iFixit has gotten its hands on the Oculus Rift DK2, the second version of the virtual reality developer kit, which is slowly shipping to customers. The site wasted no time doing its traditional teardown, and what it found to be Oculus’ display choice is a little surprising: it’s the entire front half of a Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
Yes, you heard that right. The DK2 includes the Note 3’s 1920×1080 AMOLED display, a (useless) Synaptics touchscreen controller, and even the glass display cover, complete with Samsung logo and cutouts for the sensors, earpiece, and home button.
An earlier report indicated that Samsung and Oculus had entered into a mutually beneficial relationship, with Samsung providing display technology to Oculus and Oculus assisting Samsung in building its own VR headset. A leaked Samsung concept showed a head unit that was largely an empty shell that the user’s smartphone would slide into. The concept seems a lot more plausible now, as Oculus actually takes a more integrated approach to the same idea for its developer kit.
While tearing the parts off the Note 3 assembly line might seem a bit cheap, especially given Facebook’s cash injection, the DK2 is just a development kit. Oculus won’t sell enough units just yet to warrant a custom display mount, and with VR display improvements anyway driven by the smartphone revolution, the move makes sense. The off-the-shelf Note 3 assembly is an easy way to give developers a better display, and Oculus even found a way to customize it by overclocking the refresh rate from 60 Hz to 75 Hz. The higher refresh rate should result in smoother motion and the screen will run in a low persistence mode, a trick that reduces motion blur.
The DK2 manages to skip the remote control box on the DK1. All components are integrated into the head unit motherboard. The downside to the tighter integration is a 90g (3.2oz) weight gain, bringing the DK2 to 379g. The camera has a filter that blocks all visible light, so it only picks up the infrared light from the DK2’s 40 LEDs.
Even though the DK2 is just a developer kit, iFixit went ahead and gave it a repairability score anyway, awarding a hacker-friendly score of 9 out of 10. There are many more photos on iFixit, showing all the gruesome details of the inside of the DK2.