Oculus Quest 2: Rumor roundup and all the pieces it is advisable to know
The original Oculus Quest (above) arrived in May 2019.
Sarah Tew / CNET
In 2020, VR will feel like a tangible reality more than ever before. In a year of lockdown and isolation, virtual reality has suddenly become a path, and .
Thewas the best VR device of 2019 and , also. Facebook’s standalone headset may have a sequel as early as fall. That’s no surprise given that , but it can be a subtle upgrade rather than a complete overhaul.
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Here’s what we think we know so far, but that’s also what I’d like to see in a next generation quest. These are not the same lists, but together they can paint a picture of what might happen next.
Quest 2 was originally reported to start in 2021, but it could come earlier
A Bloomberg report in May said delays related to Covid-19 could push Quest 2 back to next year. But this report by Mark Gurman also shows that several versions of the next Oculus Quest are in development. Perhaps this could mean a more subtle update this year and a more advanced one in the future. Recent leaks, like alleged Quest 2 photos alongside a tweet that reads “September 15,” suggest a headset may be revealed earlier, possibly this fall at Facebook’s Oculus Connect conference.
Would that be Quest 2 or a revamped and streamlined Quest (like Nintendo did with the subtly redesigned Switch)? Or maybe Oculus will reveal Quest 2 this year and it won’t be available until next year? It’s all unclear. Facebook revealed the first Oculus Quest in the fall of 2018 during an Oculus Connect conference, but didn’t publish it until the following spring on F8.
Will it be better or more affordable – or both?
One thing that’s hard to tell from reports so far is whether the Quest update that may be out soon is a streamlined, budgeted version of the Quest, such as:or a revised and improved quest. Or maybe it is both? Also, for all sorts of Quest buyers right now, it’s difficult to make the call of whether or not to wait until September. Given the challenges with Quest availability and Facebook’s commitment to the Quest platform, it’s probably better to think of the next Quest as a revamped version of a game console rather than a whole new device. But then again, we don’t really know.
The design suggests a similar but streamlined look
The seemingly leaked photos of the next quest were posted by well-known tech gadget leaker WalkingCat. WalkingCat has a track record of driving product releases as well.
The likely Quest 2 images don’t seem shockingly different. However, if you compare them to the current quest, there are differences. The new headset looks a bit smaller – that’s a good thing, because when you shed some bulk, wearing the Quest becomes less of a hassle. It also looks like it’s digging the fabric outside of the Quest (which gets dusty and coarse) for a smoother plastic material.
The headbands also look smaller and slimmer. Does that mean a better fit or a stranger one? The current Quest has stiff straps that fit well for some but are awkward to stow away for travel as well.
There also doesn’t seem to be an IPD slider on the new headset, as there is on the Quest. The first quest can adjust the distance between the lenses for different eyes (the interpupillary distance (IPD) can vary). The new model may not be able to. Many headsets don’t have IPD sliders, so your next quest may be even more convenient without them. Or maybe the new headset has made its display technology simpler in order to achieve a smaller size (or lower price tag).
Look at that:
Oculus Quest, a year in: The Best Games So Far
Maybe: more RAM and a better processor
The May Bloomberg report points out both RAM and processor upgrades for the next quest, which could help with the occasional bugs and slower frame rates of the current hardware. The Snapdragon 835 chip on the Oculus Quest is pretty dated, although the Quest makes really good use of it. Newer 845 or 855 chips, or even the VR / AR optimized Qualcomm XR2 chip, would give a new Quest better performance and allow for better graphics and a faster refresh rate. VR on the Quest maxes out at 72Hz. Most of the other PC-connected VR headsets have a refresh rate of at least 90Hz, which makes things smoother. Some like thatcan even do 120Hz. 90 Hz is ideal and would help make VR feel less disruptive.
What about a higher resolution display?
The resolution of 1,440 x 1,600 on the Quest’s OLED display is already better than some PC headsets, and with the Quest, the text can appear pretty clear at this resolution. Still, it suffers when you try to work in VR. I’ve tried using virtual monitor applications that connect to my PC and readability suffers compared to my own monitors. I also can’t enjoy movies in VR because the visual quality is lower than on an iPad.
There are higher resolution VR displays. Some like the upcoming onecan do a lot better. Could Quest 2 get an upgrade? It would actually be useful for remote work. Some reports suggest the Quest 2 could be upgraded to an LCD display, but the higher resolution aspect is my wish, not necessarily a reality.
The Oculus Quest uses its cameras to track your hands and see your room. A new version could do more.
James Martin / CNET
Better hand tracking, space tracking and … mixed reality?
The Oculus Quest has a couple of mixed reality tricks up its sleeve: It can scan rooms and paint borders over the real world and its cameras. An updated quest could benefit from better space and world tracking, as well as improved hand tracking. Maybe that would allow for a few more mixed reality VR tricks or just a headset that works better? Or both?
Facebook is working on an AR headset. In the meantime, the company is using VR to explore ways of mixing real and virtual material. More advanced hardware, the next search could still lead to more mixed reality effects.
The Oculus Touch controllers are already my favorite VR controllers that mix finger movements and physical buttons in a compact form. But I could see some areas that needed improvement: the triggers easier to find and squeeze, and maybe add a better feel. The simple hum on the quest is fine, but a more refined vibration could help add different sensations and make interactions seem more real.
The battery life could use a boost
The current quest takes about 3 hours or less in my experience. I would like to see an improvement here so that I can spend less time charging and more time playing.
Expandable memory for more games would be nice
The 64GB and 128GB fixed tiers of storage on the Quest can be frustrating. I use the 64GB Quest and routinely have to toss games out of memory because I’m getting the most out of the available space. A microSD card slot could provide a lot more space for apps – but would that be possible? (This is strictly a wish list; hopefully it happens.)
Could it have a lower price?
The Oculus Quest is currently priced at $ 400 to $ 500, which is difficult to fit into a family budget. The now discontinued Oculus Go was only $ 200. Could Oculus try to fit into a price tag closer to $ 300 to get more homes? Facebook’s fully virtual Oculus Connect conference is slated to take place this fall, so we may not know more by then. If Facebook wants wider adoption of the Quest, the company may subsidize a cheaper headset as soon as possible (similar to Amazon and its).
If you’ve already bought an Oculus Quest in the meantime, don’t worry – it’s still the best all-round VR headset you can buy. But if you’re considering buying one now, you might want to wait a month or two, just in case. This assumes that when the next quest is released you will even find one in stock to purchase.