Oculus rift

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Posted in Virtual Reality | April 5th, 2016

Znatta Logo-1WHAT IS THE OCULUS RIFT?

On the off chance that you’ve missed all the news about the Oculus Rift, this gadget brings virtual reality – genuine, intelligent, outwardly empowering virtual reality – to you. It’s the one of the few VRs to do that and it’s set to change the way we watch, play and interact.

That is a major ordeal. We once in a while get this amped up for new tech, however the Rift conveys a truly new and one of a kind experience. We believe that it is as vital as the Baird Model C or the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, the principal monetarily TV and mobile respectively.

For that alone Oculus, and its founder Palmer Luckey, deserve each and every acclamation they get. Be that as it may, does the Oculus Rift convey on the guarantee of immersion or, as Baird and Motorola, will it make ready for others to make a mark in this industry?

That is a trickier question. From numerous points of view the Oculus Rift is wonderful, in others it can demonstrate disappointing and, sometimes, slight sickening. At that point there’s a competitor. The HTC Vive will be reaching customers soon and accompanies the gift of Valve – the all-powerful maker of Steam – a name each PC gamer respects. And afterward there’s Playstation VR, a much less expensive option fueled by the PS4 that is expected late this year.

 

KEY FEATURES

  • 1,200 x 1,080 resolution AMOLED screen for each eye
  • Requires a powerful gaming PC
  • Xbox One controller included, Rift Controllers coming later
  • Remote control
  • Head-tracking sensor
  • Recommended use 13 years and older
  • Manufacturer: Oculus VR
  • Review Price: £499.00

At $599 it’s not cheap, particularly when you include the expense of an intense PC it needs to run. In any case, it’s not costly for an original first-gen product.(If you see that Motorola telephone from the 80s would cost $10,000 in today’s money)

What’s more? – you can be one of the first few to try out the Oculus Rift which will become a revolution. It’s a sure shot gadget for the adventurous early adopter.

A few components, for example, the Oculus Home and Store programming, are still in beta and quite a few games are ‘works in advancement’. Also, multiplayer recreations are difficult to test completely because of the set number of players.

 

OCULUS RIFT – DESIGN and UNBOXING

The Rift comes in an amazing case, one that you’ll need to keep to help with transporting it. Inside there’s a dinky remote with wrist strap to let you change volume and select options, a metal sensor on a stand and, obviously, the Oculus Rift itself.

Oculus Rift 1

Below the sensor and flip the top you have an Xbox One controller

 

Oculus Rift 14

The Rift Controllers will arrive later in the year

The Rift headsets weren’t looking really impressive at first glance, all black and moody, but the intention to keep the Rift as light as possible(you’ll know if you pay close attention).

Oculus Rift 4

The alterable overhead strap as well as the sides come with a velcro and  come with some springiness to provide a pretty comfortable fit. It’s easy to alter and get the right fit for your head. I’ve tried it on more than a dozen people and no-one had an issue with the fit.

The rift comes with a soft rubber and foam that seal the Rift to your head and ensures no light bleeds in, while integrated on-ear headphones are attached to the band by adjustable arms. These are easily removable in case you’d want to use your own gaming headset(but, it might add to the weight on your head). A single 4-metre cable on the left of the Rift and splits in two near the end to connect to a PC.

Oculus Rift 11

OCULUS RIFT – SETUP

Below are the recommended PC requirements.

Oculus Rift system requirements: 

  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 970/AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • Processor: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • Memory: 8GB+ RAM
  • Output: HDMI-compatible 1.3 video output
  • Operating System: Windows 7 SP1 64-bit or newer
  • Inputs: 3x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 2.0

 

Oculus has kept everything refreshingly simple there wasn’t any issue with the Rift or remote disconnecting at any point.

But one thing you do need to consider is the space you set the Rift up in. There should be plenty of room around you even though, currently, it’s predominately a sitting experience. I found a wheeled swivel chair and space enough to extend my arms fully works well. I lifted the cables out of the way so as not to catch them in the wheels and gave myself enough space to be able to rotate 360 degrees and move back and forward a little as required.

Oculus Rift 7

You’ll also want to adjust the headset so it’s perfectly level with your eyes and use the lens spacing adjuster to move the lenses towards your eyes. It ranges from 58mm to 72mm and I found 60mm to be optimal to reduce blurriness for me.

Once everything is set up it’s time to start installing content via Oculus Home and the Oculus Store. At present all Rift experiences are managed through this portal. It’s good, but not perfect.

OCULUS RIFT – SOFTWARE, OCULUS HOME AND OCULUS STORE

The first thing you’ll notice when you don the headset is that there a faint crosshatch effect, almost like you’re looking at an old-school CRT TV up close. You can see the pixels, no doubt about that, but when you think about how much of your field of vision is taken over by the Rift and how close the screens are to your eyes, it’s impossible to avoid with current tech.

The effect is exacerbated by solid textures of one colour, but it’s almost unnoticeable on colourful, busy backgrounds. The T-Rex in a museum demo on Oculus Dreamdeck is a great example of how good an experience can be when done right, but these are the kind of issues developers are still grappling with.

I’m sure future iterations will resolve this with more pixels-per-inch, but it’s not a deal-breaker by any stretch. The Oculus Rift is about immersion and while this weakens the effect a little there’s still nothing like being smack bang in the middle of a virtual world.

The first environment you get to experience is the Oculus Home, and it is just that, a virtual pad equipped with a fireplace, sofa, art and a bar. It’s just there for show, of course, but it sets up the scene fittingly.

Look around and you see a small white dot dead centre. This is your cursor. Move your head around, find an app, game or setting you want to try and then press A, if using the Xbox Controller or the centre button if you’re more of a remote person.

The most used and most recent apps are easy enough to find but you need to dig a little deeper if you have a lot of content. The library shows a list of all your apps but can be a chore to slog through. I can only imagine this getting worse, if, like me, you intend to download anything and everything as it is released.

Also, at present all games are automatically downloaded and installed to C: drive. If you have a small capacity SSD as your main drive and a separate, spinning disk for installing games this may be a problem. Oculus will be updating the software in the coming weeks to allow your choice of destination.

There’s only three ways of filtering the library, by comfort level (the intensity of the game more on which later), recent and A-Z. There’s no easy way of quickly getting to the app you want with the headset on.

Oculus will be missing a trick if it doesn’t include Siri-style search features using the Rift’s inbuilt microphone in future. That works brilliantly on the Apple TV and could also be used for asking simple things, like what time it is. Having to take off the Rift just to find out basic information is a drag.

However, it’s very early days for Oculus Home and it is already a slick experience – far more so than Steam was when it first launched. In dozens of hours of play I’ve only had a couple of crashes, and those were easily resolved by restarting the app, or, on one occasion, the PC.

Annoyingly, you can’t use your PC’s desktop with the headset on despite this being a feature of previous developer versions. It’s just plain annoying having to remove the Rift every time you need to use the desktop, so I hope Oculus adds this feature to the Oculus Store soon.

Oculus Virtual Desktop

There’s also the Oculus Video app which lets you watch content from Vimeo, Facebook and a few other sources, including your own library – there’s no Netflix or Amazon Prime Video yet. There are a variety of screens to choose from, my favourite being the traditional cinema. While watching Mad Max Fury Road I actually found myself reaching for the virtual armrest on more than one occasion.

Oculus Video

Some of the 360 content is also awesome. David Attenborough explaining the inner workings of the Titanosaurus as it walks beside you is nothing short of breathtaking in its scale. There’s more to the Rift than just gaming, even though that remains its main selling point.

OCULUS RIFT – THE EXPERIENCE

I’ve spent a good 25+ hours with the Oculus Rift on my head in the last five days and have experienced a variety of comfort levels depending on the game and experience.

There are 30 Oculus Rift games to choose from at launch. That’s more than either the PS4 or Xbox One when they were released. As with all launches the games are a very mixed bag ranging from triple-A, polished, titles to games you’d think were average if you played them on your smartphone.

You can thoroughly enjoy the Oculus Rift without playing intense games. Not one of my friends or colleagues who played Comfortable or Moderate games felt any ill effects at all. If this is still a worry for you then try and experience the Rift first hand before you buy it, here at Znatta.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The Oculus Rift is a hugely impressive bit of kit and one that’s only going to get better as more work is done to the software and as developers understand how to develop for it.

As of now, it can both hugely impress and, at the same time, feel less polished than using a traditional PC and monitor setup. Still, this isn’t just a step towards the future, it is an almighty leap.

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