Thursday, April 14, 2016

Oculus Rift CV1 Impressions (2 days in)

This has been a roller coaster of emotions from the moment of the preorder to now. It started with awe at having the product in my hands, to steadily going up and down depending on where I'm at and how I'm using it. At this very moment, I'm typing these impression using my CV1 as a display with Virtual Desktop while a video is rendering at the same time. It's when I'm doing stuff like this that I'm content. When I'm at work, away from the Rift, thinking about how I just spent $600 of my hard earned money on an upgrade I'd optimistically call a 50% boost, that's when I start to get iffy. It's downright got me thinking I might be bipolar to an extent. It's insane and I'm sure the stress isn't doing me any favors with school and work in one mix. Enough rambling though, let's at least go into the positive aspects first to get things off on a positive note.

For starters, I absolutely love the clarity of the screen. Even though the screen door effect can still be readily seen, it is mostly taking a backseat to the larger issue of resolution. Things are bright and vibrant and when in motion (a la, moving you head around or having the scene change) things can blur just enough that there may as well not be a screen door effect at all. It really is that pleasant. FOV wise, things are almost as good. Things generally feel a bit wider than on the DK2 and while it may not take up the same space height wise as my DK2, I find that I honestly don't see any issues with it when it comes to this particular aspect of the experience. Until we get FOVs that don't allow for any black edging to appear when looking ahead at all, we probably won't be getting much of a boost. Comfort has been a bit of a mix as it's a bit tricky to find the optimal way to put it on your head, but it is already leagues better than anything I've ever experienced with the DK2 and honestly, I can imagine myself using this thing for hours at a time without a break if the need arises or I want to. All in all, I'd say it is an universally better experience than my DK2 that was worth the upgrade, but there is one glaring flaw in this device that I just can't overlook. One that is bordering on being the deal breaker that makes me want to sell this thing and wait to pick it up later on my bad swings: the light rays.

I'm calling it here now, the Oculus Rift will instill the fear of god (rays) in you. The god rays phenomena of the CV1 is an issue in the lens design it would seem where high contrast elements where darkness surrounds light result in the generation of light rays outwards from the CV1's location, reminiscent to "god rays". It is by far the most annoying thing about the CV1 and makes using things like the Oculus store a chore to use because the entire periphery of my vision is absolutely deluged by the excess of light rays. If that weren't enough, the low resolution of the displays makes it so that the greatly improved SDE situation is wasted in many respects as you still can't really take advantage of it to easily see objects in the distance in games like racers and flight sims. It definitely an improvement over the DK2, but it's far from enough to warrant replacing the monitors with it.

All in all, I'm disappointed with the CV1 more than anything. It's far from a bad product, but's not what I was hoping I would get after all this waiting and the addition of a new trouble to the experience in conjunction with the steady fixing of the old one is demoralizing. Combo this with the absolute mess the launch for VR has been both on the Oculus and HTC sides and it's really killed the hype for VR I've had. It's probably my fault for allowing myself to get this caught up in it, but doesn't make the salt any easier to deal with. These are still just my early impression though and they are improving with each passing day, so maybe they'll be somewhere entirely different by the end of this week. One way or another, I'm not going to be the owner of both a CV1 and DK2 for much longer. Which one I send out the door now is up to the following week to decide.

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