Oculus VR, and their flagship product the Oculus Rift, are widely credited with originating the modern explosion of VR technology. Before we dig into the details of our Oculus Rift review, let’s take a look at the history behind the Oculus Rift.
Founded in 2012 in California, Oculus went from a brand new firm to delivering what many consider the pre-eminent VR headset in just 4 years. In that time, the product went through several rounds of pre-production development kits. Unsurprisingly, these were highly sought-after. They were limited in distribution to select early backers of the company, alongside tech and entertainment influencers. Undoubtedly, feedback from these early pre-pro models was influential in shaping the finished product. Before even releasing the first commercial version, tech giant Facebook purchased ownership control of Oculus for $2bn in 2014. Then, in 2016 the company released their first production version of the Oculus Rift headset. Since that time, they have released several accessories and additional models. Based on press releases and rumors, there are also many ongoing plans for future innovation.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the Oculus Rift. This includes its specifications, our detailed Oculus Rift review, a list of pros and cons, and more!
|Original Release Date||2016-03-28|
|Platform||Windows PC (Mac support is limited)|
|Content||Oculus Home, SteamVR|
|Resolution||1080 x 1200 pixels (each eye)|
|Field of View||110°|
|Refresh Rate||90 Hz|
|Onboard Sensors||Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, tracking camera|
|Controllers||Oculus Touch controllers x 2 (included), Xbox One controller (sold separately)|
|Room Tracking||Yes, 2 sensors included (5 x 5 foot room tracking), additional sensor sold separately (8 x 8 foot room tracking with 3 sensors)|
|Headset Connections||HDMI x 1, USB x 1|
|Additional Connections||Require additional USB x 1 for each room tracking sensor|
Our Detailed Oculus Rift Review
The Oculus Rift is one of the most well-known and revered VR headsets on the market today. Oculus also supplies the technology behind several other headsets, including the Samsung Gear VR. In addition, they have several other pioneering headsets and VR accessories under their own brand. As a tethered headset, the Oculus Rift is designed to run on a VR-ready PC environment. It’s no surprise that many consider the Oculus Rift to be the pinnacle of the current VR headset offerings on the market. Our Oculus Rift review looks at 6 major characteristics of the device, as detailed below.
The Oculus Rift is a tethered headset. What this means is that it doesn’t have any stand-alone function, nor does it require a smart phone. To function, the Oculus Rift plugs into a VR-capable PC. From the PC, it gets its processing power, video and audio signals, and electric power through the various connections. Crucially, the Oculus Rift includes all the onboard sensors needed to enjoy a fully-immersive VR experience. When you add to that the external sensors for room tracking, you’ve got everything you need! You’ll be ready to experience the best VR games on the Oculus Rift, in a way you’ve simply never imagined before. Really, the hardware and features of the Oculus Rift set it apart from the competition. The balance of our Oculus Rift review will make it clear why that is the case.
Oculus Rift games are, consequently, some of the most immersive and convincing at “tricking your brain”. If games aren’t your thing, well, the Oculus Rift works just as well with non-game VR content. With low-latency head tracking, your brain is thoroughly tricked. You believe you are really standing there, in the scene, app, or experience, rather than in your living room. Effectively, the VR scene follows your vision and movements. Combined with your sense of balance and position, the best VR experiences are almost indistinguishable from reality. On the Oculus Rift, the optics are top-notch, too. Crucially, they allow significant calibration and adjustment to get the best quality experience for every individual. Even users with glasses, astigmatism, or other vision problems can usually compensate with quality optics like these.
Build Quality and Performance
The build quality of the Oculus Rift is exceptional. It’s very obvious that these devices were designed and built with great care, and made to last. Of course, you need to treat it with care, it’s a fragile electronic tech device, and not a pair of ski goggles. With that said, it’s quite durable, and should last for many years of normal use with no issues. It’s also very comfortable and highly adjustable. The Oculus rift is lighter than many competitor headsets, and is more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time as a result. Many Oculus Rift reviews point out the comfort, lightness, and adjustability as key points in the Oculus Rift’s favor, and we fully agree!
In terms of performance, there’s not really much to say in the negative category. It does games, videos, apps, experiences, head tracking, positional tracking, and room tracking well. 3D audio over the integrated headphones works great. And, with the integrated microphone, voice chat in games is a breeze. With room tracking and the dual wireless controllers that are included, full room-scale experiences with 6 degrees of freedom are possible. In terms of a meaningful Oculus Rift review criteria, overall performance is a big deal, and it aces the test.
Content Platforms and Compatibility
Oculus Rift games and Oculus Rift apps are numerous and varied. The Oculus Rift originally drew content from Oculus’ own proprietary portal, Oculus Home. This included many games, apps, and experiences. Over time, however, the explosion of VR technology has seen content sources expand considerably. In addition to video and app players, which allow content to be downloaded from websites for playback, Oculus is compatible with the SteamVR store.
Between Oculus Home and SteamVR, Oculus Rift users can access literally thousands of VR compatible games, apps, and experiences. These include titles from major franchises and brands including Marvel, Star Trek, Discovery, BBC, Jurassic World, and many others. There’s no want for content on the Oculus Rift, that’s for sure. And unlike mobile headsets or console-tethered devices, the PC interface allows for a great deal of user customization of content. Additionally, it’s a much easier entrance for developers to create VR-compatible content in the future.
Consumer Reviews and Ratings
Consumer Oculus Rift reviews and ratings, as well as those from third-party VR headset review sites, are all generally very positive. The Oculus Rift scored between 8 and 9 out of 10 in most Oculus Rift review summaries at release. This included high marks from Wired and The Verge. As sales continue, consumers continue to agree with the sentiments of Oculus Rift review experts. Across the board, the device receives at least 80% or 4 stars on most online review platforms.
There were only a few shortcomings that were noted in some Oculus Rift reviews. Firstly, it was mentioned that the HTC Vive has a larger and more accurate room tracking system. Next, that the Oculus Rift setup process is a bit complex, and not quite plug-and-play. Finally, that the Oculus Rift system requirements mean a powerful PC is needed to make use of the headset. On this last point, however, this is true of most PC-tethered VR headsets.
Support, Customer Service, and Warranties
As many Oculus Rift reviews point out, Oculus has a thriving community of users and enthusiasts. In part, this accounts for the active discussion and support forums on their site. Self-service support in the form of FAQs and guides are readily available on their website, too. They also offer a support ticket system. There are, further, many third-party sites with guides and additional help and information available for Oculus Rift users. US consumers receive a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty, and EU consumers a 2-year warranty. This is granted regardless of additional optional coverage that is available from some sellers.
Price and Value
At present, the MSRP of the Oculus Rift stands at $399. This is a substantial discount of the original Oculus Rift price, at least in terms of MSRP. At launch, it was $599, and thus has decreased dramatically in the relatively few years it has been on the market. At present, it comes bundled with 2 Oculus Touch controllers, and 2 room tracking sensors. Typically, you can get several codes/credit for up to a half-dozen VR titles as well. These can then be redeemed and added to your Oculus Home account digitally. Some of these bundles may be themed, with others featuring a wider cross-section of content. These bundles are designed to showcase the device and get new users started on the road to enjoying VR.
The Oculus Rift price point is quite favorable compared to similar devices. With regards to the main competitor the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift retails for a lower price. We expect to see another drop in MSRP sometime soon. This is because it is rumored that the next generation Oculus Rift is in the development pipeline. Or, perhaps it is intended to be replaced by the upcoming Oculus Quest, due out in Q2 2019.
Oculus Rift System Requirements
Tethered PC VR headsets require powerful computer hardware in order to provide lag-free and convincing VR experiences. The requirements for video playback and various apps are usually less demanding than top-tier game titles, however. Oculus puts out 2 sets of Oculus Rift PC requirements – minimum and recommended. Both lists can be found below as part of our Oculus Rift review.
Oculus Rift Minimum Specs
- Graphics Card
- NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti/AMD Radeon RX 470 or greater
- NVIDIA GTX 960/AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
- Intel i3-6100 or greater
- AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or greater
- 8 GB+ RAM
- Video Output
- HDMI 1.3
- USB Ports
- 1x USB 3.0 port, plus 2x USB 2.0 port (1 per sensor)
- Windows 10
Oculus Rift Recommended Specs
- Graphics Card
- NVIDIA GTX 1060/AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater
- NVIDIA GTX 970/AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
- Intel i5-4590 or greater
- AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater
- 8GB+ RAM
- Video Output
- HDMI 1.3
- USB Ports
- 3x USB 3.0 ports, plus 1x USB 2.0 ports
- Windows 10
Pros and Cons
The Oculus Rift’s key pros and cons are summarized below.
Summary and Oculus Rift Review Score
The Oculus Rift is still one of the most affordable and advanced VR headsets on the market today. While there are newer options with higher resolution, so far, none match the combination of content, device quality, and price that the Oculus Rift offers. With the build quality and specs top-notch, the performance excellent, and no expense spared, the Oculus Rift wows and amazes. Additionally, the wealth of content means you’ll be entertained for thousands of hours. It’s no wonder that the Oculus Rift remains one of the best-selling VR headsets for 3 years running. We can’t say enough about the Oculus Rift. If you get the chance to try one out, do it! Seeing and experiencing is believing, after all!