Oculus Quest 2 Overview | Finder
The Oculus Quest 2 honestly looks like something Apple would have designed around the turn of the century. In this case, the use of white rounded plastic and minimal surface area is a very sincere flattery that looks pretty good both in the hand and on your face.
OK, maybe not that good – it’s still hard to look dignified in any way with a VR headset, and that’s not going to change anytime soon – but at least the design and fit are designed for comfort and usefulness. While not everyone wants to be in touch with Oculus Quest 2 over an extended period of time, it is entirely possible to get involved in this way.
The headset is minimalist, with a power button on the right and USB C (for charging and connecting to a PC) and headphone jacks on the left. Oculus has changed the way you customize the Oculus Quest 2 to your face compared to the original model. The lenses are much easier to assemble and achieve the correct focal length even if you wear glasses like me. You will likely still want someone around to comfortably attach the head strap, as it is difficult to attach a strap to your head while you are wearing it to remove it properly.
The Oculus Quest 2 uses a slightly redesigned set of hand controls compared to the original model, although both are still based on simple handgrips with upward-facing loops that the headset uses to track the position and movement of each handgrip. Each grip has an analog stick and two primary action buttons, as well as two analog triggers and dedicated ocular and menu option buttons.
You can actually do without the hand controls if you want, as the Oculus Quest 2 is capable of tracking your actual hands – at least in theory. The hand tracking in the Oculus menus works and is pretty cool the first time you use it. The problem, however, is that very few apps recognize this ability and you will return to the handles for most games, interactive VR experiences, or streaming media binge sessions. It’s neat tech, and you’ll coo in appreciation the first time you see your fingers in VR room, but that’s about all you can do for the time being.
- Includes data exchange with Facebook
- Guardian protects you well (except from cats)
- Broad library of VR experiences
- Time lapse can still be a dizzying problem
- The PC connection offers the Quest 2 a lot of future security
To set up Oculus Quest 2, you’ll need to set up an Oculus account (if you’re a previous Oculus owner) or a Facebook account to link it to. You’ll also need to charge the primary headset and put a single AA battery in each handle.
From there, you are mostly visually guided through the process of sorting your play space. Oculus didn’t change much here for Quest 2, but didn’t really have to. You’re still drawing a virtual “guardian” room using the Quest 2’s external cameras to look around your room and define a safe space to move around.
As soon as you get closer to the boundaries you set, the real room view intervenes in your VR activity and prevents you from tripping over the furniture or into the walls. The only note of caution is that the Quest 2 is in no way animal conscious – that is, I figured out how difficult it is to trip over your cat with the Oculus Quest 2.
Neither the headset nor the pussycat were injured at the time, although my pride was bruised.
One aspect to keep in mind about Oculus Quest 2 is that it is a company that is 100% owned by Facebook. Setting up Oculus Quest 2 can be done with an Oculus account if you already have an Oculus device. If you haven’t done so, you’ll need to use Facebook, and Facebook is in the process of moving all Oculus accounts to Facebook accounts by 2023.
If you don’t use Facebook for privacy or security reasons, or just don’t like Facebook, you’re more likely to be stuck if you want to use Oculus Quest 2 at all. If you use it, you have to accept that at some point your usage will be logged, recorded and used for data matching by Facebook.
The whole point of Oculus Quest 2 is that it is a standalone device. There’s no need to set up additional tracking cameras or absolutely plug in to an external computing device or console to explore the wider world of VR.
Since this is an update of an existing model and Oculus now has many years of VR experience, a variety of VR experiences are available in the Oculus Shop that you can use both for a fee and for free. Some of the classics remain classics and work well on the Oculus Quest 2, with titles like Beat Saber and SuperHot VR remaining must-have titles, but there are also a good number of apps that aim to get as much out of the VR medium as possible inform and entertain.
You can even use Oculus Quest 2 for your Netflix binges, with a full client app that creates a “virtual” home theater where you can sit and watch what you want on the streaming service. It’s a little weird to sit down to see Brooklyn Nine-Nine and look down to find that you have no legs, but it’s also a great way to enjoy a very big screen experience without a big wall needing to hang an expensive TV on too. The only catch is that unless everyone else in your house wants to hear what you’re doing too, it’s wise to plug in headphones when you’re watching video content or even most games.
If you’re the sharing type, Oculus Quest 2 is fully Chromecast compatible, so you can cast what you see on any nearby Cast compatible display.
I tested this on a Shield TV and, aside from some early onset graphics streaming issues, it worked pretty well for family games, although it wasn’t as good for any type of video. This is mainly because the cast image is tracked relative to the movement of the head unit, which means that it naturally wobbles a lot depending on the wearer’s own head movements. You don’t actually notice this (or it’s on purpose) when you’re wearing it, but it’s pretty unsettling to anyone looking at the cast version of your VR session.
The classic problem with VR headsets is motion sickness. Here the Oculus Quest 2 receives a qualified pass.
I’m someone who often finds VR and 3D virtual experiences like movies very disruptive to my sense of balance, but for the most part, most VR experiences worked fine when I had the right focus. The exception to this is any slow motion experience where it is still possible to feel like you’re about to lose your lunch quickly. Approach those VR roller coasters with caution – and maybe a paper bag nearby.
While the original Quest was essentially the lower-cost “partner” device for the Oculus Rift, the Oculus Quest 2 is pretty much the declared future of the Oculus platform, and that means it’s not limited to just working as a standalone headset.
You can also tie it to a PC for VR-ready titles via platforms like Steam VR. A tethered USB C cable must be used for this – Oculus has an official 5-meter cable that allows a reasonable range of motion. In theory, however, any USB C 2.0 cable should work – and some settings on the PC side, including checking that your rig is in place, is actually capable of running VR at a satisfactory speed. If you’re interested in VR, you have probably already checked these details. If not, Steam’s VR Performance Test app is a good place to start.
This tethering can be a little painful, but it circumvents one problem for Oculus Quest 2’s enduring value, and that is performance. The Oculus Quest 2 is based on a custom Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chip, which is much more powerful than the original Quest, but that will look even more tricky over time. The ability to bind to a PC opens up a wider world of VR experiences for the Oculus Quest 2. You are only limited by the rendering performance of your computer and the 1920 x 1832 pixel internal display of the Oculus Quest 2.
- The battery life of 2-3 hours is a bit stupid
- Why don’t the handles use rechargeable batteries?
With all of the fun, you’ll have to stop every now and then to charge the Oculus Quest 2. Oculus claims it’s good between 2-3 hours of runtime between charges, but that will largely depend on your exact VR usage. I found that while watching videos a longer run time might be possible, but more intense games drained the battery much faster.
It’s not just the headset that you have to deal with here, too. The two handles require power and, confusingly, Oculus chose to use AA batteries to power them.
Given that you need to plug in the headset more frequently to refill it, it would have been a preferable move to have sealed batteries for the handgrips. The best way to manage this for your wallet and the environment is to use AA rechargeable batteries.
Should you buy the Oculus Quest 2?
- Buy it when You just want to set up VR for standalone and PC playback.
- Don’t buy it, though You want long gaming sessions or you don’t want Facebook to have all of your VR data.
Technically, the Oculus Quest 2 is a big and welcome leap over the Oculus Quest. The headset is self-contained and offers welcome PC compatibility, processor upgrades, and display enhancements. This is an easy recommendation for those who want to dip their toes in the VR waters without having to invest in a VR ready PC right away.
Other than that, it’s not perfect. The need for a Facebook account for new Oculus users is going to be a deal breaker for many, and the short battery life means it’s a device that you can’t simply enjoy whole evenings for.
Also, stay away from those VR roller coasters. Learn from my mistakes.
Prices and availability
The Oculus Quest 2 sells in Australia with 64GB of onboard storage for $ 479 or with 256GB of storage for $ 639.
Revised touch controller