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Close to the Metal Ep. 26: Oculus Touch live review

Finally, after months of waiting and some dilemma over the release date, Oculus Touch is available. The Rift’s motion controllers will set you back $200 in addition to the cost of the headset. If you want the best room-scale experience, you’ll need a third sensor, which is another $80.

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Now it comes time to see if the wait was worthwhile. Certainly, the Touch controllers look good on paper. Unlike the Vive’s controllers, they combine the feel of a gamepad with the features of a motion controller, which means they’re more intuitive for long-time gamers. They also have a unique feature: buttons that can sense your touch. They work like normal buttons, but they also can tell if your fingers are, or aren’t, hovering atop them at any particular time. Using that information, a bit of logic, the controller can “detect” a few specific gestures.

More: Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive | Spec Comparison

It’s a great idea, in theory. But does it work in practice? There’s reason to be skeptical. Specifically, Touch uses the same sensor that came with the Rift — it simply adds another one. Those sensors work well enough at close range, but they’re not as capable as the Vive’s Lighthouse sensors, which can handle play spaces up to 15 by 15 feet. Room-scale, specifically, is a concern, because Oculus is vague about it. Touch supports room-scale by default, but a third sensor can be added for the best experience. Yet it’s not clear how the third sensor helps, and Oculus itself only lists third sensor support as “experimental.”

Close to the Metal is a podcast from Digital Trends that focuses on the geekier side of life. It tackles the topics PC enthusiasts argue over in language everyone can understand. Please subscribe, share, and send your questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com. We broadcast the show live on YouTube every Tuesday at 1pm EST/10am PST.