Oculus Quest 2 review: the best headset for everyone

Oculus Quest 2 is not only the best standalone VR headset ever, but it’s also the best budget option for PC gaming thanks to Oculus Link technology. At a staggering $ 300, it’s an essential purchase for anyone looking to step into virtual reality. Existing Oculus Quest owners may be disappointed with the black levels, but we think the higher resolution and responsiveness are worth the trade-off.

Specifications

  • Brand:Oculus (Facebook)
  • Resolution (per eye):1832 x 1920 px
  • Display Type:RGB Striped LCD
  • Memory:64/256 GB
  • Connectivity:Wi-Fi 6 and 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, 3.5mm stereo output
  • Battery life:2-3 hours
  • Tracking technology:reverse cameras on the headset
  • Audio:built-in speakers
  • Weight:1 lbs

Professionals

  • Manual monitoring is reliable, although not all software supports it yet
  • The RGB striped LCD adds resolution and pixel density, eliminating any screen-door effect
  • Incredible value for a standalone headset and a great buget choice for PC gaming

Versus

  • The audio is terrible, but easy enough to plug in your headphones
  • Black levels are worse than the original Quest

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Incredible resolution, a powerful mobile processor, and a large library of software make Oculus Quest 2 the best wireless VR headset ever made. And if you have the right cable and a gaming PC, it’s the best budget PC VR headset too. That’s a nice result, especially at a price of just $ 300.

Read on to find out why Oculus Quest 2 is the best mobile virtual reality experience ever.

Why should you trust my opinion?

I have been following 3D visualization technologies since the early 2000s, starting with NVidia’s 3DVision. I backed up the original Oculus Development Kit Kickstarter after reading it from a MTBS3D forum member. From the moment it arrived, I knew it would change the game forever , despite the fact that only one demo was available.

I kept spending money on VR, Dev Kit 2, Rift consumer version, HTC Vive (possibly with wireless upgrade), Oculus Go and Oculus Quest. My current favorite headset is the Valve Index, although I probably use the Quest more than anything else for its convenience.

Note the absence of the Rift S. I knew it was a dead end for Oculus at the time, bridging the gap as they refined Oculus Link technology. I was right and Facebook confirmed that the Rift hardware ends there, with all future efforts being pushed into the mobile space.

We will focus on standalone VR headsets moving forward. We will no longer pursue PC-only hardware, with Rift S sales ending in 2021. That said, the Rift platform isn’t going anywhere. In fact, we’ve seen significant growth in PC virtual reality via Oculus Link, and the Rift platform will continue to grow by offering high-end PC virtual reality experiences like Lone Echo II and Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond well into the future. – Oculus.com

Quest 2 Technical specifications and design

Aesthetically, Quest 2 has undergone a significant change: it is now white. This is undoubtedly the result of numerous psychological studies that told Facebook that white was a more acceptable color for consumer electronics intended for living room use. And they’re probably right, as Oculus Quest 2’s sales far exceed the original many times over. Other than that, the Quest 2’s shape and overall design are relatively unchanged.

It comes with a flimsy head strap that tends to fall off in vigorous use and results in weight distribution that is annoyingly heavy forward on the face. Although Oculus sells an “Elite” replacement strap with a ratchet clasp, it is overpriced and early reports indicate that it is of poor quality and prone to breaking. You will find a better one in AliExpress .

There are two versions of Quest 2 available for purchase, which differ only in the amount of storage. The base model at $ 300 has 64GB, while $ 400 will give you a lot more at 256GB. If you’re only going to play games, 64GB is enough. If you want to store great movies to watch offline when traveling, 256GB will likely be your best bet.

You can expect two to three hours of use from the Oculus Quest 2 battery. Two hours if you are gaming, three if you are watching movies. To make sure there is some battery left when you pick it up, remember to turn off the device completely by holding the power button and selecting “shut down”. Simply removing the headset will turn off the screen, but the system will pause and drain the battery in about a day. The Elite Strap includes a battery that will give another two to three hours. There are no battery limits when connected to a PC.

A USB-C charging cable and adapter are also included in the box, although it’s not long enough to use for the Oculus Link. A goggle adapter is provided for those who find the headset is banging into its own lenses, which extends the faceplate about 1/4 inch further out. It is easy to assemble as the faceplate is simple to remove.

Visual quality

The screen inside the Oculus Quest is perhaps the most significant change from the Quest, and it’s not all for the best. Running at a higher overall resolution of 1832 × 1920 pixels per eye, compared to the Quest’s 1440 × 1600, Facebook opted for a single RGB striped LCD panel. The RGB striped configuration produces pixels that are closer together and therefore a higher density. This eliminates the so-called “screen door effect” and generally provides a higher perceived resolution (as well as a higher effective resolution e ix). Combined, it results in an incredibly sharp display. The display is now capable of running at 90Hz, although this isn’t enabled by default and most games don’t take advantage of that yet. If it sounds like I’m glossing over this point,

Unfortunately, choosing a single-panel LCD, rather than the dual-panel OLED featured in the original Quest, has two significant drawbacks.

The first is the lack of real IPD (interpupillary distance) adjustment. Facebook has compromised and provided three distinct physical IPD settings, which you can click into place. These should cover everyone from 58mm to 68mm, although only those with an average 63mm will get the best experience, and there are no software adjustments to accompany this – it’s physically shifting the position of the lenses. So the area of ​​the image you are focusing on also changes slightly. Unfortunately I can’t comment on how not ideal it is for other IPDs, as I fall into the category of quite average.

The other drawback of using an LCD panel is the black levels. In short, they are more dark gray than black. If you play horror games, like Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners, or enjoy watching darker movies in your personal VR cinema, you may notice this more than others.

To be clear, these are minor complaints. Other improvements in resolution and pixel density far outweigh any perceived issues with black levels.

Audio quality

The sound system looks up to date but still terrible. The sound comes from somewhere inside the headset and is piped to the ears via the plastic clips on the side. Unfortunately, I forgot how bad it sounded, having replaced the head strap on my original Quest with some 3D printed adapters and the HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap.

While the sound quality is clean and gets quite loud, with no muffled vocals or distortion, it lacks bass entirely. Also, there is no audio isolation at all. In part, this is due to the design: Facebook wants you to remain connected to the outside world in some way. But it works both ways and the outside world can hear everything you do in VR.

Of course, you can fix the audio easily, so it’s not a headache. A single 3.5mm stereo jack on the left side lets you plug in headphones or your favorite cans. But there are some ugly threads on what is an elegantly minimalist design.

Controller

The controllers are superficially unchanged as well as being white now, with the same selection of capacitive buttons, toggle, trigger and grip button. This setup means that existing library software should work as is, with little need for developers to update the code. A single AA battery powers each controller, with a ring of invisible tracking LEDs.

Upon closer inspection, they appear to be slightly larger than the original controllers, although they are not noticeably larger in use. I keep getting hand cramps after prolonged sessions. A capacitive thumb support has been added.

Tracking, Passthrough and Hands

While the tracking technology also appears to be unchanged, with four cameras on the headset looking at the controller’s built-in LEDs, it’s certainly smoother. The further processing in the CPU results in fewer overall tracking hiccups, so that any blame for the missed blocks in BeatSaber is now directly on your shoulders.

Hand tracking is also much smoother and more reliable. It seems like a viable way to interact with the system now, even if not all software has been updated to use it.

The camera’s passthrough function is also significantly improved. A quick double tap on the side of the headset instantly reveals your surroundings, so you can step over the cat, take a sip of coffee, or inflict a brutal tickle on your child who thinks dad can’t see anything when he’s wearing his headset.

Do you have a PC? Connect it to Oculus Quest Link

While the Oculus Quest 2 offers an incredible wireless VR experience, the graphics quality will never be comparable to that rendered on a desktop gaming PC. But with Quest 2, you don’t have to choose. Simply connect Quest 2 using a USB-C to USB-C or USB-A cable and you’ll enjoy full access to Oculus desktop software or the vast Steam library. The graphics will be rendered on your PC and sent to the Oculus Quest 2, just like any other connected PC headset. I expect you are asking, “Can I play Half-Life Alyx on Oculus Quest 2 ?!” and the answer is a resounding yes. Valve hasn’t locked its games on any particular headset, and with full SteamVR access and native controller support, everything works as expected. And it’s unbelievable.

Oculus sells a branded Fiber Optic Link cable for the best quality, although it is quite expensive at around $ 90. This Belkin cable is also officially compatible. If you have a USB2.0 cable (oddly, not all USB-C cables are rated for USB3.0 transfer speeds), you can still use the Oculus Link, although visual clarity will be degraded somewhat.

You probably think this is a bad experience compared to a “normal” wired headset. While it’s not comparable to the $ 1000 index, it’s certainly not what I would call subpar. I’ve used a lot of tethered VR headsets and would be happy enough to only use Quest 2.

As for Quest Link’s latency: it’s inaudible. Even in fast-paced first-person shooter games or rhythmic action titles like Beat Saber, I didn’t notice any latency. For comparison, I usually use a Valve index linked to my gaming PC.

Games on Oculus Quest

I have tried in three games: Rec Room, Beat Saber and Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners. The first two I have many hours of platform play, so I know them intimately. The latter I bought it to directly compare the Quest 1 and 2, with a fresh pair of eyes.

Overall, it was a mixed bag of results.

Beat Saber appears to be up to date and as far as I know takes full advantage of the resolution bump. Strobe lights and light contrasts work particularly well on this type of display.

Rec Room, however, looked like legacy software. While some additional maps have been opened for Quest 2 users to take advantage of the additional graphics capabilities, the game appears to run at a lower resolution than Quest 2 is capable of. The screen looked darker, with more muted colors than in Quest 1. I then compared the SteamVR version of RecRoom on Oculus Link, and sure enough, it made a huge difference with bright images, even on a USB2 cable.

Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners is as dark as a game can be, played mostly under the cover of darkness, with fog effects galore. And sure enough, the black levels here were a murky dark gray at best. Swapping back and forth between Quest 1 and 2 highlights screen differences. That said, being able to choose between a higher resolution or better black levels, I’d choose the higher resolution every time.

Of course, it should go without saying that these are just my subjective opinions and your experience may vary.

The F word: Facebook

We can’t review Oculus Quest 2 and not mention the required Facebook account. While the Quest 2 has excellent manual tracking, that’s probably not the only thing it’s tracking. As it is clearly written on the packaging, this device requires a Facebook account. No ifs, no buts, no alternative solutions, no renunciations. And not just for social integrations (as before), but simply to activate and use your device.

If you’re thinking “okay, I’ll just create a fake account”, then think again: many users have found that their fake accounts have been deleted and have lost access to all their Oculus purchases. Not only do you need a Facebook account to use Quest 2, but you also need a real, active account. You will be asked to submit photo ID if Facebook suspects cheating.

The privacy implications this will have in the future have yet to be determined. Will Facebook be able to watch everything you do in VR? It seems unlikely, although technically possible. For now, Facebook has stated that it will heavily moderate user actions within Horizons’ new social VR space, currently in beta for select users. A mobile camera (similar to a car dash cam) will record everything you do, and if another user reports you, the relevant footage will be saved and uploaded for manual review. Facebook employees will also be able to take action on you at any time and remain invisible to observe your behavior. While this sounds terrifying to some, might be exactly what virtual reality spaces need to be successful. The potential for long-term psychological harm in online social networks is quite limited when the interactions are text-only. In the physical space of virtual reality, they are on another level.

Personally, I couldn’t care less. I merged my Facebook and Oculus accounts a long time ago. If I had a dark alter ego where I live sadistic fantasies or feminist playing trolls, I probably wouldn’t even do it near the account my mom is in.

But for those of you who are completely against Facebook, I doubt that the technological advancement brought by Quest 2 will be enough to convince you otherwise. If so, consider yourself out of mobile VR gaming because there is no viable alternative.

Should you upgrade from the mission?

The original Oculus Quest looked like a mid-range smartphone reluctantly forced to do double duty as a VR headset. It was still the best virtual reality experience at the time of release, and during its lifecycle, no other possible competitor came forward.

The Quest 2, however, flies forward, doing all that is said with glee. While the Quest’s hardware inadequacies remain unchanged (the hideous audio and the uncomfortable headset), it’s understandable that some compromises have been made to get a high-resolution wireless all-in-one VR headset up to the frankly ridiculous price tag of $ 300. Facebook has delivered on its promise to make virtual reality accessible to the masses, and we should commend it for this effort. If we have to give up some privacy for this, then so be it. The ability of virtual reality to teleport wherever we can dream is a powerful tool for change and I want everyone to have this opportunity.

As for if you need to upgrade? It is questionable. Personally, the resolution bump, more powerful processor, and generally more responsive user interface are more than useful. I would have happily paid $ 500 for a “Pro” version of Quest 2, with an OLED screen and possibly better audio, but I’m happy with the upgrade. I’ll add some padding to the controllers and replace the headband; this is the convenience of a world with 3D printing. I’m not a huge fan of horror movies or scary games – there is enough horror in real life. I want my virtual reality experiences to be bright and colorful. But if you know you’re a stickler for black levels, you might want to hold off.

Oculus Quest 2 isn’t just the best mobile headset, with a gimmicky feature that lets you plug it into a PC. It is also the best budget PC VR headset. While it may be a questionable upgrade for some original Quest owners, it’s the best choice if you don’t already have a VR headset. You will not be disappointed.

Have questions about the Oculus Quest 2? We have answers!

How much do Oculus Quest games cost?

Games in the Oculus Quest library cost from scratch (Rec Room, with in-app purchases for cosmetic items that you can also purchase with the currency you earn) to $ 19 per month for Supernatural VR, a licensed music-based fitness game. Most fall between $ 5 and $ 20.

How big are Oculus Quest 2 games?

If you’re considering whether to buy the 64GB or 256GB Oculus Quest 2, you should know that the largest Quest game is around 8GB as well, which means you can comfortably fit several on the 64GB model. Most games (and apps) are less than 1GB in size. If you’re going to play games and not store large movies, 64GB is enough.

How to stream Oculus Quest on Twitch?

By default, you can stream to the Oculus app on your phone, a Chromecast 3 device, or your personal Facebook page. For anything else, like Twitch, you’ll need some cables and a PC. Using a USB-C cable, the ScrCpy utility (built into SideQuest) will show images, while you’ll also need a stereo audio cable to capture the sound. You can then submit it via the usual desktop app like OBS and submit it to your preferred platform.

Can I play custom BeatSaber songs in Quest 2?

Yes, but it is not a simple process. You’ll first need to enable Developer Mode and install SideQuest , an unofficial third-party app store and a method for adding generic APKs to your Quest. Then you will need to install BMBF , which includes the BeatSync mod. This will give you access to custom songs from BSaber.

How does Oculus Quest 2 tracking work?

Quest 2 has four small cameras built into the headset. These check your play space to understand how your head moves. At the same time, there is a ring of infrared LEDs on each controller, which only the headset can see. Together, you have full freedom of movement and motion controls in a standalone package. A virtual Guardian Wall will prevent you from leaving the play area. You can draw it using passthrough cameras or opt for a standing-only play area (where you can turn around, but stay in one spot). Wide angle cameras located on the sides and bottom of the Quest 2 ensure ample coverage. While moving the controller onto its back will force it to lose tracking, this rarely happens in practice. Oculus Quest 2 monitoring can’t work completely in the dark – it has to see your environment. If it is unable to monitor its surroundings, the system will revert to 3DOF mode, where you can only rotate the headset and have no location tracking. This mode is good for watching movies in a dark environment.

Does Oculus Quest 2 have full body tracking?

No. Although Quest 2 is able to track your hands (without using the controllers), it cannot track your feet or the rest of your body. Whole body tracking is only possible using third party hardware in connected Oculus Link mode.

 

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