Oculus Debuts $400 Rift S Wireless VR Headset

Oculus Debuts $400 Rift S Wireless VR Headset

Facebook's Oculus VR has announced it is retiring the Oculus Rift headset, replacing it with an upgraded version dubbed the Oculus Rift S. But compared to a lot of other tethered VR headsets, it feels like Oculus could have done more.

The Rift S also sports built-in audio using speakers integrated into the headset, though if you want, you can still hook up your own headphones using the headset's included 3.5mm jack. A key difference between the Rift and the new S variant is that the new model uses a single display, instead of individual displays for each eye.

The Oculus Rift S and its predecessor still share the same core platform, which means users can access VR content created for either of the headsets. The feature will enable users to view real-world surroundings as they set up their virtual reality space using the Oculus Guardian tool. The original Rift relies on an outside-in tracking system, which depends on external cameras to detect glowing lights on the headset and controllers.

The new product is being touted as a replacement to the Rift, rather than a sequel product, hence the "S" in the name as opposed to a "2", despite Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell calling the Rift S an "evolution not a revolution". Oculus has also maintained the same PC requirements for the new Rift S as the original Rift. The stripped back Oculus Go, which features 3DOF instead of 6DOF and only tracks one hand instead of two, costs $199.

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"We're also enabling a true stereo-correct passthrough feature, Passthrough+".

The Rift S also has some comfort improvements too, with the mounting mechanism changing from Velcro head-straps to a PSVR-esque solution.

United Kingdom pricing for the Rift S hasn't yet been confirmed, but Oculus VR has set a USA price of $399 (around £304 excluding taxes) ahead of an unspecified Spring 2019 release date. The device requires to be connected to a PC running Windows 10 for it to function. The Rift S indeed has a higher resolution than either the Rift or the Quest, noticeably reducing the "screen door effect".