Oculus has finally taken the wraps off of Rift S, its first PC VR headset release in three years. But there’s a reason the company is calling this Rift S and not Rift 2; the changes are mostly for the better, but not improvements across the board.

This week at GDC, during a special Oculus media event, we got our first look at the Rift S, the company’s Rift-replacement that’s clearly designed for ease of use and affordability; the Rift S will launch in Spring and be available for $400, and is of course fully compatible with the existing Rift library.

For a detailed look at specifications and features, see our article about the Rift S announcement here.

The high-level look is that Rift S moves to an inside-out tracking system (in lieu of the more cumbersome external sensors of its predecessor), gets a small increase in resolution, and an ergonomic redesign. But there’s a few changes that don’t feel like clear-cut improvements over the original Rift.

Visuals

Photo by Road to VR

Resolution

Of primary interest is what things look like through the Rift S. Here’s the skinny: Rift S now uses a single display which amounts to 1,280 × 1,440 per-eye, a moderate increase (1.4 times the total pixels) over the original Rift’s 1,080 × 1,200 per-eye resolution. But, the new display is LCD instead of OLED, which brings a handful of benefits like a better fill-factor (less unlit space between pixels) and less mura, but often lacks the rich colors and contrast of OLED. That said, Rift S’s LCD display seems quite up to the task, despite running at 80Hz compared to the Rift’s 90Hz.

SEE ALSO
Understanding the Difference Between 'Screen Door Effect', 'Mura', & 'Aliasing'

Clarity and Field of View

With the bump in resolution alone you get a bit better fidelity and a bit less screen door effect, but with the improved fill-factor of LCD, the screen door effect (unlit space between pixels) sees a pretty solid reduction which makes the Rift S clarity seem better than the moderate change in resolution would suggest.

With a “slightly larger” field of view—according to Oculus, which wouldn’t provide a specific FOV measurement—and minimal mura, what you see inside the headset looks a lot like the original Rift but with better clarity. The screen door effect is less distracting, and it’s easier to get lost in the content.

Refresh Rate & Lenses

Photo by Road to VR

On the 80Hz display, Oculus says that one reason for making it lower than the Rift’s 90Hz display was to ensure they could maintain the same recommended PC specifications as the original headset (to avoid fragmentation). That said, I don’t think I’d have any chance of seeing the difference between the Rift S at 80Hz and the Rift at 90Hz, though anyone who is highly sensitive to flicker might be able to feel the difference in excessively bright scenes.

As for the new lenses in Rift S, it’s too early for me to say with certainty to what extent they’ve changed things, but assuming they’re similar to the improved lenses in Quest and Go (as Oculus says), then I’d expect a larger sweet spot. These are still Fresnel lenses though, so you can expect some god rays, though they have likely been reduced to a similar extent as Quest and Go. Ignore anyone telling you “there’s no god rays” (which I hear all the time on headsets where this is not the case); god rays are most visible with high contrast scenes and you aren’t likely to notice them otherwise. However, in my time with the Rift S so far, I didn’t get to choose what content I was looking at, so I didn’t get to pull up a good test for god rays.

No Hardware IPD Adjustment

Because Rift S is using a single display, it has no hardware IPD adjustment (unlike the original Rift) to change the distance between the lenses to match the distance between your eyes. A proper IPD setting is important for visual comfort (and makes it easier to achieve maximum panel utilization). While IPD on the Rift S can be adjusted, to an extent, in software, users on the outer limits of the IPD range might be left wanting. Oculus hasn’t specified what they consider to be the headset’s acceptable IPD range.

Passthrough+

Oculus is talking up the new passthrough capability of the Rift S, which allows users to ‘see through’ their headset by piping the video feed from the on-board cameras into the displays. The company says they’ve paid special attention to make sure the feed is low latency, high framerate, and stereo-correct, which is why they’ve calling it ‘Passthrough+’.

Passthrough+ was unfortunately not ready for testing during my Rift S demo, but Oculus says that users will be able to set up their Guardian playspace boundaries by using passthrough+. Instead of tracing the boundary using a controller while looking at their computer monitor, users will see their environment directly via passthrough and ‘trace’ their boundary right onto the floor (a smart improvement over the prior method).

– – — – –

All things considered, for those who are used to Oculus’ first PC VR headset, Rift S’s visuals aren’t going to feel like a step into next-gen, but they are an improvement.

Head & Controller Tracking

Photo by Road to VR

Perhaps the single largest point of difference between Rift S and the original Rift is the tracking system.

Rift ‘Constellation’ Tracking (outside-in)

Rift’s IR LEDs visualized

The original Rift uses an ‘outside-in’ tracking system (called Constellation) that relies on external cameras which look at glowing lights on the headset and controllers (made invisible by using infrared light) to determine the position of the devices. This has shown to be a highly performant approach, but adds complexity to the setup because the external sensors need to connect to the host PC and carefully placed. And unless users are willing to run a USB cable across their room for a ‘room-scale’ setup, the default Rift tracking setup restricts users to ‘forward facing’ gameplay.

Rift S Insight Tracking (inside-out)

Image courtesy Oculus

Rift S, on the other hand, uses an ‘inside-out’ tracking system (called Insight) which places five cameras onto the headset itself. The cameras look at the world around the user, and computer vision algorithms use the information to determine the position of the headset. The on-board cameras also look for glowing lights on the controllers (also invisible via infrared) to determine their location relative to the headset. An inside-out system like this is vastly more complex than the outside-in system of the Rift, and it’s taken companies like Oculus several years to achieve the robustness and performance needed to make it work for a VR headset.

Room-scale Out of the Box

The result, however, means that Rift S is much easier to set up, and now has room-scale tracking out of the box, which means players can be more immersed in some games by walking around larger spaces and turning around naturally instead of relying on stick-based turning. Depending upon the game, having full 360 room-scale tracking can really enhance immersion levels (Lone Echo comes to mind for me).

The actual camera layout on Rift S is similar to Quest but has five cameras instead of four, and uses a different configuration. Instead of cameras mounted at the corners of the headset’s front panel, there’s two cameras toward the bottom of the front panel which face forward, one camera on the left and right of the headset which aim slightly downward, and one camera on top of the headset which faces the ceiling.

Latency & Accuracy

From my hands-on time so far, Rift S tracking feels nearly identical to Rift in latency and accuracy, though it might have a bit more jitter. In my time with the headset I saw zero unexpected/sudden head movements, and latency on both my head movements and hands felt very tight.

However, when moving my hands especially close to the headset (like when bringing my controller close to my face to look at the buttons) they would sometimes get a little bit wonky, which makes me think that there’s something of a dead zone for the controllers if they get too close to any one camera.

Controller Caveats

Image courtesy Oculus

This might not often be a practical issue, but you can imagine that it could pose a problem in certain game interactions like, for instance, a bow game where your string hand naturally pulls near to one side of your head before releasing, or a game where you bring objects near your face (like putting on a hat, eating a piece of food, or putting on glasses). Developers who still want to use these interactions may need to make case-by-case adjustments to make sure they work well.

Outside of the ‘very near the headset’ bubble, controller tracking seems to work very well for a broad range of interactions, and tracking coverage for the controllers feels massively improved over the inside-out tracking on Windows VR headsets. Of course this comes with the caveat that it’s possible to move the controllers outside of the field of view of the cameras. If you turn your head one way and hold your arm out the other way, you might end up breaking line of sight between the cameras and the controller with your body.

The system recovers easily if this happens momentarily because positional estimation is still ongoing via an IMU, but if it happens for extend periods (like when a member of the press intentionally puts their hands behind their back to test the controllers) the controllers eventually freeze in place and stay there until their position is reacquired by the cameras.

Oculus readily admits that some poses won’t work, and that will impact some content over others, but they say they’ve designed the system to offer “maximum compatibility” for existing content.

Over time it’s likely that developers will gain a keen sense of problematic poses and interactions, and either design fixes that make tracking occlusion invisible to the play, or avoid those poses outright.

– – — – –

Overall, Insight feels like a clear win for the Rift S in terms of ease of use and the addition of room-scale tracking by default—and is notably better in terms of controller tracking coverage than Windows VR—but doesn’t come without a few caveats. So far the problematic edge cases for controller tracking seem fairly innocuous, but this will be deeply content-specific.

Continue Reading on Page 2: Ergonomics »

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  • Salihoff

    Yeah it definitely looks ugly! I believe Oculus really focused on standalone HMDs that’s why Quest looks lot more polished than this “S” I’ll keep my beautiful Oculus CV1 for now

    • FireAndTheVoid

      From today’s Ars Technica article about the Rift S: “Oculus confirmed that Lenovo took the lead on producing this headset.”

      • HybridEnergy

        I think that kind of quote should make any Oculus fan cry.

  • Brian Wright

    Basically don’t go sell your current rift over this, but the changes are probably better for adoption in the long run. I kinda hope they allow people to run a hybrid system with cameras. Not required, but it would solve the remain tracking woes for people who have the room for them.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Yes, it would be possible ofcourse as the controllers still have the IR-leds which the outside-in camera’s need to track.

  • Thanks for this review, Ben! Amazing as always

  • A VR Enthusiastic

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    What a beautiful day!
    .
    .

  • kontis

    Pros:
    + more convenient, integrated tracking
    + slightly better resolution and 3 RGB subpixels = better sharpness
    + targeting 80 PFS (10 FPS less = easier to maintain good performance)
    + better lenses (better clarity, less godrays)
    + passthrough for Guardian = better safety
    + better headstrap (halo)
    + more convenient integrated audio and a headphone jack

    Cons:
    – no IPD adjustment = some people, like the founder, Palmer Luckey (ironic?) might not be able to use it as comfortably as the Rift
    – no deep blacks (a downgrade to LCD instead of using OLED)
    – same single screen that is in a $199 standalone (!) Oculus GO
    – target framerate (refresh rate) lowered to 80 FPS (was 90 FPS) = slightly worse latency/responsiveness
    – after all those years the resolution bump is tiny
    – it’s heavier (this may not matter thanks to the new heasdtrap, though)
    – no integrated headphones (replaced with strap pipe with lower quality audio)
    – Oculus Touch halo will not protect your fingers like in the Rift 1

    This would be amazing for a low-cost (<300$) headset. For $400 I expected an actual upgrade. 5 years ago when people were asked for their expectations of 2019 headset this would be considered a huge disappointment – even the most pessimistic people didn't expect specs this low. Facebook was supposed to push specs to the limits with their money and research…

    • dsadas

      it’s crap. Most of the headsets right now have better res and others MUCH BETTER RES. I mean, explain this to me…. Quest destroys this from almost every point of view like Manual IPD adjustment, two OLED panels, bigger resolution and on that of that it has a fucking computer built in… yet they dare to price RIFT S the same as quest. I mean, if there is someone that helds VR back it’s facebook. All the other smaller companies seems to actually do the advancement part.

      • Kevin White

        It’s weird. You can get the Odyssey for $250 right now, it has 25% more pixels plus hardware IPD plus better blacks and colors and contrast, and it came out 17 months ago. HP just unveiled a set that will have over 2.5x as many pixels as Rift S (granted it’s $200 more).

        I think not using the Odyssey / Vive Pro / Quest screens was a mistake. Lower res, worse contrast, slower refresh rate, no hardware IPD.

        • care package

          Without all the tricks for resolution being implemented yet, my question is who’s going to be able to even use all that resolution. The PC power is still needed, which people seem to easily forget.

          • Kevin White

            My buddy has a 2080Ti / 9700K PC with the Vive Pro and runs 200% supersampling, so he should be able to run 100% supersampling on a 2160×2160 per eye set like that new HP with the same type of performance.

          • care package

            Just a 2080Ti? Poor bastard.

          • Michael Kim

            Sure your buddy can run 2160 x 2160 at 100% with 90hz. but What about you? Since less then 1% of people with PC has RTX2080Ti so it seems the new HP headset is for few people..

          • Kevin White

            Hell no, I don’t even have a GPU, sold my 980Ti last year.

            The question was “who is going to be able to use that resolution” and I answered — people with a 2080Ti and an i7 9700K or better.

            It’s about 26% or 27% more pixels than the Pimax 5K+. Maybe a 1080Ti and 2080 will also be able to do it justice with slight tweaks to supersampling and/or in-game settings.

            Or maybe it’s just for 2080Ti and up, and that’s fine, because it’s good to have a range from low end to high end available. Some people can afford it. I wouldn’t buy the HP as my sole headset because of the controller tracking with only two cameras, but my friend probably will, for driving, where the cord and lackluster controller tracking doesn’t matter (he’s got Vive Pro wireless for room-scale). He’s a lot better off financially than I am, so I’m probably going to just buy the Quest and a few games this year.

          • Michael Kim

            I gotcha. Oculus is probably delaying Rift 2 waiting for the GPU technology to catch up with cheaper solution for more people

          • Kevin White

            Makes sense. They seem to have been concerned with pegging the same system requirements as the CV1. I just think the 1600×1440 split screen OLED in the Odyssey / Vive Pro would have been the better choice even if it pushed the price to $450.

          • Smokey_the_Bear

            PC’s are a dying breed.
            Even hardcore gamers will soon start to see the writing on the wall.
            Because of streaming your games, off the cloud.
            With Google showing off Stadia, Microsoft going to show off their version at E3, Valve working on their own system.
            I’m hoping in a couple years you can buy a 400 dollar VR headset, and the vast majority of the processing is done at a server farm a thousand miles away. With 5G or Wifi7, latency can be minimized, hopefully to the point where it’s not noticeable.
            I’m hoping 2 years…but probably 3-5. :(

          • And NVidia is looking to stream VR games. It is funny how fast we are moving forward in VR and yet like the DVD, future expensive hardware gaming may be a short lived supernova.

            But, it will come at the cost (literally and figuratively) of having to pay yet another monthly subscription.

            Cell phone, Netflix, Prime, Disney+, DC, Hulu, Xbox, PS, Origin, etc etc.

            I can only fork out so much every month.

          • That’sright

            If you’re a hardcore gamer someone who play more than 3 different games per month then cloud gaming monthly payment will be cheaper than paying up to 60$ for just one game.

          • If you live in a big city maybe 5 years. If you don’t probably 10 to 15 years.

          • gigus

            Even in big cities the coverage is spotty in the US, I am in Los Angeles and often find myself dropped down to the edge network. I wouldn’t pin any big hopes on the telecoms here, they might get 5G in a few spots but forget it nation wide. They just don’t have a good track record.

          • Smokey_the_Bear

            True… unless of course satellite internet is as good as promised ( referring to OneWeb or Starlink).

          • Rainfox Wolfstone

            and Tmobile 5G, can’t wait to give Starlink a try, will enjoy watching those launches.

          • care package

            5G is going to be the new internet. ISPs will be cell phone providers. You can already do that now, but it’s going to get a lot more common IMO.

          • Baldrickk

            5G isn’t about speed. Right now you get higher speeds with 4G.

            The main benefits of 5G are (supposedly) lower power drain, ability to support more users.

          • care package

            Main benefits are lower power drain and supporting more users? lol. No one would waste their time with 5G if those were it’s main benefits. It’s main benefits are clearly lower latency and faster speeds.

            “Features of 5G network, including extreme high bandwidth, ultra low latency, and high density connections”

          • Baldrickk

            All current 5G phones have slower networks than current 4G does.
            4G networks are not even being run as fast as they can go.
            This is the first time the release of a new mobile phone protocol hasn’t given better speeds for the first gen.
            The reason why is similar to why most CPUs run with the same click rates we had with Pentium 4s. It’s going wider not deeper.

            The problem is users. For example I was just talking to a friend at the rally in London today, and the signal kept cutting out – too many users.

            5G spectrum doesn’t have the range 4G does. It’ll require more masts, each covering a smaller area.
            There is the potential for greater speeds, but we’ll most likely just see the bandwidth split between more users, which is what is needed.

            Smaller ranges mean closer proximity to base stations, which means less latency, and lower transmission power.

          • Baldrickk

            Satellite internet will always be terrible for latency.
            Even at the speed of light that’s some distances for the signals to travel

          • care package

            I would agree accept I wouldn’t say PCs are a dying breed just yet. Not until Cloud gaming is pretty well established.

          • Rainfox Wolfstone

            and ISPs in the US all magically become awesome stewards of uptime reliability and low latency, umm…..ok….Id love that but how many places can you do that, the major cities, any rural areas, tough luck sorry they don’t make big PCs anymore, or they are hard to find now, sorry kid , thems the brakes.

          • care package

            Ya, cause the 10 Mbs needed for Xcloud stability is so hard to come by. Did you ignore most of my post? Let me repeat “Not until cloud gaming is pretty well established”. That could be 5 years or more from now, and 5G should be pretty well established itself. smh.

          • Baldrickk

            Cloud gaming is a freaking joke

          • care package

            Really? You’ve tried it? lmao. Better let google, MS, and Amazon know before they waste all that money.

          • Baldrickk

            When steam-link over a direct, wired connection introduces unacceptable latency, anything outside the LAN can only be worse.
            And that’s for 2d gaming.
            VR? Forget it.

          • care package

            You’re completely ignoring advances in software protocol, which innovation constantly pushes. Same reason we can now stream 4k video. In other words there are two factors at play., data delivery prorocol and delivery speed

          • Baldrickk

            Hahaha.
            No.

            It doesn’t matter what protocol or compression algorithm you use, it is going to do nothing to affect latency.
            In fact, because more compression takes more processing, it’ll probably make it worse.

            Going to your local takeaway is always going to be quicker than flying to China and back when you want some Peking duck.
            How good it tastes doesn’t matter.

          • Ellie 187

            the latency in streaming games is horrific…. I use 1gb home network, hardwired my pc and my smart tv to the same switch and still has pretty high latency compared to local keyboard mouse for high twitch reactions

            VR requirements on latency are even more important… how long it takes from when you look in another direction of how long that request goes back to the streaming server and the streaming server adjusts and then sends the picture data back to the headset… unless they figure out how to out perform a 1gb internal network with wireless streaming over the internet … its not going to happen… any time soon.

          • care package

            Pretty much everyone who’s tried both xcloud and googles say it’s amazing and as good as local. My experience sucks big time too with streaming, particularly the Steam link, but of course I’m not going to assume my experience with it is going to be the same as upcoming cloud gaming. My guess is they’d have it pretty figured out, or they wouldn’t be going forward with it.

          • DJHeroMasta

            Right, the more I read about people complaining that the res bump in’t as high as they’d like for it to be being as though it’s been over 3 years since the Rift released, the more I think about the hardware most users are running. We’ve already reached the point where we’re waiting for the graphical hardware to catch up and match/exceed the demand that these current and newer HMD’s require.

          • Rosko

            Yeah but i would have at least expected it to match the quest. That would have been just about right. Maybe there will be a Rift Q or something that will have the same specs but quest panels that would be more attractive to me.

          • Rosko

            oh & built in headphone are a must that is some stupid design choice to lose them

          • care package

            Since all the Rift S is, is a replacement for the Rift, then it makes total sense to keep the same PC requirements.

          • burzum793

            @parsley_breath:disqus the benefit is a higher DPI, less SDE. You can still feed a 4k display with just 1080p and still have benefits.

          • care package

            Ya, but are those benefits worth the cost? The only real benefit I see with a higher resolution display is future proofing, but by then the tech will be better on something new.

          • eleanore

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          • As well as 1080P movies since you don’t really need to push 90Hz frame-rate if you looking straight ahead most of the time.

          • DJHeroMasta

            I’ve been told that numerous times but 1080p on my 4K panel looks like shit compared to 1080p on my native 1080p panel. I thought it would look exactly the same if not a bit better since it’s supposed to scale perfectly but that’s not the case. My 1080p monitor’s nice and sharp while the 4K panel would be a bit blurry when set to the same res.

          • Ellie 187

            I believe the 1080ti in my system will be able to eat up the new HP headset … but people with a 1070/1080 (non-ti) might have issues.

          • I can actually run my Odyssey with no problem on slightly overclocked GTX 1050ti. So I think the 1070ti will be fine, or even the RTX1060. Important point is to make sure you have DP 1.3 port. For my use which is more visual than a lot of action, I am looking forward to the HP Reverb Pro.

          • DJHeroMasta

            Pft…haha. Has the Pimax HMD not taught you anything. You’d need 2x 1080 Ti’s in SLI/a RTX 2080 Ti to comfortably run that HMD. And NVIDIA’s VR SLI has yet to be fully implemented into any title so I don’t see that happening any time soon.

          • Chris Edwards

            The could do like Pimax and offer different FOV and resolution setting depending on the computer configuration. If your still using a old 8086 processor and someone has a I9XXX with a RTX 2080TI they should design for the highest denominator and let the software decide what kind of image to present. Crappy computer obviously crappier performance.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Yeah, but you don’t want the Odyssey, you want the Odyssey+.. Other stuff like tracking shoulld be much better with the S.
          But I agree, it doesn’t seem like $399 worthy, more like $300..

          • KOSTANTINOS KOD

            Original odyssey is better. If you want it to look like + ,put some toilet paper infront of the screens.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Not what I’ve read in most reviews of the +, but I guess you have an original version and don’t want to admit that the + is just better.

          • KOSTANTINOS KOD

            Unfortunally i do. Its a terible device created to be weared by basket balls. But no that anti-sde in the new its just a filter above the original screen doing a photoshop-like job .

          • Andrew Jakobs

            It’s a bit more complicated than ‘just a filter above the original screen’. And all reviews of the + says it’s certainly an improvement over the original version (and the headset itself also had some adjustments so it would be better suited for more people).

          • KOSTANTINOS KOD

            There are like 5-6 youtubers selling the vr it self , and few nvidia friendly sites doing the same. For obvious reasons …
            If you keep an eye in complains from common people you will almost never buy something worthless.
            My odyssey was a gift :)

        • AJ_74

          Yeah, but take it from me… the Odyssey+ is abysmal. I got it for $299 and returned it. The fit is awful, the light bleed is ridiculous, and the center portion of the lenses have a clearly defined spherical outline that are impossible not to notice.

        • Chris Edwards

          If you could get an Odyssey+ with Oculus S tracking I think it would be a better product. Then again this is just a replacement for the old headset and not really intended to be much of an upgrade. I’m not sure if it would be worth it for current Oculus headset owners to upgrade with this product. I will be getting the Quest because I like my GO for traveling and the Quest will be much better.

    • Get Schwifty!

      The value in their eyes is the inside out tracking. This is where the developer sees things value-wise different than the prosumer. I think overall they are on the right track, but not sure about the display changes, but honestly, owning an original Rift, Vive and GO I can’t say the GO display was terrible but it was for someone sensitive to visuals a step down.

      That being said, its pretty messed up that Rift is now onto Touch 1.5 basically, and Vive is still using ….. wands…. I cannot get my head wrapped around that.

      I think they should have used the color of the Oculus Go, I think it would have made the Rift S a bit more distinctive and frankly a bit more attractive, but I bet the lighter color for the controllers might have been a question for the tracking.

      • Let’s see what the COSMOS reveal says. It would be great if their new controllers (basically the same and new Oculus ones) are backward compatible. Vive 1.0 owners could just upgrade the controllers as a nice compromise until true 2.0 hardware comes out.

    • care package

      IPD adjustment is digital.

    • Nice post. I’m personally still excited (and waiting on DisplayLink to announce WiGig for it)

    • Mikael Korpinen

      They are just trying to own the business with exclusives. It’s the reason I won’t buy their headsets. Unless I start to port my games to it

    • This sounds to me like a quick solution to appease those who wanted a update to the Rift without having to retool for a completely new headset (hence the Lenovo logo) as well internal LCD panel.

      It also makes me wonder if the mobile team did not work with the desktop team since it would make more sense to me to just add an HDMI to MIPI chip to allow for desktop use for the Quest. But doing so probably would have bumped it to $500. It will be interesting if as others have alluded to that there might be some low-latency remote PC feature coming. But something tells me it will have to come from a 3rd party since I can’t see Facebook eroding the the desktop market before the Rift S even comes to market.

    • Francesco Fazio

      I am an Oculus Rift owner. This is not an upgrade at all. This is not the Rift 2.0 we were all waiting for …

      What the market needs is:

      – 200 degrees FOV
      – 4K per eye resolution
      – Hand tracking
      – Eye tracking

      Frankly I am really surprised and disappointed by the fact I was expecting an headset with all these features to be highly available as per March 2019.
      Instead we keep on seeing this “meh” devices which are not an upgrade just a little tiny improvement from the previous generation.

      I wont buy an Oculus Rift S or an Oculus Quest for any reason since I own already a product that is superior to both. Very sad facebook. Very sad.

      • Robbie Zeigler

        Yet you will waste money on an even worse product (reverb) which only uses 2 cameras for tracking… lol you are quiet the character.

    • Commenter

      I wasn’t even expecting a desktop upgrade until news of this came out. I was just expecting the standalone upgrade. Now I guess if I would choose it would be the standalone update.

  • Get Schwifty!

    Three thoughts here.

    One, it’s sad that so few responses yet – the VR buzz about a headset with inside out tracking a year ago would set this forum on fire. But its still good to hear, but I want to know what the requirements are for the space you are in? No mirrors, lighting that kind of thing.

    Two, that is one fugly headset. Again what you see inside is most important, but outside ugh….

    Third, I have mixed feelings on the single LCD screen…. OLED look good, I am going to have to see it to decide though. The lack of interpupilary controls might be a bigger issue than it first seems too.

    • Mac

      I agree, this headset looks really bulky and lacks style like the original Rift. Not sure about the halo head strap as the old version works great for me and looks a lot better.

      Honestly, I would have preferred to see a VirtualLink on the Quest – now that would have been something to talk about.

  • HybridEnergy

    Oculus’s strategy is now crystal clear, cut price and the PC at any cost to quality, improvement, and complexity to attain the attention of Joe and Sally at Walmart. Even if it means a big middle finger to VR enthusiasts. All this hardware news though in 1/4 of 2019 with out any announcements and releases of quality AA+ content is really burning me out. I already have awesome headsets, I need some new games.

    • What are you currently running for HMD?

      • HybridEnergy

        Vive Pro wireless, OG Vive for sweaty fast paced games. I have an Acer MR hmd on the side. Used to have a Rift. Never had a PSVR yet, but I don’t have a PS4 so that’s why. That’s about it.

        • Ok then! We have an experienced user here!

          What do you play on the Acer?

          • HybridEnergy

            To be honest? not much, I’ve used the portability of the tracking to bring it over to people and show case VR more with it. It’s not bad or anything, it’s just I use my Vive. Maybe if I had the high res Samsung one though? who knows .

          • I actually considered picking up an Odyssey+ plus just to take everywhere and grab more converts to help me with my VR take over of the world!

  • matthias

    Wow – that headset is super ugly and disapointing.
    It is not worthy to be an Rift successor.
    I’m really horrifed…

    • Horrified? Really. Over a headset.

      Don’t watch the news, sir. I don’t think your heart could take it.

    • Dave

      It’s not a Rift successor, it’s a Rift replacement with some good and some bad but at the same pricepoint, same performance demands and the same software eco system.

  • Miqa

    I sold my Rift today in speculation, before the second hand market would be saturated (and because I just had a child, no time to play). I did expect to see a Rift equivalent in terms of price and capability, but with inside out tracking, which is what we got.

    I’m surprised to see it’s so ugly and such a large change from the design of the Rift and Quest. Personally have thought Oculus to be thoughtful in their design. Wonder how much the partnership with Lenovo influenced this? Also a bit surprised Quest gets OLED but not Rift S.

    I’m not dissatisfied with selling mine, as I got a good price and it would just sit otherwise. I also think that this would be a worthy replacement, but it is not quite up to the level I expected from Oculus.

    • FireAndTheVoid

      The reason it doesn’t look like an Oculus headset it because it isn’t an Oculus headset. It’s a Lenovo headset that was permitted to use some Oculus tech: specifically their controllers, inside-out tracking, embedded headphones, and marketplace. Everything else about the design, I suspect, was entirely Lenovo – it even has a Lenovo badge on the side.

      Here is what I think happened. They had been developing a Rift 2 for the last 3 years under Brendan Iribe. Zuckerberg decided it was too pricey at the last moment, just before they were set to enter production. Because they were so late in the game when they made this decision, they partnered with Lenovo (who BTW makes the cheapest of the Windows MR headsets) to Frankenstein together this monstrosity together in time for a 2019 release. Brendan Iribe leaves out of frustration. If this is what happened, it would explain everything.

      • HybridEnergy

        I have to tell you, tin foil assumption or not it makes sense going along with the fact that in all of this Oculus might not care about the consequences since I think they are betting everything on the line with the Quest.

        • Miqa

          Seems reasonable to me.

          • HybridEnergy

            Well, they can take that risk. Oculus under the umbrella of Facebook can literally skip gen 2 PC-VR, get crushed there, and come back in no problem gen 3 kicking and screaming if need be. Good luck to them.

          • Tesla

            Will not happen.

        • Jack Liddon

          The Oculus Quest feels like it’s designed in house. It looks the part and has the innovation and has the excitement. The Rift-S…not so much. I really hope they continue to sell the original Rift. It’s still a solid headset.

          • Dave

            Sell the original Rift? All the stores have sold out, Nate has confirmed they are replacing the Rift with the Rift S, the Rift probably costs more to make… If you want a Rift I would buy it now from Oculus before it’s too late.

      • Tesla

        Lenovo designed their WMR headset 2 years ago at least. It has higher resolution than this crap they want people to use for another 2-3 years. It is a joke what Facebook did with Oculus.

    • Tesla

      Buy Odyssey+. Soo much better than any Oculus.

      • Wildtz0r

        You can’t in the EU

      • Miqa

        Better screens sure. But the inside out tracking seems to be better implemented here (hardware wise). Not to mention Oculus software integration, Touch, $100 less. Also no Odyssey in Europe.

      • Dude….WE GET IT. You pop your wad inside your O+ headset each night. We get it. Porn must be really great on it.

    • OK, I am considering same, but I have 1+ hour workout each morning with Beat Saber. Not selling my CV1 till i have an S or a Cosmos.

      How much did you get if I may ask?

      • Miqa

        Got about $350 (with a third sensor and accessories). If you want Rift here you’ll have to pay $500 when shopping domestically. Was hoping I’d be able to make a one for one trade between Rift and Rift S, which turned out to be an ok gamble.

  • gothicvillas

    hype train arrived… Lenovo ugly duck stepped out..

  • tragicheap

    Looks like a $200 windows mr headset

    • Tesla

      …but worse one. WMR is 1440×1440 minimum. Odyssey+ is is like Mercedes compared to this, a Fiat.

  • Kevin White


    There’s also a way now to adjust the headset’s eye-to-lens distance
    which can help maximize field of view and make the headset easier to use
    with glasses. To adjust, just press the button on the bottom of the
    visor and slide the entire assembly forward and back (very similar to
    PSVR and Vive Pro).”

    Hmm, my PSVR would never stay put, when moving my head or even just looking down it wanted to always slide forward which was, to say the least, immersion-breaking. Wonder how taut the Rift S’s mechanism is.

  • 3872Orcs

    With no physical IPD adjustment I’m not sure I could even use this as my IPD is 60.

    • jwvanderbeck

      Th base IPD is most likely 63ish with probably +- 5-8mm in software. This is a total WAG but its probably close. You *should* be ok.

    • Marcus

      Lucky one. Mine is 71.

  • Salihoff

    Why would they even spend their time on this crap? They could release Quest and say we will no longer manufacture tethered headsets and that would be a rational strategy because all GPU computations are moving to cloud. Is this ugly beast worth all that trouble?

    • care package

      Not everyone wants weak azz mobile shit.

    • Xron

      Cloud gaming adds latency, thats a no no for Vr, atleast for few next years.

  • Tesla

    Palmer. Start another company and kickstarter campaign.

    • FireAndTheVoid

      There was probably a non-compete clause when he sold Oculus to Facebook. He probably isn’t legally able to found another VR HMD company.

      • Jack Liddon

        He’s moved onto government contracts to protect us from the evil Mexicans crossing our border…

      • He is doing VR for military.

        And fixing old Rift headsets on his dime.

  • Duane Aakre

    This headset would have sounded a lot more interesting on Monday than it does today after the HP reveal with its 2k x 2k per eye panels. I really thought we were going to see the same thing here and last night I was surfing the Best Buy website and finding I could pick up a new PC with an i9 CPU, a 2080ti GPU, and a terabyte SDD for $2700. But this hardly seems worth the bother.

    I don’t grasp Oculus’ thinking. Quest is for the lower end of mass market and Rift should be for the high end. Historically, PC gamers have always been willing to pay extra for the very best or we would just play on consoles. Why doesn’t Oculus grasp this? So they can sell 200 more units to wannabee gamers?

    • care package

      It makes sense to me. They want to reach a greater audience, which might be the biggest factor in saving PC VR. Keeping the specs low makes sense too. As they stated, they didn’t want to alienate current Rift users into needed another PC upgrade. Will I get it? Probably for two reasons. My Rift just sits right now, because I don’t like 2 things about it now that the honeymoon is long over. Low visuals and the sweating/heat inside the headset.

      • Nice post. I don’t mind the visuals so much as the cables and the sweat. I bought extra/exchangeable pads so sweat is not an issue.

        Still waiting on WiGig though, for the cable problem. At least INSIGHT tracking is a better solution than CONSTELLATION.

      • Brian Wright

        If it had come out at $299 at least you could say the intentions were clear. A cheaper rift for the masses. I mean there is nothing inherently wrong with the rift s, just the price.

        • Darshan

          Which surely reach to $300 by December 2019. Very likely and not a bad idea at all.

        • care package

          I claim I keep seeing by those who have no clue what the headset cost to make. Keep in mind the Lenovo partnership. Lenovo needs their cut too

          • Brian Wright

            Well the Go is selling for $200. Thats the HMD basically. Throw in a touch setup for $99 and you have $299. That includes a standalone camera, extra controller and mobile SOC etc not needed in the rift s. True I don’t have a BOM, but its not exactly rocket science to get in the ballpark. Its far closer to a $299 device than a $399 one.

          • care package

            Lol. Wow. Why do I bother

      • What greater audience? It costs the same as the current generation Rift and at native resolution requires a faster GPU.

    • MosBen

      As care package said, it’s about keeping the specs the same. Keep in mind that a big audience for Oculus is developers. When the Rift launched Oculus swore that they would not raise the system specs during a hardware generation. Doing so just fragments the userbase and makes it harder for devs to sell games.

      The Quest isn’t just for “the low end”, it’s for people who either 1) don’t have a gaming PC at all, or 2) want portable VR that does 6DOF tracking. I’m definitely in the latter category and will be picking up a Quest. The Rift S is for people who want a step up from what the Quest’s mobile hardware can do and who have a reasonably modern PC with a discrete graphics card, which fits the profile of lots of people that like gaming but aren’t going to spend $2,700 on a ridiculously powerful PC.

      • care package

        Really what the Rift S is, is just a replacement for the current Rift as they officially stated. People are freaking because they still see it as intended to be an ‘upgrade’ when really it’s not.

    • Because QUEST is not x86 architecture and therefore can run STEAM. So, Oculus store only purchases will off-set the cost(lower to no profit) of the hardware. Rift S compromises are to keep the price below $400. Including the 80 Mhz refresh to keep PC spec reqs as low as possible.

      Unless you have the marketing numbers to say otherwise, I would personally think a $399 headset will sell a heck of a lot more units than a $499 headset.

      The recent price drops in Rift 1.0 have shown the sales to be blowing away VIVE 1.0 sales.

      • Brian Wright

        Yah, but this is closer to a go than a quest in specs. Its a $299 set, tops.

      • Pure speculation on your part, nobody of us knows the production costs of those headsets.

        For what its worth, the entry level WMR headsets have basically the same specs (but with only two cams) even though they are long on the market and start at 200 Dollar.

        • Dave

          I think the original Rift probably costs more to build than the Rift S. Why else would they stop production.

        • I don’t know the production costs, just like people in here don’t seem to understand you can’t get 20 pounds of ass in a 10 lb pair of jeans. I know, I’ve tried.

          What I can safely speculate on though, is a higher rez screen probably costs more than a lower rez one.

    • Darshan

      Rift S is priced $50+ than what current model of RIFT being sold now… FB intend to phase out RIFT with S model till RiFT 2 get ready.

  • Brandiliotious

    HP Reverb is what “Rift S” should have been. If the reviews are good, I might jump ship as I primarily do sim racing. I like what FB is doing with Quest as I think it will expand the market, but they really messed up with this.

    • Michael Kim

      I hear you. Now the Rift S is no longer jack of all trade Headset anymore. Now we will have the good VR headset option for car or flight simulation, HP Reverb.

  • mellott124

    Wow, disappointed. Expected 2kx2k per eye. And that design… yikes. HP for me!

  • Rosko

    Still hoping Valve can save 2019 for VR.

    • Tailgun

      Yeesh that’s a helluva thing to hang your hopes on. So far the only thing Valve seems to be good at releasing is the VR equivalent of vaporware.

      Me? I’m getting more anxious about Pimax releasing their knuckles controllers so I can start considering the 5K+.

      Very disappointed by this announcement today. That’s not to say I won’t buy it, just leaning away from it now

      • Rosko

        I think i’m over the whole Rift S thing. It’s not an enthusiasts HMD i had convinced myself it might of been something for me but that was never the intention. Who knows about Valve. There still are not many options for a high end enthusiasts headset. Valve may target similar audience to Rift S if it ever gets released.

        • care package

          enthusiast tech isn’t going to keep VR alive. It never could have.

          • Rosko

            I do not disagree with that statement at all.

  • MosBen

    My current theory is that either 1) The Rift S sees significant price cuts in a year’s time, or 2) We won’t see the Rift 2 in 2020, with it coming more likely in 2021.

  • GigaSora

    No wonder there were high ups that left over this. This thing is so bad it feels like a betrayal.

    • MosBen

      Why would a product refresh feel like a betrayal? The product refresh of the SNES or the Xbox One S didn’t feel like betrayals to me, even if they weren’t products that I was going to buy. The Rift 2 will come in time.

      • GigaSora

        I know the Rift 2 is coming, and I don’t really care about the Rift S either way, but I guess I was expecting an upgrade over a lateral move. They were on record with me as making the highest quality VR products and then they make this thing for seemingly no reason at all. I’m just disappointed in them and it makes me wonder if they’ll be able to hold their position as top in VR.

        • MosBen

          Why do you think that there’s no reason at all for the Rift S? It addresses a few issues with the Rift that are easy and inexpensive to change and makes the product less expensive to make, which likely makes it more profitable in the short term and allows for some price drops in the future. It also allows the first generation to last a little longer, which gives them more time for R&D on the next generation unit and also gives more time for graphics horsepower to get cheaper so that the median machine will be more powerful when the next generation hardware comes out. They’re not going to put out an HMD that requires a $1,000+ gaming PC again.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Oculus s is going to be only 400 as well as the quest.You can say what you want but if you got loads of money and want to deal with mail orders than you can order vives or focus.It is the best item and quality with top customer service for the price.Jesus too died for you,He is alive !

    • MosBen

      I’m just curious, when you’re talking to people in real life, do you append every statement with something about Jesus, or is that just something that you do online?

    • yeah, but does is play RIFT or VIVE?

      Worshipers want to know!

      What is the resolution of the human soul?
      Over 9000 ?

      =)

  • sfmike

    Without better resolution and better blacks what is the point. Very disappointing when the Quest sounds better than the “S”. Another example of corporate profits over innovation and what we expect from Facebook. No wonder Brendan Iribe quit.

    • MosBen

      Eh, it makes sense to me. The Go is the low end mobile product. The Quest is the higher end mobile product. The Rift S will be the lower end tethered product, with the Rift 2 (or whatever they call it) being the higher end tethered product.

  • Jack Liddon

    This is a step backwards to me. Kinda understand why Iribe left the company, now.

  • Michael Kim

    I am really curious to see how better the Quest’s OLED screen is comparing to Rift S LED screen. I was very impress with Go’s screen as far as the SDE and the sharpness as a Rift user. I even read the article saying Go’ screen looks better than Vive Pro or Odyssey in a way despite the less resolution. only downside of Go’s screen was the black was grayish due to back light.

  • Pizzy

    What about wireless solutions?

  • impurekind

    Yeah, it just feels like a parallel alternative to the current Rift, with some positives and negatives. I think many people will be fine with that, but at the same time I think a lot of people will still be waiting for a proper Rift 2. I mean, with a headset like the Pimax giving up around 200 degrees field of view and 4K-8K resolution, the Rift isn’t anywhere near cutting-edge at this point. But it is much cheaper.

  • fuyou2

    BIG FUCKYOU TO OCULUS YOU STUPID CUNTS…

  • fuyou2

    WONKY TRACKING…WHAT A FUCKING JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • fuyou2

    LCD not OLED!!!!

  • brubble

    A slapped together Lenovo device configured to work with Oculus controllers. Pass.

  • KOSTANTINOS KOD

    The old one is better.

  • crim3

    For quite some time I’ve been saying that Oculus and Valve should allow us to select lower refresh rates for demanding games like DCS World, because a lower refresh rate but without reprojection should look better than 90Hz with reprojection.

  • Mario Baldi

    I know I shouldn’t care, but man that thing is sooooooo ugly!
    Why couldn’t they go with the quest design, which looks so much better?

  • burzum793

    So it’s 2019 and there is still nothing better than Rift or Vive for good money? :( I really looked forward to buy a better Rift but this is… just not better. The biggest issue is the inside-out tracking, which seems to be better than others but still suffers from the same problems. They could have had the best of both worlds if they would allow an optional combination with (existing) external sensors.

    I personally look the most for higher res and less SDE and NO step back in tracking. All the other HMD aren’t yet worth the money either. The Pimax looks promising but all the reports about issues and bad support prevent me from buying one. There are some nice WMR HMD but they all use the camera based inside-out tracking and because of that suffer from the same tracking issues. Any recommendations other than to keep waiting?

    • JustNiz

      > there is still nothing better than Rift or Vive for good money?
      Pimax. Way better than Rift and Vive.

      • burzum793

        You obviously haven’t read the 2nd paragraph of my comment.

  • Camisade

    One of the game-changers for me is the idea of the Passthru+ system. Can that view of the “outside” be easily toggled on and off?

    Because to be able to setup the headset so that you could effortlessly open a small window, looking downwards, to see your keyboard (and thus make typing faster and easier while in VR) would be a game-changer for me!

    For my gaming use (where I play games in VR that still have many legacy requirements for keyboard entry) that’s as (if not more) important than increased resolution and decreased SDE.

  • AJ_74

    More flailing wildly in the dark (no pun intended here) by the
    leading purveyors of VR tech. Am I the only one scratching my head as to
    why…

    1) The Quest has a significantly higher-resolution display than the
    Rift S, even though the very weakest of Rift S-compatible GPU’s (i.e. RX
    580/GTX 1060) are an order of magnitude more powerful than the Snapdragon 835 GPU?

    2) The Quest can incorporate better OLED display panels and the same
    optics, tracking technology and controllers, plus pack in a Snapdragon
    835, the software front-end and an active cooling system, yet cost the
    same as the Rift S?

    3) The fuck the Quest couldn’t have been given a tethered PC-mode,
    eliminating the need to buy both a Quest and a Rift S if (like me) you
    want both functionalities in your VR headset?

    • Slappi

      As a potential first time VR buyer these are the questions I have. If the Quest had the ability to hook up to a PC as well I would pay $500 for it immediately. Now I’m just confused what to do?!?

      • AJ_74

        I’m in the same boat. To me Oculus has, hands down, the best store/UI/software experience and the best controllers, and now great tracking without the need for external sensors and USB 3.0/1 ports up the wazoo.

        But the most likely result of this decision by Oculus is that I won’t buy either of their next-gen headsets, because neither is good enough on their own to warrant me investing in more Oculus headsets (I already own a Rift and a Go).

        I mean, they were so, so close to bringing to market the undisputed champion of VR tech, and there were no technical hurdles whatsoever standing in their way. I don’t know if it’s plain buffoonery on the part of Oculus execs (the top exec, more than likely) or a simple cash grab, I just know I’d have gladly paid $599 for a better, more flexible Oculus Quest.

    • impurekind

      Yeah, a simple option to connect a wire from the Quest to the PC and use it as a PC VR headset really would have been a better option here imo. Then Oculus could focus on making a proper Rift 2 to be released in the near future.

  • Hi Ben, Mike here.

    Can you find out how they are computing their sparse point cloud and positional tracking. I know that with the Quest this is done partly with Qualcomm’s independent chipset. Is there something similar in the Rift S? If my hunch is right, this is done internally avoiding the much higher bandwidth requirements of the WMR and why wireless connectivity is harder to do since it literally has to stream back the two multiplexed camera feeds over USB-3 where the sparse cloud and tracking info is derived in the host PC’s CPU. The algorithms must be pretty efficient since even with a Intel i5 NUC with discrete graphics, can still manage to provide smooth tracking, albeit at lower visual frame-rate and resolution.

    I also remember reading on Upload that the Oculus Unity plugin supports WMR. Plus the images you have here show off a Lenovo logo on the side of the RIft S. The fact it uses a similar headband and an updated tracking inside/out tracking system makes me wonder if some behind the scenes licensing is going on.

    One final note: You have confirmed another suspicion I had, and that is the use of single LCD panel. If I remember correctly the Oculus Go uses a similar resolution single LCD panel and it even more sense that they are limited to 80 HZ since physically larger panels have a hard time refreshing faster than 70 HZ. It would be interesting when it is released to compare test patterns on the two units along with some calibrated motion patterns. I have very strong hunch we might be looking at the same or slight improved LCD panel from the same vendor.

    Thanks!

    • benz145

      Hey Mike, good questions. I think that if Oculus was doing some of the tracking processing on-board, they’d probably say so, though I’ve heard nothing mentioned about it so far. It’s definitely an interesting idea to do much of the heavy lifting on the headset itself to slim the USB bandwidth, but AFAIK, doing so would probably require a SoC roughly equal to what’s in Quest anyway, and I can only imagine they want to avoid that for cost/complexity reasons.

      If anything, they might be combining/compressing the camera streams before sending over USB, but I don’t expect they’d do anything more complex than that on the headset itself.

      As for the display, yes all signs point to it being the same or substantially the same as what’s in Go.

  • JustNiz

    > Oculus says that one reason for making it lower than the Rift’s 90Hz display was to ensure they could maintain the same recommended PC specifications

    This is clearly just marketing baloney to cover up the real reason, which is that it’s using the exact same cheap 72hz LCD screen that the Go uses, and they could only overclock it to 80hz reliably.

  • Jeremiah

    Of course they are working with a Chinese company, Marxist Silicon Valley should just move there already… As for the device, it looks cheap, almost like it was made it China…

  • duked

    Compared to CV1, the Rift S has worse blacks, same low render resolution, no IPD-adjustment, no headphones, lower FPS and a higher price. On the plus side, it has better comfort, less godrays, no USB-cameras and less SDE.
    All in all, the Rift S is a joke. I understand why Brendan Iribe left Oculus.

  • grindathotte .

    Q. What do you get if you cross the Rift S with HP Reverb?
    A. My money.

  • Windows Mixed Reality.