Review: Oculus Quest 2 – The VR Headset Everyone Needs
The Oculus Quest 2 came at the perfect time. Released in October 2020, the VR headset arrived when people needed it most. With most of the globe on lockdown, it provided users with the chance to explore without leaving the safety of home.
The all-in-one gaming system from Oculus is the predecessor to the original Oculus Quest headset which gained massive popularity in 2019 — less than a year from its successor’s release. With the Oculus Quest 2, players can expect the same effortless and immersive gaming experience, but with a few necessary upgrades.
Just like its predecessor, the Oculus Quest 2 is worn like a scuba mask. The goggle-like virtual reality (VR) headset is slightly smaller and lighter than the original Oculus Quest, weighing only 1.1 pounds and measuring 4 x 7.5 x 5.6 inches.
The Oculus Quest 2 replaced the original headset’s all-black exterior with white-colored plastic. Its faceplate is a bare surface, save for the minimalist Oculus logo and position-tracking cameras mounted on each corner. You will find a USB-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left side of the headset. The right side holds the Oculus Quest 2’s power button and LED indicator. Right along the underside, you can find a volume rocker along with two pinhole microphones.
The headset is roomy enough to be worn comfortably with glasses. The eye mask can be adjusted to your preference and comes with a separator to gently lift the headset away from your face if it feels too snug.
The Quest 2 comes with an elastic strap to secure the headset around your head. It uses hook-and-loop (aka Velcro) fasteners, letting you place it firmly against your face. With that said, the Quest 2’s default strap isn’t the most secure — quick movements in games such as Beat Saber will result in the headset shifting or falling off. The remedy would be to replace it with the Oculus Quest 2’s Elite Strap for $49.
The motion controllers aren’t different from the original Oculus Touch controllers. They kept their signature design: baton-like handles with rings on top, featuring trigger buttons, face buttons, and analog sticks. What’s new is that they now come in matte white, matching the color scheme of the Oculus Quest 2 headset. While most VR headsets are in black, we found the decision to make it white actually helpful — that way, users won’t pick up its predecessor’s controllers by mistake.
Each Oculus Quest 2 controller also features a roomy spot where you can rest your thumb when you aren’t using the analog stick. This small addition makes the controllers more comfortable to grip during long periods of play.
Other minor tweaks such as making the handles thicker and securing the battery door make the controllers feel more ergonomic to use. There aren’t any drastic changes, however, they are significant enough to be noticed.
One slight disappointment, however, was finding out that the controllers required one AA battery each. Being able to recharge via USB would have been more convenient, however, this isn’t a deal-breaker as each controller offers up to two weeks’ worth of juice on a single battery.
If you don’t want to use the controllers, you can always use the Oculus Quest 2 with your hands. Oculus has improved its hand-tracking algorithms, allowing users to play compatible games and navigate menus with their hands alone. For instance, pinching and holding your fingers is the equivalent of clicking and dragging with the controllers
Hardware and Performance
The Oculus Quest 2 offers a major upgrade in terms of its processor. It now utilizes a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chip — a jump from the original Oculus Quest which ran on a Snapdragon 835 CPU. As a result, the Oculus Quest 2 runs more smoothly, offering a boost in performance and resolution.
The original headset made use of dual 1440 x 1600 pixel OLED displays, but Oculus’s latest model boasts 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye. When it was released in 2020, the Oculus Quest 2 supported a refresh rate of only 72Hz, however, its developers confirmed in February of 2021 that its next software update would include 120Hz support.
We tested the Oculus Quest 2 by playing Beat Saber, a rhythm-based game where you have to slice glowing neon blocks to the beat of pumping music. The game looked stunningly crisp and ran without any crashes. Visuals were impressively smooth at 72Hz, making us look forward to how the game will look once the 120Hz update is out.
The Oculus Quest 2 offers a solid lineup of games, from triple-A franchises to indie titles. Aside from the highly popular Beat Saber, players can expect immersive shooter games such as Superhot VR, action-adventure puzzle games like Moss, recreational games like Real VR Fishing, and much more.
The Quest 2 enables users to interact with other players through Oculus’s Social Experiences feature. Explore and create imaginary worlds with SculptrVR, experience wingsuit flying with RUSH, and live your Klingon dreams with Star Trek™️: Bridge Crew. All of these games (and more) support both single-user and multiplayer modes.
But here’s the catch: to use the Oculus Quest 2, you will have to connect it to Facebook. If you have an existing Oculus account, you will be prompted to merge it with your Facebook account to proceed. Many users have expressed their concerns regarding this new policy, especially about privacy. If you don’t want to take part in Facebook’s data-harvesting practices, you may have to pass on the Oculus Quest 2 entirely. There’s no way around the new policy.
Price and Availability
You can get the Oculus Quest 2 in two variants. It comes in storage options of 64 GB and 256 GB, priced at $299 and $399 respectively. Keep in mind that most Oculus Quest games require around 3 GB of storage, so if you have an extra hundred dollars to spare, you should consider getting the 256 GB version to future-proof your headset. However, if you’re a casual gamer who doesn’t mind deleting previously played games, the 64 GB model should be enough.
Considering the price range of other best-selling VR headsets, such as the HTC Vive Cosmos ($700) and the Valve Index ($999), the Oculus Quest 2 has a reasonable price tag. It’s $100 more expensive than its predecessor, but for all of the improvements that you get, we think it’s a worthy upgrade.
When buying the headset, you also have the option to add accessories such as the Quest 2 Elite Strap and the Quest 2 Carrying Case, which are priced at $49 each. The Oculus Quest 2 is available on their official website, but major retailers such as GameStop, Best Buy, and Target carry it, as well.
Lightweight and affordable, the Oculus Quest 2 is a worthy VR headset that will make your virtual reality experiences look and feel more powerful. With its sleek design and comfortable fit, the Quest 2 is the kind of device that will have you playing your favorite games for hours on end. Its major downside is that it requires users to connect to Facebook, which may not be entirely acceptable to everyone.