In the debate between the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, the Oculus Quest 2 is easily overlooked. But why should it be? Virtual reality is touted as the future of gaming and is projected to become a £30.5 billion industry by 2025. The signs are already there. Streaming and gaming have reached an all-time high since the pandemic; so let this virtual-reality system provide a gateway to escape and venture to new places.
Here’s our breakdown of the Oculus Quest 2:
Hardware and Performance
If you’re new to the virtual-reality space, the Oculus Quest 2 is a great entry point as it can work straight out of the box without all the techy faff. From there, it takes about five to ten minutes to get going. The headset comes in two variants: a model with 64GB storage, priced at £299 and a 256GB version at £399. That’s £100 less than the original Quest and is significantly less than competitors.
In addition to this, the internal improvements are significant. The virtual-reality system operates with 6GB of RAM and has a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chip. In layman’s terms, this gives greater visual fidelity, boosted resolutions and better refresh rates. This is the cheapest Snapdragon product on the market. Phones with similar technology start for around double this price.
The display is constructed using a single LCD panel that is split to give an 1832 x 1920 pixel resolution per eye. The display has the option to run up to 90Hz, in comparison to the 72Hz for the Quest. A firmware update is also rumoured to take this up to a smoother 120Hz, which will potentially reduce motion sickness – a common drawback of virtual-reality systems.
The Oculus Quest is a battery-powered, stand-alone headset that can be taken all around the house without the fear of tripping over wires. Arguably, the battery capacity is pretty low; lasting for only two to three hours. It is worth noting that a headband with a built-in battery can be purchased to double the playing time. Still, anything longer than the original capacity can make for uncomfortable gaming.
The Oculus Quest 2 is a slicker, lighter headset compared to its predecessor, the Oculus Quest. Available in an optic white, the virtual-reality system is compact and weighs just over 500g to enhance comfort. Like most virtual-reality systems, the Oculus Quest 2 is worn on the head using an elasticated Velcro strap. This is a welcomed improvement to the rigid, rubberised band on the previous model.
All the fun takes place inside the padded cavity, where you’ll find goggle-like lenses. These are placed in front of a screen for stereoscopic 3D visuals. The headset has built-in motion sensors and accelerometers, meaning that your head movements are reflected in real-time on the digital screen. This is also facilitated with cameras at the outer shell, which tracks your positioning and the controllers (or hands).
For those that wear glasses, the eye mask easily pulls out to permit the user to adjust the position of the lenses. This can be done using a separator to lift the headset slightly away from your face. Unfortunately, many users have critiqued that glasses can still feel awkward, especially if you have large frames.
Controls and Accessories
The Oculus Quest 2 comes with two ergonomic controllers that have baton-like handles with triggers for the forefingers; buttons that are in easy reach for the thumbs; and plastic LED rings that slide onto them to track hand and arm movements. There’s also a wrist strap in case you get too carried away! The controllers boast twice the battery life of the previous model. This blows other competitors out of the water since they can operate for weeks without the need for recharging.
Even when they do run out, the Oculus Quest 2 is fitted with a hand-tracking system. This was originally part of a firmware update for the Quest and still feels a bit like a work in progress. While the hand-tracking system can be used to navigate menus, once you access an application such as Netflix or YouTube VR, you’re prompted to switch to controllers. This is likely a compatibility issue that may get fixed in future updates.
If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, extra purchases are available to enhance the virtual-reality experience, such as structured headbands, audio accessories and a ventilating facial interface.
Applications and software
A Facebook account is required to use the device, applications and Oculus store. For some, this is less than ideal considering the technology company’s recent privacy scandal. Once you move past this though, this makes it easier to play with friends and family online.
When you’re up and running, you will find hundreds of separately sold games – and free ones too – at your disposal. There’s something for the entire family: from shooters to adventure games, fitness titles to meditation apps. The Oculus Quest 2 is also backwards compatible with the original Quest; however, Facebook has admitted that this may change over time once the technology improves.
The viewing experience is comparable to an IMAX screen – remember those? The immersive 360 degrees experience is compatible with a host of applications including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube VR. Furthermore, Google Cast will let you display whatever you’re viewing onto a nearby screen for all to enjoy.
Mobile and PC-tethered play are additionally available on the Oculus Quest 2 with a 16.4ft USB-C Oculus Link cable – a lengthy and flexible extension that can be purchased for £89. For those with a high-spec gaming PC, this is perfect for improving the overall experience.
Let us know in the comment section below whether you’d delve into the world of virtual reality with what could be one of the best gadgets for men around