Virtual reality gaming headsets are excellent ways to experience a vibrant, fully immersed gaming adventure. With technology that will continue to have incremental improvements, it may be tough to decide which VR (virtual reality) headset to get. Lenovo Explorer and the Oculus Rift are typically the top high-end choices on the market. 

While the Lenovo Explorer and Oculus Rift are both great VR headsets, there are many differences between the two and many things you should consider including software, hardware, graphics, and price. 

If you are deciding between getting the Lenovo Explorer or Oculus Rift, read this full article to get an in-depth comparison of all the important differences in feature, price, and other benefits!

Software Specs

One of the most important areas where the Oculus Rift and Lenovo Explorer differ is with their software. Their gaming stores are different and that may be a key decision criterion alone for you. 

You can use SteamVR on both VR headsets, however, with Lenovo Explorer, not all games are supported natively. There is a loophole, you can use an app to upload Rift games from the Oculus app to the SteamVR store to play it on the Explorer. 

Typically Rift games are also made available on the SteamVR store too, but it sometimes takes months before the developers are finished. 

Here are some of the main differences in software and graphics of the Explorer and Rift: 

Criteria Lenovo Explorer Oculus Rift
SteamVR Supported  Supported
Rift Games? Yes, by porting with an app Yes
Color Clarity Good  Best
Resolution 2880X1440 2160X1200
Refresh Rate 90Hz 90Hz
Graphics Rating Good  Better

If you were to use both devices right after each other, you would notice that the Oculus Rift has better graphics. It also has better games on the Rift app. If you are a hardcore gamer, you may favor the Oculus Rift more for these reasons. 

On the other hand, if you are more of a casual gamer that is just getting started with virtual reality gaming, you may favor the Lenovo Explorer. It has good game options too, just not the large variety like the Rift. 

Movement Tracking

You cannot have a great VR headset without it being able to accurately track your movement. Both the Lenovo Explorer and Oculus Rift have superb tracking abilities and If you compared the two side-by-side, you likely would not notice any difference. 

The key difference between the tracking of the 2 devices is that the Oculus Rift has gesture control/tracking and the Lenovo Explorer does not. Yes, that means you can manipulate/interact with VR objects with your hands with the Oculus Rift!

Check out the below table for additional comparison on tracking between the Oculus Rift and Lenovo Explorer. 

Tracking Ability Lenovo Explorer Oculus Rift
Position Tracking Yes Yes
Built-in Gyroscope Yes Yes
Gesture Control No Yes
Built-in Accelerometer Yes Yes
Head movement with  360° Yes Yes
Tracking Area 11.5 x 11.5 ft 11 x 5 ft

Hardware Specs

The Oculus Rift and Lenovo Explorer both come with 2 controllers, which are tracked by the device’s cameras. They are relatively equal in tracking capability in well-lit areas. However, in low-light rooms, the Oculus Rift’s tracking is a little better. The Explorer has a 3.5mm audio connection, and the Rift does not. 

The Oculus Rift has adjustable IPD (Inter-Pupillary Distance) adjustment, i.e. the horizontal distance between your 2 pupils. The Lenovo Explorer does not have IPD adjustment which can be problematic as an incorrect IPD setting can make some people nauseous. 

One neat feature the Lenovo Explorer has is its flippable visor. If you need to flip your VR headset up quickly, this can be done easily.

Lastly, the Lenovo Explorer is more of a stand-alone device than the Oculus Rift. To take full advantage of the Oculus Rift, it should be used with a gaming PC that has a good graphics card and plenty of RAM to run games smoothly.  The Lenovo Explorer can be used with an Xbox controller or a keyboard and mouse too. 

Here are some highlights of the important hardware and features: 

Hardware Lenovo Explorer Oculus Rift
3.5 mm Audio Connection Yes Yes
Stereo Speakers Yes Yes
Adjustable Lenses Yes Yes
Display LCD Pentile AMOLED
Touch Controllers Yes Yes
Game Controllers Yes Yes

Displays

The displays of the Lenovo Explorer and the Oculus Rift are very different. As you have seen in the hardware specification, the Explorer has an LCD while the Rift has a much higher-tech AMOLED display. 

You will be able to see finer details and more vibrant colors with the Rift over the Explorer. 

The Lenovo Explorer is a slightly older device than the Oculus Rift and was not made with a hardcore gaming experience in mind. It was designed for casual gamers with simpler VR games as the primary objective. In fact, the Lenovo Explorer has since been discontinued. 

Connectivity

Staying connected with a VR headset is important. Here are the connectivity options the Lenovo Explorer and the Oculus Rift have:

  • Lenovo Explorer
    • 1 HDMI
    • 3 USB
    • 1 3.5 mm Audio Jack
    • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Oculus Rift
    • 1 HDMI
    • 1 USB
    • 1 3.5 mm Audio Jack
    • Bluetooth 4.0

As you can see, there is no difference between the connectivity options of the Rift and Explorer.

Graphics

When comparing graphics capability, there is no question that the Oculus Rift offers a much better graphics experience than the Lenovo Explorer. This may seem untrue since the resolution of the Rift is actually lower, 1080×1200 per eye versus the Explorer’s 1440×1440 resolution. 

What makes the Oculus Rift superior on the graphics front is the FPS (frames per second) which is backed by a better AMOLED display and great graphics hardware. The graphics are smoother and crisper and therefore it is a more fully-immersive experience than the Lenovo Explorer. 

Ergonomics 

The Lenovo Explorer is more comfortable and lighter than the Oculus Rift. The Rift weighs around 14 ounces and the Explorer weighs 13 ounces, which is such a small difference you likely will not even notice. 

Now take this comfort rating with a grain of salt, since comfort is subjective and different for all people. However, the Explorer has a design that offers better comfort to most users. 

The Lenovo Explorer’s headset rests directly on your forehead and you do not have to attach it tightly around your head, like the Oculus Rift. 

Therefore, since the Lenovo Explorer is both lighter and more comfortable, it is the winner of this category. 

Price

So you have made it this far in the article and you have yet to consider the price? Or maybe you scrolled down here first. In either case, you will see that the Lenovo Explorer is the lower cost item between the two.

However, since the Explorer has been discontinued for a newer model – the Lenovo Mirage Solo-, it may be harder to find and purchase. Here is the current price showdown:

  • The Oculus Rift costs around $500.
  • The Lenovo Explorer costs around $350 (if you can find a new one for sale). 

For thrifty VR gamers, the Lenovo Explorer is the winner in the price game. 

Is the Lenovo Explorer or Oculus Rift Better for You?

The Lenovo Explorer and the Oculus Rift are both fantastic virtual reality gaming headsets. If you are new to virtual reality gaming, you cannot go wrong with either choice.

Both virtual-reality headsets offer great interfaces into the virtual-world, excellent movement tracking, great displays, ergonomic controllers, and a long list of VR games waiting for you to download and play. 

To determine which of the two devices is better for you will depend on your personal preferences. If you are the hardcore gamer that wants the most fully-immersive virtual-reality gaming experiences possible then the Oculus Rift should be your choice. 

The Rift has an additional great feature over the Explorer, gesture tracking. This is a very wonderful feature that allows you to fully interact with in-game objects, enhancing your immersion experience. Be aware of the extra cost for the Rift over the Explorer. 

If you are just opening yourself up to the world of virtual-reality gaming, and just want to play basic games then the Lenovo Explorer might be your choice. 

You can purchase this for a lower price than the Rift if you can find one. Again, the Explorer has been discontinued and replaced with a new model. Check out Lenovo’s website for more details. 

In summary, the choice of what is best for you is up to you. The virtual-gaming world is waiting for you to join, go on and jump right in!