Oculus Rift S coming soon: PC VR is not dead yet

Oculus is finally replacing its original Rift VR headset with the Rift S, a moderate upgrade coming in Spring 2019 (March to June in the US). The Rift S will cost US$399 with an improved resolution of 1,280 × 1,440 per eye (compared to 1080 x 1200 per eye), inside out tracking using five “insight” cameras, and a revamped “halo” head strap design by Lenovo. The halo design was originally created by Sony for their PlayStation VR headset and is presumably used by Lenovo under licence. The new design is reportedly significantly more comfortable than the original, even though the weight of the headset has increased slightly.

The biggest change here is the “inside-out” tracking technology, identical to what is coming with the Oculus Quest. Instead of external sensors plugged into a PC’s USB ports (always a pain!) you’ll only need a single USB and a single display port to get everything up and running. This is identical to Microsoft’s Mixed Reality range of headsets but with more sensor cameras for hopefully improved tracking.

The touch controllers are almost identical to the original controllers, with the tracking rings moved to the top, no doubt so they can be easily picked up by the headset’s cameras. The field of view (FOV) is slightly more than the original and the recommended specs you’ll need to run it on your PC are the identical.

There are a few weird downgrades, however. Rather than OLED screens, the Rift S is using a single fast-switch LCD that has a lower refresh rate than the original Rift (80hz instead of 90Hz). Controversially, there is no manual adjustment of a user’s IPD either (the distance between your eyes), which could be problematic for those who at the extreme ranges (plus 70mm and below 60mm). The Rift S will include a software IPD adjustment instead.

Oculus were careful to point out that this is not the Rift Version 2, but simply a minor spec bump. Given their focus on the completely mobile Oculus Quest, it will be interesting to see if they do ever release a fully revamped Rift 2.

Watch the reveal video below.