VR Headset Reviews

Samsung Odyssey Plus vs. Oculus Rift S ($299 to $399 budget high resolution VR headsets)

Oculus Rift S vs. Samsung Odyssey
Oculus Rift S vs. Samsung Odyssey

Samsung Odyssey Plus (reviewed here) is currently back on sale for $299 at Amazon and B&H Photo.  BTW, these are for brand new units, not refurbs.  Is it a good deal at this price?  How does it compare to the Oculus Rift S ($399, previewed here)?

Odyssey plus has Oculus Rift S inside out tracking + HTC Vive Pro resolution for $299
Odyssey plus has Oculus Rift S inside out tracking + HTC Vive Pro resolution for $299

Samsung Odyssey Plus is a desktop VR headset known for its high resolution.  As of May 2019, it is tied for the second highest resolution among with mainstream VR headsets (1600 x 1440 per eye), along with the Valve Index ($999), Vive Pro ($1399), and Oculus Quest ($399, reviewed here).  Among mainstream desktop VR headsets, only the $599 HP Reverb has higher resolution at 2160 x 2160 per eye, and Reverb has a couple of issues.  First, the Reverb requires a powerful and pricey GTX 1080 graphics card.  Second, the Reverb remains out of stock everywhere as of May 2019.

Odyssey+ is based on Windows Mixed Reality and uses inside-out tracking so that it doesn’t require any external sensors.  You simply plug it into your HDMI and USB 3.0 port and the Windows Mixed Reality portal launches automatically.  From there, you can launch Steam VR games and apps (for HTC Vive).

WHAT ABOUT THE RIFT S?

Samsung Odyssey vs. Oculus Rift S
Samsung Odyssey vs. Oculus Rift S

The Odyssey+ competes with the newly-released Oculus Rift S ($399, previewed here), which also uses inside-out tracking.  However, the Odyssey+ only has two cameras while the Rift S has five cameras for better tracking of the controllers when they’re off to the side or above the headset.   I compared the Rift S with the original Odyssey, which doesn’t have the anti-alias filter of the Odyssey+ but is otherwise identical.

Compatibility and apps

Both Samsung Odyssey+ and Oculus Rift S are natively compatible with SteamVR and its library of hundreds of VR apps.  In addition, Oculus Rift S is natively compatible with the popular Oculus platform, and doesn’t require an additional layer of software to use Oculus apps, unlike the Odyssey+ which requires the [free] Revive software to run Oculus apps.  On the other hand, Rift S uses Displayport instead of HDMI, and may not be compatible with older laptops.  Odyssey+ can also run on more modest hardware (at a lower framerate), and can even run on 7th gen Intel Core processors without a dedicated graphics card.

Image quality and tracking performance

Both the Rift S and the Odyssey+ have excellent detail with hardly any screendoor effect.  Odyssey+ has a higher nominal resolution (1600 x 1440) compared to the Rift S (1280 x 1440), however in the real world, I found that the Rift S actually had slightly more detail than Odyssey.  High frequency details such as small text are slightly easier to see in the Rift S.

Both are susceptible to god rays, which are a bit more prominent on Rift S than the Odyssey.  On the other hand, one advantage of the Rift S is that it appears to be less prone to fogging compared to the Odyssey+.  Both had very low distortion and no noticeable chromatic aberration.  Both had reasonably sized sweet spots* that are easy to find. (*Sweet spot is the portion of the lens where objects appear clear.)

In terms of headset tracking accuracy, both felt similar although the Rift S has a few bugs in some apps such as the Steam VR Home, where the framerate inexplicably drops (I’m sure this will be resolved).  Odyssey+ would also often be wrong about the height, which can be adjusted in the portal.  The Rift S isn’t perfect with its headset height detection either, but it is much easier to set the height correctly.  You simply have to bring your controller to ground level and you’ll see the adjustment in real time and it remains accurate once set.  Odyssey+ does have a higher refresh rate of 90hz compared to the Rift S’ 80hz but I could not notice any real world difference in the refresh rate.

For controller tracking, I tested both headsets with Beat Saber and Thrill of the Fight (a boxing game).  Both the Rift S and Odyssey use inside out tracking, but I found the Rift S’ tracking to be far superior.  With the Odyssey, I missed more cuts on Beat Saber, and in Thrill of the Fight, one of my gloves would fly away occasionally, leaving me to fight one handed every now and then.  I also found that my shots sometimes fell short of my intended target.  With the Rift S, I missed only a handful of cuts in Beat Saber, and in Thrill of the Fight, the Rift S tracked my controllers perfectly (in both cases, I turned off the game’s option for drift protection, which otherwise limits the controller distance).

Comfort and ergonomics

Samsung Odyssey vs. Oculus Rift S
Samsung Odyssey vs. Oculus Rift S

For comfort, both use a halo-style headband and both halos were well padded, the Odyssey’s felt more comfortable.  The Odyssey’s face pad is also covered with synthetic leather that is easy to clean, and moreover has a velcro back for easy removal.  By contrast, the Rift S’s face padding consists of cheap foam and is not removable.  I also liked the Odyssey’s built-in earphones which sounded more balanced, compared to the Rift S’ built-in speakers which lacked bass.

Odyssey also has physically adjustable IPD.  The Rift S has a software IPD adjustment and has a button to bring the display closer or farther away to adjust focus.

Summary

In summary, the Odyssey+ and Rift S have approximately similar headset tracking accuracy and similar image quality (with the Rift S having a slight advantage).  The Odyssey’s best advantage other than its price is probably its comfort and lower hardware threshold.  There are more devices that can use HDMI than Displayport.  However, the biggest difference between them is undoubtedly the controller tracking.  In this regard, the Rift S is significantly better, and for games, I would recommend the Rift S over the Odyssey+.  However, for viewing 360 photos, 360 videos, and virtual tours, the Odyssey+ controllers are more than adequate, and you’ll be able to save a bit with the current sale.  You may also be interested in the Oculus Quest, which is a standalone wireless VR headset with 6DOF and the same resolution as the Odyssey+.
Samsung Odyssey+ $299 at Amazon or $299 at B&H Photo.
Oculus Rift S $399 at Amazon
Thanks for using these links at no additional cost to you so I can do more tests and reviews.

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Mic Ty

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  • I have both of these headsets and while I agree with a large portion of your findings, I differ in two areas.

    Controller Tracking (even with the latest firmware) isn’t significantly better for the Rift S and I had more controller disconnects with the Oculus. I find the key to getting awesome tracking in the WMR headset is to have ample front lighting and then you never have drift or tracking issues with the Odyssey+.

    Another area, is in the display quality… I found the Odyssey+ much more vibrant and super sampling eliminated any perceptive difference in sharpness between the two headsets with the Samsung clearly having the superior display technology.