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Hands-On with Oculus Rift CV1

Oculus VR’s consumer version reveal at the ‘Step into the Rift’, San Francisco, did not hold any hands-on opportunities for attendees. Though we got to see many of the titles that will accompany the head-mounted display (HMD) and the reveal of the input devices – Xbox One controller at first, Oculus Touch to follow – actually experiencing them was not an option. That changed today as Oculus VR opened the floodgates at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Los Angeles, for all of the above.

VRFocus has already been hands-on with Oculus Touch and it’s associated Toybox software as we all know the full range of 9 launch window titles on show. We’ll get to those in time, but right now it’s all about the consumer version of the HMD, aka CV1.

Oculus Rift CV1

The finish of the device is near immaculate. The soft-to-touch front end isn’t as thick an velvety as you might imagine; more a smooth coating than a thick sheet, the firm wrap-around straps feel more solid than the most recent prototype hardware, Crescent Bay, and the velcro attachment straps are certainly more accommodating of frequent wear and removal than the plastic clips of the DK1 and DK2 editions of the hardware. The HMD is a little weightier than the Crescent Bay, however when being worn it’s certainly not noticeable. The idea of being able to wear the device for hours on end without discomfort is finally an identifiable goal.

The power button on the underside of the HMD is perhaps a little misplaced, but once having established a relationship both in-and-out of VR it will surely become natural instinct not to accidentally hit the button. Additionally, the nose curve won’t be perfect for everybody of course, and can take some fiddling to get the alignment perfect for your face.

The most important part of the CV1 experience however, is how it actually feels when in the VR experiences it can provide. The head tracking is near flawless. In VRFocus‘ hour playtest with the device there was never a moment in which latency became an issue. Positional tracking seemed to be more limited than that of the Crescent Bay, however all of the experiences presented were seated. Of course, VRFocus took the opportunity to walk around as much as possible, but as the software didn’t react in the same way as that which is made for a standing experience, making the tracking hard to evaluate.

The screen resolution has, finally, reached a level where screendoor effect is no longer an issue. There is a small amount of pixilation but no more than a Nintendo 3DS screen held at a reasonable distance. Noticeable more in some of the videogame titles than offers, small black dots appear over brightly mono coloured textures, but it’s certainly far from the significant issue that it was with DK1 and DK2. Indeed, it may only be because VRFocus was actively assessing the screen that it was noticable.

Needless to say, CV1 is the Oculus Rift HMD that we had all been hoping for. It may be late to the table and it’s still not yet known just how much that meal is going to cost – nor how long we’ll have to wait for the motion-control input dessert – but finally Oculus VR is ready to turn off the oven. CV1 is undoubtedly an extremely high quality HMD and once again Oculus VR have taken a leading role in the field of VR.

  1. I would be really interested in knowing if the CV1 looks better then a Galaxy note 4 in a google card board. I realize the FOV would be much better and there won’t be any blur, but is it as pixilated as the note 4? I find the note 4 very distracting with the pixels.

    1. That’s what screen door effect is. That’s low pixel count. So no its pretty much not there.

      1. A common misconception and understandable why people would think as much, but wrong.
        SDE is not synonymous to low-res and in fact higher resolutions may have more SDE as the space between the pixels grows.

    2. I second Garratt’s comment, I am really curious about the CV1 vs GearVR comparison as I have had a chance to see GearVR (at bestbuy) and I want to know how the new hardware will compare

      1. Well forest, there isn’t really any hardware in the GearVR to compare. The oculus rift is a fully functioning VR headset with screens and positional tracking. The GearVR is basically just a really expensive case for your phone. It doesn’t have a screen, or any electrical components, of it’s own. It’s specs are the specs of the phone that you put into it.

        1. Not true, gear vr does have an on board proprietary imu which was developed by oculus and which helps a ton with latency. The difference between gear vr and cardboard with the same phone is significant. I can’t stay in cardboard for more than a few minutes before I get nauseous l, whereas I don’t get nauseous at all in gear vr. The question about screen resolution, particularly pixelation is a fair one as it would tend to suggest that the cv1 has a higher resolution combined display.

          1. Note 4: 2560×1440
            Rift: 2x1080x1200

            How is it that Rift’s combined resolution is higher than Gear VR?

        2. Damn, I swear the comment by Richard wasn’t there when I started writing mine, even though it seems to have been written a lot earlier. Sorry for the repeat information… moderators, feel free to delete both my comments. 🙂

          1. No problem! As a note to all comments do go through approvals at present and sometimes we do a bit of fact checking of course before one goes live, so if you don’t see yours pop up yet don’t worry(!) 🙂

            We’re glad you’re all enjoying the hands-on, be sure to check out our hands-on preview of Chronos, one of the titles recently revealed at the Oculus event earlier in the month: http://gmw3.com/archives/17238/preview-chronos/

  2. After the hands on the cv1, is oculus best than the HTC Vive ?
    Would you guys wait for Oculus cv1 in 2016 or run and grab one HTC in november this year?
    : /

    1. I’m told by the team that both systems have their advantages over the other, this is something Kevin and/or Jamie will get into in depth at a later date.

    2. Never tried any, but I think it depends on what you want. If you want that fully immersive experience, then HTC’s the way to go. Why? Because it tracks your body movement and position. You actually walk around the “room”. So it feels really natural. But it may not do so well in games requiring running around or travelling. Say, if you have to move from point A to B over hundreds of metres, HTC’s solution may be to “blink” you over instead of actually walking there. So, in current games situation, I think the Rift will be more suitable as you operate the game with either the normal Xbone controller or Touch. All said, Rift is a seated experience i.e. you don’t get to walk on your feet like the HTC. So the movement/experience will be less natural and less immersive. I think the HTC will come with its (and Valve’s) very own set of softwares while the Rift is more accomodating to current apps/games. HTC Vive is likely to be heavier and costlier and you need some space around your PC to walk around.

      Oops, forgot to add that HTC allows normal gaming in a seated position as well. And I heard you can game on a gamepad just like the Rift. With Touch, I think Oculus is making it such that the system can track your body position as well (just like HTC). But I believe HTC’s system will be more accurate and immersive.

      End of the day, both systems are pretty similar in function. Best to wait for reviews of both system before deciding. However, if feeling natural walking around and touching things is your thing, then go for the HTC Vive. But if you wanna press buttons and prefer a seated gaming experience while pressing joysticks and buttons to move around in-game, then Rift may be the one to wait for. Of course, ideally, wait for both reviews before deciding.

  3. How was Chromatic aberration and centre focus compared to the DK2?. I guess if you didn’t have those problems with the DK2 the you’re not going to see them in the retail version, but I did (with the DK2).


    1. Hey Joe. I tried CV1 too and, to the best of my memory, chromatic aberration wasn’t much of an issue for me and I have found it to be with DK2 in the past. I didn’t spot an issue with central focus, either.

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