Oculus is one of the top names in the category of Virtual Reality. And it has changed how we experience entertainment in this new age. The Oculus Rift S headset is what I’m going to be reviewing today. The Oculus Rift S has been described more as a remastered version of the Rift, rather than a successor. It’s previous original version has been discontinued permanently. The look of the Oculus Rift S has evolved into something more sleek and not like the traditional Oculus look. This is because Oculus was not the designer of the Rift S, that job was given to Lenovo.
The Oculus Rift S connects to a PC via as 3.0 USB port and also uses a DisplayPort connection. Since it is a PC-powered headset, it gives you the experience of more powerful VR experiences. Similar to other VR headsets, you’ll find goggle-type lens over your eyes when you wear the headset. This enables you to view the VR world in 3D mode. It moves along real-world movements, for example if you look right, your VR companion will also turn right. At the back of the headset, the new design boasts innovation, where there is a curved, cushioned plastic mould that goes around the base of your skull and the forehead. As in all previous designs, there’s velcro for tightening, but is not the main feature. The package also includes two Oculus controllers that track movements. This is in contrast to the motion tracking sensors that required USB port connections and have you connect cables all around your room. These controllers are not rechargeable and are battery powered instead, with one controller using a single AA battery.
Another design difference is the audio system. There are no more over-the-ear-earphones but instead you find speakers inside the headband. This cuts off players from what’s happening outside in the real world. There is also a 3.5mm port on the side where you can choose to connect your own headset. Unlike the original Rift, which had cameras externally placed to figure out movements, Oculus Rift S has cameras on the headset where it figures out controller movements and uses that for your VR experience. This feature has been described as an “inside-out” approach, and Amazon buyers have reviewed this new system as more efficient, with reports of no breaks in motion in case of sensor losing the headset. It has been aptly described as a “plug-and-play” headset. There is a built-in microphone also included in this set.
Users report more ease in setting up the headset, including a shorter overall setup time. One advantage is also having lesser USB ports to worry about. For people who wear glasses, customers have reviewed the headset and found it is spacious enough to accomodate. A button on the side enables users to move the lenses towards or away from your face. Lenses themselves have been touted as being better at withstanding scratches. The IPD (interpupillary distance) adjustment, for people who require between-eye adjustment of the lens, has a range of 58-72mm. This cannot be changed mechanically and is instead software based. The display system is a marked improvement from the previous, with buyers reporting much sharper pictures and clarity. Text is also clearer and the “halo” effect around the edges is reported to be gone from this model.
Customer reviews were not happy with the addition of the one displayport cable, as people find it harder to connect to a laptop, which often uses traditional HDMI cable slots. And the Oculus Rift S does not work with HDMI. Most gaming laptops also do not have DisplayPort. However, it does come with a mini DisplayPort adapter. Issues with audio are also frequently reported, with the lack of bass being the most recurring complaint among users. People have described the audio of this headset as being subpar compared to the model and price point. It uses directional audio to send sound towards the general direction of your ears. Thankfully, you can plug in your own Bose headphones to accomodate. However, some users do fear that some headphone models may not be able to fit over the bulky design. Foam rubber padding that is surrounded around the eye area is not removable, and hence makes it harder to clean. It is also reported to be tighter around the eyes, where you cannot peak out at all. For some people, this gets suffocating and things can heat up. The nose piece is also tight, letting no light come through, and is observed by users as being very hard to pop back in place if it pops out.
If we talk about the controllers, they are described as being lighter in weight and feel comfortable in your hand. They do not take a lot of time in getting used to, as mentioned by most Amazon reviewers. In only a couple hours of use, customers reported being able to manage the controllers efficiently. One important thing to take into consideration is the fact that the cameras present inside the headset are reviewed as not working in dim lighting. This should not come as a surprise since light is required for the sensors to detect movement. The “passthrough”, a feature many had been looking forward to, has been described as choppy and falling short of the mark. You should also be aware that this headset will also not work if you have Windows 7. It is designed to be compatible with Windows 10.
All in all, it is recommended for first time VR users, but those who are looking to upgrade their existing setup may find they can do without.