Oculus has revealed its next VR headset, the Oculus Rift S, which updates the headset with better visuals, improved comfort and, finally, no more awkward sensors to set up.
The Oculus Rift S can best be described at the Rift 1.5; it will slip into the same ecosystem and all games that run on the S will also run on the OG Rift. Everything will just look a bit better on the S.
Hands on: Oculus Rift S review
The headset folds nicely into Oculus' plan to make VR easier to jump into: there are now five room-tracking sensors built into the headset, so there's no longer any need to set up external sensors around the room. Instead, you now have six-degrees-of-freedom tracking right out of the box.
You'll simply slip the headset on and mark out your play space using Oculus's new Passthrough+ tech, which utilizes two cameras on the front to let you see the world around you. Oculus calls it Passthrough+ as it ensures the depth disparity is kept to a minimum, so you don't feel uncomfortable looking through it.
The Rift S has a display resolution of 1,280 x 1,440 per eye, which is the same as a Go, Oculus' mobile headset, but better than the OG Rift’s 1080 x 1200 (per eye) spec. It has a refresh rate of 80Hz, which is slightly below that of the original Rift, but we didn't notice the difference in our demo.
In terms of controllers, you're getting the same ones that come with the Oculus Quest, which are only slightly different to the ones used with the current Oculus Rift setup. The look is a little different to make them easier to track with the headset sensors.
"Rift S is really an evolution of Rift rather than an evolution," Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell told us in a roundtable discussion. Mitchell said that Oculus chose to partner with Lenovo because it wanted someone to help it bring the product to market faster and to "take off some of the heavy lifting". It sounds like Lenovo's work has mostly gone into making the headset more comfortable.
The Rift S will be available this spring for $399. Oculus isn't giving a specific launch date, but it will be around the same time of the Oculus Quest, the company's high-end standalone headset, which will cost the same price.
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