If you want to experience the future of entertainment, Oculus Rift is your way. This headset, along with its Touch motion controls, will give you an immersive VR experience. Here is everything you need to know about it before you buy the Oculus Rift.
What you will see?
The Oculus Rift became a game-changer when it first came out. It is one of the first VR headsets to demonstrate that virtual reality can be a very immersive and entertaining experience. Moreover, it also depicted that anyone with the correct PC setup can enjoy virtual reality at home. Now that the original Oculus Rift is nearly five years old, it has been superseded by the Oculus Rift S. The Oculus Rift has seen a lot of substantial modifications over the years. Although, it is currently only available via third-party retailers rather than Oculus. The device has gained motion controllers in the form of Oculus Touch and some high-profile games. Moreover, all new and upcoming features and apps for the Oculus Rift now require Windows 10. So, if you use Windows 7 and 8.1, you can still play existing games with the headset, but not the new releases.
Although, a number of competing virtual reality headsets have been released since the launch of the original Oculus Rift. This even includes Oculus’ own headsets such as the Oculus Rift S or standalone Quest and Quest 2. However, the original Oculus Rift is still a very capable VR headset for gaming.
- Snug fit
- Best VR games
- Growing list of movies and apps
- Works with Oculus and SteamVR platforms.
- Conventional gamepad and Oculus Touch controllers
- Can cause nausea
- Minimum PC requirements
- Big investment
- Requires four USB ports (three 3.0, one 2.0) to fully function
Price and Availability
The Oculus Rift has had a lot of price reductions since its first release. There isn’t set pricing because it’s only accessible through third-party dealers. The complete set includes the headset, two sensors, and the Touch Controllers in general. Now that the set is not available from Oculus, you can even access amazing deals from different sites.
Keep in mind that the Oculus Rift requires a wired connection to a PC in order to provide enough power to drive two 1080 x 1200 definition images to each lens within the headset. To access all the features of Rift, you’ll need a top-of-the-line gaming PC. Originally, the company specified an Intel Core i5 4590 or comparable processor, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD Radeon 290 video card as the minimum requirements. These components are likely already present in the majority of gaming systems. Although, if you’re a casual gamer, these parts will be a hefty upfront investment.
However, the minimum spec has now been reduced to an Intel i3-6100, rather than the more expensive Intel i5-4590, and GPUs can start from the Nvidia GTX 960. This update reduces the cost of the machine required to play VR games. Moreover, the company has partnered with a number of PC manufacturers to push Rift-ready systems. The Oculus Rift is considerably superior to PlayStation VR when connected with the right gear.
How the Oculus Rift works?
The most recent headset version is far superior to any of the prior development kits. It’s easier to set up. Moreover, it has an easy application that you’re asked to download when you plug it in. Also, installing games and troubleshooting requires less technical know-how too. The Oculus Rift, like other virtual reality headsets, has the difficult task of entirely engaging you in a video game by simultaneously producing two pictures. It accomplishes this by connecting to the HDMI connector on the back of your graphics card and tracking your head movement using a camera. You may wear the headset while sitting or standing, whichever is most comfortable for you.
With recent updates, the Rift can now track you around a small area as well, similar to the HTC Vive (or “room-scale VR”). The headgear, two Oculus Sensors, two Touch controllers, seven free VR apps, and all the cords you’ll need to connect your headset are all included in every Oculus Rift box. To start you need to plug all the cables into the correct ports. This includes the HDMI port on your GPU, the two USB cables from the headset and sensor into two USB 3.0 ports on your PC, and the Xbox One controller adapter into a USB 2.0 port on your PC. After that, you’re ready to begin the 10-minute setup process. When finished, you can access the library of roughly 100 games. You can play any game you want, the Rift is a great gaming device.
The Oculus Rift has come a long way in such a short period of time. The prototype headset that came just a few years ago felt rough, cheap, and borderline shoddy. It didn’t track well and trying to get lag-free gameplay. However, the recent version is elegant, sleek, and, stylish. It isn’t particularly heavy to touch, it almost has a hollow sensation to it. However, when you put it on, all the fluffy weightlessness vanishes. The visor section will be heavy on the front of your head when you’re sitting down. Although, it’s not something you’ll notice right away, the longer you put it on the more you’ll notice it in your neck. The strong foam prevents it from digging in, though, the device is a tight fit when worn correctly.
The front panel is essentially flat with an Oculus logo on it. The visor’s sides are flat, and they connect to arms that pivot slightly up and down and link to the three-strap harness that keeps the gadget on your head. A strap runs from each arm around the sides of your head. A third strap runs from the visor’s top to the top of your head, meeting at a cushioned buckle. The back portion of the strap also has foam cushions. The straps are a little too stiff and are made of malleable plastic. You can use the Velcro on each strap to change the headset’s location on your head. While the headset is secure and the focus is generally spot-on, it tends to be too tight. Wearing glasses with the Rift is possible, although it will make the fit a little tighter.
Headphones and Audio
Gaps allow light to pass through from behind the faceplate when it’s too loose. Oculus offers a pair of little ear pads that sit flush on the side of the headset. They can be flipped up or turned to sit right on top of the ear. They have 3D surround sound and enough clarity to hear all in-game audio cues clearly. Moreover, the Oculus Rift even allows you to use your own headphones. You may either plug the headphones into your computer’s audio jack or directly into the 3.5mm jack on the Xbox One controller. Moreover, with your own headphones, you can adjust the volume with the volume slider on the side or built into the wire. Oculus has lately added a third option to the mix, Oculus Earphones. These in-ear earbuds replace the original system’s on-ear pads and give greater noise isolation.
Sensor and Cables
However, the Rift is not that perfect. The long string of cables connecting the headset to the computer is a critical component. It protrudes from the back of the headset and curves over your back or shoulder, allowing you to conceal it behind your chair. The cord doesn’t get in the way whether you’re sitting or standing, but if you’re trying to achieve perfect immersion, you’ll notice it all the time. The Rift relies on a single external sensor, a black cylinder mounted on a nine-inch-tall metal desktop platform.
The Oculus Touch motion controllers were originally available as an add-on. However, with time they have been incorporated into the standard Rift package. The Oculus Remote is a small rounded bar with a huge circular navigation pad. It has buttons for Back, Menu, and Up/Down. The remote comes with a lanyard to keep it tied to your wrist. You can use the Rift with an Xbox One wireless controller and a Microsoft Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows. However, they are only useful for non-motion-based control schemes. So, you might not get a completely immersive experience with them. Along with motion tracking, the Oculus Touch has a very pleasant, natural-feeling control system with sensitive tactile components like analog sticks and face buttons.
You can easily set up the Rift. You need to download the Oculus setup software on your PC. This will then walk you through the few steps necessary to start.
- Firstly, plug the headset and sensors into your computer, using an HDMI and three USB 3.0 ports.
- Sync the remote by pulling out the battery tab and pressing a button.
- Plug the Xbox One receiver into a USB 2.0 port and pair the gamepad with it.
- After this, you can slip the headset on and go to the Oculus software.
You can play any game available on the Oculus Store. You can even get the headset to function with SteamVR by setting the Oculus software to load apps from unrecognized sources. With the release of Oculus Touch, you can now utilize the Rift with any SteamVR game that supports motion controls. The Rift now enables whole-room VR with the help of the second external sensor for the Oculus Touch motion controllers. They can track your movements over a relatively big area (beginning at 5 by 7 feet) if the sensors are appropriately placed.
With a well-configured PC, you will get a rock-solid performance. You can clearly see the level of quality control Oculus applies to the games it sells on its slim storefront. Tracking is also fairly reliable, due to the bundled Oculus Sensor. It can recognize what you’re doing even if you turn your body more than 180 degrees. The sensor is mounted around 10 inches above your desk. It can be tilted up or down based on your present position. When you remove the headset, the visor automatically turns off. The exterior and internal sensors are quite intelligent. So, you won’t have to manually turn on the headset when you want to use it. However, if you’re not holding the Touch Controllers, the sensor can’t track your hands.
Oculus categorizes games based on how much motion they contain and how likely they are to make your stomach turn. Comfortable, moderate, and intense are the three preset levels. Comfortable games don’t require you to move your head much or just slowly move it. In Moderate games either you’ll have to go faster or you’ll be confronted with more moving items. Intense games are likely to place you on the side of a mountain or float around aimlessly in space. They’re more visceral experiences, but they’re also more prone to cause anxiety and nausea.
As this device is a new introduction to the market, the price of the games is not fixed. Some games are priced correctly in the $4.99-$9.99 range, but others are priced at $40 or $50. There is currently no option to sample any of the games before purchasing them. So you’ll have to take a risk when purchasing. You can easily switch from one game/ movie/ app to the next. The home screen has a normal Xbox-style UI. While you can buy games from your home screen, some titles will require you to remove your headset in order to complete the installation.
Because the Rift and the Vive have the same resolution and refresh rate, the two have a fairly similar experience. The Rift delivers a sharp image with fluid motion and head tracking. The stereoscopic images’ 3D quality gives you the impression that the virtual objects are truly in front of you. The Rift headgear essentially acts as a monitor. However, the smoothness and graphical fidelity will depend on your computer’s power and features. In terms of hardware, the Rift creates a captivating VR experience for the eyes.
The headliner of the Oculus Rift’s launch titles is EVE: Valkyrie. It’s an EVE universe-based online multiplayer space dogfighting game. The format is ideal for sitting and utilizing the Rift. The perspective places you in the cockpit of your selected space fighter, allowing you to glance around freely while remaining stationary. The Xbox One gamepad is used to control the game, with the dual analog sticks used to navigate the ship and the triggers used to fire. The Rift’s immersiveness in entirely puts you in this cockpit perspective and makes the game feel more engrossing and tense.
While the concept appears great for motion controls, it is straightforward to play with a traditional controller, highlighting items and moving around with a reticle in the center of your screen. Moreover, in the games the Rift allows you to quickly gaze around from a vantage point for any action. Although, you can’t easily move the camera to gain a better perspective of a certain location in relation to the character you’re controlling. This might feel really frustrating at times. The optional Touch controllers make things like spray-painting walls, aiming guns, and using telekinetic powers feel very natural.
While SteamVR isn’t Rift’s native platform, it displays the interface and loads the game flawlessly. Virtual Desktop projects your computer’s screen in front of you in virtual space. It displays your monitor as a massive, curved display all around you. Also, it can create a flat screen and display your desktop as a television hung on a home theatre wall. Even without VR-specific software, it’s a handy method to make VR useful. If you wish to watch a video that isn’t available on an Oculus Rift or SteamVR, you can use Virtual Desktop to load it. The display’s resolution is the sole drawback. Because each eye sees a 1,080-by-1,200 image and the virtual screen appears as a floating object, the virtual screen is actually smaller than the Rift’s per-eye resolution. That means the text will appear fuzzy and grainy, and reading can cause eye strain most of the time.
What you would like?
The Oculus Rift is an immersive window into dozens of new worlds, and it might become thousands of different worlds in the future. The games available are fantastic. Intense games may cause nausea in first-time VR users. The Rift, even as a gaming device, has a lot to offer. The game is enjoyable and the headset is comfortable to wear, even if it sometimes fits you too tightly. The Rift is more than just a gaming headset. You can use it to watch 360-degree movies on Facebook, Vimeo, and Twitch. Moreover, in future, it may be possible to see new media material.
What you might not like?
Everything on the Oculus Rift comes with a disclaimer. It’s immersive virtual reality, but it costs a lot of money. This makes the device available for only a selected few gamers. Finally, although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it now falls on developers to take advantage of the technology and propel VR forward. Oculus has opened up a world of new possibilities. However, if the creators decide that developing AAA games in virtual reality isn’t worth their time, effort, or money, everything will go to waste.
Virtual reality is a beautiful experience that everyone who enjoys technology should explore at least once. Oculus has a lot of potential in the future as it continues to expand its headset lineup. The games are engrossing, also the entertainment is unique and entertaining. However, if you’re unsure about spending the money on the headset and everything that comes with it, it’s probably best to wait a little longer and go with a solo option. It delivers a comfortable, sharp virtual reality experience that will continue to improve with the release of new apps on both the Oculus store and SteamVR.
Have you tried the virtual reality experience? Tell us in the comments section below.