Oculus Rift vs Samsung HMD Odyssey

I’ve been playing with both headsets today, so here is a short review:

Image Quality

Samsung definitely wins here: it’s brighter, black looks truly black on it, but most importantly, lens glare effect is way less noticeable there— frankly, it almost absents.

Resolution-wise the difference is noticeable, but not as noticeable as I would expect from specs.

Besides that, Odissey blocks much more light: Oculus still has a noticeable gap near your nose, and this gap is fully blocked on Samsung by two small “wings”.

Ergonomics

They are comparable on ergonomics side:

  • Rift is lighter (easier to wear it for longer periods)
  • Samsung is heavier, but you’re quickly get used to it
  • If a bunch of people plan to use the headset, Samsung is definitely way more convenient in terms of adjustments: you need 5 sec. w/ Samsung vs 30 sec. or so with Rift to e.g. switch from an adult to child user
  • If you wear glasses (I do), Rift is smaller, so my glasses almost always stuck there when I take it off; Samsung doesn’t have this issue.
  • Taking the headset off is more convenient with Samsung — you just pull the glasses up. But I suspect if you don’t wear glasses, they are very similar in this sense.
  • Odyssey is easier to setup: no external sensors needed → no sensor tuning. The rest is very similar.
  • Rift controllers are nearly perfect in terms of ergonomics. On the other hand, Odyssey controllers seems to have more features (touch panel). They are also heavier and bulkier — not sure if it’s good or bad, but you feel they have some weight.
  • One of my Odyssey’s controllers fully discharges, like, twice a day. It’s always the left one — maybe that’s because kids mostly play Space Pirate Trainer, and the shield is normally in your left hand there. Not an issue if you have an AA charger that charges 16 batteries at once (I do), but definitely annoying thing if you don’t have one. Or maybe I was just lucky enough to get a malfunctioning controller.

Tracking Precision and Latency

Head tracking is equally good. You won’t see any difference — prob. the only thing you might notice is that Rift is lighter, and thus there is less inertia on fast head movements.

Controller tracking seems to be better on Rift — though the difference in latency is barely noticeable. I am not fully sure yet if it even exists, but playing Eleven (probably the best way to test this) seems to be easier and more natural on Rift. Not sure if it’s about controller latency or display latency in general, but I feel the paddle more frequently “passes through” the ball on Odyssey (i.e. seems like tracking latency was high enough to miss the ball in virtual space, though I’d definitely hit it in the real world), + fast hits are easier to make on Rift. Btw, somehow haptic feedback doesn’t work on Odyssey in this game, and this might also be a source of some frustration / more frequent feeling of misses (e.g. you prob. won’t feel an edge hit on Odyssey in this game, if the ball went out of sight very quickly).

I will spend a bit more time playing this game tomorrow to draw the final conclusion on that.

What you’ll definitely notice is that Odyssey sometimes loses tracking of one of controllers, if it’s out of your sight. Normally it’s not a big deal, but still, that’s annoying. E.g. in Space Pirate Trainer you frequently keep the shield out of your sight, and sometimes it jumps right into your face when Odyssey is recovering from losing the tracking. Similar thing happens in Eleven w/ your left controller: you use it only to throw the ball on serve, so it’s out of sight most of the time, and sometimes — rarely — you see it in a completely wrong position because of that. Annoying. I wish Samsung starts to sell a separate sensor to address this issue for these who really bother about that — I do, so I’d buy it.

Despite all that’s said here, I somehow score way better on Odyssey in Space Pirate Trainer — like, 2x better. And I am really curious, why: the game feels smoother on Rift, and I doubt that some boost in visual part can explain that.

Btw, the environment looks noticeably nicer on Odyssey in this game.

Other concerns

  • Rift reviews are excellent everywhere
  • Samsung HMD Odyssey reviews are mixed so far. Though after reading these here I came to a conclusion that most of negative reviews are either related to defective units or to some frustration with the setup (which was completely smooth for me).

Conclusions so far

Probably you won’t notice the difference in tracking latency unless you try both headsets simultaneously. But you’ll definitely notice the difference in image quality. So:

  • Looking for higher image quality? Go for Samsung HMD Odyssey.
  • Are you a hardcore VR gamer? If yes, Oculus Rift seems to be a safer choice.
  • If you’re somewhere in the middle, I’d still opt out for HMD Odyssey.

That’s it for now. Will share the updates as soon as I have ones.

12/3/2017 Update:

Odyssey won in my case. Played a few more Eleven (ping-pong) games w/ both headsets + reduced the haptic feedback to min. to make sure I compare apples to apples. Conclusions:

  • Tracking performance seems identical
  • You need to be careful with Odyssey’s controllers if you don’t want them to fly when the headset doesn’t see them. As I wrote earlier, it’s mostly about the left hand controller (the one you don’t use in game), so I was trying to keep it closer to my face.
  • Best score with the Professional opponent in single player game w/ HMD Odyssey: 5:11 (I lost)
  • Best score with the Professional opponent w/ Rift is 4:11 (I lost)
  • Frame rate is definitely identical
  • Picture is so much better on Odyssey: brighter + no such a visible glare. And w/ Rift it is so much visible that most of white lines on the table have a red border. Since everything you see there is pretty close, pixel density itself doesn’t make a big difference.
  • I suspect that all driving, flight, and space simulators must look way better on Odyssey. And tracking issues are, frankly, not as annoying as the visual part, assuming it’s proven they rarely impact on your actual performance.
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