Facebook-owned Oculus launched its first ever standalone headset, the Oculus Go, in May last year.
Based on a mobile operating system, pretty much like the Gear VR, and with only three degrees of freedom, the $199 Oculus Go was pretty much limited in scope.
But now, Oculus is ready to ship out its most powerful all-in-one autonomous VR headset, yet – the Oculus Quest, previously referred to as Project Santa Cruz.
Oculus Quest is fundamentally a Rift-compatible headset that doesn’t need to be connected to a PC to be able to play compatible games.
Like the Oculus Rift, the Oculus Quest has two motion touch controllers, capable of being tracked in space, with six degrees of freedom (DoF), all of which translates to a more immersive virtual reality experience.
Since the Quest is a standalone device there are no wires or external sensors to contend with, which means you can play games without the worry of being weighed down by all the extraneous hardware.
And, as mentioned earlier, you don’t really need a PC to run this VR contraption – thanks to the four motion control sensors, as well as a new inside-out tracking technology called Insight.
Insight uses the four ultra-wide-angle sensors on the front of the headset together with computer vision algorithms to help track your position in real-time.
If you are wondering about safety issues like bumping into a wall while you’ve got the headset on, you need not worry because Oculus’ Guardian system allows you to set up virtual boundaries to let you know when you’re nearing the limit you’ve marked for yourself.
“The Oculus Guardian System is designed to display in-application wall and floor markers when users get near boundaries they defined,” says Oculus.
“When the user gets too close to the edge of a boundary, translucent boundary markers are displayed in a layer that is superimposed over the game or experience.”.
First announced back in 2016 under the codename Project Santa Cruz, as mentioned earlier, Quest will ship on May 21 with at least fifty titles, including hits like Robo Recall, Beat Saber, Moss, Superhot VR, and Creed: Rise to Glory, Journey of the Gods, Space Pirate Trainer, Sports Scramble, and even the new Star Wars game Vader Immortal.
During his keynote at the Oculus Connect 5 last year, Mark Zuckerberg said that the Quest platform was going to include three key features to provide that fully-immersive virtual reality experience that gamers are always looking for in a VR headset.
“First, it needs to be standalone that way there are no wires that are going to break your feeling of presence and you’re going to be able to take it with you,” said the Facebook CEO.
“Second, it’s got to support hands because that’s how we’re going to interact with people and objects in virtual reality,” he explained.
“And third, it has to offer six degrees of freedoms so you can move through a virtual space just like you would a physical one,” he added.
Using the local Wi-Fi network, the Oculus Quest can “cast” what’s happening on the VR screen to a TV monitor or a smartphone running the Oculus app; some games will even allow the smartphone user to play along.
Like the Oculus Go, the Quest affords 1600 x 1440 pixels of resolution per eye, with the headset’s graphics driven by a reasonably powerful Snapdragon 835 processor.
However, without the powerful GPU support of a PC, you can expect the graphics to be somewhat below par.
It’s all very good to have an all-in-one standalone but if you have to charge the headset every now and again, then the whole purpose is killed, regardless of how immersive an experience it promises.
But no worries there as the Oculus Quest boasts a lithium-ion battery with 2-3 hours playtime, depending on the title you’re playing.
Key Features, Specifications, Availability, and Price
o OLED display panel
o 1600 x 1440 pixels of resolution per eye
o Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
o 4GB RAM
o Lithium-ion battery with 2-3 hours playtime
o Does not need to be tethered to a PC | completely wireless
o Improved touch controls
o 6 degrees of freedom head and hand tracking
o Ships with 50+ titles
o Available in two variants: 64 GB of storage ($399) or 128 GB of storage ($499)
o Available for pre-order on the Oculus Store https://www.oculus.com/cart/
o You can also pre-order in the US on Amazon, Best Buy, NewEgg, Microsoft, Micro Center, and Walmart