Last week at the Oculus Conference 5 event, the company took the curtains off its 2018 standalone VR Headset – The Oculus Quest. The Oculus Quest is said to be the consumer variant of Oculus’ Project Santa Cruz, which the company unveiled two years ago in 2016.
The company calls the Oculus Quest its first ‘All-in-One VR Gaming Headset’. The Quest is a complete standalone VR headset. This means it eliminates the hassle of dangling cords. The Oculus Quest features inside-out positional tracking with six degrees of freedom (6DoF).
There are a lot of exciting features packed into this VR headset. But before we dig further, let’s have a look at the design.
Oculus Display and Hardware Specifications
First and foremost, the headset Oculus Quest uses the same display as the Oculus Go. The Oculus Quest hosts best-of-class optics with a display resolution of 1,600 × 1,440 per eye. Certainly good enough to watch all those premium quality VR Porn videos. To optimize the visual comfort, the headset also incorporates a lens spacing adjustment. The screen refresh rate is fairly decent at 72 Hz.
On the audio side, the Quest features built-in audio just like the Oculus Go. However, Oculus claims to have produced an even richer sound experience in Quest with “deeper bass”.
The Oculus Quest is powered with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chipset, a previous version of the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 645 released this year. Nevertheless, it is a generation above the Snapdragon 821 which we saw in Oculus Go, and hence we can certainly expect improvements in terms of graphics performance. But again, don’t compare it with Rift’s performance which can draw high-end computing power from an external machine.
Inside-Out Positional Tracking with 6DoF
Oculus seems to have made some big improvements over last year’s Go headset. The Oculus Quest steps-up the game, incorporating 6DoF inside-out positional tracking. With 6DoF, you can move your head in every direction – forward, backward, left, right, up and down – thereby allowing for a more intuitive and realistic experience.
The inside-out positional tracking feature is triggered using the four external sensors on the front faceplate of the VR headset. The Oculus Quest also sets a new precedent among the standalone VR headsets by being the first to offer both full head and hand tracking. Other players in the same category, like the Vive Focus, host only positional head tracking but not hand tracking.
A Leap ‘Beyond Roomscale’ Tracking
Oculus proudly calls the Quest’s 6DoF optical tracking ‘Oculus Insight’. The ‘Insight’ ecosystem has features like Guardian, inside-out tracking, and Touch controller tracking. With four “ultra wide-angle sensors,” Oculus Quest’s tracking capabilities go beyond room scale to what Hugo Barra calls “arena-scale”.
The wide-angle-sensors give users a perfect mapping of their position inside the room while the Guardian system helps to avoid obstacles like chairs or couches. As reported by The Verge, Oculus Quest’s arena-scale tracking supports at least 4,000 square feet of space. This means that Quest’s tracking abilities extend to multiple rooms. The Guardian system employed will help to accurately map safe boundaries in the surrounding physical space, giving users an uninterrupted playspace.
As noted earlier, the Oculus Quest comes with two fully hand tracked controllers, a newer version of Rift’s Touch controllers. The Oculus Quest has exactly the same amount of buttons including the grip buttons, triggers, and analog sticks. Additionally, the face buttons, when in the vicinity of the sensors, will accurately replicate your movement. In comparison to the Oculus Touch, the Oculus Quest has a different positioning of the tracking ring which is now placed on the top of the controller instead of under it.
Arrival by Spring 2019
There is no official date of launch yet, but the Oculus Quest is expected to launch by Q1 of 2019. The combo of the Oculus Quest VR Headset and controllers is priced at $399 for the 64GB storage version.