Oculus Rift Headset Review 2019: The Most Immersive Experience

In the tech world, the Oculus Rift is considered older than that nasty pair of underwear you’ve been keeping for the last eight years. There have been countless new headsets released since the Rift launched in 2016, but the OG headset remains as popular as ever.

In this Oculus Rift Review, I’m going to give you an updated look at the headset, letting you know if it’s still worth your time and money.

Things to Consider Before You Buy a PC VR Headset

If you’re looking to get a PC VR headset, you likely know a bit about the technology. VR headsets for PC give the best experiences currently available and are much better than the mobile headsets you see old people picking up for their grandkids at Walgreens.

The primary consumer for a PC VR headset is someone who is tech-savvy and knows how to update drivers, install equipment, and more. If you’re comfortable with that, then you’ll probably love PC VR.

With that said, you should consider the following before dropping coin on a headset:

Your PC Build

You’re not going to get away with using VR using that laptop that your mom picked up from Target for $300.

VR requires heavy-duty graphics cards, as there’s double the image processing going on (one for each eye).

You need to make sure that your rig can handle VR before you buy a headset, otherwise, you’re going to have a bad time.

You're gonna have a bad time

What’s Your Budget?

VR is one of those things where I recommend buying the best you can within your budget.

Cheap headsets are crap, and features only get better the higher up the price chain you travel. I’m not saying you need to drop a huge wad for a Vive Pro, but you don’t want to buy some cheap junk that doesn’t do VR justice.

Do You Get Motion Sick?

Are you someone who is prone to getting queasy when you ride rollercoasters?

If so, you may want to stick to standard gaming experiences. No joke, I once saw a girl ralph all over Vive controllers while riding a virtual rollercoaster. Don’t be that girl.

Presenting the Oculus Rift

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Oculus Rift + Touch Virtual Reality System
  • Get 6 free titles, including: Robo Recall, Luckyʼs Tale, Quill, Medium, Dead and Buried, and Toybox
  • Riftʼs ultra low-latency tracking offers unparalleled immersion

Last update on 2019-07-21 /  Source: Amazon Affiliates

The Oculus Rift is the granddaddy of VR headsets. The original device was created by Palmer Luckey, who had a wildly successful Kickstarter to fund the device. Oculus was eventually sold to Facebook, who helped get the Rift to the market. Since then, Oculus has been at the forefront of the VR industry, releasing an updated Rift (Rift S), mobile-style headset (Oculus Go), and completely wireless solution (Oculus Quest).

The Rift has six degrees of freedom and brings built-in 3D audio and the awesome Touch controllers. The device has dropped in price since launch, and you can find the device with some bundles these days.

Specs:

  • Display: Pentile OLED
  • Resolution: 2160 x 1200 (1080 x 1200 per eye)
  • Built-in 3D audio headphones
  • 90Hz refresh rate
  • Includes Touch Controllers and Constellation sensor
  • Weight: 470 grams
Pros
  • Very immersive
  • Excellent Oculus ecosystem
  • Touch controllers work well
Cons
  • While it’s great, the headset is getting dated
  • Not as accurate as some newer headsets when it comes to tracking
  • Screen door effect is present

Features and Benefits of the Oculus Rift

The Rift has a lot going for it, and I’m going to spell out the different aspects of the device for you.

While the Rift is great, it’s certainly no spring chicken in the world of technology.

Visual Experience (Still Good, Not Fantastic)

The display on the Rift is good, but it’s not nearly as advanced as some of the newer headsets coming out these days. Still, Oculus did good by putting in a Pentile OLED display with 2160 x 1200 resolution (1080 x 1200 per eye). Apps generally look good in bright environments, but when things get a bit darker you’ll notice the dreaded screen door effect.

Still, visually speaking, the Rift delivers, and there are certain points where they lead to total immersion to games you’re playing.

Audio Experience (Amazing and the Real Deal)

On the surface, you may not think that audio is all that important, but it’s vital to make VR totally immersive.

Oculus delivers in spades here, as the 3D audio headphones are fantastic and attached directly to the headset. Even though it’s three years after release, I still consider the Oculus headphones and audio to be the best in the industry.

Controller Interface is Great

The Oculus Touch Controls have been awesome since their release, as they let you interact with your environment with relative precision. The controllers track well with the Constellation system, and I prefer them over the inside-out solution found on the Quest and Rift S.

A Fantastic Ecosystem

The Oculus ecosystem is wonderful and is easily the best currently available. I find it easy to navigate to different areas, and it’s easy to browse your library or pick up new games.

While you can use Steam VR to pick up and launch games, most of the good stuff is available directly from Oculus and it remains my preferred launcher.

Still a Great Value Proposition

Even though the Rift is more than three years old, it’s still a great piece of hardware. It’s been discontinued in favor of the Rift S, but that means that you can often find them for a great price… even in bundles.

This stands up as being a good deal, even when you compare to the HTC Vive, which is equally as old.

There is a Big Caveat Though

I have to say that while the Rift is awesome, Oculus discontinued the headset in the spring of 2019 so that they could bring out the Rift S. This has made the Rift harder to come by, and supply will continue to become more scarce as time goes by.

If you’re thinking you want an OG Rift, you should probably strike now, as they’ll become a relic where folks seek them out like Indiana Jones searches for golden idols.

What Others Have to Say About the Oculus Rift

Without a doubt, the Rift has been a big hit among users and reviewers alike. Over the years, opinions haven’t changed too much, as users praise the immersion, build quality, ecosystem, controllers, and more.

Here are some of the other user reviews online.

Alternatives to the Oculus Rift

While I love the Rift, it is getting older and isn’t the cutting edge tech that it once was.

Because of this, I wanted to provide some good alternatives that also serve as great PC VR headsets.

Oculus Rift S

Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset
  • Top VR gaming library: Blast, slash and soar your way through the top library in VR gaming. Oculus Rift S lets you play hundreds of games and exclusives already available in the Oculus store, with so much more to come.
  • Improved Optics: Stare down the competition with next-generation lenses and a sharper display. Improved optics deliver bright, vivid colors and reduced "screen-door" effect.

Last update on 2019-07-21 /  Source: Amazon Affiliates

The Rift S is the refreshed version of the Oculus Quest.

It has a better screen, different Touch Controllers (notice that I didn’t say better?), and better weight distribution for increased comfort. It’s very similar to the original device but does feature inside out tracking.

If you want a Rift, this will probably be the easiest way to get one, as the original has been discontinued.

Similarities
  • Both Oculus headsets
  • Require gaming PC to run headset
  • Built-in audio
Differences
  • Has inside-out tracking
  • Touch Controllers aren’t as great for tracking

HTC Vive

HTC Vive Virtual Reality System
  • FREE CONTENT WITH PURCHASE - Two-month free trial of Viveport Subscription included with your purchase.
  • FULLY IMMERSIVE - True-to-life movements with realistic graphics, directional audio and HD haptic feedback.

Last update on 2019-07-21 /  Source: Amazon Affiliates

The HTC Vive launched just after the original Rift and has served as the device’s main competitor since that time. The device is also similar to the Rift, as they have the same resolution, but the Vive Controllers are a bit more accurate than the Touch.

You’ll have access to Steam VR, which is great, but it’s not as good as the Oculus ecosystem (at least in my eyes).

Similarities
  • Both launched in 2016
  • Includes controllers
  • Comfortable to wear
Differences
  • Doesn’t feature Oculus ecosystem
  • No headphones included in the box
  • Has better tracking through base stations

PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR
  • Contains: PlayStation VR headset, Processor unit, PlayStation VR headset connection cable, HDMI cable, USB cable, Stereo headphones, AC power cord, AC adaptor, PlayStation VR Demo Disc
  • Games Come First - With gamers in mind, PlayStation delivers a new world of unexpected gaming experiences through PlayStation VR

Last update on 2019-07-21 /  Source: Amazon Affiliates

If you want a good VR experience but don’t want to drop for a gaming PC, then the PlayStation VR may be for you. Connecting to your PS4 or PS4 Pro, the PSVR is very comfortable and has some excellent games to play, including Ace Combat 7 and Astro Bot VR Rescue.

While the Move Controllers aren’t nearly as good as the Touch Controllers, PSVR is a capable system (and the best-selling headset of all-time). I highly recommend this route if you don’t have a PC.

Similarities
  • Six degrees of freedom
  • Comfortable to wear for long periods of time
Differences
  • Controllers aren’t as accurate as Rift/Vive
  • Has earbuds that don’t attach to the headset
  • Games can be more expensive than on the Rift

Conclusion

I’ve been using the Rift for years, and I still think it’s better in some ways than the new Rift S.

I highly recommend the headset if you can find it. Seeing as how it’s discontinued, you may have a hard time finding one that’s not used, but the Rift S is a good option if you don’t mind the inside-out tracking.

Check out the Rift here or the Rift S here.

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