In the lab: Oculus’ Rift VR headset

After what seems like an eternity of hype, Oculus' Rift VR headset is a real, shipping product, and we got ours in the mail today. Here's a quick look at what comes in the handsome, monolithic black box:

For the uninitiated, each Rift comes with the headset itself, a head-tracking camera, the Oculus Remote, and an Xbox One controller. Since we were among the brave pre-order crowd, we also get a key for EVE: Valkyrie. All Rifts come with VR platformer Lucky's Tale, too. We'll be digging into the Rift in detail and updating our testing methods soon to tell you just how well various hardware performs with Oculus' baby. For now, though, leave your questions and comments in the comments section on this article. We'll be collecting reader feedback from that thread to shape our upcoming, in-depth coverage of the Rift and other VR headsets.

Comments closed
    • Wild Thing
    • 4 years ago

    Better not run NVidia on that thing.
    NVidia VRR

    Vomit
    Rinse
    Repeat

    They should’ve warned The Woz.

    • Billstevens
    • 4 years ago

    If there is one thing I would expect the Techreport to try to do, as one of the leaders in graphics bench marking, it would be try to find a way to evaluate the performance of VR games on different test rigs in a meaningful way. Graphics benchmark in general are pretty terrible and this is one of the only American websites to do a decent job at it.

    Only a few attempts have been made to look at frame rates and most are clearly incomplete and their numbers don’t appear to correlate to experience. Features like async timewarp appear to throw a huge wrench in how frame rate drops actually impact tracking if at all.

    • YukaKun
    • 4 years ago

    If you guys are taking suggestions, I’d like to know what the Oculus is sending as data when the computer is not using the VR Set.

    You guys could capture all of the data it sends and receives to get an idea on what they are gathering 🙂

    Cheers!

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 4 years ago

    Any plans to take a look at you router logs while using this, and seeing what the Rift is sending back to the Facebook mothership?

    • santista
    • 4 years ago

    It would be interesting to see how well the Rift performs with hardware that’s just under the minimum requirements, like a GTX 770 or GTX 780. It’s my understanding that the dev kits would support those video cards. I know the final product is different from the dev kits, but I wonder how different.

      • Fieryphoenix
      • 4 years ago

      I have to make do with a GTX 780 until the new cards come out. Or maybe not, if my component-shortage-corrected ship date is delayed enough. Time to go check.

        • sparkman
        • 4 years ago

        This morning, my ship date was delayed to end of June, so about 6 weeks later, I think.

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    Will VR significantly affect the travel industry?

      • Krogoth
      • 4 years ago

      No

      It is not even after the same demographic.

      • Deanjo
      • 4 years ago

      Nerds never leave the security of their basement so I doubt it.

        • Meadows
        • 4 years ago

        That’s the point. He’s talking about being able to “visit” tourist attractions without ever actually leaving what you describe as the basement.

          • Krogoth
          • 4 years ago

          >implying that VR fans would bother with “virtual” tourist attractions

      • GrimDanfango
      • 4 years ago

      Only slightly more than Google Streetview did I’d reckon 🙂

      • Laykun
      • 4 years ago

      Not until they have 360 degree cameras that also record depth properly.

    • hasseb64
    • 4 years ago

    Go you early adopters go!!
    Btw, what with those USBs, see that Asus is updating my motherboard drivers due to “Oculus Rift”, power requirements?

    • GrimDanfango
    • 4 years ago

    In terms of suggested review topics – I would ultimately really like to see a detailed technical comparison between the Rift and the Vive [b<][i<]on comparable grounds[/i<][/b<]. So far, all I've seen is a hundred different sites parrot the same "but the Vive does room-scale and touch controllers are great!". I'm starting to get fed up thinking "no s*** Sherlock" 😛 Can you dig inside and look at the pixel fill factor of each? (I'd like to know if they're using identical panels, or just similar ones with identical resolution) Can you compare the quality of the optics? (Some few have tried this, but it seems wooly at best... although I suspect that's because it's monumentally difficult to make truly accurate measurements - seems a topic possibly better suited to a technical digital camera company, something like DxO) Mainly, I'd like to know what the pros and cons are in a situation that both devices are as capable as each other - seated, non-touch experiences/games - simulators, etc... Does the Vive's lighthouse tracking add appreciable accuracy even in that situation, or is it indistinguishable from the Rift's camera tracking when sat close? Edit: I've already seen from one non-review source that the pixel-level clarity on the Rift actually seems better than the Vive - more readable UI/text rendering in Elite Dangerous as a test case. I suspect that's part of the trade-off between the Vive having an appreciably wider FOV using the same panel - they're spreading the pixels over more apparent view area. That would also be an interesting area to know the true technicalities of. Ultimately I guess that would be a very definite case of personal taste though - whether you prefered your pixels spread wider or concentrated nearer the center of view 🙂

      • EricBorn
      • 4 years ago

      That’s absolutely the challenge that review sites are facing right now. We’ve got fancy new tech to explore, but the tools to test them are still being developed.

      • sparkman
      • 4 years ago

      Good idea.

      A section of the review should compare the different feature sets, but for a new technology like VR, most of the review should focus on the common overlap between Rift and Vive.

      • thesmileman
      • 4 years ago

      One thing that is super strange on my rift CV1 is that it has this halo/lightshafts around bright lights in scenes. It wasn’t present on the DK2 and it isn’t present on any of the Vive dev kits or the retail unit.

      I’m assuming its something to do with whatever they have done to reduce the screen door effect but it is horrible and makes me sick in scenes that previously wouldn’t make me sick. I would love to see someone look at the lenses and discuss this.

        • Billstevens
        • 4 years ago

        All Fresnel lenses suffer from this artifact. Oculus is a custom hybrid Fresnel lens now, where as in DK1 and DK2 they were not. Apparently in the end the upsides of using Fresnel outweighed the downs.

        All Vive HMDs suffer from a similar artifact since they use a standard Fresnel lens. Some reports state that the light shafts or “god rays” are less pronounce on the Vive. While others state that they are just different. Vive gets ring artifacts while the Rift typically gets only the shafts due to its custom lens design.

        Oculus so far hasn’t broken down all the pros and cons to the community of using their custom Fresnel lens but we know it is part of the reason the Rift has the least screen door effect of all current HMDs and the sharpest image. Though this is only really noticeable in side by side comparisons between the Rift and Vive.

      • Billstevens
      • 4 years ago

      I think we are going to be unlikely to get a good tracking comparison until Touch comes out. But once it does comparisons should be everywhere since most room scale Vive games are planning for Oculus Touch support.

      For HMD tracking no one has noted a perceivable difference, they are both perfect when there is no occlusion.

      I have been gaming with CV1 since March 28th and its head tracking is perfect as long as you are at least partially facing the camera, and the FOV of the camera is nice and wide at a sufficient distance of 3ft + from the user.

      I only see tracking break down in 360 but I didn’t expect perfect tracking with 1 camera given the back of the Rift has far fewer LEDs.

    • anotherengineer
    • 4 years ago

    Jeff you didn’t mention your Leisure Suit Larry marathon…………….

    • derFunkenstein
    • 4 years ago

    I hope there’s some way to measure latency caused by head movements. The subjective opinions are positive but I’d like to see what that means.

      • Meadows
      • 4 years ago

      Does the Rift come with built-in tools to measure those things? Because if not, then one would probably need a high-speed camera [i<]inside[/i<] the Rift, attached to a robotic "head" that logs its own movement. Which sounds impractical, albeit hilarious.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 4 years ago

        Yeah, you’re probably right. But still, I can dream.

    • JosiahBradley
    • 4 years ago

    Can’t wait for the Vive review. The Rift is dead to me. But hope it generates interest at least and helps you learn how to benchmark VR so the Vive review is that much better.

      • sparkman
      • 4 years ago

      My take is the Vive is more ambitious, requiring a dedicated room to use and you can stand up and walk around during use, whereas the Rift is a more polished product, higher-quality at what it does, but intended to be a more-limited, seated experience.

      Both products are promising, and future versions will eventually converge to support all the same features.

    • TwoEars
    • 4 years ago

    Googling “VR Games” currently generates 68,300,000 results.

    Googling “VR Sex” currently generates 20,900,000 results.

    Googling “VR films” currently generates 13,300,000 results.

    I think this is a pretty good indication of how most consumers will end up using this product. The question is now just… how thorough will the review be? ^_^

      • Voldenuit
      • 4 years ago

      Does Hardcore Henry tick all 3 boxes???

        • JosiahBradley
        • 4 years ago

        Yes, yes it does. I so want this movie released optimized for VR.

      • Laykun
      • 4 years ago

      Probably not, Rank 1 and 2 need be switched.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 4 years ago

    Tip: Probably want to avoid that app titled “Motion Sickness Simulator.”

    • libradude
    • 4 years ago

    Do yourself a favor and test it with Elite: Dangerous, too! (thank me later)

    For science, of course.

      • Pez
      • 4 years ago

      Elite on the Rift is amazing. Really enhances the experience, my first combat inside a HazRes with the rift was a rush!

    • southrncomfortjm
    • 4 years ago

    Review should be interesting since it is unlikely that FCAT will work with this. Pure FPS is not the big deal anymore in general, and especially not with VR. Seems like we will be getting a lot of subjective “it looks/feels smooth” statements rather than frame delivery times. Would like to be wrong, but understand the limitations that may be present.

      • sparkman
      • 4 years ago

      I believe Oculus provides tools to measure “photon latency”, i.e. exact amount of time for a change in the game world to appear to the player’s eyes. That kind of capability would naturally include frame rate measurement.

      My Rift hasn’t arrived, yet, so I can’t personally attest.

        • southrncomfortjm
        • 4 years ago

        Awesome. Good to hear even though I have no plans to jump on the VR train anytime soon.

          • sparkman
          • 4 years ago

          I normally don’t early-adopt new technology like this, but VR is going to be so big, I couldn’t resist.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 4 years ago

        The two aren’t necessarily related. I know the rift doesn’t really buffer anything, but the time from input to output could still be well above 11.1 milliseconds.

      • Billstevens
      • 4 years ago

      I’m running the consumer Rift shown above right now and there are really no good in game measurement tools. I think Tom’s hardware tried to use FCAT with a few games and because of things like time warp a frame rate drop below 90 FPS can be tolerated if its infrequent.

      On top of that everything pretty much runs at high settings on the min spec, and turning up settings in some games its hard to notice a difference given the low resolution of the device.

      Super sampling up to 130% native resolution is common to help smooth out the picture in current VR games.

      I want to buy a new video card when they come out, but part of me thinks it wont do much for my VR games since everything runs well enough on the R9 290 for now.

      • Laykun
      • 4 years ago

      It’s even more complicated than that as the head tracking/compositing frame rate is now detached / asynchronous in relation to the game FPS. The Oculus compositor is a high priority graphics context that works in layers. What ever image is on screen gets rotated based on head tracking as a layer of the compositor at 90FPS regardless of the game FPS, so now you can dip down to like 45 FPS in your game engine but still get perfect smooth looking head tracking through asynchronous rendering (“timewarp”) of the compositor, causing more confusion for users as in game animation of objects will be rendering at 45fps. The way the head tracking works is if the game engine misses a vsync, the compositor can effectively shift the games last rendered image to give the appearance of smooth and latency free head motion without actually needing a new frame, and it works remarkably well. This is an over simplification but it should get the point across.

        • southrncomfortjm
        • 4 years ago

        Yes, confusing. Glad they had Carmack working on this.

    • sparkman
    • 4 years ago

    [b<]want[/b<]

    • chuckula
    • 4 years ago

    Looking forward to some reviewage!

    • ImSpartacus
    • 4 years ago

    I’m excited to see how tr tackles this new class of tech. It’ll be challenging, but hopefully worth it.

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