With the announcement of Rift S earlier this month came the revelation that the headset would not include the ability to physically adjust the distance between the lenses in order to align with the distance between the user’s eyes (also known as IPD), making the headset less adaptable to those with IPDs further from the headset’s nominal setting. We reached out to Oculus to understand the officially supported IPD range for Rift S, Quest, and the company’s other headsets, as well as their field of view.

In a conventional VR headset, the ideal scenario for comfort and clarity is to have each of the user’s eyes aligned with the optical center of each lens, and to have the optical center of each lens aligned with each display. This can be challenging because adult human IPD can range from ~50mm to ~80mm (with a normal distribution centering around 63mm).

Image courtesy ‘Variation and extrema of human interpupillary distance’

“Mean IPD is statistically significantly different between the two genders, between certain racial groups, between near and far viewing, and between certain age groups. Mean and median IPD for the adult human population both appear to lie somewhere near 63 mm. With regard to extrema: the vast majority of adults lie within the range 50 to 75 mm.”

Source:Variation and extrema of human interpupillary distance‘ by Neil Anthony Dodgson

In an effort to cover the IPD distribution from the 5th to 95th percentile of the population (the vast majority) the original Oculus Rift (also known as CV1) uses two separate displays to which each lens is affixed, along with a mechanism that allows the distance between the lens/display assemblies to be adjusted from 58mm to 72mm, Oculus says.

The Rift S, however, uses a single display to which both lenses are fixed, which means the actual distance between the lenses cannot be adjusted. Oculus has confirmed that Rift S will support a software IPD setting, which will adapt the rendered image for the user’s IPD. And while the software setting can improve the perceived scale of the rendered image, it can’t account for clarity or comfort issues which come with not looking through the optical center of the lens.

Official IPD Range of Oculus Rift S, Quest, Go, & Rift

Image courtesy Oculus

The removal of a hardware IPD adjustment on the Rift S has prompted questions about which IPD ranges Oculus considers suitable for the headset. We asked to company to confirm the IPD details of each of their headsets and received the following:

  • Rift
    • Adjustable lens IPD: 58–72mm
    • “Best for users between 56mm and 74mm”
  • Rift S
    • Fixed lens IPD: 63.5mm
    • “Best for users between 61.5 and 65.5mm
  • Go
    • Fixed lens IPD: 63.5mm
    • “Best for users between 61.5 and 65.5mm
  • Quest
    • Adjustable lens IPD: 58–72mm
    • “Best for users between 56mm and 74mm”

The company prefaced the figures with the following:

“It’s worth noting, of course, that perception and comfort will vary person to person and depend on anatomy, and some people may have a higher tolerance for the experience (for example, if they fall outside ‘best’ range, they could still use and enjoy the headset).”

Sweet Spot of Oculus Rift S, Quest, Go, & Rift

Image courtesy Oculus

From the figures provided by Oculus, it’s clear that the Rift and Quest share the same hardware-adjustable IPD range, while the Rift S and Go share the same fixed IPD. The information also appears to indicate what Oculus considers the size of the ‘sweet spot’ of each lens, the region of greatest lens clarity which provides the “best” viewing experience—for all four headsets, the sweet spot would be 2mm wide.

However, this doesn’t jibe with suggestions that the sweet spot has been improved with the newer lenses used in the Rift S, Quest, and Go. Granted, ‘sweet spot’ is not a precisely defined term; clarity may have been improved within the 2mm region, even if the region itself was not meaningfully expanded. We’ve reached out to Oculus for more info.

Unlike any of the other Oculus headsets, the Rift S includes a smooth eye-to-lens distance adjustment which will enable a more dynamic sweet spot along the z-axis, making it easier to achieve optimal field of view, and also helping to accommodate those with glasses. Oculus Go includes a glasses spacer which changes the eye-to-lens distance but only between the nominal value and the value achieved with the glasses spacer.

Field of View of Oculus Rift S, Quest, Go, & Rift

Image courtesy Oculus

On the field of view front, Oculus has long shied away from offering specific measurements (presumably because they are somewhat dependent on the facial structure of each user). The company was only willing to provide some vague, relative comparisons:

  • Rift FOV: baseline
  • Rift S FOV: “slightly larger than Rift”
  • Go FOV: “slightly larger than Rift”
  • Quest FOV: “equal to Rift”

– – — – –

Following the reveal of the Rift S and its lack of hardware adjustable IPD, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who left the company back in 2017, said that the lack of hardware-adjustable IPD on the Rift S means he won’t be able to comfortably use the headset, and further expects that its IPD wouldn’t be suitable for about 30% of the population. Oculus didn’t respond to a request for comment on Luckey’s claims.

Back in 2015 however, ahead of the launch of the original Oculus Rift, engineers who designed the headset spoke about why they felt that supporting a wide IPD range was a key design goal, and the importance of being able to customize the IPD to fit each user.

The most important thing in terms of your comfort is getting optics right and getting the fit on your head right. The fit on your head includes things like ergonomics and also the way the weight is distributed. […]

You have two eyes, we have two screens [on Rift CV1]. Getting the right depth perception and focus is really important to get the maximum comfort for each person. Ergonomics is really crucial. When we’re talking about ergonomics, we want to fit everyone from the 5th percentile female, all the way up to the 95th percentile male, with one design. This is really, really tough. And if we get this wrong it won’t be comfortable for everybody. The Rift really needs to fit you, all of your customers, the whole community. […]

The Crescent Bay [pre-Rift] prototype didn’t do [IPD adjustment]. This is a really important feature on the Oculus Rift headset. Our problem as engineers is to get this [to be] a really smooth, easy adjustment, and also not to add too much weight or complexity. […]

The goal is to create better stereoscopic view, to create better depth perception, and better 3D.

Indeed, the engineers noted the challenge of making a headset with a hardware IPD adjustment that doesn’t add too much complexity to the design. Four years later, the perceived importance of the feature seems to have shifted as Rift S and Go have sacrificed their hardware IPD adjustment ostensibly to minimize complexity and cost.

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Facebook's Jason Rubin on Quest, Rift S, & the Direction of Oculus

Ergonomics—the physical fit of the headset—are also a critical factor. With a sweet spot tolerance potentially as small as 2mm, a headset must be able to comfortably rest in a very precise position on the user’s head in order to achieve good alignment, and it ideally should stay there for the duration of the VR session.

Other major headsets on the market have used a fixed IPD approach for years—notably PSVR and all of the Windows VR headsets (except for the Odyssey and Odyssey+)—though they have not been without their own complaints.

A fixed IPD would not be problematic on its own except for the fact that it’s challenging to achieve a large sweet spot (the region of greatest lens clarity) with the simple optics used in conventional VR headsets.

Update (3/29/19): An earlier version of this article stated that all Windows VR headsets use a fixed IPD. However, Samsung’s Odyssey and Odyssey+ Windows VR headsets include a hardware IPD adjustment. This has been corrected.

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  • daveinpublic

    I never saw articles specifically saying fixed IPD is a huge problem until the day the Rift S came out. I understand people like the feature but why were there no articles about PSVR fixed IPD before this? I personally think adjustable IPD is the way to go, for many reasons, but I’ve also heard people say that they can play with the IPD slider at any position and not notice a problem, and I also wonder why the outrage is at Rift S and not others?

    • Eric Bourduas

      I would presume the outrage is because the OG Rift has physical IPD adjustment, so not having it in Rift S is a regression. Whereas not having it in PSVR isn’t a regression because there’s no previous PSVR HMD that had it.

      • daveinpublic

        I can see that, but the article doesn’t say it is frustrated because Oculus is regressing, it says it’s frustrated because fixed IPDs won’t service a large segment of the population. Not something they seemed to worry about in the past with other headsets.

        • Cl

          It says the founder of oculus thinks it wont service a large segment of the population. Why would he care about other headsets. He made it a priority on the original, but now that hes not there they took it away on new headsets. Of course hes going to talk about it because now he cant use it properly.

        • benz145

          The removal of a hardware IPD adjustment on the Rift S [over the prior Rift] has prompted questions about which IPD ranges Oculus considers suitable for the headset.

      • GunnyNinja

        The outrage is because Rift owners wanted an upgrade and Rift S was designed to get more new people into VR. They expected an equivalent to the Vive Pro. Same but slightly better. This is not even close to being the same. I think current Rift owners should be looking at Quest instead, since it was designed to address the wireless room scale complaint.

    • mellott124

      PSVR could have a larger eyebox and not need the IPD. No one but Sony can say for sure. The IPD range on Rift S and Go are pretty narrow. They need IPD adjustments.

    • kontis

      PSVR’s lenses accommodate larger range of IPDs than GO/Rift S.

    • Marcus

      Maybe because people spent a bunch of money in Software they cannot use anymore in the moment their Rift ceases to work?

      By the way, it really took me (IPD=71mm) some time until I realized there is nothing wrong with me, but with my headset (PSVR). Terrible. And I am complaining since then. But who cares? For some reason it’s different when an Oculus founder complains, don’t you think? Because of Palmer Luckey this is a topic now. Thanks Mr. Luckey!

      • Jayjay

        Revive has been a staple of the VIVE and WMR users coming into the Oculus sandbox for years, this is just forced outrage because Rift S is a device Oculus can actually afford to discount further / make a profit off for now and is better tailored for beginner VR users.

        Oculus execs said time and again, 2022+ for Rift 2.0, enjoy our CV1s till then

        • Marcus

          295 open issues doesn’t sound like a smooth solution. And what makes you think Rift 2 won’t have a fixed IPD?

          • Daven Bigelow

            It’s enough for the VIVE users enjoying it. Rift 2 is more likely to be a merger between Quest and next gen VR into a hybrid, Quest has physical IPD

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Don’t count on 2022+, I think in 2020 we will see a new version..

          • Jayjay

            It looks like Valve might bring real competition, if it’s affordable then yeah I think you’re right that Oculus will have to get moving sooner.

            HTC has been fighting themselves with fracturing their VIVE brand between what will now be four headsets (stock, PRO, PRO EYE, and Cosmos) let alone their pricing structure.

            Valve has a real chance here to kick up the PC VR wars.

    • benz145

      You hear people talk a lot more about ‘sweet spot’ or ‘eyebox’ than ‘IPD’, but they are entirely related.

    • VF

      I have 56mm IPD and can only use the Rift comfortably at its minimum (58mm) setting. That IPD slider really makes a big difference between no eye strain and headache-generating levels of eye strain. For me the Rift S will be useless exactly because of this poor design decision. :(

  • Oe

    The article might need an update?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-b5ahpz_yc&t=282s

    • Marcus

      Why?

      • Ubelsteiner

        Why, because someone with a Youtube account (who happens to have a pretty ideal IPD size) was given an all-expense paid trip to come try it out and say good things, of course!

        • Andrew Jakobs

          And he is deadwrong? maybe he feels the way as he tells it..

          • Kasper Olesen

            All he says is the setting is there… its all in the software though and does not move the lenses though, which means the sweetspot will be the same and 58 or 60 might therefore mean you wont be within the lenses sweetspot anymore.

    • benz145

      This shows the range of the software adjustment in Rift S (mentioned in the article).

      Oculus has confirmed that Rift S will support a software IPD setting, which will adapt the rendered image for the user’s IPD. And while the software setting can improve the perceived scale of the rendered image, it can’t account for clarity or comfort issues which come with not looking through the optical center of the lens.

    • brubble

      Only imbeciles believe this kind of shill youtube trash.

      • d0m1n1c

        His videos are usually pretty entertaining, but yeah, you gotta take it with a grain of salt; I’m skipping the S because of my 72mm IPD.

  • Pizzy

    I am gonna take a guess here and say they are definitely profiting off the Rift S at this price and will lower the price over time. Having wireless Vives modded with gear vr lens, I’m only interested in the quest anyway.

    • trudy

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  • Pizzy

    Anyone know if we can charge and use the Quest at the same time yet? That is the main and only question I have that I want answered. It’s a pretty big deal. I for one could careless if I need to wear a battery bank and have a cord running up to the Quest if it means more play time…

    • Downvote King

      Between that and being able to wirelessly tether to a PC, it could be a clear leader. It even has IPD, and the same price point as Rift S.

      • Pizzy

        Yeah but is limited on experiences compared to a pc keep in mind.

        • Downvote King

          Yep, that’s why it would be great to be able to wirelessly tether to a PC, then you could have the best of both worlds. I’d take a wired tether too, but seems that’s out of the question with the hardware they chose lacking an HDMI interface. Apparently John Carmack is hard at work hunting for a way to use Wi-Fi to wirelessly tether though…

          • Pizzy

            Yeah I see that no doubt, some gear vr app do that now.

  • GunnyNinja

    “Other major headsets on the market have used a fixed IPD approach for years—notably PSVR and all of the Windows VR headsets”. Odyssey has adjustable IPD…

    • benz145

      Thank you for pointing this out! My mistake. A correction has been made : )

  • ritual veality

    This is the price in Europe, i hope it is a placeholder…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aab35bd629b534f0fc7733da64b0d403802cf82f05e0389d4dac44795c5e6aa6.jpg

    also this is an official supplier, and it is not possible to get the Rift CV1 anymore..

    • Andrew Jakobs

      They are just placeholders, the official price will be 499 euro’s (still a bit higher than the $399 the us has to pay (if you include VAT)..
      And you still can get a cv1 through oculus themselves.

  • FloridaOJ

    Oculus is losing $1600 from my household alone. 3 of the 4 of us have IPDs of 70+. smfh

    • Jayjay

      Oculus needs every current CV1 owner to buy 9 more CV1s to cover the predictions they made of 10m units sold

      Making it more accessible to the general population is something Facebook is very clearly willing to break a few eggs for

      However, I use 70mm on my CV1 and have no problem with the GO, Palmer Luckey’s article feels a bit too much of an exaggeration when we have people who don’t even know their IPD happily jumping into VR at the arcade.

      Long-term not a solution, but short-term an accepted cost of single-screen VR like the GO for the Rift S.

      If you need wider IPD? Go for Quest or find a used CV1 or a VIVE

      • FloridaOJ

        It looks like Luckey was spreading FUD anyways. I watched a video earlier that showed the software IPD adjusting up to 72.

        Looks like I’ll be grabbing Rift S and Quest. :)

        • Marcus

          So you think the software IPD settings moves lenses? It does not.

          • Junius Jones

            Sure it does. Just use your imagination. ;)

        • Andrew Jakobs

          No he wasn’t spreading FUD. the S is not capable of an IPD of 72 (without some discomfort to the wearer), just check the interview on TESTED. But the Quest is another story, that one is capable of 72.

        • KOSTANTINOS KOD

          Beside all the other problems
          that folow software ipd adjustment wouldnt that also reduse dramatically the F.o.v.?

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Yeah right, like you would buy 4 headsets anyway…

      • Junius Jones

        Read a little bit of your comment history. Go get some help. It gets better.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Uhm, oh you think being realistic means I should get some help.. check, maybe it’s better if YOU get some help

  • Marcus

    65.5mm – 61.5mm = 4mm Sweet Spot, not?!

    • benz145

      That’s the total width. If you consider the sweet spot for each eye, it is 2mm wide.

      • Agree, it is plus/minus 2, 2mm out and 2mm in which is 4mm. I think it has more to do with how much you can offset the screen pixels before edges become noticeable than what you see optically. I have not run the math on how many pixels per mm (I don’t know the measurements of the screen), but pushing the offset too far starts to affect your resolution too.

        I know when creating my own optical designs for mobile phones and creating Cardboard profiles, all these factors had to be balanced.

  • Trenix

    That’s funny, I just measured my PDI and its 63.5mm. Looks like I don’t have a problem. I’m still waiting for better headsets to be announced however. Not sure if I really wanna go with the Rift S.

  • brubble

    Ive said it before and Ill say it again, Meh.

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    Going by Oculus logic we should get Walmart HMD. Sure it doesn’t have 6dof like Rift S but it costs 20-40 bucks and at the end of the day it’s all about tradeoffs right? ;)) Also Walmart $40 HMD has an actual IPD adjustment which is kind of crazy. I don’t think Rift S is a bad headset per se but Oculus policy in regards to PCVR is .

  • Jayjay

    Hmm, yeah you might be right. Hopefully the Rift S pushes them back into a two-screen system or some kind of waveguides

  • Again, the Quest seems the best hardware that Oculus is going to give us in the latest times

  • gothicvillas

    I feel sorry for those who invested in Oculus Store and now are shafted with this mediocre headset no one asked

  • Lucidfeuer

    Oculus is dead to me, even if the headset was not banned in China where most of the prospects are, the fact that they released two mediocre and completely redundant headsets 5 years after the DK2 which had almost the same FOV, tracking and design…

    I hope Vive really does something with the Vive Index…

  • This lack of IPD adjustment in the Rift S is absolutely ridiculous. The cheapest pair of binoculars at the local drugstore has IPD adjustment. It represents a decline of the Oculus line of products. Essentially, they no longer offer high-end VR. They are becoming the bargain bin VR specialists, catering to imaginary hordes of new VR customers that will supposedly flock to the format as long as it’s cheap.

    Sounds like miscalculation to me.

    What will get hordes into VR isn’t cheap shitty goggles from Facebook. It’s knock them dead gorgeous visuals that get better every six months until people are convinced there’s a real environment they are standing in with something fun to do.

    Crystal clear beauty for the eyes with something fun to do.

    That’s all Facebook should be thinking about. They should fire the person that said Rift S was ready. Today. Fire them today, please.

    Then build it properly in the next month or so and try again.

    If they can’t do that, fire more people. They ain’t worth their salaries.

    • Love to read comments like yours that want to fire anyone who doesn’t meet your design expectations. I am pretty sure unless your IPD is severely off the median of the population, you would have a hard time convincing yourself the image is worse than the Oculus Quest. Especially when matching it with content made for your PC instead of a mobile processor.

      But hey, that is why there other alternatives from HTC Vive, PiMax, Samsung or the $6000 Varjo .

      My only complaint is that they selling it at $400 instead of $300. I think most people wouldn’t be so inclined to beat up on the Rift S if it was less than the Oculus Quest.

  • It comes down to either using a two panel display or one panel display. The latter, would require a much more elaborate synchronised system between the mechanical adjustment pinion gear that is attached to a potentiometer or opto/magnetic tach sensor and the mechanical linkage to the gears that controls the movement of the lenses. This would be needed to allow the warp equation to take this input into consideration when projecting the paired images to a single screen to match the lens movement. Something a number of Chinese mobile phone headsets offer, but the effect without this synchronization is not very effective and can cause incongruity between images and its worse, you start to see edges.

    With two screens, the setup is much easier since you are physically moving the screens and not having to offset the pixels on the screen, but you still have to apply an input back to the warp algorithm to ensure the proper IPD is applied to the screens. I have noticed my Oculus Rift CV1’s IPD adjustment is broken and only allows the lenses to be moved but no feedback to the algorithm. The image is sharper — sort of, but something appears off. It also seems this is a common problem and many CV1 owners have had to RMA their CV1. I for one don’t use my CV1 that often, and mainly to test my VR apps on different headsets so when I noticed a year ago I just shrugged it off as a software issue. Today, I am still having this problem.

    It should also be noted one of the reason Fresnel lenses continued to be used is the that can be designed with a more aspherical design allowing for a larger sweet spot and for many, this suffices. Of course for the VR connoisseur who is expecting best optical quality money can buy, will find this compromise unacceptable. Luckily I have an slightly higher than average IPD (67mm) but I have received feedback from those with smaller and larger IPD that the tradiatinal 63.5 mm – 65mm is a problem.