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Thread: Oculus Rift Review

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    Oculus Rift Review

    Hi All,

    After using so many other peoples reviews and thoughts from these forums I thought that it was time that I contributed something back.

    I recently ordered an Oculus Rift from Amazon as it was something I'd been interested in ever since the kickstarter. I mainly wanted it for Elite Dangerous, but also to see what else it could do. I'm very interested to see what direction VR games will go as I don't believe CoD etc. are good fits for it, I want to see interesting new games ideas instead.

    I'd waited to order from Amazon as I wear glasses (more on that later) and had read conflicting reports on the Rift with glasses and so wanted to know I had a good returns policy if they didn't work for me.

    System Specs
    CPU Intel Core i5 4670k at 3.8ghz
    Motherboard MSI Z87-G45 Gaming
    Memory 16Gb Corsair Vengeance DDR3 PC3-19200(2400) CAS 11
    Storage Samsung 750 Evo 250GB + Plextor 128 ssd + WD Raptor X 150Gb + 1Tb Samsung
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    PSU 850W Corsair HX Modular
    Case Coolermaster Stacker
    Operating System Windows 10 64bit
    Monitor(s) Dell, 2412 & Asus ROG Swift pg279q IPS, LG24"tv
    Internet Virgin 120Mb

    Its important to point out that the Oculus system requirements software gave me a pass, and the SteamVR Performance test gave me 'VR Ready' Avg quality of 'High', 0 frames below 90fps and 1 CPU Bound frame out of 10427 (0%) Yes its not the fastest system out there, but it meets or exceeds all of the requirements.

    My Specs (odd thing in a tech review but important for later)
    I have a larger than average head (going by the fact that most 'one size fits all' hats don't fit me.
    I also wear glasses for a strong astigmatism. My glasses are Quiksilver 7's https://www.specsavers.co.uk/glasses...7?sku=24583367
    They are smaller than average, the arms sit tight against the side of my face, and I wear them tight against the bridge of my nose. I measured them and they are just over 13cm wide.
    I have worn contact lenses in the past, and although I didn't find them entirely comfortable, I was willing to give them another try if everything else about the Rift was amazing.

    Packaging
    So the Rift arrives in a very, very snazzy box. Everything is presented perfectly, and its very unlikely you'll ever get a unit that is damaged in transit. Definitely felt the packaging met expectations for the money spent.

    Set up
    The process really is as easy as the youtube videos suggest. I won't go into details here as its well documented elsewhere.
    I did run into my first issue here. The Rift software was reporting that I had plugged in the headset and the sensor into a USB 2 rather than a USB 3. It was in fact plugged into a USB 3, which I tested a file transfer on and compare to a USB 2 slot and confirmed that I was getting USB 3 speeds. I also tried other USB 3 slots with the same result. A bit of googling later shows that lots of people are having the same issue and having to try all kinds of fixes and buying new USB 3 cards to get around the problem. I did find that if I disabled legacy support on the USBs in BIOS that the headset did report that it was plugged into a USB3, but the sensor always reported USB2 no matter what.
    Having the sensor running at USB2 speeds (although is it) should only affect head tracking, and to be honest at no stage did I notice any issues with tracking so I'm not sure how important the issue is for use.
    What does concern me though is that a £550 bit of hardware is so very picky about USB3 slots. At that price it should work to standard on every board that meets the USB3 standard. I do feel this is fairly shoddy software to get that wrong.

    Fitting
    I'd read up on some hints and tips and so loosened off all the straps, put it on face first over my glasses and then slid the back as low as it could go before tightening the straps. Initially felt very comfortable and didn't notice my glasses catching on the Rift at all. Moving my head around and the Rift didn't wobble at all. With the springiness of the harness I found that I didn't have to loosen the straps to put it on and off, just hold the front, slide the back off, and then take away the front. My glasses stayed on my face and didn't get caught in the Rift as others have reported.

    Calibrating
    On firing up the Oculus software and donning the headset everything is very blurry (as you'd expect). The process guides you to a room with a big green cross to help you to get set the focus. You move the small switch on the bottom of the Rift to set focus on the vertical lines, which worked very well, and move the rift up and down on your face to get the horizontal lines in focus which has some issues.
    The sweet spot for moving the Rift up and down on your face is very small, and tricky to get right. This was verified by 3 others that used the Rift as well. On the plus side, once you find it I found that the foam interface and straps do a good job of keeping the Rift in the right place without having to over tighten it.
    The problem I found though was that the 'in focus' position is quite low on my face and the Rift started to put pressure on my glasses, down onto the bridge on my nose. To start with I thought I'd got away with it, but on one of the few sessions that lasted more than a few minutes it started to feel uncomfortable.

    Disconnects
    It was during the calibration process that I discovered that my Rift had another issue. Whenever touching the Rift on the left hand side, anywhere within a few inches of the cable, everything would go black and my pc would report that the Rift headset had disconnected. Once up and running if I didn't touch it it would be fine for some time before disconnecting again, usually when I had just made a sudden movement. I took off the face plate and unplugged and re plugged the cable in to make sure that it was firmly seated but noticed that there is a fair amount of lateral play when the plug is in the socket. I don't know if this issue was related to that or something else though as I could get it to disconnect by just lightly touching the surface of the headset pretty much anywhere on that side of the set. I discovered that if I adjusted the headset by only touching the faceplate it wouldn't disconnect.

    Optical Quality
    Lens Flare – One of the first things that I noticed was that whenever you have a dark back ground and something light in the foreground (like pretty much every menu you come across) a bright halo appears. This occurs with and without glasses on. 90% of the time it isn't there, and if a game/app is written with this in mind (eg Luckys Tail) then it isn't an issue. In other games its really annoying and distracting.
    Screen Door Affect – I'm afraid that I found this really quite distracting and obvious. Again in some games, like Luckys Tail, you have to actively look for it and its not an issue. In other games I found it really annoying. In the case of Elite Dangerous and Chronos I found it made reading text almost painful.
    FOV – Is fine. Never felt limited or that it was an issue at all.
    Resolution – Once again I found this very game/view dependant. The Oculus home rooms and menus I found acceptable, although noticeably not great. Luckys Tail looked good but I was disappointed in Chronos and Elite. Chronos wasn't too bad until trying to make out detail in the back ground, or the character came close to the camera when I found it very distracting. In Elite I found it made the text hard to read, lost all detail of other ships in fights and the planets and nebulas, and dark areas of space appeared blocky chunks of grey. In Chronos I experimented with the quality settings, and that did improve it a little, but not enough.
    In the free VR videos on the Oculus video app I noticed it most of all. For example in the Audi video of the Nuremburg ring you can't make out the track ahead at all. This may be because I'm used to a 1440p 144hz screen and so have become more picky than others?

    Lens durability
    I have significant concerns as to how long the lenses will last. Mine were scratched within just a couple of hours use where they had come into contact with my glasses lenses. It wasn't my glasses frames, the flat part of my lens had managed to scratch the Rifts lenses. I had been making sure to keep my glasses completely clean as any dust on them shows up really badly in the Rift, it was just the two lenses touching each other.

    Prescience
    This is where Oculus was amazing. The sense of being there, wanting to reach out and touch things that you swear are 'just there' is amazing. Sitting in the cockpit of a ship in Elite and being able to track the other ship by looking up through the canopy, standing on the edge of the platform in the Oculus Dreamdeck and feeling that if you step forward you will fall, was mind blowing. You just felt you were there. As most other reviews have said, you have to experience it really, its impossible to describe in a way to do it justice.

    Motion Sickness
    I had none at all in Oculus Dreamdeck, Elite Dangerous, Chronos, Luckys Tail or most of the other free demos I tried. It wasn't until I loaded Minecraft that I felt it. The VR view settings it has definitly helps, but I still found that if I looked down while moving my stomach would lurch a bit. I do think that more exposure to it would make me more resistant as I found Minecraft easier to deal with quite quickly.

    Ergonomics
    The Rift is very light, and if you get it fitted right you don't feel the weight of it at all really. However it is hot. The Rift itself gets quite warm on the outside and there is no airflow at all. I found that after 10 mins or so I could notice that my face was hot and it began to feel unpleasant. It was 24degrees c when I was using it, so maybe not so much of an issue on a cooler day? I can't help but feel that it wouldn't have been difficult to add some vents to help with this.
    As a glasses wearer it very nearly worked. The headset only just touched my glasses casing pressure on my nose. If you have a smaller head/glasses you may be fine, or if they release some faceplates for glasses wearers.

    Headphones
    The built in headphones are great. I'm not an audiophile, but I can't stand poor audio and these do a great job both in quality and in giving you audio positioning. Really helps with the prescience

    Summary
    I had to send the Rift back as my set is faulty with the constant disconnects whenever you touch it, but also I have asked for a refund and won't be getting a replacement this generation.
    I adored the VR part of it. The prescience, the ability to control the camera in 3rd person games, the interesting new stuff that they are starting to do, is all something that I will partake of at some stage.
    But first Oculus needs to sort out;
    The dodgy build quality. I'm not the only one with disconnects, and lenses shouldn't scratch just by touching another lens.
    The ropey software. USB3 isn't exactly new as a standard and so they shouldn't be having so many issues with it.
    The ergonomics. Some vents are a no brainer, alternative face plates, ability to wear glasses with them.

    And VR in general needs to improve;
    Resolution
    Lens Flare
    Screen Door Effect
    Price

    Oculus have gone for a very high price point £550, but to my mind if you want to charge 'Apple money', you need to be delivering 'Apple quality' and they just aren't doing that yet. If it was half the price I may well have asked for a replacement set, but for me personally the flaws don't outweigh the benefits at this price point.
    Last edited by camalbitboy; 24-09-2016 at 10:10 AM.

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    shaithis (23-09-2016)

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    Re: Oculus Rift Review

    Nice to see some end-user reports. Although pretty much as i expected after using DK2.
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    Re: Oculus Rift Review

    Great review, you can tell the reviews written by people who have spent their own cash and not been handed a free sample unit to promote.

    Have you had opportunity to try a Vive in comparison?

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    Re: Oculus Rift Review

    Quote Originally Posted by virtuo View Post
    Great review, you can tell the reviews written by people who have spent their own cash and not been handed a free sample unit to promote.

    Have you had opportunity to try a Vive in comparison?
    No I've not tried a Vive yet. It wasn't an option as I don't have a big enough room to set it up in apart from my lounge, and I can't see my wife going with that

    I can't comment on the ergonomics but I feel that the gameplay in the Vive may be better as from what I've seen they seem to make prescience and your own movement a key part of the experience, and I think that's VR's strength.

    When the 2nd generation models come out I will consider Vive more strongly and my wife may just have to put up with it

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