It was almost three years ago, on March 28th, 2016, when the Oculus Rift headset had made its way on the market. We’ve waited since 2012 for it, and we went from Google Cardboard to the Samsung Gear VR, but the necessity for Rift was bigger.
At that time, the Rift was expensive, around $599, and required a high-powered PC to run it. That would have cost you around $ 1.000 or even more, plus the need for controllers and the external sensor setup for the room. But here we are in 2019, asking ourselves when the next generation of Rift would appear? Well, boys and girls, this spring is coming with good news because we have the Oculus officially announcement. It seems that we will get soon enough a device more suitable for the virtual realities of 2019.
What Will Rift S Bring?
If three years ago we only had Rift, in 2019 we will have Rift S, with some good improvements and a lower price, around $399. The new Rift S is still powered by a PC with a physical connection to it, which is a plus for the people who want to use VR mainly for gaming. We have a significant change in setup and tracking as well, because even if Rift S is keeping the same inside-out tracking system, we no longer have more USB-hogging external sensors, only a single USB 3.0 port. With the help of the five sensors on the headset, we have a combination of simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) that will recognize the position in space, allowing room scale play.
Nate Mitchel, the VP of Oculus, says that the device uses an improved pass-through video system, so when you’ll use it for gaming, you can map your play space without taking the headset off. Another novelty from Oculus is Quest – a wireless headset, with the same touch controllers as the Rift S. Quest will come this spring too, at the same price of $399.
Rift S has a single fast switch LCD panel, 1280×1440 per eye, improved Fresnel lens stack for better text readability and a lower screen door effect. In comparison with other devices, like HTC Vive Pro 2880×1620, and the recent HP Reverb, our Rift S comes a little bit short.
We can’t forget about its appearance and design too, of course. A new partnership with Lenovo had made a change in design with a new halo-style headband that tightens better. An inspiration from the PlayStation VR can be seen at the eye box distance from your face, which is adjustable. Moreover, it is slightly heavier, but better balanced, soft and comfortable on your forehead.