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The $399 Oculus Rift S provides high-resolution screens and built-in tracking

Well, it’s no longer just a virtual rumor, it’s virtually here.

oculus rift s announcement
Image: Oculus

Oculus was one of the first to make a consumer-focused, home-use VR headset, and now it seems that the company will be the first to make a good, affordable one. The newly-announced Rift S is $399, and in an interesting twist, it was developed in partnership with Lenovo.

The Rift S improves on the original in just about every way. Higher-resolution screens, more comfort, a quicker-to-adjust mounting strap, and built-in tracking so you don’t need external cameras. The new screens are 1280 x 1440 per eye, combining to a 2560 x 1440 total resolution. They’re the same fast-switching LCD that’s used in the Oculus Go, but with higher fidelity visuals due to the powerful PC that it’ll be tethered to.

The refresh rate has been dropped to 80hz though, which is disappointing. It’s been long said that 90hz is the minimum for VR to seem fluid to our eyes so it’ll be interesting to see how it fares at the lower refresh rate. Oculus says that’s being done to keep the necessary PC specs in line with the existing Rift model.

Check out the announcement video from Oculus

Both the Rift S and the upcoming standalone Oculus Quest will retail for $399. That means that the choice for a VR headset from Oculus won’t come down to cost, rather it’ll be dependent on if you already own a gaming PC powerful enough to power the Rift S or not. That might help with sales, as both headsets tap into the same pool of games. Not all titles that work on the Rift S will work on the Quest, the standalone headset just isn’t powerful enough for some of the more demanding experiences.

Out of all the games coming to Rift in the near future, Defector is the one that has me the most excited. Who wouldn’t want to play a Bond/Bourne/XXX role in an all-action spy game?

Oculus hasn’t confirmed a shipping date for either headset, just a vague “shipping this spring.” That said, parent company Facebook’s F8 developer conference is April 30, which would be a prime time to release the new headsets to the public.

What do you think? Interested in the Oculus Rift S? What about the Quest? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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