Oculus Quest 2 Evaluation | PCMag

Oculus was tinkering with standalone virtual reality with its Go headset, but it wasn’t until the Quest that the company managed to create a truly immersive VR experience without wires. The Oculus Quest 2 follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, but has a more powerful processor, a sharper screen, and a lighter design. All of this costs just $ 299.99, $ 100 less than the original Quest, and significantly less than competitors like the $ 699 HTC Vive Cosmos. When you add optional PC tethering with an accessory cable, you have a comprehensive VR system at the cheapest price we’ve ever seen and our editorial team’s choice for VR headsets.


The Quest 2 is slightly smaller and lighter than the original, weighing 17.7 ounces and measuring 4.0 x 7.5 x 5.6 inches (HWD) without the strap. The smooth plastic housing of the headset is white, the plastic and foam eye mask behind it contrasts black. The front panel is almost bare and has four position cameras attached to its edge.

On the left side of the headset there is a USB-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. On the right side there is the power switch and an indicator LED. There is a volume rocker and two hole microphones on the underside of the headset. The eye mask pulls out easily so you can adjust the position of the lenses or insert the included separator which lifts the headset slightly away from your face for convenient use with glasses. Even with the separator, glasses can feel uncomfortable if you have particularly large frames.

The headband is an elastic three-point belt that is attached to plastic arms and can be easily turned up and down. Your arms hold speakers that direct sound to your ears without headphones. The top strap attaches to the headset with Velcro straps so you can adjust how the top of the Quest fits your face. The side straps are connected at the back with two plastic sliding clips.

The headset is quick and easy to adjust with the standard strap, but it doesn’t offer the most secure fit to keep it in place and it can shift if you move your head quickly or sharply. You can replace it with the Quest 2 Elite Belt, a $ 49 accessory that offers a more secure fit with a ring-shaped piece of plastic that wraps around the back of the head and a ratchet wheel that holds the belt in place.

Oculus Quest 2


The two motion controllers included in Quest 2 have been slightly redesigned compared to the original Oculus Touch controllers used in Quest and Rift S. They’re still rounded handles with distinctive rings on top so that the headset’s cameras can track their location, and the two triggers still naturally fit under your index and middle fingers. The circular control surface on the top of the handle just below your thumb is larger than before, providing a comfortable, bare place to rest your thumb when you’re not actively using the analog stick or two face buttons.

Thanks to the new design, the controllers feel a little thicker in the hand and are easier to hold securely. The battery compartment is less likely to slide off during intense gaming sessions. It’s not a drastic redesign, but rather a few small tweaks that make the controllers feel better without changing their layout or functionality.

Oculus Quest 2

You can also use the Quest 2 with your bare hands. The headset supports hand tracking, a feature originally introduced in the beta version of the original Quest that uses the cameras to track the position, orientation and shape of your hands. When the function is activated, you can move your hands freely in front of the headset to control the system-internal pointer. Clamping your thumb and forefinger together for a moment acts as a click, and pinching and holding works as a click and pull.

The hand tracking feature works fine, but unfortunately it doesn’t replace the controllers for most apps. While you can use your hands to navigate the Quest 2 menu system, you’ll be prompted to use the controllers whenever you launch Netflix or YouTube VR, for example.


Oculus has updated the processor of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 headset to the Snapdragon 865-derived Snapdragon XR2. This is impressive in and of itself, given that at $ 300, the Quest 2 is by far the cheapest Snapdragon 865-based device in North America (phones with the same chip cost around $ 1,000). More importantly, the new processor offers a significant increase in performance over the original Quest. In addition, two more gigabytes of RAM are provided for a total of 6 GB.

Oculus Quest 2

The display has also been greatly improved. The headset now shows an image for each eye with a size of 1,920 x 1,832 pixels (1,600 x 1,440). At launch, the Quest 2 has the same 72 Hz refresh rate as the original, but 90 Hz support will be added in the near future.

Battery life remains limited, which is one of the main problems with all standalone VR headsets. According to Oculus, you can expect two to three hours of use between charges, roughly the same as the original. It’s short, but you can double that time with the $ 129 Quest 2 Elite Battery and Carrying Strap, a version of the aforementioned accessory strap with a built-in battery. It’s not cheap, but considering that it and the Quest 2 combined cost only $ 30 more than the original headset, it’s not that daunting if you want really long gaming sessions.

Oculus Quest 2

The Quest 2 uses and stores the same in-headset menu system as the original Quest. That way, you’ll have access to dozens of compelling VR experiences, all accessible and tracked through your Facebook account (which doubles as your Oculus account). A variety of fun software can be accessed through the store without using a PC, including Beat Saber, Rez Infinite, Superhot VR, Tetris Effect, and more.

Outside of the games available from the in-headset store (of which there are many), you can also enjoy the full breadth of Oculus PC and Steam VR stores with the optional Oculus Link cable for $ 79. It’s a 5 meter USB-C cable that you can use to connect the Quest 2 to a compatible PC to access its VR software library. While you are likely to find a cheaper USB-C cable, the Oculus Link cable is especially good for use with the headset because of its length and flexibility. And even if you add the price of the Oculus Link cable to the Quest 2, you’re still paying less than the original Quest or the Rift S.

The PC tethering option is important for two reasons. First, a PC simply offers a lot more power than even the Snapdragon 865 processor can offer, and enables graphically more advanced VR software like Half-Life: Alyx. If you want the most advanced VR available, you need a tethered connection to a powerful computer. Second, Oculus is exhibiting the Rift line of tethered headsets, so the Quest 2 will be the only VR headset the company offers to deliver both standalone and PC tethered VRs.

Oculus Quest 2


The Quest 2 uses the same Guardian system as its predecessor, which allows you to draw boundaries around your play area so that the headset can warn you if you are leaving the designated area (and possibly encountering something). It works well with remembering the areas you selected or setting up a stationary circle for games that don’t require a lot of exercise or walking around.

Head tracking remains very accurate. The headset’s four cameras are constantly scanning the area around you to determine where you are while the internal sensors track the orientation. The cameras also track the controls, which also have internal sensors for motion tracking. It’s a full six degrees of freedom (6DOF) experience, just like the original quest, and it feels very immersive.

The higher screen resolution makes a noticeable difference as everything looks sharper than the original Quest. You can still see pixels if you look closely, but only just barely. Ultimately, the experience is much clearer and cleaner all round.

I started playing Tetris Effect, which was originally released on the PlayStation 4 and which I enjoyed playing on the PlayStation VR. It looks good on the Quest 2 and sounds just as good. It’s just as impressive and a little sharper than the PS VR. My only complaint is the control scheme: Tetris requires digital precision, ideally with a directional pad like the DualShock 4 controller. The analog sticks on the Quest 2’s controllers are a bit too sensitive, and I was prone to accidentally dropping blocks when I didn’t want to.

I then played Gun Club VR, a shooting gallery game. The headset accurately tracked my controller’s movements and enabled me to precisely aim various firearms at pop-up targets. The higher resolution helped me select distant targets and better aim headshots for a fun simulator experience.

You can also use the headset to watch YouTube in VR. It creates a simulated big screen right in front of you that you can watch videos on as if you were sitting in a theater. It’s reasonably immersive and easy to use, and the higher resolution, in turn, means the viewing experience is sharper and more enjoyable.


Finally, I spent some time playing my two favorite VR games, Beat Saber and Superhot VR. Superhot VR is a first person shooter where time only passes when you are moving. So, you can achieve incredible disarmament and marksmanship performances. Quest 2 tracked my head and controllers perfectly, making me dodging bullets and fending off attackers like John Wick.

Beat Saber is a rhythm game where you hit glowing blocks flying towards you to the beat of a song, and Quest 2’s tracking was correct again. Both games looked sharp through the headset, with the 72Hz refresh rate keeping the action smooth, though I’m looking forward to the 90Hz refresh rate being enabled in the future.

The best gets better

The original Oculus Quest was a VR breath of fresh air with 6DOF head and controller tracking, strong performance and most importantly, independent functionality. The Quest 2 is an upgrade in every way with a lighter design, sharper display, and faster processor at a cheaper price than the original. At $ 300, it’s the best all-in-one package for using VR, with optional accessories for PC tethering and doubling the headset’s battery life. This makes it by far the best VR headset at this price and the choice of our editorial team.

Drawing area created with sketch.

The bottom line

The Oculus Quest 2 improves on almost everything over the original for a cheaper price, making it the best $ 300 VR headset for both novice and experienced users.

Oculus Quest 2 specifications

Art Independent
resolution 1,832 times 1,920 (per eye)
Update rate 90 Hz
Motion detection 6DOF
Controls Oculus Touch
Hardware platform Independent
Software platform Oculus

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