The Oculus Quest 2 is affordable and powerful enough to run various unique virtual reality experiences making it the best VR headset in this price range for beginners.
- Easy to use
- No cables required
- Good price
- Excellent standalone performance
- Sharp display
- Accurate motion tracking
- Powerful processor
- Short battery life
I’m not much of a video gamer. Of course, I had the Nintendo Game Boy as a kid, and I enjoyed playing Tetris and Super Mario Land. But to me, most of the fun was hanging out with friends and playing the Game Boy. Back then, the Game Boy was a popular source of playing games. But the older we got, the less we played.
In our teenage years, we had the Sony PlayStation, a game console that found its way into popular culture and became the symbol of ‘cool.’ It’s not that we didn’t like playing video games, but there was always a disconnect between playing a video game and the actual experience. You have this remote and you’re sitting on a couch staring at the TV while pressing buttons to shoot or run on the screen. It doesn’t feel too real, does it?
Now that Virtual Reality (VR) has been established as more than just a flash in the pan, you can experience VR whether you’re into gaming or just want to embrace VR for the experience it offers.
The Oculus Quest 2 is an improved, affordable sequel to the Oculus Quest. It follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, but the Oculus Quest 2 has a more powerful processor, a sharper screen, and a lightweight design. The Oculus Quest 2 is a must-have if you’re looking for a top-tier VR experience that doesn’t require cables or a huge expense.
The headset is 13 x 12 x 9.5 cm and weighs around 503 grams without the flexible strap. Without the need for a PC, it is portable enough to take with you to a friend’s house as well. The headset’s sparse, smartly placed button and port layout help maintain its seamless and sleek design. The left side of the headset has a USB-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack whereas you will find a power button and an indicator LED on the right side of the headset.
In my own experience, the Oculus Quest 2 felt comfortable, even when I spent more than an hour at a time wearing the headset. With the headset’s adjustable elastic bands, I was able to tighten it so that it fits me just right.
The Oculus Quest 2 comes with two motion controllers that have been slightly redesigned from the original Oculus Touch controllers that came with the Quest. Each controller has a finger trigger, a thumb trigger, a menu button, an X and Y button, and a thumbstick as well. You’ll also want to use the wrist straps that are included with the controllers to prevent the controllers from flying in the middle of an intense game.
While I wasn’t used to the thumbstick being placed on the right or left, it felt odd at first. But you get used to it after a day or so. Despite the smaller thumbsticks, I didn’t find my fingers slipping off. The accurate motion sensing allowed me to snag easy headshots in games. Moreover, the controllers’ haptics is also pretty impressive, since they enabled me to feel the distinct buzz of an ignited lightsaber during some games like Vader Immortal.
I felt a little disappointed that the touch controllers run on AA batteries that cannot be charged via USB. Nevertheless, the Oculus Quest 2 offers hand tracking so you can use it with your bare hands. With the hand tracking feature enabled, you can move your hands freely and pinch your thumb and forefinger together for a moment to serve as a click, and pinch and hold also works as a click and drag. The hand tracking feature works well, but unfortunately, it isn’t as intuitive as I would have hoped it to be. Additionally, there are currently only a handful of Quest apps that support hand tracking.
The Oculus Quest 2 has been given a performance bump over its predecessor because of the Snapdragon XR2 chip. Therefore, the Oculus Quest 2 runs a lot smoother than the older VR headset.
The Quest 2 has an impressive ‘Guardian Boundary’ feature – the first of many ‘wow’ features offered by the Oculus Quest 2. With the help of the headset’s external cameras, you will be able to view a grayscale of your environment in real-time. You can use the controllers to paint around the edges of the room to show the headset the safe play space to avoid bumping into objects like the sofa or table. You can also set up a stationary circle for games that don’t require a lot of moving around. With the established boundary zone, if you step ahead of the digital boundary wall, you will be able to see your real-world environment which I thought was a brilliant and useful function in the Oculus Quest 2.
The higher resolution from the original Quest makes a significant difference with a sharper display quality resulting in a more crisp and clean all-around experience. Additionally, the lack of wires and cables makes it easier to turn around without getting tangled in wires.
Games like Beat Saber and Vader Immortal ran smoothly and looked impeccably crisp and clear. I didn’t experience any crashes to take me out of the VR experience at all. I also played Gun Club VR, which is a shooting gallery game. In this game, the headset tracked my controller’s movements quite well, letting me carefully aim different firearms at pop-up targets with accuracy. The higher resolution enabled me to pick out distant targets and better align headshots for an immersive VR experience.
Software & Apps
All Oculus Quest apps work on the Oculus Quest 2. There are hundreds of games and apps available for the Oculus Quest 2. The move from the original Quest feels more like a jump from one iPhone to a newer iPhone model, in terms of continued application support.
The whole system and its menus feel dramatically more responsive than the previous version. Developers can now activate a 90Hz refresh rate mode in their existing titles. Despite seeming like a small difference, it is an impressive improvement in practice.
The Oculus Quest 2 has access to some of the best virtual reality games that have been made. The Oculus’s TV app lets me ride a virtual roller coaster, which gave me such a surge of adrenaline that I almost forgot I was sitting on the couch in the living room. Another benefit is the Spatial app that provides a robust virtual workspace for working on documents, as well as 3D models.
You can really live within and feel as connected to the games as you ever would, but does it work similarly for everyone?
The answer is no.
Some people can enjoy VR experiences for hours without any complaint whatsoever. But, for others, including myself, I experienced symptoms similar to seasickness. However, you build a tolerance to VR experiences and you get used to it over time but it is still best to limit your play sessions accordingly. You should most likely be able to find something that works for you as many games come with different comfort settings that can slowly ease you in and make moving less sickening.
The Oculus Quest 2 is much more than just a gaming device. It includes a wide selection of entertainment and productivity apps that allows you to watch videos and collaborate with others in cool ways. Additionally, VR can be an educational tool that allows you to virtually stand at the top of Mount Everest, visit the Chernobyl disaster zone, and much more.
The Oculus Quest 2’s built-in positional audio is amazing. To this day, it just blows my mind every single time I use it. The built-in speakers deliver crisp, loud sound without the need to use headphones. For an even more immersive experience, there is a handy 3.5mm jack for connecting any headphones of your choice. The built-in microphone proved to be reliable as well. With this feature, I could easily coordinate with a friend without experiencing any difficulty at all.
The battery life of the Oculus Quest 2 remains limited, which is one of the main drawbacks. You can expect between 2-3 hours of use on a single charge. But you can increase the battery time with the Quest 2 Elite Strap with Battery and Carrying Case, a strap with a built-in battery pack.
Unless you’re looking for a top-range VR headset, the Oculus Quest 2 is a good and reasonable option. The Oculus Quest 2 eliminates the previous hurdles of virtual reality experiences, such as a ton of wires and sensors – it is much easier to immerse yourself in an artificial world.
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