I am writing this Oculus Rift review end of June 2018. The Oculus Rift is now more than 2 years old and a lot has happened in the VR industry. There are now plenty of options to choose from. So is the Oculus Rift still a good purchase in the summer of 2018?
The Oculus Rift is aging. It had been one of the first VR headsets on the consumer market and we can tell. There are lots of VR headsets on the market that offer better specs. Some even at better price points. Let’s analyze what’s still good and what simply cannot compete anymore.
Let’s talk about the price first. You can get the Oculus Rift for $399 including 2 base stations and the fantastic Touch controllers. That’s a good price considering that it was much more expensive not long time ago. However, if you want the perfect 360 degrees tracking that the Vive offers with only 2 base stations, you will need an additional base station which will set you back another $70. Yes, you can do an experimental 360 degrees setup with only 2 base stations, but in my personal experience that does not work very well. The 3rd base station is without a doubt a good investment. That puts the complete package at around $470 and therefore very close to the HTC Vive’s $499.
Unfortunately, you will have to connect those 3 base stations to your computer using up 3 USB ports. And you will even need one more for the headset itself. Of course, you will also need a USB extension cable running from your computer to the back of the playing field which is pretty annoying. Compare that to the Vive base stations that do not need to be connected to the computer in any way. You only need to connect them to a power outlet and that’s it. It’s a much cleaner and simpler setup.
Now let’s have a look at the display and the lenses. Also in this department the Oculus Rift shows its age. Unfortunately the lenses are the worst in class. The Fresnel lenses are plagued by god rays that are clearly visible in high contrast scenes. No other VR headset suffers from god rays as bad as the Oculus Rift does. The Pentile OLED display sports a 1080*1200 pixel per eye resolution. That is the same as the original Vive and nowadays situated at the lower end of the spectrum. Unfortunately, due to its display technology the Screendoor Effect is clearly visible here. I would not call the display bad, but it does show its age and it is tough to go back to the Rift after having used higher-resolution displays like the one of the Samsung Odyssey for quite a while now. What the FOV is concerned, it is quite comparable to that of the Vive and the Odyssey, but still it is a bit lower than those headsets.
Also in terms of comfort there are much more comfortable headsets out there. In general I am not a fan of those ski mask type of headsets that put pressure onto your whole face. The Oculus Rift is not an uncomfortable headset but I don’t enjoy using it for long playing sessions. Also, I would not advise people who wear glasses to buy the headset since it is impossible to use them within the Rift. There is simply no space.
Now after all these disadvantages, lets have a look at the bright side of things here. The Touch controllers are simply fantastic and at this moment in time the best controllers on the market. They feel great in hand and the immersion you feel when using them in VR is really good. It just feels natural and after a while you will forget that you are actually holding them in your hands. In the direct comparison with the HTC Vive Wand controllers they easily win the comparison. Same is true for the direct comparison with the Windows MR controllers.
Also in terms of exclusive games and software in general, the selection and quality that the Oculus Rift offers is great. You can truly see how the company is pushing the medium forward and how they make sure their headset gets the best titles first. The exclusive games keep on coming and while you have a wonderful selection of games in the Oculus store, you can still play all the SteamVR titles as well and everything just runs fine. Also as what the home environment is concerned, your virtual home feels incredibly polished and better than what the competition has to offer. Everything is well thought through and you can tell your headset is backed by a company that does VR only and puts all its weight behind it.