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Oculus Rift S revealed at GDC 2019

The Oculus Rift S promises improved resolutions, easier setup and maximum comfort

It wasn’t that long ago that Oculus announced the Rift S, a follow-up to 2016’s Oculus Rift. The news broke at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in March, where Oculus announced its newest headset in partnership with Lenovo.

We know a little more about this shiny new headset now, so we thought we’d share our knowledge with you fine people by compiling a list of everything you’d ever need to know about the Oculus Rift S. Without further ado – here it is. 

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Oculus Rift S: Everything we know so far

Oculus Rift S release date and price: When will it launch?

Facebook has announced today that both the Oculus Rift S and the Oculus Quest will launch on 21 May 2019. You can preorder the Rift S now on the Oculus store page, or via Amazon; the headset will set you back £399 which, as we suspected, is the same as you’ll have to pay in the States ($399). 

Oculus Rift S specs: What’s inside? 

Driving the Oculus Rift S VR experience will be a 1,280 x 1,440 display with a refresh rate of 80Hz. For comparison’s sake, the original Oculus Rift has a resolution of 1,200 x 1,080 and a refresh rate of 90Hz. That might seem like jargon, but the reality is pretty simple: the Rift S might offer a clearer image, but that reduced refresh rate means animations won’t look quite as smooth. 

Moving on to the external specs, the Oculus Rift S has four cameras – two on the front, and one on each side – that track the outside world with minimal latency. These cameras remove the need for any additional sensors, which is a relief – setting up the original Rift quickly became tantamount to building a movie set. 

The Rift S connects to your PC via a single cable that splits at the end to be plugged into a USB and HDMI port. That’s also a relief, given the usual excessive amount of wiring.

Oculus Rift S features: What’s new?

The new VR headset promises “improved optics and display technology,” as well as a higher pixel density for improved overall image quality and reduced ‘screen door’ effect. In addition, the Rift S has been redesigned to be more comfortable and easier to use; a dial on the rear now adjusts the fit of the headband, and a new 3.5mm jack allows players to use their own headphones while playing. Users who don’t mind irritating people in the same room, alternatively, can use the built-in directional speakers. 

Aside from the various quality-of-life improvements, the Oculus Rift 2 also features Oculus Insight, a new inside-out tracking technology (using those four external cameras) that can track real-world spaces and objects in real-time. The Rift controllers are also returning, giving users more options for unusual gesture inputs.

In tandem with improved real-world tracking, Oculus has announced a new Passthrough Plus feature that allows users to see the environment around them through the headset with low latency. This means you won’t need to remove the headset to take a brief pause or check that you’re not about to knock over your computer/potted plant/cat.

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