As the VR industry grows, the choices for good headsets keep growing and getting more affordable. Oculus, now owned by Facebook, is probably the most widely known brand with its catalog and history of headsets. Its latest, Quest 2, takes technology the platform to the next level while also making it more affordable. A stand-alone headset that doesn’t need a gaming PC or separate base stations for tracking, Quest 2 is packed with features and is seamless to use. Be sure to check out the video below and see all the details of the Oculus Quest 2.
Design and controllers
As a stand-alone headset with controllers, the Oculus Quest 2 also comes with a power adapter, USB-C to USB-A charging cable, two AA batteries, and a glasses spacer.
The headset features a soft matte white colorway with simple adjustable straps. Around the front of the headset are lenses that pick up the environment you’re playing in, but they’re pretty discrete. On the left side of the headset is a 3.5mm jack along with the USB-C port for charging or connecting to a PC via Oculus Link, with an appropriate, separately sold cable.
On the right side of the headset is the power button as well as a small LED status light. On the bottom are volume controls.
The controllers each take a single AA battery (included) and seem to last quite a while. They have a comfortable grip with trigger buttons and grab buttons under your middle finger. For thumb controls, they feature thumbsticks on both controllers as well as two face buttons and separate menu buttons on each controller. All of the buttons are easy to find and feel good, and the thumbsticks can be pressed in as well.
There are two versions available. Since Quest 2 is a stand-alone headset, games and apps are installed directly to the headset. Pricing starts at $299 for the 64GB version that I have, but if you think you’ll need more space, there is a 256GB version for $399. So far, I haven’t found myself needing more than 64GB, but I also play a lot of titles through Oculus Link.
Oculus Quest 2: Video
For strapping a 503g plastic headset to your face, the Oculus Quest 2 is pretty comfortable. I found myself wearing it pretty tight to try and keep the headset from moving while playing action titles. Of course, after using it for more than probably 15 minutes, you’ll start to show some signs of wearing the headset when you take it off. My wife always makes fun of the lines on my face after I’ve been playing for a bit.
The Quest 2 also has three different settings for IPD or inter Pupillary distance, the distance between your pupils. By manually moving one lens, the other one will follow. Just move them and try it out to find the setting that renders the clearest image for your eyes.
In this generation, the Quest 2 takes the resolution up to 1832 x 1920 from the 1440 x 1600 in the former headset. Visual performance has been upgraded and looks very impressive for the price point. I haven’t tried the older Quest, but I’m impressed with the stand-alone performance on the Quest 2.
Tracking & VR Performance
As a stand-alone headset, the Quest 2 also doesn’t need additional base stations to track movement. While it’s probably not as pin-point accurate as something like the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite, I’ve been nothing but impressed with the tracking on the Quest 2. It feels instant and responsive.
My wife, who often feels motion sickness when traveling was hesitant to try the headset because she thought it might make her nauseous. But once she decided to try it, she didn’t feel any discomfort in the short time she entered the VR world. Of course, she wasn’t doing any intense VR movements, like flying or parkour moves, but even with basic movement, I was happy to see that she didn’t experience any discomfort.
Oculus Quest 2: Built-in audio, or not
While the Quest 2 does have a 3.5mm jack if you want to use your own headphones, I found the built-in speakers to work well for most casual gaming and experiences. They offer good stereo separation and let you stay aware of your surrounding when playing.
Oculus Quest 2: The big downside
Probably the only downside with the Quest 2 is that it requires a Facebook account to use the headset. Those who enjoy a small internet presence will probably be turned off by this. I found it quite annoying as I don’t spend much time on Facebook, but you can turn most of the notifications and timeline sharing options off so it’s pretty light.
Apps & game availability
Every time it’s powered on, the Quest 2 immediately requires you to set up a guardian or your area of play to ensure that you don’t hit anything that you don’t want. Once that is set, you’re immediately taken to a home area and able to navigate a menu with friends, apps, the store, and games.
Another handy feature here is the ability to cast video that is played in the headset to another device. The feed can be sent to the Oculus app on your mobile device or to another device like a Chromecast. I was easily able to send it to my Vizio TV and watch gameplay while someone else was using the headset. This is great for taking turns with friends, and then you can still be a part of the game.
That’s also how I recorded my gameplay from the standalone headset for the video above. I cast it to my iPhone 8 and recorded my screen to capture what I was experiencing in the headset.
While the Oculus store on the Quest 2 has lots of great titles, the Quest 2 also supports Oculus Link, which enables full support from a gaming PC to play games from PC based platforms like Steam VR. This does require the purchase of a longer cable than what is included, though. Oculus offers its own 16’ Oculus Link Cable, though it carries a higher price point at $79. Other users have reported success using some third party cables, but after one that was supposed to work didn’t work, I opted for going with the official cable, and it’s worked flawlessly.
Playing via link worked perfectly with Star Wars: Squadrons and Half-Life: Alyx and was a blast. Being able to look around the cockpit of an X-Wing or TIE Interceptor is a blast. Though, it’s also a lot of fun on a super-wide monitor like the Monoprice Dark Matter 49”.
Games that are available on both the headset and PC variant play great on the headset version, but if you want to boost up the performance and texture quality, like on Beat Saber or Population: One, then plug in the headset and take advantage of your PC.
Overall, Oculus Quest 2 is a huge leap in the right direction for VR. With better performance and a more affordable price point, VR is becoming more and more of an approachable platform. And the fact that the Quest 2 works both standalone and tethered to a PC via Oculus Link expands its use even further. I’m very excited to see where VR goes in the future. If you haven’t tried it yet, VR is an incredible experience, and Oculus Quest 2 is a great place to start.
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