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At GDC 2019, the team at Oculus launched a brand new addition to their VR collection, Oculus Rift S in partnership with Lenovo. The reason for this partnership is to speed up manufacturing and to improve upon the design of the original Rift.

Oculus Rift S will be priced at $399 during launch in Spring, this year. Jason Rubin, Facebook and Oculus’ vice president of VR partnerships and Nate Mitchell, Oculus’ head of VR product said that every existing and future game on the Rift platform will be playable on the Rift S.

Features of the Oculus Rift S

Improved Resolution

This new VR device has a 2560 x 1440 resolution (or 1280 x 1440 per eye), which is 1.4 times the total pixels higher than the original Rift. The new display is LCD instead of OLED, which brings a handful of benefits like a better fill-factor (less unlit space between pixels). However, this often lacks the rich colors and contrast of OLED. Rift S’s LCD display seems quite up to the task, despite running at 80Hz compared to the Rift’s 90Hz.

Clarity and Field of View

With improved fill-factor of LCD, the screen door effect (unlit space between pixels) sees a pretty solid reduction which makes the Rift S clarity seem better than the moderate change in resolution.

With a slightly larger field of view and minimal mura, what you see inside the headset looks a lot like the original Rift but with better clarity. The screen door effect is less distracting, and it’s easier to get lost in the content.

No Hardware IPD Adjustment

As Rift S uses a single display, it has no hardware IPD adjustment (unlike the original Rift) to change the distance between the lenses to match the distance between the eyes. A proper IPD setting is important for visual comfort (and makes it easier to achieve maximum panel utilization). While IPD on the Rift S can be adjusted, to an extent, in software, users on the outer limits of the IPD range might be left wanting. Oculus hasn’t specified what they consider to be the headset’s acceptable IPD range.

A new ‘Passthrough+’

Rift S new Passthrough+ allows users to ‘see through’ their headset by piping the video feed from the onboard cameras into the displays. The company says they’ve paid special attention to make sure the feed is low latency, high frame rate, and stereo-correct, which is why it’s called ‘Passthrough+’.

An inside-out ‘Insight’ tracking

Rift S uses an ‘inside-out’ tracking system (called Insight) which places five cameras onto the headset itself. The cameras look at the world around the user, and computer vision algorithms use the information to determine the position of the headset. The on-board cameras also look for glowing lights on the controllers (also invisible via infrared) to determine their location relative to the headset. An inside-out system like this is vastly more complex than the outside-in system of the Rift.

Room-scale Out of the Box

Rift S is easy to set up, and now has room-scale tracking out of the box, which means players can be more immersed in some games by walking around larger spaces and turning around naturally instead of relying on stick-based turning. Depending upon the game, having full 360 room-scale tracking can really enhance immersion levels.

Other features in Rift S include hidden audio, improved design and Ergonomics, and much more.

To know more about Oculus Rift S in detail, head over to its official website.

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