Oculus Quest 2 review: The best VR experience for most people

Get off the couch and get inside the game, instead!

Holding the Meta Quest 2 controller while wearing the headset
(Image: © Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

The Oculus Quest 2 is a huge improvement over the original, and it has gotten better over time. Now that there's no forced Facebook login and tons of apps and games, it's super easy to recommend to anyone as the best way to get into VR at a reasonable price.

Pros

  • +

    Huge performance improvements

  • +

    Impressive display clarity and refresh rate

  • +

    Great value

  • +

    Super easy to set up and use

  • +

    Portable

  • +

    Tons of developer support

Cons

  • -

    IPD adjustment won't work for everyone

  • -

    LCD black levels are always bad

  • -

    Only 2-3 hour battery life

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When the original Oculus Quest was announced in September 2018, even Facebook didn't expect it to do as well as it did (as evidenced by the fact that it could never keep the Quest in stock). The Oculus Quest experience went beyond what was expected of a VR headset by being more than just affordable — it was as easy to use as a video game console.

Since then, Meta (as Facebook's parent company is now called) acquired several VR game development studios (opens in new tab), brought many developers on board with its Oculus Store, and changed the paradigm of what people expect from the standalone VR experience. Every month has brought new features with free updates and has transformed the headset over the past two years since its original release. You don't even have to use a Facebook account to sign into the headset anymore, either, erasing a major negative the console had at launch.

Now that the Meta Quest Pro (opens in new tab) has been released and the Quest 2 saw a price increase to $400, we're taking a look at the Quest 2 and reassessing how it fits into the current VR landscape. Meta Quest Pro isn't a replacement for the Quest 2 and it isn't even intended for "normal" consumers to use as it's mainly an enterprise and prosumer device.

As such, the Quest 2 is still the best VR headset you can buy at that price. It's got more games, more developer support, and has sold more systems than even Microsoft's latest Xbox Series S|X. It's a huge success story for the VR industry and we can recommend it even more today than when we first published this review over two years ago.

Meta Quest 2:  $399 (opens in new tab)

Meta Quest 2: $399 $349 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
The Meta Quest 2 Black Friday sale is here! Get $50 off the normal price of the Quest 2, plus get two of the best games for free! This bundle includes Resident Evil 4 VR and Beat Saber, two of the highest-rated games on the system.

Oculus Quest 2: Price and availability

Meta Quest 2 retail box

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The Oculus Quest 2 launched on October 13, 2020, and is sold at all major retailers. Pending some initial stock difficulties, the Quest 2 has been widely available throughout its time on the market — unlike the original Oculus Quest, which was very difficult to obtain throughout its 18-month retail lifespan.

The Oculus Quest 2 with 128GB of internal storage retails for $399, while the Oculus Quest 2 with 256GB of internal storage retails for $499. Both models are only sold in a white colorway, and neither model supports any kind of expandable storage, so be sure to get the model that has enough storage to hold your games.

Oculus Quest 2 games are obtained through the Oculus Store and downloaded directly to the headset. You can either browse the shop in the headset on the Oculus website or with the Oculus app on your smartphone. Games, on average, cost between $10 and $30, with some exceptions outside of that range.

Most games average 1-2GB in size, but there are plenty of notable exceptions to this. The largest Oculus Quest 2 games can be 12GB or larger after installation, and you'll want to be sure you have enough space free to keep them updated. Thankfully, Meta got rid of the old 64GB model in August 2021 and only sells models with 128GB or 256GB of storage.

Meta will soon be selling Meta Quest Touch Pro controllers (opens in new tab) for $299 which work with Quest 2 headsets. These new controllers improve tracking performance and come with new features like better haptics, index finger tracking, a stylus tip on one end, and the promise of more features over time. They've even got their own Snapdragon processor inside and use three cameras to track themselves, eliminating dead zones the Quest 2 controllers have while tracking.

Oculus Quest 2: The basics

Meta Quest 2 headset with controllers on the retail box

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

If you've never used the original Oculus Quest (or played anything in VR), here's the lowdown. Like a PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch, the Oculus Quest 2 is a standalone console designed with VR in mind. It doesn't require a TV, but it can display a flat version of what's happening in VR by casting to popular smart TVs, Google Cast devices, Facebook smart displays, and even via the Meta Quest app on smartphones or tablets so that everyone in the room can see what's happening.

The first time you turn on your Oculus Quest 2, you'll need to sign in with a Meta account using the Meta Quest app on your smartphone. Once you've logged in, you'll need to decide if you want to experience VR while standing or seated. If you choose a standing (room-scale) experience, you'll be asked to use your controller (and the built-in cameras) to draw safe boundaries around your room so that you don't crash into anything valuable. It's a lot less intimidating than that might make it sound.

In general, you'll be getting your games and apps from the official Oculus Store, which can be accessed either on the Quest 2 or via the Oculus app on your smartphone. The box comes with everything you need to play: the Meta Quest 2 headset, two controllers, a USB Type-C cable, and a charging adapter to plug into an outlet.

That's it. You don't need external sensors or cameras, nothing to power the thing (other than a full battery, of course), and nothing else to experience amazing VR anywhere you want.

Oculus Quest 2: Display and graphics

Oculus Quest 2 Walking Dead Playing

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Historically, every new console generation has delivered a certain wow factor the first time you play it. We often find ourselves muttering "How are these graphics so good?" every time the on-screen character moves around the next corner or into that wide-open field, grass waving in the wind. The difference between the two generations of Oculus Quest generations couldn't be starker to the human eye.

In fact, since 2021, the Quest 2 has seen an uptick in the number of games that are exclusive to its hardware and are not available on the original Oculus Quest. This is due to the hardware improvements Meta made and show just how much more powerful the system is than its predecessor. It's now commonplace to see games released just for the Quest 2 — and all those games also work on the Meta Quest Pro.

But the most immediately noticeable difference isn't the powerful new processor — at least, from a user point of view — it's the new pixel-packed display. At 1832 x 1920 pixels-per-eye, this "almost 4K" single LCD packs 50% more pixels than the PenTile OLED on the Oculus Quest. Being a single LCD instead of two separate displays connected to lenses, the Meta Quest 2 melds the positives of the Oculus Rift S with those of the original Oculus Quest for a superbly crisp experience, even if some of its other qualities aren't quite as good.

But it's not just the number of pixels that makes this display crisper — it's the arrangement of them. The Oculus Quest used a PenTile arrangement, which places subpixels in a diamond shape: two small green subpixels on the left and right corners and larger red and blue subpixels on the top and bottom corners. When put into a square grid, these diamonds leave a black space in between, creating large gaps that human eyes can easily see in VR since the display is just centimeters from our eyes. The images above give you a good idea of what to expect, but the Quest 2 is even sharper than these images portray.

The Meta Quest 2 utilizes an RGB-stripe display, which puts a tall green, red, and blue subpixel next to each other to create a proper square. These squares fit much more neatly together in a grid, resulting in pixels that are closer together. Combine that with the fact that there are 50% more pixels on the Meta Quest 2's display, and you'll quickly understand just how much crisper this display looks. Everything from distance detail to up-close text is ridiculously easier to see, and it makes worlds so much more immersive because it doesn't feel like you're always looking through a mesh filter.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategoryMeta Quest 2
Display TypeRGB-stripe fast-switching LCD
Display Resolution1832x1920 per eye
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon XR2
Memory6GB
Storage128GB or 256GB
WirelessWi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 LE
PortsUSB Type-C, 3.5mm audio jack
AudioBuilt-in speakers, support for headphones
Headset BatteryBuilt-in rechargeable Li-Ion
Headset Battery Life2-3 hours
Controller Battery1x AA per controller
Controller Battery LifeUp to several months on a single charge
Dimensions191.5 x 102 x 142.5mm
Weight503g / 1.1lbs

The lenses and their spacing presets on a Meta Quest 2

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The best part about having a significantly higher-resolution display is that all games got an immediate upgrade. This new display isn't just more pixel-dense though, it also runs at a higher framerate than the original Quest. At 120Hz, the Meta Quest 2 feels significantly smoother than the Oculus Rift S — which ran at 80Hz — and a full generational leap over the original Oculus Quest — which ran 72Hz.

At 120Hz, the Meta Quest 2 feels significantly smoother than the Oculus Rift S and a full generational leap over the original Oculus Quest.

The Meta Quest 2 only ran at 72Hz at launch but quickly received an update to run at 90Hz on all games and apps. 2021's April v28 Quest 2 update further upgraded that to 120Hz, but only a select few games support this refresh rate.

Everything feels immediately smoother and more realistic when compared to the original Quest, and a higher refresh rate also means that fewer people will have difficulty with motion sickness. While motion sickness hasn't been a widespread problem in VR for half a decade now, there are still a few folks that experience it with lower refresh rates.

Just as you would expect from a brand new video game console, the Meta Quest 2 features a significant improvement in graphics quality when compared to the original Oculus Quest and is very much a "next-generation" console that launched alongside the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X. Many of the improvements come from the brand-new Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2, a system-on-a-chip (SoC) that's more than three generations newer than the Snapdragon 835 found in the original Oculus Quest.

The Meta Quest 2 is very much a "next-generation" console and launched alongside the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X.

For reference, the Snapdragon 835 (in the original Quest) was a smartphone chipset released in March 2017, while the Snapdragon XR2 in the Quest 2 is a custom VR chipset based on 2020's Snapdragon 865. Along with the performance difference expected in a chipset that's three years newer, Qualcomm has packed some brand new abilities like new shaders, support for 120Hz displays, the ability to push 3x higher resolution, and an 11x improvement in AI calculations.

While Meta didn't allow Quest 2-exclusive games at launch, the announcement of Resident Evil 4 VR marked a change in the company's strategy. Developers are no longer restricted from targeting just Quest 2. Meta has been encouraging developers to keep the original Oculus Quest in mind since there were well over one million active users as of April 2021, but it's becoming increasingly less common to see the original Quest hardware supported.

As a Quest 2 user, you can expect games to have a significantly higher resolution, a smoother framerate, higher-quality models, higher resolution textures, more distance, up-close detail, real-time lighting, bloom effects, better particles, and improved shaders when compared to the original Oculus Quest.

Our Oculus Quest 2 vs. Oculus Quest graphics comparison includes a few launch titles that were quickly updated for Quest 2. While these titles can give you an idea of what to expect from games built for both systems, the difference while using each is going to be far greater than what you can see here. Aside from a graphics and resolution upgrade, Quest 2 games run much more smoothly, thanks to the ability to run at 90Hz or 120Hz.

Newer games like Red Matter 2 (opens in new tab) and Iron Man VR (opens in new tab) push the boundaries of what was thought possible on Quest 2 when it launched, further cementing the fact that this is a proper console.

Oculus Quest 2: Performance and battery life

Playing games on a Meta Quest 2

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

In addition to native Quest 2 games, the Quest 2 can stream PC VR games at 120Hz using the Virtual Desktop app or Oculus Air Link. That makes the Quest 2 the most affordable 120Hz PC VR headset around. It also doesn't need any wires to play PC VR games, as Oculus Air Link and Virtual Desktop can both stream these games over your home's Wi-Fi connection. There's even a Wi-Fi dongle from D-Link (opens in new tab) that'll let you play wirelessly without worrying about whether your router is good enough to handle it.

But the 120Hz refresh rate is only available on apps and games that specifically call for the feature. 120Hz is a massive paradigm shift for mobile VR, which, historically, was often relegated to 60 to 72Hz on most headsets. 120Hz was previously only available for high-end PCs and expensive headsets like the Valve Index (which can max out at 144Hz), which means the Quest 2 is the most affordable way to play PC VR games without spending a massive chunk of change.

While impressive in its own right, the original Oculus Quest was very obviously held back by the aging mobile chipset that powered it. Even though the Meta Quest 2 is also powered by a mobile chipset, three years of silicon advancements and a partnership with Meta's research division have yielded something even more impressive than I expected. Despite bumping the resolution up by 50% and increasing the refresh rate by 25% at launch (a 60% refresh rate bump as of April 2021), the Quest 2 is quite fast at everything it does.

From menus to loading times, the Quest 2 is a substantial improvement over the original in every way. While playing games, pressing the Oculus Home button instantly brings up the universal home menu, and, better yet, that menu now floats over the top of most games as an overlay instead of taking you away from the game entirely as it used to.

Likewise, clicking record video or taking screenshots results in an instant response from the system, while the original might have taken a second or two (sometimes longer).

But performance on the Quest 2 isn't perfect. Over the years, Meta has added a boatload of new features that are impressive but, ultimately, are pretty taxing on the mobile chipset inside. The bright side is that this only happens when navigating system menus or browsing the Quest store and, even then, you'll likely only notice the stuttering when the system is doing more than once thing at a time.

I can recall several times when I was directly comparing games between the two headsets, where the recorded video from the original Oculus Quest would become corrupted for no apparent reason. This is yet another thing I didn't experience on the Quest 2, and it all adds up to a more consistently flawless execution of what you might hope or expect from a VR console.

Casting to a TV or Chromecast has also seen an improvement, although not quite as much as I was hoping for. Some games are still a pixellated mess that's not at all enjoyable to watch, while others perform just fine. These messy games will negatively affect the experience of folks in the same room as you trying to watch, which really is just unfortunate. Here's hoping Meta makes this more reliable in the future.

Support for Wi-Fi 6 means faster downloads, a more consistent connection, and even better wireless streaming. We'll cover streaming performance in depth below, but know this: Wi-Fi 6 makes a substantial difference in wireless streaming performance.

Just about the only thing that's not better is the battery life.

Just about the only thing that's not better is the battery life. Ironically enough, the battery life on the Quest 2 is roughly 30 minutes shorter than the original Quest. That puts it at around 2-3 hours of gameplay before you'll have to charge it up again. Thankfully, the best Quest 2 head straps (opens in new tab) pack a battery inside and will get you several additional hours of playtime.

Oculus Quest 2: Comfort, design, and sound