desk, then plugging in the Rift.

Once that’s done, you can immediately jump into VR using the Remote which is configured seamlessly, with no need to pair or install it.

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While the Remote is the easiest way to start poking around in VR, you will want to hook up the included wireless Xbox gamepad by plugging in the wireless dongle and syncing the controller. The controller is used for games that require more complex input, but a number of experiences will work just fine with the Remote.

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Once your headset is configured correctly, you’ll be first taken into Oculus Dreamdeck which will tour you through a few of the Oculus-made experiences that we first saw back when the company revealed the ‘Crescent Bay’ headset prototype. Later, you’ll be able to launch Dreamdeck from the library to see an extended set of vignettes.


The Oculus desktop app and Oculus Home in VR are your portal to using the Rift. Just like on Gear VR, Oculus Home allows you to browse and purchase titles while also acting as your content library, VR launcher, and friends list.

Fresh from booting your PC, you can actually put on your Rift and in a few seconds you’ll appear in Oculus Home, without having to launch a single thing on your computer first. Pretty slick. Taking the headset off freezes games automatically and turns off the display, thanks to an onboard proximity sensor.

Universal Menu & Calibration Tool

You can access the Universal Menu at any time by holding the Xbox button on the gamepad, or pressing the Oculus button on the Remote. Here you can access a simple calibration tool to help hone the sweet spot and get the sharpest image.

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The adjustment on the bottom of the headset lets you dial in your IPD

The calibration tool shows a green plus sign and asks you to move your Rift up and down on your face the get the horizontal line as sharp as possible. Then you can use the IPD adjustment dial on the headset to get the vertical line equally sharp (you can also see a readout of the actual IPD setting in this tool which updates as you make changes).

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Games & Launch Lineup


The Rift launch lineup is impressive in that there seems to be a little something for every gamer, even at this early stage, which I think is hugely important. From racing to dungeon crawlers to even pinball, the Rift launch lineup has something that you’ll want to try.

We’ll be breaking out individual reviews soon, but check out the Rift launch lineup and our previews:

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Many of the games at this point go beyond the ‘experiences’ we’ve come to know from the development days of VR—those 5 to 10 minute demos that show something neat, but are just teasers. Many of the titles in Oculus’ curated launch catalog feel like real games that you will want to spend time in (and money on).

Oculus Dreamdeck, as mentioned earlier, is a series of VR vignettes which originally premiered at the introduction of the Rift ‘Crescent Bay’ prototype some time ago. This is an excellent introduction for first time VR users and even non-gamers as it’s an entirely passive experience, but shows lots of different experiences which get the imagination juices flowing for newbies.

Conclusion & The Virtual Elephant in the Room

The Rift feels like a near-perfect execution of the device Oculus promised they would make back during their 2012 Kickstarter. It’s a VR headset that lets us “step into the game” in a powerfully immersive way that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before (assuming you’ve never tried VR). The user-experience so far is exceptional, which is especially impressive given the scope of today’s launch (the product, drivers, the Oculus Home platform for desktop, 30 launch titles, etc).

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But a lot has happened in the world of VR since that 2012 vision—most notably the introduction of high performance motion input controllers which radically enhance the level of interactivity (and in many ways immersion) of virtual reality.

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See Also: Hands-on – Oculus Touch 2016 Prototype Brings Refinements to an Already Elegant Design

Oculus will of course be shipping their own motion input controllers (called Touch) in the second half of 2016, but with the HTC Vive including motion controllers in the box right from the get-go (and launching next week), the Rift is left with what feels like a significant missing piece for anyone that has already experienced great motion input.

The good news is that anyone who is getting into VR for the first time (not having tried motion input prior) will probably be blown away by the Rift even without Touch. And then when Touch joins the party a little further down the road, those new users will be further surprised at how much motion input adds to the VR experience.

road-to-vr-exemplar-ultimate-by-avaThis review was produced by testing the Rift on the Road to VR Exemplar Ultimate, our top-end system designed to push virtual reality experiences above and beyond what’s possible with systems built to lesser recommended VR specifications. The Exemplar Ultimate is the reference point for gamers who demand the best virtual reality experience.

In celebration of the launch of the Oculus Rift and (soon) HTC Vive, you can save $150 off the Exemplar Ultimate using code ‘VRLAUNCH2016‘ through April 8th.

Disclosure: Oculus provided Road to VR with a loaner Rift and PC to facilitate this review.


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  • towblerone

    Flagged as spam.

  • Mike

    I don’t know if you guys have a Vive yet or not, but any news on the Oculus Store working with the Vive? Or is it exclusive to Oculus? For the sake of all VR I hope it’s compatible for both, like Steam vr.

    • Metrogenic

      Just the Rift for now. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

    • benz145

      Right now the Oculus Store only supports the Rift. I will see about trying the Rift with Steam though.

    • Most of it will be Steam focused, since that seems to be the general consensus on pc gaming market anyways. Most of the Oculus games will port to steam hopefully.

  • George Vieira IV

    Can’t wait to get mine. I hope the white on black light ray issue isn’t too distracting for me.

    Maybe a typo on the first page : “…feel a like they are resting…”

    • benz145

      This wasn’t a typo actually but I adjusted the wording a bit to try to make it more clear. Thanks for the feedback : )

      • Sven Viking

        I’ve never actually heard the expression “feel a like” before. It’s definitely not meant to be just “…feel like…”?

  • Dwayne Johnson

    How come no one ever lists their system specs? I want to know how well the headset performed on the system they were using.

    • PianoMan

      They have, the last page of the article states that they used this system to test it:

      • Dobba

        They also say this:

        Disclosure: Oculus provided Road to VR with a loaner Rift and PC to facilitate this review.

        So if they lent them a PC, why do they also say it was tested on their own Exemplar Rift PC.

        Confused as to what it is as I’m guessing Oculus didn’t provide them with an Exemplar to test on.

        • benz145

          We tested with our Exemplar PC, but it’s still important to us to disclose that Oculus sent a loaner PC to us even if we didn’t use it as the basis for our review.

  • DonGateley

    With no diopter adjustment on the device the virtual focal plane distance will be fixed and those requiring glasses at that distance will need to use them with this.

    I’d like to know what the distance is to that virtual focal plane because my eye’s focal distance is fixed at infinity from plastic lenses due to cataract surgery.

    • DAB

      You only need glasses in VR if you’re nearsighted. VR focuses at infinity for comfort.

      • DonGateley

        Excellent news, thanks.

  • Joe

    Any word on the audio experience?

  • How well does it work with Windows 7? I *REALLY* want to avoid Windows 10. I know, if you work hard enough at it, you can gut all of M$ spyware, but I’d rather avoid the hassle, if possible.

    • benz145

      Haven’t had a chance to try with Windows 7 yet unfortunately, but according to Oculus, Windows 7/8/10 are all supported.

  • Leo Richard Comerford

    Here are some bits and pieces which would be worth looking into in the weeks ahead:

  • Christopher Conley

    I was
    talking with a student the other day (I’m a philosophy professor) who was
    apologizing for having to check his phone while expressing his amazement/shock/pity
    that I don’t own a cell-phone. While his thumbs were-a-twiddling and his face
    was pointed at his hands, he said, “I can’t imagine being so disconnected
    from the world.” I didn’t say anything. I was too busy looking at the odd
    triple V formation of the geese flying over our heads.

    I am not a Luddite. I like my computers. But I like my mind a whole lot more. I
    try to avoid the instant memory machine that is google. E-mail has made life
    hell because now it seems I’m never not “at” my job. Twitter, Facebook,
    Instagram – unimaginable to me. To my mind, internet should not be between
    water and bread as it is for most young people see the details of recent

    But I totally understand the fascination with wireless communication and the
    technology that surrounds it. I was an amateur radio operator when I was a kid,
    and I was playing with flight simulators and writing code on the Commodore 64
    and the old 386 series when most of the country was still struggling with the
    difficult transition from rotary dials to push-buttons.

    When the Times sent out the Google cardboard VR thingy, I made it, wrapped it
    in a lot of duct-tape (a ham radio habit), and made my son download some VR
    content on his phone so I could check it out.

    It was fun. For a while. I marveled at the technological advance. And it would
    be awesome for flight simulators and driving games. I just can’t imagine
    it replacing a classroom…

    • Sven Viking

      All reasonable, just also keep in mind that a $600 PC-powered headset provides a rather different experience from a phone in a piece of cardboard with $2 lenses.

  • Bog Nakamura

    I’m feeling like the actual software is really polished and user friendly. After the DK’s I was put off and opted to wait the PSVR, but looks like the Oculus might be even better at plug and play experience. Waiting for some serious games to be suported.

  • Scott Krueger

    Anyone Have any Experience using Both on the Same System? I have pre-ordered both the Oculus Rift & HTC Vive and Plan to get the PS VR on order soon. I’m a All of the Above type of guy… So as far as the Rift & Vive I am wondering how well they will play together on the Same System? Can I leave both Plugged in and Choose in the Game which Headset I want to use? Will I have to Plug in one or the Other Exclusively to switch, etc…


    My Oculus Rift is shipping they took payment and are about to issue tracking, so very happy about that! There are games I want to experience with the Rift!
    The VIVE is Awesome too! Room Scale VR is a great immersion into the VIVE VR World! Motion controllers are very accurate.

  • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea

    A year later and what have we learned about Oculus? Well, they aren’t a nice company.

    The founder of Oculus, Palmer Luckey, has financed an alt-right pro-Trump group. Google Oculus Trump for more info on that.

    ZeniMax employees left to work at Oculus and took ZeniMax property with them to help make the Oculus hmd what it is today.

    Oculus has had to drop the price of their headsets and touch controllers due to their poor sales and their founders financing of an alt-right group that included Milo Yiannopoulos. John Carmack stealing ZeniMax property hasn’t helped Oculus either.

  • Willem Goosen

    How do i get one ?

  • Willem Goosen

    Hi how do i get one

  • Alfredo Villar

    I do not recommend buying anything in this company anymore.I bought the new rift oculus from your website two weeks ago and they came with white spots on the screen and the solution they give me is to buy new ones. They have the worst technical support I ever saw.