Oculus has unveiled the latest generation of its virtual headset today, the Oculus Rift S. This is a new VR head-mounted display (HMD) that improves upon the last gen in several significant ways.

Arguably the company that started the VR market, Oculus now faces increased competition. The HTC Vive is its closest competitor, but Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform has opened the VR area up. Numerous OEMs have backed Windows with their own HMDs. Elsewhere, Sony has been eating up sales with its PlayStation VR.

In other words, a new Oculus Rift is probably overdue. Either way, the Oculus Rift S makes several changes to the previous model, including a resolution increase from 1080 x 1200 to 1280 x 1440 for each eye.

Oculus works with Lenovo to manufacture the Rift S and it seems Lenovo’s own headset served as some inspiration in terms of design. Indeed, the Chinese company co-designed the new HMD to achieve “increased comfort, better weight distribution, and improved light blocking”.

Lowering Expectations

Other changes include a framerate drop from 90hx to 80hz, while Oculus has used the same LCD screens it uses on the non-tethered Oculus Go, replacing OLED. Speaking of the Oculus Go, the Rift S sadly loses the on-ear headphones of the older Rift and replaced them with near-ear speakers like on the Go.

The display and audio decisions are interesting, and we can’t wait to test the Rift S to see if Oculus has cut corners like the specs suggest.

Five cameras are on-board the Oculus Rift S, while the company says the field of view (FoV) is “slightly larger” without going into specifics. In terms of PC requirements, you will still need a powerful high-end machine to run the Oculus Rift with any degree of quality performance.

The Oculus Rift S will be available this spring at a cost of $399.