The best VR headset on the market just got even better.
The Oculus Quest 2 is the most exciting piece of VR hardware to hit the market since Facebook’s original standalone VR headset, offering incredible visuals, increased processing power, and a smaller, lighter design—all for a lower price than the first-generation model. Sounds too good to be true, right?
That’s what I thought, but after going hands-on with the new-and-improved Quest this past week I am happy to say that when it comes to resolution, power, and overall weight, Facebook absolutely delivered. So, without further ado, here is our official review:
The Oculus Quest 2 ditches the all-black design featured on the original Oculus Quest for an off-white color similar to that of the Oculus Go. Facebook has also done away with the hard rubber head strap in favor of a more flexible “Soft Touch” strap, also closely resembling that of the Oculus Go. Most importantly, however, is the weight. According to Facebook, the Quest 2 weighs approximately 10% less than the original Quest. While that may not may not sound like a dramatic change, the difference can clearly be felt when switching back and froth between headsets.
Whereas I found the original Quest perfectly comfortable while playing games or interacting with the virtual world, watching videos on YouTube and Netflix was significantly less appealing. Only when I was motionless did I begin to feel the powerful forward weight of the headset. With the Quest 2, however, I experienced zero discomfort. Unlike the original Quest, I could actually see myself using the Quest 2 to watch feature-length films or binge my favorite shows. The smaller size and flexible Soft Touch strap also add to the portability of the device. The default facial interface does a fantastic job at blocking any light leakage, better immersing you in the experience.
My only criticism is with hygiene. The off-white color and fabric head strap make the Quest 2 an absolute dirt magnet. While I’m happy Facebook did away with the wrap-around fabric design of the original Quest, the Soft Touch Strap features a similar material and must be adjusted regularly by the user, resulting in a quick build-up of dirt and grime. The company is offering a more rigid “Elite Strap” for those looking for a cleaner solution, though at $49, it isn’t exactly cheap.
The Touch controllers have also received some improvements in terms of ergonomics and haptics. These new controllers feature a beefier design, making it easier to form a tight grip. No longer do I feel as though my controllers are going to slip out of my hand during extra sweaty sessions. Improved haptics also offer more engaging interactions.
The Oculus Quest 2 features 2K per eye resolution powered by a custom Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset; that’s 50% more pixels than the original Quest. The visuals are so good, in fact, that—when paired with the Oculus Link—the Quest 2 is actually a better PC VR headset than the Oculus Rift S. And I say that with zero exaggeration.
In terms of standalone VR, everything looks better on the Quest 2, whether it be an older title that launched with the original Quest or a brand new experience designed specifically with the new hardware in mind. Fractal enemies in SUPERHOT VR now glow and shimmer as they navigate their virtual environments in slow-motion, dust flies past the light emitted by your flashlight in The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, crackling fire dances at the end of your arrow in In Death: Unchained; the list goes on. There’s still a noticeable decrease in overall quality when compared to most PC VR titles, but the visual improvements to standalone VR content is nothing short of incredible.
Facebook has also ditched the manual IPD (interpupillary distance) slider located at the bottom right side of the headset. Instead, users can physically adjust the lenses themselves, clicking them closer or further together depending on your personal measurement. According to the company, the Quest 2 should support the average person’s IPD of 62mm to 65mm.
Unlike the original Oculus Quest, Facebook is hitting the ground running with a lineup of official Quest 2 accessories. Whereas many Quest users took it upon themselves to customize their own DIY “Frankenquests,” Quest 2 users can choose from a variety of accessories designed for improved comfort and utility at launch. This includes the Quest 2 Elite Strap and Quest 2 Elite Strap with Battery, more comfortable premium head straps with adjustable wheels; as well as the Quest 2 Fit Pack, a bundle of light blockers and interchangeable facial interfaces.
The company has also partnered with computer peripheral manufacturer Logitech on a line of VR-focused audio headphones, including the Logitech Gaming Pro Headset for Quest 2 and Logitech G333 VR Gaming Earphones for Quest 2. Users can also purchase premium facial interfaces from VRCover directly through the Oculus website.
Similar to the original Oculus Quest, the Quest is available in both 64GB ($299) and 256GB ($399). Despite the numerous improvements listed above, both Quest 2 models cost $100 less than their original Oculus Quest counterparts. For just a couple hundred bucks, anyone can gain access to a robust ecosystem of AAA VR content powered by one of the best VR headsets available at the moment; no expensive gaming PC required.
While I’ve had zero difficulty transferring my library of existing VR content to the new headset, it’s highly likely future games and apps released on the headset will feature larger file sizes as developers begin taking advantage of the Quest 2’s power. That being said, those looking to keep their entire catalog of games and apps installed at one time may want to invest in the 256GB model.
Long story short, the Oculus Quest 2 improves upon the existing formula in every possible way. From the improved visuals and finely-tuned ergonomic design to the updated Touch controllers and incredible price, the Quest 2 represents another major stepping stone for the immersive industry. By lowering the price and compressing the overall size and weight, Facebook has created the ideal consumer headset, one that will attract not only VR hobbyists, but the ever-elusive mainstream market.
Of course, all this accessibility comes at a price. While the Quest 2 does feature significant improvements, it also feels noticeably cheaper than the original Quest, especially when it comes to the Soft Touch strap. Unlike the rigid rubber strap featured on the Oculus Quest, this Soft Touch strap feels less secure and far more cumbersome. Finding the “sweet spot” took significantly longer with the Quest 2 than it did with the original, though once I did find it my experience with the headset improved dramatically.
Those new to VR will find no better option than the Oculus Quest 2. Add an Oculus Link cable and a VR-ready gaming PC and you’ll have even more AAA content to explore. It’s simply the best bang for you buck. For those who already own the original Quest and are thinking of upgrading, it’s a bit of a different story. The Quest 2 features the same games and apps as the original Quest, so you’d essentially be paying for improved visuals and comfort.
Overall, the Oculus Quest 2 is an incredible standalone VR headset, so long as you don’t mind Facebook take a peak at your activity every now and then.
Image Credit: VRScout