You may not be able to get your hands on the very-much-backordered second generation Oculus Rift, but you know who did? iFixit — the guys who tear apart pretty much every device they can get their hands on to get a better look at the hamster wheels inside.
So what’d they find?
It’s pretty much all good news — especially for people who like to repair things on their own.
While Oculus still hasn’t publicly announced when they plan to sell these things to consumers (instead of limiting sales to developers and people who are willing to say they’re developers), this second gen prototype already shows significant improvements on the engineering front.
- Like they did with the original Rift developer kit, iFixit gives the second-gen developer kit (or DK2, as it’s known) a 9/10 for repairability. That score represents how feasible it is to repair it on your own when something breaks, with 10 being perfect.
- The only thing that seems challenging to break into actually isn’t a part of the headset at all — it’s the external camera accessory, used for tracking the position of your head
- At least in this build, the Rift is held together by standard Philips screws — so unlike many of today’s gadgets, you shouldn’t need some whacky custom-made screwdriver shaped like a star or a banana or whatever to pop it open.
- The DK1 used a display built by Taiwan’s Innolux. The DK2, meanwhile, snags its display right out of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3. Really! The holes where the Note 3’s speaker and front button would normally sit are even still there (see the picture below). And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; Oculus has always been quite open with the fact that progress in cell phone/tablet tech is what makes their efforts possible.
- Oculus was able to cram the DK2s many components — the accelerometer, the gyro, etc — onto one motherboard. This freed up enough space inside the DK2 that they were able to ditch the DK1’s big, clunky external control box.
- According to its spec sheet, the DK2’s display runs at 75 Hz. The Note Display, by default, runs at 60 Hz. So it seems Oculus has overclocked the screen to bump up the refresh rate a bit. That can cause heat issues in something compact like a phone/tablet — but in something with a bit more space like the Rift, it shouldn’t be an issue.
All in all, it’s a damned pretty feat of engineering (and, in the case of that Samsung display, clever recycling). Check out the full teardown here.
The Samsung Note 3 display inside, complete with its the original bezel, earpiece/button holes and all: