Software

Oculus Rift & Touch review: Virtually there, but just misses the mark


Oculus Rift & Touch review

The Oculus Rift is probably the most famous VR headset to date, and arguably started the VR wave that we’re all riding on in 2017 after its successful Kickstarter campaign way back in 2012.

However, fast forward to today and there are more VR headsets available now than you can shake a stick at, from the mobile-powered Google DayDream to the likes of the PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, so how does the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch compare? I’ve gone hands (or eyes) on with the Oculus Rift and Touch controllers, and here’s what I think.

If you’re interested in the world of virtual reality, take a look at our complete guide to VR

UK pricing and availability

Following a rocky early-2016 launch, the Oculus Rift is available to buy in the UK from a number of retailers. Those interested can pick up the Oculus Rift with Oculus Touch controllers from not only the Oculus website but also GAME and Amazon for a limited time price of £399, down from the initial £499 price tag.

Compared to the initial £740 price tag for the Rift & Touch combination and the £759 HTC Vive, it’s a virtual (get it?) bargain.

How well designed is the Oculus Rift?

The Oculus Rift could possibly be the best-looking VR headset when compared to other headsets in the 2017 line-up (like the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR), however – just like my mum always told me – looks aren’t everything.

The Oculus Rift broadly resembles a pair of Ski goggles that is mostly wrapped in a special black fabric that hugs the plastic body of the headset beneath it. But why is this this fabric so special? According to Oculus, the fabric helps to keep condensation build-up to a minimum because who wants to fog-up while dogfighting in space?

Wearing a VR headset can become pretty hot and sweaty fairly quickly, especially with more active games. I’ve experienced this myself in the past when using other VR headsets and it becomes very uncomfortable, but I must admit that even when using the Rift for an extended period of time, I was still relatively cool and comfortable. There was slight condensation on a handful of occasions, but none as bad as what I’ve experienced with the HTC Vive.

The reason for my lack of sweat might not only be due to the breathable material that covers the majority of the Oculus Rift headset. In fact, the Oculus Rift is extremely lightweight, especially when compared to the HTC Vive.

This is due to the way the Oculus Rift is designed: while the HTC Vive acts as a receiver, picking up signals from the base stations to work out its location within the physical space, the Oculus Rift does it the opposite way.

The Rift comes with a sensor that sits on your desk and tracks the position of the headset, along with a myriad of sensors within the headset. This allows the Rift to be much lighter as it doesn’t need as much built-in tech, resulting in a 470g headset that is comfortable to wear over long periods of time with no issues. It’s also smaller than its competitors, measuring in at roughly 171x216x102mm when including the built-in headphones.

Just like with the PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift isn’t wireless and requires a physical connection to your PC at all times. It’s not an issue exclusive to the Rift so it shouldn’t be penalised for it, but it is worth noting that you’re not tether-free in your virtual world.

Read next: HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift


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