Oculus Rift Review
Well here we are, after many SCI-FI movies movies foreseeing the future, the Virtual Reality headset has finally hit the shops. We are going to take a detailed look at the Oculus Rift and see if it's the real deal.
After spending a little over 6 weeks playing the device, We can safely say that virtual reality is here and here to stay! The Oculus Rift may not be the finished article in terms of the software, but make no bones about it, it is something that has us incredibly excited as the possibilities are endless.
Oculus Rift Software:
The Oculus Rift headset looks a lot like a skiing mask, just more futuristic. It has two OLED displays inside, one for each eye and the displays feature 1080 pixels by 1200 at a refreshing rate of 90Hz. There is also a built-in Accelerometer and Gyroscope, with a IR sensor for a full 360 degree tracking system. The headset itself is extremely light, weighing just 0.8 pounds, it has integrated headphones and a microphone and can be easily adjusted to suit your needs. The Oculus Rift headset only has one cable that splits into an USB 3.0 with HDMI cables, this is much better than the main competitor, the HTC Vive, as that is a much heavier headset and has four cables attached.
It is really easy to adjust the Rift to fit your head, as there are 3 velcro straps, one on each side and another on the top on the headset. The headphones can also be adjusted or completely removed if you want to use your own. The padding on the the headset is fantastic and comfortable and includes an extra facepad and cloth lining that cover the display unit. The device comes with a Xbox One controller, as the motion controllers haven’t reached the market yet, but Oculus have announced they will be coming very soon. There is also a small remote control that comes with the unit, this can be used to navigate through the Apps when wearing the headset and you can also adjust the volume. Oculus Rift - setup:
First thing to mention regarding the setup is that you are going to need a powerful system to run the Oculus Rift through. The requirements are as follows:
NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
Intel i5-4590 processor equivalent or greater
Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
2 USB 3.0 ports
Windows 7 SP1 or newer
The main reason for the really high specs is that virtual reality has a high frame rate to ensure the motion in your virtual space is as natural as possible. Smooth movements are essential to virtual users to prevent simulation sickness. Televisions run at a speed of 30 frames per second, Oculus Rift runs three times faster at 90 frames per second.
There are “Oculus ready” PC’s that can be purchased along with the headset in a bundle. Alienware (a partner with Oculus) is the PC we tested the headset on and we didn’t encounter any issues as far as the “running” of the device went. Once you have a capable device, it doesn’t take to long to get up and running. Basically, just plug the Oculus headset into the 3.0 USB port, add the HDMI port on your video card and then just add the sensor cable into a different 3.0 USB port. Once you have completed these simple steps, the Oculus start up windows application will allow you to configure and customize your Oculus Rift headset. We had to install some video card updates before we could proceed, so just be aware of that.
Playing the Oculus Rift:
Once you are setup, you will need to direct to the Oculus App for the list of available games and other features. The store is really well designed and really simple to navigate. In the games category, each game can be searched via the genre and movement levels, this is a great feature as you can choose games based either on your fitness level or age. The movement levels range from “comfortable” to “intense”. Once you have chosen the game you are going to play, simply install it onto your device.
When you enter your virtual reality world, the Oculus Rift comes into its own, sending your into a magical setting, you really do feel like you are part of the virtual world. When reading reviews about the Oculus Rift, you are going to read the words “Immerse” quite a lot, but it really is the best word to describe the experience. We would say “Immerse and tense”, both thrilling and exhilarating, something that needs to be experienced to be fully understood.
We have seen Aliens up close and personal in the Farlands game and the graphics and quality was breathtaking, and the most exciting part is the fact it's only going to get better in the near future. Whether you are shooting a spacecrafts in a distant galaxy, shooting Zombies in some rundown plantation or meeting Aliens on other planets, the Oculus Rift has the ability to not only take you there, but make you feel like you are actually there!
Overall, after spending over 2 months using the Oculus Rift, we can safely say that virtual reality is finally here, and here to stay. Sometimes it is really difficult to think you can just walk into the next room in your house, switch on the device, and your are transported to another dimension. The device that was once only in tech geeks fantasy is now really here.
We are not saying the device is 100% perfect because it's not. The imagery isn’t bulletproof and you would need a powerful PC to run, and the price of the headset doesn’t come cheap, but we can forgive this as the technology is taking us into a completely new world of computing. If you have not had the chance to experience the Oculus Rift, we would strongly advise you to try. It will probably change the way your look at world of gaming.