While previously available for pre-order, Oculus has officially released its two new VR headsets to the market, at very competitive prices of $399 for both the Quest and Rift S, each targeting slightly different markets.
The Rift S is just a minor iteration on the original Oculus Rift, designed to be hooked up and used with a PC. This gives you the full rendering capabilities of desktop graphics cards for better immersion.
Unfortunately for those looking for something a little more substantial, you will be disappointed to know that the Rift S is mostly a minor update to the original Rift. There is a resolution bump from 1200×1080 per eye, to 1280×1440 per eye, at the expense of dropping the refresh rate of 90Hz down to 80Hz on the Rift S.
Realistically, you’re unlikely to notice a 10Hz refresh difference without a direct side-by-side comparison. The big change with the Rift S comes with the inverted tracking system, or inside-out tracking. The headset has the cameras mounted inside, instead of using external sensor that need to be placed inside the room, making for a much simpler setup experience. Beyond that, there is little else to speak of with the Rift S – it’s just slightly different from the original Rift, and keeps the same price. For those looking for a higher-end VR experience on PC, would be better off looking at the Vive Pro and Vive Index.
Oculus’ other release is the Quest, a standalone VR solution that makes use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC – the sort broadly used by mobile phones. The Quest is one of the first mobile VR solutions to actually make full use of Qualcomm’s chipset by leveraging six degrees of freedom (6DoF).
The introduction of 6DoF is important for standalone headsets as it turns what was a mostly sit-down movie theatre experience in VR, into full movement tracking; so you can crawl, stand, duck, and sidestep around, and is what makes VR games much more immersive. The screen is also 1440x1660px per eye with a refresh rate of 72Hz, but through a more advanced OLED display.
There will be two versions of the Quest being released, the 64GB version at $399, and the 128GB at $499. Since these are standalone units, they will require saving games directly to the headset.
Both Oculus solutions are fairly compelling for those that want to test the waters as it were, with VR, and will help grow the player-base, but with such a minor update to the hardware, it might leave many left wanting, especially after three years of development since the original Rift launch.