The Oculus Rift S virtual reality headsets is designed to be plugged into a PC. The Oculus Quest is a standalone VR headset, no PC required.
But now you can use the Quest with a computer if you want. After spending a few months in beta, the Oculus Link app is ready to go — and it lets you connect the Quest to a computer to play Rift games without buying another headset.
Sure the key selling point of the Quest is that it’s a standalone device with its built-in processor, memory, storage, and everything you need to experience VR without running a cable from your headset to a PC.
But there are some games/apps/experiences that require more horsepower, which makes them PC exclusives. So the ability to plug in could make the Quest an all-purpose headset rather than just a standalone one… and honestly it kind of makes the Rift S seem unnecessary.
Oculus says you get the “highest fidelity gaming experience available” with the Rift S, presumably because it has an 80 Hz screen refresh rate compared to 72 Hz for the Quest. It also uses two cables to connect to a computer — USB 3.0 and DisplayPort, compared with just a USB cable for the Quest when you’re using Oculus Link.
But the Quest actually has a higher-resolution display (1440 x 1600 pixels per eye, compared with 1280 x 1440 for the Rift S), and the Quest has an OLED display (compared with LCD fro the Rift S).
Oh, and they’re both the same price — the Oculus Rift S sells for $399, while the Quest has a starting price of $399 for a 64GB model (you can also spend $499 if you’d rather have 128GB of storage).
So if you’re in the market for a standalone + tethered headset right now, the Quest seems like a pretty good deal… but there are a few things to consider first:
- While most modern Intel and AMD processors are supported, you’ll need an NVIDIA graphics card to use Oculus Link, because AMD GPUs aren’t supported yet.
- You’ll need a supported “high-quality USB 3 cable.” Eventually Facebook-owned Oculus will sell a 5 meter (16+ feet) custom optical fiber cable. But right now you’ll have to find your own cable that’s long enough for comfortable use.
In addition to support for Oculus Link, the latest Oculus Quest software update adds support for opting into experimental features (including achievements, personalizations, and a high-score shelf), and a few other changes. You can find out more by reading the release notes.
Nicely timed with Valve’s confirmation of a VR Half Life sequel
I got the software all set, but it doesn’t work with the Quest’s included cable. Got the recommended cable on order now, but it won’t arrive until Friday.
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