The Oculus Quest 2 is the latest VR offering from Oculus which is now owned by Facebook. This immediately leads us to what is perhaps the most contentious point surrounding the Quest 2, you must link your Facebook account in order to use it. Whilst some people may not be bothered in the slightest by this, there are many out there who are up in arms, especially as existing Oculus accounts will be disabled in 2023 unless they are merged with a Facebook account. This also means that if your Facebook account gets deleted you’ll also lose all of your purchases from your Oculus account.
Putting this aside for the moment lets actually have a look at whether the Quest 2 is actually any good or not. The Quest 2 comes with plenty of upgrades versus its predecessor and now includes a Snapdragon XR2 processor, 6GB of RAM (up from 4GB), up to 256GB of onboard storage and a 50 per cent increase in pixels per eye with an 1832 x 1920 resolution for each eye. The headset also gets a 90Hz refresh rate bump from the original’s 72Hz. The Quest 2 starts at £299 for the 64gb version.
Watch the Oculus Quest 2 trailer below:
Unpacking the Quest 2 is a joy, it is packaged beautifully and solidly and it felt like Xmas morning opening this box of goodies. Inside the box are the headset and two controllers, a plug and charging cable, a spacer for users who wear glasses and some very basic instructions.
Set up is reasonably straightforward although there are a few parts that are made needlessly complicated. Connecting to wifi was one such part where you either had to remember your wifi password or constantly remove the headset whilst you memorise the next few digits, put the headset back on to key in and so on. It would be so much easier if you could connect using WPS. I opted for the wife reading out the password whilst I keyed it in.
Once this was done there was a brief update, I set up my Facebook account and I was off. First off you’ll need to draw a guardian boundary in your play area. This tells the Quest where the safe area is and will alert you should you leave it preventing you from pumping into things and having accidents.
The Quest 2 comes with a few free titles pre-installed with the view of helping you get to grips with how VR works and how to use the controllers. These were very helpful for my family as we’ve never used VR before and were a lot of fun in and of themselves. My sone spent almost an hour simply messing about in one of these tutorials.
You can buy your games directly from within the headset or you can use the Oculus companion app to do the same. Apps purchased via the app are automatically installed on the headset which is a nice touch. The app also allows you to cast the images from within the headset to other networked devices. This was another area of frustration as the Quest refused to cast to any of the devices in my home.
After lots of random rebooting of the networked devices, the casting feature suddenly decided to work but I’m still none the wiser as to how I got it fixed. Even now when casting to the app there is no sound but I get sound when I cast to the TV. There is also a really annoying red dot that appears within the headset when you are casting or recording which is distracting and unnecessary.
With the apps and games themselves, I’ve found that you definitely get what you pay for. There are plenty of free or low priced apps you can get but their quality varies wildly whereas full-price titles such as Beat Sabre look, feel and work brilliantly. This reminded me of my first forays into the Google play store trying to sort through all of the rubbish to try and find the good stuff.
The headset is reasonably comfortable to wear but it can get very hot very quickly. So far I’ve not noticed a way to remove the padding in order to clean it and my worry is that over time this is going to get very dirty and smelly. The weight of the headset, despite being 10% lighter than the Quest 1, also means that gaming for more than an hour isn’t really possible, at least for myself, as it tends to get uncomfortable. I also found that no matter how I adjusted the straps I was always left with a gap at the bottom of the headset which meant there was always a small bit of actual reality visible whenever I looked down which detracts from the experience.
The Quest 2 can also be used as a Rift headset by using the Oculus Link cable and app. This cable is an eye-watering £89 for what is essentially a long USBC cable. Once again set up issues caused frustration. The Link app is a 10gb download that would fail to install the first few times I tried it. No reason was given, it simply wouldn’t install. A quick web search showed lots of other people having the same issue. I set to randomly deactivating antivirus programs, windows defender and firewalls in an attempt to get things running and although I succeeded I still couldn’t tell you exactly what I did to get things working.
In summary, the Quest 2 is a premium product with a premium price tag and if you want the Link cable too, prepare to fork out even more. Given its pricing, I expected a trouble-free experience with regards to the set up yet ended up with anything but this. Getting the headset to cast and setting up the Link software was painful and I can imagine some people simply giving up on this. The games themselves look and sound amazing if you opt for the higher-end titles and overall I’ve been impressed with how the headset performs. Hopefully, there will updates in the future that will make things a bit easier.
The Oculus Quest 2 was reviewed using a headset purchased by the reviewer.