Good / The Oculus Rift is a decent VR experience from a technical point of view if you have the specs to run it. Experiences can feel decently immersive since the screen is sharp and the titles well optimized for the platform.
Bad / The Rift’s immersion feels weak when compared to other competitive VR headsets like the HTC Vive which take advantage of trackable controllers and large scale room tracking from additional sensors. The Rift is also commonly thought of as the least comfortable VR headset to wear–even though it’s the lightest.
Verdict / As a full package in the upcoming months, the Rift might become a better full VR package that can compete with the HTC Vive‘s immersive strengths, but that package will be more expensive–later to the market, and perhaps a bit too little too late.
Oculus Rift Review
The Oculus Rift was one of the first VR headsets to the market with the developer kit releases. I tested the Dev Kit 1 and found it a very mediocre experience that did little to excite me for the future of VR.
I saw the potential, but the device didn’t feel so much like another immersive reality than simply an uncomfortably fuzzy screen squeezing my face.
Now, years later, the Oculus Rift has released in 2016 with other competitor products that have caught up to its legacy. But just because it had success on Kickstarter, and in many ways paved the way for VR to enter the market, doesn’t mean that it’s the best product.
In this extensive Oculus Rift review, we will consider what value it has and if it’s worth your money.
While the HTC Vive and PS VR have standard price bundles that include everything you need, the Oculus Rift has had a more fragmented launch since release. In fact, it’s still not complete as of this review.
The Oculus Rift is $599, and it comes with a Xbox controller right now. In December of 2016, they are coming out with new controllers (some are speculating that they will be better) that might be similar to the HTC Vive’s controllers.
In addition, they are also giving consumers the ability to purchase more sensors to make the Oculus experience much more capable and thus similar to the HTC Vive.
The cost of the controllers $199 and the sensors are $79 making the total price to be $878 ($599+199+79), even more, expensive than the all inclusive HTC Vive package.
Overall, the Oculus Rift–while not more capable than the HTC Vive, is the most expensive VR package on the market today.
In appearance, the Oculus Rift looks similar to the HTC Vive, but it doesn’t have as many grooves or sensors on the face of the device–so it looks flatter and relatively sleek. It feels more industrial. Oddly enough, it’s the lightest of all the VR headsets out right now (HTC Vive, and PS VR).
The headset fits comfortably enough with dense foam, and it can tighten to feel secure, but I found that the straps are a bit rigid and the overall comfort level felt slightly off.
Over time, the experience felt either too tight or too loose–it’s important to get it just right so light doesn’t peak in, but if it’s too tight, your head feels squished. The headphones also fit a bit awkwardly, and their audio isn’t anything to be impressed by.
Tracking on the Oculus Rift is decent, supporting up to 180-degree movement achieved by one sensor that tracks your movement. However, without the additional sensors coming in December, the sole product can’t track your hands which mean you lack adequate control when in most VR games.
The screen resolution is much better this time around at 2160 x 1200, and when you’re inside the headset, the experience feels quite good. But in a lot of ways, I couldn’t help comparing the Oculus Rift to the HTC Vive and vice versa.
To me, the HTC Vive feels more comfortable–and the Oculus Rift feels too similar to a product without the Vive’s advantages of large-scale room tracking, hand tracking through the controllers, and neat front-facing camera.
Like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift has its own platform, Oculus Home–and it’s a direct competitor to Steam. Sure it has some early release exclusives, and it’s own content oncoming, but I don’t feel too optimistic about the path that the Oculus Rift and its owner (Facebook) have taken with it.
When Vive worked out a deal with Valve, that was a big move–and Oculus Rift’s platform feels more like a defensive move than an offensive one.
Can the Oculus Rift really compete with Valve and thus Steam? The biggest PC gaming library platform? I don’t think so.
Here are the recommended specs for the Oculus Rift:
- Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
- CPU: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- Memory: 8GB+ RAM
- Video Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
- USB Ports: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
- OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer
In a lot of ways, I feel bad for the Oculus Rift. It seems most people that like it either bought it from some pre-order without knowing how good the Vive would be. It’s not a bad VR experience, as it can be immersive and feel good–and it’s much better than it was before.
There are a lot of fans of it still, however, don’t get me wrong–and the battle isn’t over yet. New controllers and sensors are coming out soon…
But to me, the HTC Vive has stolen a lot of Oculus Rift’s limelight–with its partnership with Valve; it’s earlier entry into the market, better price packaging, and a more complete experience as a whole. Since the Oculus Rift was one of the first VR brands, it feels like its market had been stolen.
To see a full comparison of each VR headset in full, see our article here.