It’s hard to imagine two more comfortable VR headsets than the Oculus Rift S or its direct competitor, the Valve Index. Unlike its much weightier cousin, the standalone Oculus Quest, the primary conceit of the Oculus Rift S headset is that it’s extremely comfortable for prolonged use.
That said, how well does the face-cushioning VR Cover fit onto the already-cozy Oculus Rift S, then? Is it too excessive an addition for a headset that already totes a lavish halo-ring design and rests easily on most users’ heads?
Unsurprisingly, the foam face pad that comes stock on every Oculus Rift S unit is the least comfortable part of the package. And, once again, VR Cover has arrived to supplant the basic stock face pads that proliferate across Oculus’s headset line.
Here’s how the Rift S VR Cover stands up after three months of continued use on an Oculus Rift S headset.
What Comes with the Rift S VR Cover?
The Rift S VR Cover is packaged in a resealable plastic bag. Getting it open is simple and easy, as long as you have a pair of scissors on hand to cut open the flap of plastic that sits atop the press seal.
Once you get into the guts of the VR Cover bag, its contents are easy to keep track of. Included with the Rift S VR Cover pack is the following:
- Two cloth covers.
- A lint-free cleaning cloth.
- A quick setup pamphlet.
This is the same setup that came with the cloth version of the Oculus Quest VR Cover that we reviewed last year. Not much else is really needed here, so it’s fine.
How Does the Rift S VR Cover Withstand Hours of VR Fitness Workouts?
Both the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S cloth covers from VR Cover tend to mitigate sweat quite a bit better than their pleather variants. This product hasn’t actually changed too much over the years, either. It still uses the same two layers of cotton material that the originals used during the days of Oculus Rift DK2. If you’ve ever owned one of these VR Cover covers on any other VR headset, you’ll already know what the deal is.
For those who’ve never used a cotton cover from VR Cover before, and are wondering how well this cover will work to keep sweat from damaging your headset: It’s still the best solution for mitigating sweat.
This version is no different, and arguably VR Cover still has one of the best and most popular designs out there for VR headset covers. I own a few sweatbands, but I’d rather use the Rift S VR Cover when I’m working out on my Rift S. Just how good is it at mitigating sweat, though?
How the VR Cover fits on the Oculus Rift S (side).
I’ve used the Rift S pretty moderately over the course of three months. During that time, I never played any serious workout games like The Thrill of the Fight, where I’d normally become drenched in my own sweat during intense sessions. I use my Oculus Quest for all intense workout-type-gaming nowadays.
I did, however, play through several VR games like Stormland and Boneworks in entirety with the Rift S VR Cover installed. I also infrequently jumped into a bunch of random Beat Saber and Path of the Warrior sessions, because for some reason I’d rather play those two games on PC over playing them on Quest.
Not once did I wash my Rift S VR Cover during that three-month window.
Gross? Probably. But that’s just the price I’m willing to pay for science. It’s also how I put the Rift S VR Cover through its paces at a website that constantly gets reader comments vilifying sweat — as if it were inhuman to sweat a little while swinging virtual lightsabers around a room with a silicon bucket sprawled over your head.
Anyway, here’s what the Rift S VR Cover looked like when it first arrived:
Taken on the day of installation, sometime in October 2019.
Now, here’s how the cover looked today, just before I ripped it off the faceplate and threw it into the machine for its first wash:
Taken whenever this review was written, sometime in early January 2020.
It’s almost impossible to tell that these two photos were taken three months apart. The VR Cover did its job; it absorbed months of my face sweat, and then it lived to deny the tale. Granted, if I’d used the cover more heavily during that three-month window, perhaps by doing my regular HIIT workouts on the Rift S instead of the Quest, the differences between both photos would be much more noticeable.
TL;DR: Yes, the Rift S VR Cover does a great job of mitigating sweat after infrequent use in moderately intense games. Like the other covers in the VR Cover product line, this one probably grows more visibly grungy when it’s exposed to heavier activity.
How is Rift S VR Cover for Casual Use?
I use my Rift S for a lot of different things. Such things I use it for include: Casual socializing in BigScreen Beta and Rec Room, writing VR game reviews, and even occasionally setting up a virtual workspace via Oculus Dash.
I’d say that my Oculus Rift S use leans more on the “casual use” side than my Oculus Quest, which gets all the most physically involved active games like Pistol Whip, BoxVR, The Thrill of the Fight, and The Climb. As I mentioned in the lede, the Rift S is notably more comfortable than most other VR headsets already, but it benefits from the comfort afforded by the VR Cover.
Between the Rift S’s halo-ring design that balances the headset’s weight across my head, and the two layers of cotton protecting my face, I found it easy to sit back and enjoy my regular day-to-day activities while inside of VR. In fact, I managed to sit down and watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy inside of the Rift S at one point with this cover pressed against my face.
Is the Rift S VR Cover Machine-Washable?
The best part about these cotton covers from VR Cover is that they’re all machine-washable. It’s recommended that you wash it with cold water, so I wouldn’t throw it into a load with my underwear and t-shirts. That said, it’s convenient that VR Cover comes with two covers, so one cover can be on the Rift S while the other is in the wash.
My final verdict is that, as per usual, the cloth VR Cover is a compulsory buy for anybody looking for sweat mitigation on their Rift S. This cover is surprisingly resilient and holds up for months at a time under low-moderate use, and once it gets mucky, it can simply be thrown into a washing machine. It also makes wearing your Rift S a more comfortable and enjoyable activity than it already was, meaning that it’s $19 well spent, even if your primary Rift S use isn’t playing active VR fitness games.