The Quest 2 Is More Expensive, But It’s Still the Best VR Headset For Now

Editor’s word, Aug. 12: The Quest 2 elevated in value Aug. 1 by $101. That makes it much less of an impulse buy, however nonetheless a CNET Editors’ Alternative for now. Beneath is our up to date evaluate.


There is a pair of magic goggles I’ve gone again to time and again over the past two years, opening up worlds of video games, theater, conversations, artwork and experiences which can be robust to even describe. The Meta Quest 2 (previously, and generally nonetheless, the Oculus Quest 2) is an improved, inexpensive sequel to the 2019 Oculus Quest. It is already been my transportable holodeck, my little magic health room, my escape house and one in all my favourite recreation consoles.

Nevertheless, it is now not the finances purchase it as soon as was. A shock $101 improve within the headset’s value signifies that {hardware} that used to price $299 for 128GB of storage and $399 for 256GB is now $400 or $500. That is an enormous value soar for getting old {hardware}, even when Meta is providing a free obtain of Beat Saber as a $30 comfort prize. In a 12 months when the whole lot appears to be getting dearer, it seems like an unwelcome slap within the face.

Does that imply you need to maintain off on shopping for it? All indications are that Meta’s subsequent pro-level VR headset coming later this 12 months will probably be much more costly, and a real Quest 3 might not come till 2023 or later. However the actuality is, there’s no standalone VR headset in existence with the app library or worth that the Quest 2 has, even at its greater value. 

Like

  • Excessive-res show
  • Nice self-contained gaming expertise
  • Doubles as PC VR headset
  • Works properly with a handful of health apps

Do not Like

  • $101 dearer
  • Solely 2-3 hours of battery life
  • Not designed for teenagers

Meta upgraded the bottom storage on the entry-level Quest 2 final 12 months, doubling it from 64GB to 128GB. 128GB needs to be greater than sufficient storage for many, however severe VR avid gamers will respect the 256GB storage tier step-up — there isn’t any method to increase storage in any other case. 

Whereas the Quest 2 is getting old, it retains impressing me. The Quest 2 retains bettering its software program: It could get telephone notifications, pair with keyboards and join with digital assembly apps, do primary health monitoring and wirelessly stream from PCs. It is nonetheless one of the best self-contained VR headset proper now, and essentially the most inexpensive for its options.

However, yeah, you must settle for that that is Fb’s world (and that entails potentialities for future adverts, too). Whereas the Quest will quickly enable account creation with out utilizing a Fb login, it is nonetheless price conserving in thoughts the Quest 2 is not designed for teenagers, though numerous dad and mom I do know have children who use it. Parental controls are steadily being added, however they’re nonetheless not on the stage of on a regular basis recreation consoles just like the Nintendo Swap, Xbox or PlayStation.

The Quest 2 has a VR-optimized Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor, a higher-resolution show than the older Oculus Quest and Rift headsets, and it really works surprisingly properly as a tethered or wi-fi PC VR headset, in case you want it to.

I discover I take advantage of the Quest 2 primarily as a recreation console, or a health system, or as a social instrument for assembly with mates in digital worlds. I do not use it on a regular basis. It is an expertise I dip into occasionally.

If you happen to consider the Quest 2 as a recreation console, it is a implausible little recreation and expertise machine. It would even be my second-favorite recreation console proper now subsequent to the Nintendo Swap. However in the event you think about it fulfilling wants for work and the remainder of your life, it raises deeper questions and issues.

Mark Zuckerberg and Meta stay centered on attempting to show VR right into a higher work and connectivity instrument, however all of that is nonetheless very a lot a piece in progress. There are work apps within the Quest app library, however none of them work properly sufficient for me to make use of them. Horizon Worlds and Horizon Workrooms are attempting to construct out social locations for work and play.

Meta’s social media ambitions are clearly aligned the place VR and AR are heading, and the Quest 2 nonetheless feels just like the centerpiece of these efforts. Meta is permitting accounts to bypass needing a Fb account login quickly, however to be clear, you will nonetheless be underneath Meta’s umbrella not directly or one other. 

Learn extraWhy You Ought to Purchase a Nintendo Swap Lite and Oculus Quest 2, As an alternative of PS5 or Xbox Sequence X

Extra recreation console than work system

If you happen to deal with the Quest 2 as a motion-enabled recreation console in your face and palms, or a method to socialize with mates in magic worlds the place you may run round as invented avatars, it is implausible. It is also an excellent little machine for enjoying Beat Saber. The Oculus Quest was already one of the best self-contained VR headset on the planet, and the Quest 2 is even higher. 

The experiences I’ve had in Oculus Quest have been shocking and unusual, magical and lively. The Quest 2 seems to be strolling that very same path with its curated app retailer and self-contained ecosystem. The total-motion six levels of freedom (aka 6DoF) monitoring, utilizing 4 in-headset cameras, is all the identical proper now. The controllers are complicated however well-designed. It is extra of a VR mini recreation console than something, however its different instruments — digital big-screen pc displays, health coaching software program, immersive theater portals — may add dimensions it’s possible you’ll not even have thought of. 

There are work instruments within the Quest ecosystem, and methods to have digital conferences: Spatial’s app brings individuals into shared areas with workflows and cloud storage instruments. Digital monitor apps like Immerse can flip the Quest right into a digital collection of displays in your actual pc. Plug in a USB cable, and the Quest 2 generally is a PC VR headset and work with plenty of Steam apps as properly. Meta’s Horizon Workrooms reveals potentialities, too. I might nonetheless think about these work apps experimental proper now, although, and never important.

Nonetheless, the Quest would not actually interface with Apple iOS or Google’s Android OS, though it pairs with a telephone app like a smartwatch for some primary syncing and display casting. You may’t simply hop right into a Zoom name or share a doc, and the movement between my digital pc work life and the VR digital movement is not there but. I hope it will probably arrive as a result of for my part, VR headsets needs to be extra like immersive visible headphones. Proper now they’re extra like custom-made and completely different toolkits with positives (bodily immersion) and negatives (no face-to-face digital camera dialog, and no straightforward work instruments like a mouse and keyboard).

An awesome instance of VR’s limits is the Quest 2’s still-evolving hand monitoring. I can use my palms to succeed in out and contact issues, controller-free, which is wild. However I am unable to get bodily suggestions, and mastering the particular gestures wanted to open an app, drag an object someplace or sort a response to a message feels extraordinarily troublesome.


Scott Stein/CNET

What’s glorious

The show decision: The 1,832×1,920-per-eye pixel decision is improved from the 1,400×1,600 on the older Quest, and it makes the whole lot smoother, eradicating plenty of the “display door” pixelation. The Snapdragon XR2 processor additionally cuts down on the lower-res halo on the perimeters of the show that occurred beforehand attributable to fastened foveated rendering (which solely made the middle of the show look ultrasharp to assist the older processor). It is extra universally clear and crisp now, though there may be nonetheless some pixelation on the fringe of your imaginative and prescient in the event you look fastidiously.

Oculus Quest 2 side showing ports

Constructed-in audio pumps up from proper behind these straps, however there’s additionally a headphone jack.


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Constructed-in audio would not want headphones: The ambient spatial audio that comes out of the facet straps is okay, and I want it to utilizing headphones. It sounds a bit higher to me than the primary Quest. There’s additionally a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The XR2 chip seems fairly versatile, nonetheless: Qualcomm’s XR2 chip stays one of the best standalone processor for VR in the meanwhile, and VR graphics on latest video games have been fairly spectacular. The Quest 2 also can deal with hand monitoring and combined actuality by overlaying digital objects with its black and white passthrough cameras. 

inside the Oculus Quest 2

Scott Stein/CNET

The refresh fee is easy: The primary Quest may run at 72Hz, a bit lower than PC VR headsets that may go to 90Hz. The quicker the refresh fee, the smoother the expertise. The Quest 2 may even do 120Hz for some video games and apps.

The scale and weight aren’t unhealthy: The Quest 2, at 17.7 ounces, or 503 grams, just isn’t tremendous gentle, nevertheless it’s nonetheless fairly transportable for a self-contained headset. It is nonetheless a pair of goggles, nevertheless it’s potential to hold it round. The elastic flex straps are straightforward to pack down, too, though the Quest 2 nonetheless is not as transportable as an iPad or a Nintendo Swap.

Oculus Quest 2 controllers

The brand new Quest 2 controller (left) versus the unique Quest (proper). Similar format, however there’s extra finger-rest room, and the controller’s a bit greater now.


Scott Stein/CNET

Nice controller battery life: The revamped Oculus Contact controllers have the identical buttons and analog sticks and triggers, like a split-apart PlayStation controller. However the brand new controllers are greater and sturdier-feeling, and have a much bigger button space with a thumb relaxation. The controllers nonetheless use AA batteries versus being rechargeable, however final lots longer on a single battery: Mine lasts on a pair of AA batteries for months. Additionally, the battery cowl would not randomly slide off prefer it generally does on the older Quest controllers.

The sport library: The Quest 2 is filled with nice VR recreation choices. Many of those video games may even look pretty much as good as their PC variations, though there might come a time within the subsequent 12 months or two when the {hardware} begins to really feel its age.

Oculus Quest 2 straps

The elastic straps are extra compact now, however generally not as comfortable.


Scott Stein/CNET

What’s a little bit of a letdown

It isn’t as pleasant to my bigger glasses: The attention space on the brand new Quest is a bit smaller, and the included foam padding feels firmer and cushier. However my glasses now appear a bit extra jammed in than on the older Quest. Meta sells a match pack ($50) with just a few completely different snap-out foam frames for various face varieties, so possibly I would like a type of.

It takes a very long time to recharge: The headset lasts two to 3 hours, which is just like the final Quest. I discover battery life can run down in only one night, after which I must recharge. And recharging takes a very long time — an hour or extra, which suggests you will must take a VR break whether or not you prefer it or not. Meta does promote an Elite Strap with an additional battery pack, plus a useful case, which helped my longer-term play classes lots.

Oculus Quest 2 USB cable

You want an extended USB-C cable to hook up with a PC for VR.


Scott Stein/CNET

The included USB-C cable is lots shorter now: The unique Quest included an excellent lengthy USB-C cable that might be used to cost whereas enjoying, or tether through USB-C to a PC. The shorter cost cable with the Quest 2 makes that not possible, however guess what? Meta sells an extended cable for $80 (or you may purchase your personal for PC tethering through Oculus Hyperlink).

No expandable storage: The 128GB on the $400 Quest will maintain sufficient video games and apps for most individuals (just a few dozen, roughly). Nonetheless, no expandable storage signifies that it’s worthwhile to select fastidiously. Hardcore VR customers ought to think about the 256GB possibility.

The LCD show’s blacks aren’t as black as the unique Quest OLED: The fast-switch LCD on the Quest 2 is usually higher, however the black ranges are clearly much less black. In a darkened digital movie show or with a darkish recreation like The Room VR, I am much more conscious of the show’s gentle. (On the upside, shiny photos and textual content like internet pages appear extra vivid.)

Oculus Quest 2 IPD adjustment switch

IPD adjustment is one in all three fastened settings.


Scott Stein/CNET

IPD adjustment for my eyes was a little bit of a studying course of: The older Quest match my eyes completely, and likewise had an interpupillary distance slider to suit eye distances for almost anybody. The Quest 2 replaces the slider with three preset eye distance settings (53, 63 and 68mm) that are supposed to match most individuals, however at first my imaginative and prescient did not really feel 100% with any of them. Over time, I readjusted the straps to my head and began to get higher outcomes. I even have thick prescription glasses, FYI.

You may’t actually use it in daylight: The Oculus Quest 2 is sort of a vampire — hold it indoors. Direct daylight could cause everlasting injury to the shows if beams undergo the inside lenses, and once I performed outdoors, the headset monitoring had some bother discovering the controllers. It is a reminder that VR headsets nonetheless aren’t on a regular basis take-absolutely-anywhere issues fairly but, although I’ve achieved some outdoorsy experiments every now and then.

A potential magic doorway to extra, however what occurs subsequent with Meta?

Meta’s highway to the longer term is about towards augmented-reality sensible glasses that may mix the digital and actual, however that might nonetheless be years off. Within the meantime, the Quest 2 may have sufficient onboard energy to evolve new concepts for the corporate’s immersive work. Its pro-level headset, Venture Cambria, ought to introduce higher controllers, extra combined actuality, eye and face monitoring, and a greater show. It might be one other bridge to the place Meta’s AR ambitions lie, however at a a lot greater value. The Quest 2, in the meantime, may hold on as a extra “finances” system for everybody else.

Moreover no matter issues about Fb and knowledge you will have, there’s additionally the query of how open Meta will enable its VR universe to be. Whereas the Quest connects simply with PCs, what about the way forward for telephones? How will the Quest dovetail with the apps we use day-after-day? Proper now, it would not. Mark Zuckerberg retains pledging that the Quest’s future will probably be open. However the future forward will probably be about telephones and tablets that plug into VR and AR, and the Quest must discover a method to be a part of that future, too.

For now, the Quest 2 stays a memorable VR and experiential headset, and one of the best self-contained system VR has ever had. The one query is how significantly better it will probably get.

First revealed Sept. 16, 2020.

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