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Oculus Rift review

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Published

The biggest surprise coming out of our Oculus Rift testing? This isn’t just a piece of hardware. It’s a platform. Once you strap on the display and immerse yourself into Oculus Home – the front-end of the system – this becomes obvious. Buying games, accessing your library, downloading content, hooking up with friends, watching media, launching titles and switching between them – it’s all done within a beautifully realised VR world. There’s a console-style sense of solidity and polish to the whole enterprise. And as long as you stick to Oculus’ minimum PC spec, just about everything just works.

Oculus is intent on proving that by kitting out the press with a reference platform based on an Asus G20 small form-factor PC, an Asus VE198 monitor, plus the Rift package itself. The pleasant surprise here is that the G20 itself barely scrapes the Oculus min-spec, when the more obvious choice may have been to supply press with the absolute state of the art in PC technology. As things stand, we have the requisite Nvidia GeForce GTX 970, but CPU-wise, the reference units features a base-level Core i5 6400 – the bottom rung 2.7GHz quad-core processor in Intel’s latest Skylake line-up. Curiously, this is actually less powerful than the Core i5 4590 previously announced as VR’s entry-level CPU.

Despite this, the polish and consistency across the exceptional UI – and indeed the lion’s share of the launch games themselves – is highly accomplished. With just barely perceptible, highly infrequent stutter on a small batch of games, the Rift delivers a locked 90fps across the experience from start to finish. Going into this review, we were prepared to roll up our sleeves, break out the overclocking tools, and adjust GPU control panel settings to get the best possible VR experience. The beauty of the Oculus Rift is that after a short set-up procedure, you’re good to go with the minimum of tweaking – in most cases, at least.