Oculus Rift S

The Oculus Rift S is the successor to the original Rift (now called the CV1). It is Oculus’ flagship VR headset that requires a wired connection back to a nearby gaming PC.

Key Features

  • Ergonomic halo strap for maximum comfort
  • Full 6 degrees of freedom
  • Inside-out tracking requires no external base stations
  • Access exclusive Oculus Home games
  • Second generation Oculus touch controllrs

Oculus Rift S

Oculus announced the Rift S VR headset on March 20, 2019 during the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC). Shipments began on May 21st the same year.

is the company’s flagship PC VR headset and it has a price tag of $399 USD. Oculus sells the Rift S alongside the Oculus Quest, which is an Android-based wireless standalone headset.

The Rift S succeeds the original Oculus Rift headset, which was re-branded to be called the “CV1” in 2019. It features a single LCD RGB displays with a 2560×1440 resolution. The display has improved optics over the CV1, for brighter and more vivid colors.

The “screen door” effect found on most original VR headsets has been drastically reduced. Improvements have also been made to Oculus’ software so that games render more smoothly.

The refresh rate is 80 Hz, which is slightly less than the 90 Hz on the CV1. However, other improvements to the headset make this difference largely negligible.

The headset has a fixed 64 mm IPD, which is a downgrade over the variable 58 – 71 mm IPD adjustment on the original CV1 headset.

The Rift S connects to your PC via the included headset cable. It has a USB 3.0 and DisplayPort connectors for your PC and a single Oculink cable to plug into your headset.

Oculus worked with Lenovo to design the look and feel of the headset. The team specifically made improvements in the positional audio on the headset. This audio allows the player to be immersed in virtual reality without requiring on-ear or in-ear headphones.

Included in the box are two second generation Touch Controllers. These controllers have a tracking halo which communicate with the tracking on the headset.

More information about each of these components and the specs can be found below.

How to Buy the Oculus Rift S

There are two main ways to buy the headset around the world:

  1. Official Oculus Website
  2. Amazon

In addition, the device can be found in stores at Best Buy, Walmart (US Only), B&H, and online at New Egg and Lenovo.

Reviews

Initially, the reviews were mixed due to the number of perceived downgrades over the original Rift. Over time, the reviews have been better as Oculus has improved their library of games, operating system, and support.

Here is a selection of reviews to check out:

Here are some video reviews of the Rift S to check out. Underneath those, we break down each component in the VR headset.

Design

Headset

The Oculus Rift S has a halo headband that it designed with Lenovo for maximum comfort. It is an ergonomic design that is designed to keep the headset secure on your head even in constant motion.

There is a fit wheel on the back to secure the headset in place when you put it on your head.

On the bottom of the headset is a button which allows the Rift S to be worn closer or further apart from your eyes.

Touch Controllers

The headset comes with two second generation Oculus Touch Controllers. They have been upgraded over the first generation controllers with a more comfortable design.

The motion controllers have a halo which emit infrared light for the inside-out headset to track easily in space.

The controllers have top x and y buttons, a top analog stick, a back index finger button and back middle finger button. There is also an Oculus button on each controller which is used to bring up menus for the game and for Oculus.

Cable

The Oculus Rift S includes a single-cable design between the headset and the computer. A special Oculink cable plugs into your headset and a USB 3.0 and DisplayPort plug into your computer at the other end.

For comparison, the old CV1 had HDMI and USB-A connectors for your PC. In addition, each external tracking sensor also required their own USB-A cable at either end.

The Rift S includes a 5 meter (15 feet) cable, which is a whole meter longer than the old generation.

Some users have complained about the cable being inflexible and prone to kinking.

Display

The Rift S features a single LCD RGB display. The display has improved optics over the CV1, for brighter and more vivid colors. The headset has a pixel density of about 600 ppi, and improvement over the 456 ppi on the CV1.

Resolution

The resolution of the headset is 2560×1440, 1280×1440 per eye.

The refresh rate on the Rift S is 80 Hz, which is slightly less than the 90 Hz on the CV1. However, other improvements to the headset make this difference largely negligible.

The Field of View (FOV) on the display is 115 degrees, slightly bigger than the CV1 headset.

Reduced Screen Door Effect

The “screen door” effect on the Rift S has been reduced due to the 40% increase in the display resolution. The LCD display instead of OLED also reduces this effect because there are less unlit space between pixels.

Screen door is the effect of black empty space in between pixels which create the illusion that you are looking through a mesh screen door.

VR screen door effect on the left.

Less God Rays

The improved LCD display has less lens glare and god rays, caused by high contrast differences in colors. This is due to the improved LCD display which doesn’t show as deep of black.

God rays in VR

Sensors

The headset is equipped with an Oculus VR sensor that contains an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer.

The gyroscope reports the rate of rotation along the X, Y, and X axis. This is used to track head position. The accelerometer tracks the speed and motion of the device. The magnetometer corrects error in the headset by using the earth’s known magnetic field.

As a whole, the VR sensor communicates the device’s position, orientation, motion, speed, and other variables.

Oculus Insight Tracking

The Oculus Rift S includes inside-out headset tracking, which is called Insight Tracking. This is different than the CV1, which included an external sensor for outside-in.

5 cameras located on the exterior of the headset point outward and keep track of your location in space and motion. Two of the cameras are on the front of the headset, one on either side, and one looking directly upwards.

The headset uses information in the VR sensor located in the headset and controllers to track movement. It’s software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to predict where the controllers are when it is outside the cameras’ field of view.

The Oculus Rift S also includes a new passthrough feature, which allows you to view the real world outside of your headset via the front cameras without taking your headset off. Passthrough is used to setup your room scale guardian boundary, which is a safe space for you to play in. Oculus recommends a guardian boundary of 6.5 x 6.5 feet (42.25 square feet) to play in comfortably.

IPD

The Oculus Rift S features a fixed 64 mm inter-pupillary distance with no hardware adjustment possible.

In the headset settings, there is an option to adjust the IPD virtually. When you select this option, the physical location of the display doesn’t change, but the focus area for your eyes changes.

Audio

There is integrated positional audio on the headset, which plays audio in the immediate area around you. the speakers are located two inches above your ears on either side. Oculus partnered with Lenovo for improved audio sound and position.

There is a headphone jack which adds support for basic and more advanced headphones. This allows you to add on your own on-ear or in-ear headphones.

Weight

Initially, Oculus did not publicly announce the weight of the new Rift S headset, only saying that it was more balanced verses the original CV1. Many reviewers have weighed the headset since its release and have confirmed its weight is 561g, about 20% more than the 470g of the original CV1 headset.

The additional weight is most likely due to the internal inside-out cameras on the headset, which are heavier. Also, the new halo strap is also heavier. However, many reviewers have reported that despite the additional weight, the Oculus Rift S is not too heavy on your head and is sufficient.

Games

Games are found by default in the Oculus Home store. Oculus Home must be installed on your VR PC in order to configure the VR headset. Since the CV1 and Rift S share the same platform, all games are cross-compatible between the two headsets.

Today, there are over 1000 VR games located on the Oculus Home platform.

The Oculus Rift S also supports SteamVR, which is an alternative VR platform that contains even more games.

Price

The Rift S retails for $399 USD. This is $50 more than the original Oculus headset. However, it is widely known that Oculus sells its hardware at a discounted price in order to get virtual reality into the hands of more people. The company makes their revenue back from their share of each game sold.

By comparison, the MSRP of the Valve Index is $499, HP Reverb G2 is $599, and the HTC Vive Pro is $799.

Accessories

Oculus sells a number of replacement accessories for the Rift S on their official website. The list of accessories available are:

  1. Headband
  2. Standard Face Cover
  3. Left Hand Controller
  4. Right Hand Controller
  5. Optical Cable

In addition, Oculus sells VirtuClear lens inserts for those with a prescription for eye glasses.

PC Specifications

The following PC specifications are recommended for this VR headset:

Graphics CardNVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater
Alternative Graphics cardNVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
CPUNVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
Memory8GB + RAM
Video OutputDisplayPortTM 1.2 / Mini DisplayPort (with adapter included in the box)
USB Ports1x USB 3.0 port
Operating SystemWindows 10

You can find pre-built computers for VR or learn how to build your own PC today.

Oculus Rift S vs. Oculus Rift

The following table below compares the Rift S with the original CV1 headset.

Rift SCV1
IPDFixed 64mmVariable 58-71mm
SensorsAccelerometer
Gyroscope
Magnetometer
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Magnetometer
Tracking6DoF inside-out tracking
5-camera sensors
6DoF outside-in tracking
360-degree IR LED head tracking
Mixed RealityPassthrough+Passthrough
CableSingle cable connection between headset and computerSingle cable connection between headset and computer, but cables for each external sensor required
Cable ConnectivityDisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0 (5-meter)HDMI 1.3, USB 3.0 (4-meter headset), USB 2.0
ControllersOculus Touch second generation with 360-degree tracking supportOculus Touch first generation with 180-degree front-facing tracking support
PC RequirementsSee aboveSee above
Weight561g470g
Release DateMay 21, 2019March 28, 2016
MSRP Price$399$349

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