Arguably the biggest upgrade with the Rift S is its five onboard cameras for inside-out camera tracking. The original Rift relies on an outside-in tracking system, which depends on external cameras to detect glowing lights on the headset and controllers.
The Rift’s tracking system has proven to be reliable, but you need to carefully position external sensors and make sure you have enough room to move around. The Rift S’s tracking system instead relies on computer algorithms, which use information from the cameras to determine the headset and controllers’ locations relative to each other.
That means the Rift S should be easier to set-up relative to the original Rift. Whether the new tracking system means improved or worsened latency and accuracy is a different story, however.
Other changes include replacing the on-ear headphones of its predecessor with speakers positioned near your ear, a slightly larger field-of-view, no manual adjustment of distance between your eyes (IPD), a PlayStation VR-esque design instead of a flexible strap, and one display instead of two.
The Rift S will sell for $399 when it’s available sometime this spring. Even though PC specification requirements are largely the same as with the original Rift, you might need a faster CPU.