The Oculus Quest 2 is one of the best VR headsets available for beginners and seasoned VR veterans alike. We would go so far as to say it’s a must-have device if you are looking for a top-tier VR system that does not require the additional wires, huge expense, or added fuss of a PC-based VR setup, like the HTC Vive or now-discontinued Oculus Rift S. Facebook just announced its latest VR headset dubbed Project Cambria at its most recent Connect event, with the company explaining that this new device will be home to groundbreaking technology which aims to help establish the earliest days of its ambitious metaverse.
It’s not expected to arrive until next year, though, so for now, Oculus’ flagship VR device continues to rule the roost. For starters, the standalone Quest 2 brings you easy access to everything that makes virtual reality special and well worth your time, delivering high-quality virtual reality experiences at a fair price to your front room with minimal setup. This is a truly immersive gadget that even the most tech-shy members of your family can have a blast with once they have eased themselves into it, that is (VR-induced motion sickness is real) (VR-induced motion sickness is real).
The Oculus Quest 2 VR headset is the second version of the Quest headset range. It’s similar to the original Oculus Quest in that it’s a battery-powered, standalone headset that allows you to freely roam around your physical and digital play spaces without fear of tripping over a wire. But some significant changes would make an upgrade well worth it if you currently already have the original Quest and consider the Quest 2. Combined, these upgrades make the Oculus Quest 2 experience even more seamless and immersive.
What’s more, where the Quest 2 is concerned, developers now have the option to make their games run at 90Hz (this is important for increased comfort and even more realism while playing), and the headset itself is noticeably lighter than before, with double the battery life in the controllers. Hand tracking, which arrived on the original Quest via a firmware update but is baked into the Quest 2 from the off, is also highly impressive, though it still feels a little like a work in progress at times.
There are hundreds of separately-sold Oculus Quest games and some free ones to play with the headset, including everything from shooters to puzzle games, fitness titles, and meditation apps. There truly is something for everyone, even if quality and comfort levels can vary depending on what you are watching and playing.
The Oculus Quest 2 also offers a social experience. Though some will shudder at the newly-introduced Facebook account requirement or the recent introduction of ads, the Oculus Quest 2 is superb when playing with friends, whether you choose to do that through online avatars or in the same physical room, thanks to the option to Google Cast whatever you are viewing within your headset to a nearby display.
And yet, while Quest 2 is the most accessible and feature-rich VR headset we have tested to date, it still falls foul of some of the same pitfalls that virtual reality as a whole suffers from. There’s still the chance you will experience a degree of motion sickness, depending on your constitution, which is unavoidable on most headsets. Even those claiming to have solved these problems might require you to introduce yourself to VR to avoid the telltale signs gradually.
What’s more, getting a good, tight fit to ensure the screen appears as clear as possible can be claustrophobic and a little uncomfortable. We are expecting more and more upgrades to the Quest 2 that might not address every niggling issue but could improve the VR experience even more. For example, according to rumors, the Oculus Quest 2 could get a 120Hz ‘experimental’ refresh rate very soon.
Oculus Quest 2 is not perfect, then, but it’s as close to perfect as VR has come so far and well worth your time, money, and energy if you have been looking for an excuse to swap reality for virtual reality. Until we see a Quest 3, this is the VR headset you want.
As a result of the headset’s motion sensors and accelerometers, you can move your head and see your movements mirrored on the digital screen in front of your eyes as if you were really gazing out and moving about in the real world. A white plastic version of the original Oculus Quest (rather than a dust-hugging, fabric-covered black) is now available. The outside shell has external cameras that assist in monitoring your location and those of the provided controllers.
A velcro, somewhat stretchy cloth band for tightening the headset instead of the more rigid rubberized version. The internal improvements between the Quest 2 and the original Quest headset are significant. Compared to the original Quest, the Quest 2 offers 6GB of RAM compared to 4GB, and there’s a much faster Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset running the show.
The first Oculus Quest used dual 1440 x 1600 resolution OLED displays, but the Quest 2 opts for a single LCD panel, split to display an 1832 x 1920 pixel resolution per eye. LCD also opens up an improved refresh rate of 90Hz to developers, compared to the original Quest’s 72Hz.
Note, though, that there’s a change to the Interpupillary distance (IPD, the gap between your pupils) slider on the Quest 2. Previously, you could make fine adjustments with a slider on the underneath of the original Quest. The Quest 2 does all of this while still offering the same 2-3 hour battery life as the first Quest, depending on the application you are using.
Oculus has managed this thanks to significant improvements to its tracking algorithms, which extend to the controllers too, now offering double the battery life (we are talking weeks of constant play) compared to their predecessors.
A strap keeps the controllers from flying free from your hand, while a plastic ring surrounds your thumbs, housing the near-invisible LEDs that allow the headset to track your hands’ and arms’ movements. They are reasonably clear and loud enough to get across your games’ drama and directional audio feedback while keeping your ears free to allow you some awareness of your physical surroundings.
Note that if you are playing in a room with a friend, they will hear everything going on using the built-in speakers, but there’s also a 3. A microphone is built-in, too, so it is clear enough to communicate in multiplayer games and do some voice searches in the various UI elements of apps that support it.
How to Use:
When you put the headset on and charge it for the first time, you will be shown a few safety films and a short opening movie that explains how controls work and how you can use them to navigate menus. This is the first of many “wow” moments that the Oculus Quest has to offer, and you will be prompted to set up a “Guardian”. To get a real-time grayscale perspective of your surroundings, you will use the headset’s external cameras.
Use the controllers like spray paint cans, painting around your room’s perimeter to indicate the headset where you can freely wander about without hitting into, for example, your TV or a couch. A grid-like digital wall that only appears if you try to violate its borders is then revealed as the “Guardian Wall” in the game. In this area, you will be able to glimpse your real-world surroundings again if you peek over the digital wall. You will be taught how to use your hands instead of the controls to access menus after the Guardian is set up.
Although it’s only a beta function, seeing the shape of your hands moving in front of you via the cameras of the Quest 2 is still a fascinating experience. As soon as you have completed the initial setup, you will be able to access the Oculus menu system, which is a floating panel that sits above your ‘Oculus Home’ virtual world. All of this and more are available to you in the headset’s app store.
The Oculus Quest experience now requires a Facebook account, so if you do not want to be part of Mark Zuckerberg’s data-mining business, you will have to pass on the headgear. Aside from the moral problem, it’s a slick and easy-to-use technology. Goggles certainly limit your range of vision, but adjusting to life in the virtual world is quick and painless.
Even if they do not have a headset, they can still see what you are up to on a second display, such as a smartphone or TV, thanks to the Google Chromecast screen-sharing feature in the Quest 2’s menus. Playing simultaneously in the real world and virtual reality may be encouraged by certain games, which have one player controlling a role outside of the headset.
Apps and software:
All Oculus Quest apps work on Oculus Quest 2, and for the time being, at least, any new applications will be backward compatible with the original Quest 2. Facebook admits that may change over time as developers get more to grips with the increased specs potential of the new model. Still, for now, anyone rocking the first-gen edition won’t get locked out of upcoming experiences.
As such, there are already hundreds of games and apps available to Oculus Quest 2, as well as a handful of new ones to accompany the launch. It’s an iterative upgrade in that respect than – more like making the jump from one iPhone generation to the next in terms of continued application support. But aside from future-proofing, there are obvious benefits to using the new system over the previous one.
The resolution is markedly sharper. The whole system and its menus feel dramatically more responsive than even the snappy earlier edition. It will become buttery smooth in motion in 90Hz apps. It’s this last point that’s perhaps the biggest, most exciting change – should developers choose to take advantage of it, they can now activate a 90Hz refresh rate mode in their existing titles. It seems like a small difference but a delight in practice.