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New Oculus Rift S Won’t Require External Sensors, Hits Spring 2019 for $399

The redesigned Oculus Rift S won’t require external sensors to work, features a higher resolution display, improved optics, and the ability to quickly see the real world around a user through the headset’s built-in cameras.

The new Rift hits this spring for $399, Oculus announced Wednesday.

The headset is named the S rather than the Oculus Rift 2 because while it is an across the board improvement, it’s not a fundamental shift in the technology. That also means that the full existing game library will work on the new headset and new titles will continue to work on the original Rift model. The current Oculus Rift will no longer be manufactured and the company believes the existing stock will soon be sold out.

The redesign of the Oculus Rift started with Oculus partnering up with LenovoTM to design the new look and feel of the Oculus Rift 2. The headset uses a ring that slips over the user’s head and a deal in the back to tighten the fit. A button under the display can be used to pull or push the headset into the user’s face. The new design is among the most comfortable I’ve felt, with better weight distribution, light blocking, and ease of use. A single 5-meter cable also makes storage a bit simpler. The Rift S uses the same integrated audio system as the Oculus Quest and Oculus Go, with a headphone jack that lets you use your own headphones if you prefer.

The headset weighs a touch more than the original Rift, though the company didn’t specify exactly how much more. The display is a single fast-switch LCD with digital IPD adjust, featuring 1280×1440 per eye resolution (2560×1440 total) at 80hz.

The biggest change for the Oculus Rift S is that it uses the company’s six-degrees-of-freedom, inside-out tracking tech. That means you no longer have to set up external trackers. Instead, the system uses five sensors built into the sides, front and top of the headset to track movement. The system also uses redesigned Oculus Touch controllers to work with the new headset, flipping the loop of plastic from running under the knuckles to above the thumb so it works with the headset’s built-in cameras. Unfortunately, that means existing Rift Touch controllers won’t work with the Oculus Rift S.

The Oculus Rift S’s new hardware also allows for some important software improvements. Most notable is the ability to set up the guardian system much faster. Users just point and draw a line on the ground around them to set up when they are alerted that they’re getting close to the edge of their play space. It appears to be a much faster process than the system used with the original Rift. The Rift S will also sport a new feature called Passthrough+ which enables a true stereo-correct view of the world around you delivered through the lens’ of the system. The view is black and white but is designed to allow you to quickly interact with the world, like grabbing a chair or talking to someone.

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