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 that launch, Facebook has acquired several VR game development studios, brought several developers onboard with its Oculus Store, and changed the paradigm of what people expect from the standalone VR experience.
The Oculus Quest 2 promises to one-up that experience in every way, with a processor that's three entire generations newer than the one in the original Oculus Quest, enhanced ergonomics with a lighter and smaller headset, a significantly higher-resolution display, brand new lens design, redesigned controllers, and more accessories than you can shake a stick at. Facebook also has ramped up its stock this time around and, unlike the PS5 or Xbox Series S/X, has actually been attainable after launch.
On top of all this, the Oculus Quest 2 is $100 cheaper than the original Oculus Quest, and the more expensive model features double the storage of the original Oculus Quest's most expensive SKU. Is this the VR console we've all been waiting for?
The VR console
Oculus Quest 2
Bottom line: The Oculus Quest 2 is a huge improvement over the original, and it promises to get even better over time. Forced Facebook integration is going to upset some people (and parents) but, for most people, this is going to be the best VR experience you've ever had.
- Huge performance improvements
- Impressive display clarity and refresh rate
- Truly amazing price
- Super easy to set up and use
- Tons of developer support
- IPD adjustment won't work for everyone
- Display black levels are noticeably worse than Quest 1
- Forced Facebook login
- Battery life is disappointing
Oculus Quest 2: Price and availability
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. Facebook's own earnings numbers show that the Quest 2 has sold in upwards of 5 million units as of the end of Q1 2021, meaning it is selling as well as other next-generation consoles.
The Oculus Quest 2 with 64GB of internal storage retails for $299, while the Oculus Quest 2 with 256GB of internal storage retails for $399. 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 itself, 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.
Subsequently, most games average in the 1-2GB size range, but there are plenty notable exceptions to this. The largest Oculus Quest 2 games are in upwards of 12GB after installation and you'll want to be sure you have enough space free to keep them updated. Between all the free titles on the Oculus Store, on Oculus App Lab, and extras like adding custom songs on Beat Saber, we recommend the 256GB model.
Oculus Quest 2 The basics
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, one 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's own displays, and even straight to the smartphone or tablet app 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 Facebook account using the Oculus app on your smartphone. Once you've logged in, you'll need to decide if you want to experience VR while standing or while 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 Oculus 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.
A next-gen upgrade
Oculus Quest 2 Display and graphics
Every new console generation has, historically, 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. While the Oculus Quest 2 doesn't yet have games made exclusively for its new powerhouse processor, the difference between the two generations of Oculus Quest systems couldn't be starker to the human eye.
The most noticeable difference here isn't the powerful new processor — it's the new pixel-packed display. At 1832 x 1920 pixels-per-eye, this brand new "almost 4K" single LCD display packs in 50% more pixels than the PenTile OLED on the Oculus Quest. Being a single LCD instead of two separate displays connected to lenses, the Oculus Quest 2 melds the positives of the Oculus Rift S with those of the original Oculus Quest for a superbly crisp experience.
But it's not just the number of pixels that make 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 Oculus Quest 2 utilizes an RGB-stripe display, which puts a tall green, red, and blue subpixel right 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 Oculus 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.
|Category||Oculus Quest 2|
|Display Type||RGB-stripe fast-switching LCD|
|Display Resolution||1832 x 1920 per eye|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2|
|Storage||64GB or 256GB|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 LE|
|Ports||USB Type-C, 3.5mm audio jack|
|Audio||Built-in speakers, support for headphones|
|Headset Battery||Built-in rechargeable Li-Ion|
|Headset Battery Life||2-3 hours|
|Controller Battery||1x AA per controller|
|Controller Battery Life||Several months, on average|
|Dimensions||191.5mm x 102mm x 142.5mm|
|Weight||503g / 1.1lbs|
The best part about having a significantly higher-resolution display is that all games, even the ones that aren't specifically optimized yet for the Oculus Quest 2, will get 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 Oculus 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 Oculus Quest 2 feels significantly smoother than the Oculus Rift S, and a full generational leap over the original Oculus Quest.
The Oculus Quest 2 only ran at 72Hz at launch but quickly received an update to run at 90Hz on all games and apps, with some games and apps supporting as high as 120Hz as of the April v28 Quest 2 update. 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 Oculus 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's launching alongside the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X. Much of these 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 Oculus Quest 2 is very much a "next-generation" console launching alongside the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X.
For reference, the Snapdragon 835 was a smartphone chipset released in March 2017, while the Snapdragon XR2 is a custom VR chipset based on 2020's Snapdragon 865. Along with the assumed 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 Facebook 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, but Facebook is still encouraging them to keep the original Oculus Quest in mind since there were well over one million active users as of April 2021. 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 and 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.
A better experience
Oculus Quest 2 Performance and battery life
In addition to native Quest 2 games, the Quest 2 can stream PC VR games at 120Hz with the latest Virtual Desktop patch. 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.
That new 120Hz refresh rate is something that's only available on apps and games that specifically call for the feature — even then, you'll need to enable it in the experimental menu before seeing the advantage. 120Hz is a massive paradigm shift for mobile VR which, historically, was often relegated to 60-72Hz on most headsets. 120Hz was previously only available for high-end PCs and expensive headsets like the Valve Index (which can actually max out at 144Hz), and means the Quest 2 is the most affordable way to play PC VR games without spending a massive chunk of change.
The original Oculus Quest, while amazing in its own right, was very obviously held back by the aging mobile chipset that powered it. Even though the Oculus Quest 2 is also powered by a mobile chipset, three years of silicone advancements and a partnership with Facebook's own research division has 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 lightning 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 top most games as an overlay instead of taking you away from the game entirely as it used to. Likewise, clicking record video or take screenshot results in an instant response from the system, while the original might have taken a second or two (sometimes longer). Plus you'd occasionally see hitching and stuttering along the way — something I rarely experience on the Quest 2.
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 over 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 are going to negatively affect the experience of folks in the same room as you trying to watch, which really is just unfortunate. Here's hoping Oculus 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. You can get around that limitation by getting one of the best accessories for the Quest 2, like the Elite Strap with built-in battery, or even plugging a regular USB Type-C power bank into it while playing.
Something old, something new
Oculus Quest 2 Comfort, design, and sound
When comparing the Oculus Quest 2 against the original Oculus Quest, almost everything about the Quest 2 screams newer tech. It's smaller! It's lighter! It's more powerful! It uses a cloth and velcro head strap — wait, what?
While it seems a bit bizarre for Facebook to have reverted from a more rigid head strap to what feels like an "old" VR standby, I was pleasantly surprised to find my initial thoughts on the strap to be incorrect. Let's get the negatives out of the first though, shall we? I hate resizing this thing. On the back of the strap, you'll find two plastic pieces that can be pulled apart or brought closer together to tighten or loosen the strap.
While this sounds great in practice, and rather simple to boot, the fact that there's hair on most people's heads turns this simple task into a rather difficult one and, if you clumsily grab your hair and pull, a painful one. If you're the only one using the Quest 2 in your home, it's not likely you'll have an issue. The new straps are super comfortable to wear, do a great job of balancing the weight of the headset across your entire skull, and actually hold their position rather nicely.
The strap adjustment issue really only rears its ugly head when passing it around for others to play, as it's just more complicated than I would like. You'll also likely struggle a bit with it at first if you have long hair (as evidenced by the awkward photos above), but after a period of time, it becomes second nature. If you like the general shape and design of the straps but want something slightly more comfortable, VR Cover's head strap pads are a great way to go.
Still, despite the annoyance with adjusting it, these straps are quite a bit better than the ones on the original Quest because they actually grip the back of your cranium instead of the mid-point. The Oculus Quest 2 fit all head sizes quite nicely in my testing, all the way down to my 6-year-old son's head.
Aside from being lighter and smaller, I also really liked the redesigned foam facial interface, which significantly helped pad the headset against my cheeks and forehead. These pads are thicker and more supportive, yet just as easy to remove as the original ones. That makes changing these pads out nice and easy when multiple people are playing, making things a whole lot more sanitary.
There's even an adapter that comes in each box to add additional space for folks that need glasses while playing. Since foam sucks in moisture quite easily though, you might want to consider picking up a facial interface replacement or a silicone cover, especially if you're going to share the Quest 2 with others.
If you've got an IPD over 70mm, you're out of luck.
The lenses on the inside feature a brand new housing design, including a new physical spacing adjustment system. Everyone's head is just a little different, and that difference includes the distance between eyes. The average distance between pupils, or inter-pupillary distance (IPD), is somewhere around 63mm. As such, the Oculus Quest 2 comes out of the box using this setting. Users who have eyes spaced closer together can push the lenses inward toward each other, while users with eyes slightly farther apart can push them out.
The lenses snap into three preset positions, the default 63mm distance is denoted by a "2" right in-between the lenses. Pushing them outward to the "3" preset spaces them out at 68mm, while pushing them inward to the "1" preset makes them 58mm apart. Notice something missing here? That's right, if you've got an IPD over 70mm, you're out of luck.
While Facebook's new lenses are designed to fit approximately a 3mm range within each preset, it gets really uncomfortable if you're playing cross-eyed. IPD over 70mm is a small minority, but it's still a minority of gamers that are going to be shut out because of a design decision. Since the Quest 2 utilizes a single LCD display, like the Oculus Rift S, we're hoping Facebook will figure out a way to bridge the gap for these gamers. If you've got an IPD somewhere between these presets, we've got a few tips on how to adjust Quest 2 IPD that'll give you a clearer way to see things in VR.
Even when you've got an IPD between 56mm and 70mm though, you're going to find that the "sweet spot" might be a little hard to find at first. That's the position on your face that makes the lenses the clearest. For me, this always felt like the headset was sitting ever-so-slightly too high on my face, but I forgot about it after a few seconds.
The Oculus Quest 2 sports built-in speakers, just like the original Oculus Quest, but this time around they're built around the idea of replacing the head strap. You'll find these speakers on the inside of the rotating strap arm, one on each side of the headset, and can be used with any compatible Oculus Quest 2 head strap. Yes, that means you can remove the strap and replace it without performing some wacky wiring hijinx and worrying about ruining your headset.
The quality of the speakers is a notable jump from the original Quest, with louder volume, better bass, fuller sound (read: less tinny), and even better 3D audio. Unlike the Quest or Rift S, I found playing rhythm games like Beat Saber were actually pretty enjoyable using these speakers. Previously, the sound quality was far too lacking to even bother. If you want the absolute best sound though, you should slap on a pair of wired headphones and plug them into that 3.5mm jack on the side.
The Quest 2 does not support Bluetooth headphones because there is too much latency introduced, which would result in some strange human sensory issues and general no-no's in the world of VR comfort.
Some surprising changes
Oculus Quest 2 New controllers and hand tracking
The Oculus Touch controllers have long been some of the best controllers in the VR industry. For the most part, the 3rd-generation Oculus Touch controllers that ship with the Oculus Quest 2 further improves upon an already excellent design, but they do feature one negative — they're a tad bigger. While that's good in some areas of the design, I found the wider grips to be uncomfortable for the first week of usage. Thankfully, my hand adjusted to the size difference pretty quickly, but some people might not have that experience.
Overall, these controllers feel a lot more solid than the previous Touch controllers, with plastic that feels like it would withstand more hits over time. The 2nd-gen Touch controllers were infamous for having a broken light ring, as the design tended to split when hit too hard. While you can do a lot to keep from hitting people, walls, or other objects while in VR, sometimes it's simply not possible to avoid clacking the controllers together. If you find yourself doing this regularly, pick up one of the best VR Cover accessories like the Halo controller protectors, which will keep that ring in good shape.
Unlike the previous controllers, the new design makes it impossible to accidentally press the home and menu buttons.
Up top, you'll find that the spacing between buttons is a lot wider, and there's now a dedicated thumb rest for games that don't often use the face buttons for input. In addition to that, the Oculus Home and menu buttons have been moved directly under the joystick on each controller and are now concave. This design makes it essentially impossible to accidentally press during play, which is a godsend if you've ever played a game like Beat Saber and got regularly interrupted by pressing the menu or home buttons.
Each controller button, as well as each joystick, features a capacitive sensor to detect the difference between just touching the button and actually pressing it. The Trigger and Grip buttons are smoother than the 2nd-gen Touch controllers and feel really great to push in. In addition to this, Facebook packed in some more advanced haptic motors inside the controller. We don't have any examples of how these new motors could enhance future games but expect games to take advantage of them sometime in the future.
For me, the absolute best part of the new controllers is the battery door. Yes, that sounds crazy but, once again, if you've ever used the 2nd-gen Touch controllers from the Oculus Quest or Rift S, you'll know how easily they would slide off. This time around, Facebook is utilizing good old-fashioned clips to lock the battery door into place instead of magnets. That was a way, way better decision, and I'm glad they made it.
The absolute best part of the new controllers is the battery door, which no longer falls off during play.
Not once have I had the battery door fall off during play. Contrast that with the 2nd-gen Touch controllers (Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S) where the compartment would come off practically every 30 seconds and you'll quickly understand how massive of a quality-of-life change this really is. On top of that, Facebook enhanced the design of the wrist straps to make them more durable and connect them to the controllers more easily (read: no tools required to remove).
Even though these 3rd-gen Touch controllers still use a single AA battery for power, Facebook was able to maximize the battery life on the controllers, ensuring you won't be changing out batteries for months. Yes, you read that right. It's easy to use rechargeable AA batteries in place of those environmentally unfriendly disposables, thankfully, and removable batteries make it easy to change out if you forget to charge them. Alternatively, the Anker Charging Dock for Oculus Quest 2 comes with rechargeable controller batteries that you'll never need to remove; just drop it on the dock when you're done playing.
Just as we saw on the Oculus Quest, hand tracking on the Oculus Quest 2 is a rather unique experience, even if it is a very limited one. By default, the Oculus Quest 2 will look for controllers at all times. When it doesn't find them, it'll automatically enable hand tracking, which uses the same front cameras to see your hands and translate them into VR. The term is highly over-used in tech, but the first time your hands appear in VR it truly feels magical.
Hand tracking works best in a well-lit room and is generally a more pleasant experience when used for simple tasks. You can also choose to manually toggle between controllers and hand tracking, opting to press a button in the Quick Actions panel in settings instead.
Just putting on your Quest 2 to watch a movie or virtually hang out with friends is better done when you don't even have to bother with controllers. There are a handful of games that support hand tracking, but since it's not the most accurate tracking experience in the world, most games are best when using controllers. Yes, even the ones designed with hand tracking in mind.
As of May 2021, Facebook added the option for developers to utilize a new high-fidelity hand tracking experience. Simply put, this doubles the speed at which the cameras on the Quest 2 track your hands, resulting in a better overall experience. While the Quest 2 can now more accurately track fast hand movements and gestures, it still struggles with low light and precise tracking, as it has no way of seeing fingers that might be behind your hands, thus occluding the cameras' vision. Some games, like Hand Physics Lab, include some ingenious predictive behavior to help fill in the gaps, but hand tracking is largely an experimental and often frustrating experience when used for complicated tasks.
Oculus Quest 2 Replacing the Oculus Rift
Facebook has officially discontinued the Oculus Rift S and the Oculus Quest, leaving the Oculus Quest 2 as the single way forward for the company's VR strategy. We saw Nintendo finally move to this model in the past few years with the Switch, which combined both portable and console divisions of the company and, like Nintendo, Facebook has now combined its portable and PC divisions into one solid product that can do it all.
While the Oculus Quest 2 is most effective as a completely standalone, wireless headset, it can be hooked up to the computer via the $80 Oculus Link cable or via one of many wireless methods. Oculus Link is a 15-foot cable that plugs into your PC's USB Type-C port and turns the Oculus Quest 2 into a bonafide Oculus Rift, complete with the Oculus Rift home screen and all. In fact, you'll need to disconnect the cable completely just to get back to the Quest 2's home screen.
Over the past several months, Facebook has improved the overall quality of Oculus Link, taking it from a rather soft image at launch to a razor-sharp visual experience that looks and feels no different from a VR headset built with only a PC connection in mind. Oculus Air Link is the wireless way to stream PC VR games to your Quest 2, launched as part of the April v28 Quest 2 update. Air Link is still in beta and has some flaws, including a relative lack of quality adjustment options, but offers a way to gain access to PC VR games without having to buy a cable or other third-party software.
For folks with a powerful gaming PC, the real killer app you'll want to invest in is Virtual Desktop — a 3rd-party app that costs $20 on the Oculus Quest store and enables you to wirelessly stream your PC's desktop to your Oculus Quest 2. While it sounds cool to see your PC's desktop in VR on an unimaginably huge screen, that's not the real draw of the app (in this case).
Virtual Desktop still offers Quest 2 users the best experience and offers more customizability than official Oculus solutions.
Instead, the focus is on Virtual Desktop's ability to wirelessly stream PC VR games to your Oculus Quest 2. That makes the Oculus Quest 2 the preferred way to experience VR on a PC without any wires at all, and the experience only gets better when you've got a faster Wi-Fi 6 router. In my case, I'm using the Linksys AX4200 mesh router. Now that I've got an Oculus Quest 2, I've found that Wi-Fi 6 routers have a new purpose that I actually care about: they can be used to create a nigh-perfect wireless VR experience.
While the official Oculus solutions are fine, Virtual Desktop opens up a significant number of customization options that will let users tweak to get the best experience. As of May 2021, Virtual Desktop is also the only way to play PC VR games at 120Hz on the Quest 2. There's nothing quite like the feeling of playing VR games at 120Hz and knowing you only spent $300 to get there, given that you would have had to spend $1,000 for the same experience only a year ago (and you would have had to use a wire to get it, too).
A problematic variable
Oculus Quest 2 The Facebook equation
I know you're supposed to save the best for last, but conventions are boring and I like to defy them. Thus far, I've had mostly very, very positive things to say about the Oculus Quest 2. It's better than the original in basically every way, but there's one thing that the Quest 2 is launching alongside and bringing to the future of Oculus: forced Facebook login.
As of October 1, 2020, all-new Oculus customers have had to sign into their headsets with a Facebook account. If you're buying an Oculus Quest 2, that means you — regardless of whether you use an Oculus account on an older Oculus headset. Simply put, you can't use the Oculus Quest 2 at all without a Facebook account. You can't even get to the home screen to play a game without one. This is officially, completely a Facebook product, and that's how it's going to stay.
If you hate Facebook and don't want any part of it, here's where you get off the train.
Good as it may be, the requirement to use a Facebook account is going to deter some people. It also means that you can't just create an alias account without your real name, because that's against Facebook's policies.
It also means that folks under 13 are going to have to use a parent's account if they want to use the Oculus Quest 2. That's also going to be a problem for some parents, and it makes it difficult to get younger ones into VR. Granted, Facebook (and many VR companies) recommend staying away from VR until you're 13, anyway. I'm not someone who subscribes to this train of thought, but the account situation fits the rest of the narrative, so at least they're consistent.
In the end, it's going to boil down to whether or not you trust Facebook to any degree. I'd wager to say that most people don't care and are going to use Facebook, regardless. Having to use a Facebook account is likely more a convenience than anything to quite a few people, as automatically having a list of friends populate in your headset is a big plus.
After all, Sony requires you to use a Sony account on a PlayStation, Microsoft uses Microsoft accounts on an Xbox, and Nintendo uses Nintendo accounts on the Switch. Why shouldn't Facebook use Facebook accounts on Oculus, a company owned by Facebook? The answer to that question lies in Facebook's ability to render your headset pretty useless if your Facebook account gets banned. Tying your digital purchases and device usage to your social networking activity is dubious, at best, and it's going to be a real turn-off for some people.
Should you buy Oculus Quest 2?
Yes. Absolutely and emphatically, you should buy an Oculus Quest 2 if you're at all even remotely interested in VR gaming. It's a massive step in the right direction and, ultimately, represents the future of the VR industry at large. While there will likely always be a market for PC VR, just as there is for regular "pancake" gaming on a TV, the Oculus Quest 2 is the culmination of everything the VR industry has been working toward for the better part of the last decade.
It's truly a console-quality experience. One that will have you wondering why you would ever deal with a more complicated experience ever again, even if the extra power of a PC can bring about more detailed visuals. That's because it's about more than just an easy experience — it's ultimately about a better experience that allows you to throw away the cares of the real world (annoying technology that never seems to work included) and experience a different reality. A virtual reality.
Based on the negatives, I would normally have docked a full point (for a total of four out of five stars), but the potential of the Oculus Quest 2 easily adds a half-star back to the score. It's one of those times where you can recognize the flaws of a product, understand that these will be deal-breaking flaws for some people, but can look past that because it's going to be the best experience for the vast majority of gamers. That's what makes the Oculus Quest 2 one of the best gaming purchases you can make these days.
Shifting the paradigm of reality
Oculus Quest 2
Ease of a console, power of VR
The Oculus Quest 2 is the latest standalone VR headset from Facebook, and it offers a compelling way to get into VR gaming and apps without all the hassle and expense of a PC. With better graphics, better ergonomics, faster loading, and more immersive games, the Oculus Quest 2 is the VR console you need.
Oculus Quest 2 Accessories
While the Oculus Quest 2 ships with everything you'll technically need to play, you're going to want a number of accessories to ensure you get the best experience. While there are no third-party replacements for the official Oculus Touch controllers, fully-body trackers, or other things of that nature, there are plenty of foam pad replacements, head strap replacements, more comfortable wrist straps, controller grips, and more to make the experience better than before.
While the box that the Quest 2 ships in can be used as a storage compartment, it's not the most convenient solution and it's a bit awkward to use if you're planning on taking your headset with you on the go. Instead, check out the best Oculus Quest 2 cases, which will keep your Quest 2 safe and make it a lot easier to take it with you, no matter where you're headed to.
If the foam face pad that ships with the Quest 2 irritates your skin, or just gets too sweaty while you're playing, check out the best Oculus Quest 2 face covers. These are made of different materials, like PU-leather or silicone, which wick off sweat and are easy to clean and sanitize. They're also much softer and can keep your face cooler.
If you find yourself regularly running out of battery during a long play session of Population: One, you might want to pick up an Oculus Elite Strap with the battery built-in — that's an upcharge from the regular Oculus Elite Strap — or just grab one of the best Oculus Quest 2 battery packs to keep in your pocket while you play.
Even though you can cast the Quest 2 to most smart TVs, Chromecasts, or other devices, there's a delay in the audio that might make it confusing to the person playing in VR. That's why it's great to grab a pair of the best Oculus Quest 2-compatible headphones. Not only that, but you can play in serenity, blocking out the outside world and immersing yourself in virtual reality even further. As a bonus, it might not irritate your roommates if they're just trying to watch TV while you're in the same room playing VR.
For any other accessories that could improve your VR experience, check out our general picks for the best Oculus Quest 2 accessories.
Oculus Quest 2 FAQ
There's a ton of useful information about the Quest 2 hidden in support pages, which you may not know about unless you go looking for it. Here's what else you should know, whether you're planning to buy a Quest 2, recently unboxed it, or just ran into a serious problem with it.
My Oculus Quest 2 doesn't feel comfortable! What should I do?
We have a detailed guide on how to get the best fit for your Oculus Quest 2, to make sure that it physically fits you properly as you play. You'll also want to make sure to you know how to adjust IPD on your Oculus Quest 2, as the wrong IPD will give you a headache and could make you feel sick.
If it still doesn't feel comfortable, VR Cover makes a ton of great straps, face covers, and other comfort-enhancing accessories. Oculus's own Elite Strap is another great option, as it rests more weight on the back of your head so the Quest 2 doesn't feel so front-heavy.
Can I wear glasses with the Oculus Quest 2?
You can, but not without inserting the complimentary glasses spacer first. Otherwise, your glasses are highly likely to press directly against the Quest 2 lenses and scratch them permanently. If this spacer doesn't fit your glasses quite right, VR Cover makes a thicker one for $9 that'll probably get the job done better.
How do I turn the Oculus Quest 2 off?
You may think you're turning off the Quest 2 when you press the power button, but you're just putting it to sleep, which means it'll turn back on if you put it on your head — and that the battery will drain much faster in the meantime. To fully turn it off, press and hold the power button for 3 seconds until you hear the power down chime. Check out the Anker Charging Dock for Quest 2 if you want a way to keep it charged without having to plug it in.
What is the best way to extend my Quest 2 battery life?
First, make sure to fully turn off your Quest 2, not just put it to sleep. Next, Oculus recommends that you only use officially licensed solutions to charge the Quest 2, like the Anker Charging Dock mentioned above or the official charging cable that comes with the headset. Other USB-C cables can give it power, but too much or too little could cause problems. Finally, when your headset finishes recharging, you'll see a green light next to the charging port; at that point, remove the cable! Don't leave the headset charging indefinitely, as this can lessen its maximum battery life.
For more advice, see our official how-to on how to extend battery life on your Oculus Quest 2.
Can I use my Oculus Quest 2 outside?
NO, you should not use the Oculus Quest 2 outside. Sunlight can and will easily damage the headset's display. The Oculus Quest has lenses that allow you to immerse yourself into VR, which is great, but they also act as magnifying glasses for sunlight. If sunlight hits the lenses on the Oculus Quest 2, it can burn the display inside the headset. Moisture in the air can also damage the headset.
Even assuming you go outside with the headset attached to your face so no sunlight gets inside, the Oculus Quest 2's cameras have a hard time keeping track of your Touch controllers if sunlight interferes. The Quest 2 uses similar infrared LED tracking as the Wii, so if you've ever had one and had to close your windows to help with random tracking issues, you'll understand what's going on.
Is the Oculus Quest 2 backward compatible?
Mostly. All Oculus Quest games are playable on the Oculus Quest 2, many of which with graphical enhancements. The one exception is that the Quest 2 is not backward compatible with Oculus Go games. Several dozen Oculus Go games work on the original Oculus Quest, but they will not work on the Oculus Quest 2.
Can I play SteamVR games on Oculus Quest 2?
Yes! We have a guide on how to play SteamVR on Oculus Quest that walks you through the steps. And, since this is the most popular VR game that'll never come to Oculus, we have a specific guide on how to play Half-Life: Alyx on the Oculus Quest.
Why does my Quest 2 keep disconnecting when using Oculus Link?
When using an Oculus Link cable to connect your Oculus Quest 2 to a PC for a PC VR experience, many players experience random disconnections. While this can sometimes happen because of a low quality or slow speed USB cable — you should always use a USB 3.1 cable to ensure the best speeds — this problem is most often attributed to Windows' built-in media handling and how it refreshes the data connection.
In order to fix this problem, you'll need to deny media access to your Quest 2 when you hook it up to a PC. Upon first connecting the Quest 2, you should be presented with a pop-up box on your Quest 2 asking to allow permission for your PC to access data on the headset. If you see Allow access to data on your Oculus Quest, be sure to select Deny. While this seems like a strange solution, data access refers to accessing pictures, video, and other files on the headset, not the connection used to display PC VR content on your Quest 2.
Can other people watch what I'm playing on the TV?
They can if you own a Chromecast! We have a guide on how to share Oculus Quest games on the TV, but casting is built directly into the user interface. You can make VR a much more social experience by sharing what you're playing with others.
Review Changelog, May 2021
This article was originally published in October 2020. It was updated in April 2021 with the following changes:
- Added additional devices to casting list.
- Updated controller battery life listing.
- Updated display section to reflect availability of 90Hz and upcoming 120Hz patches.
- Revised section about casting, as further testing revealed it wasn't as good as initially thought.
- Added price and availability section.
- Added accessories section.
- Added FAQ section.
- Added 6 months later review update.
Our May 2021 update includes the following changes:
- Updated graphics section to include reference to new 120Hz capabilities.
- Updated performance section to include new features and 120Hz notes.
- Updated hand tracking notes to include new 60Hz option.
- Updated Oculus Link section to talk about updates to wired Link and inclusion of Air Link.
Oculus Quest 2 review, 6 months later
The first six months of the Oculus Quest 2's life have been nothing short of amazing. It took only seven weeks for the Quest 2 to outsell the original, directly resulting in developers earning millions of dollars and the Quest 2 taking over as the most used VR headset on Steam. That massive growth rate has proven to be a boon for the VR industry, at large, as a significant number of new games, ports, and general support have been announced for the Quest platform since the Quest 2 debuted.
It took only seven weeks for the Quest 2 to outsell the original.
Support, as we've seen too many times with failed consoles, is, ultimately, what makes or breaks a system. The Quest 2 has been the single fastest-selling VR headset to date, although, without actual numbers from Facebook we're left with developer estimates of around 3 million units. Considering that the PSVR has only sold 5 million units or so 5 years into its lifespan, it's pretty unreal to see the Quest 2 already hitting over half that number in four to five months.
All that to say Facebook and developers are doubling down on support for the Quest 2 in the form of games, major updates, and probably plenty of surprises to come, as well. Just as we saw with the original Oculus Quest, the Oculus Quest 2 has already received a significant number of major updates since its launch. The Quest 2 now supports multiple Facebook accounts and profiles on a single headset, making it easier to juggle play between multiple people in the same household.
All apps and games now support 90Hz refresh rate natively without requiring a manual developer-mode toggle, and 120Hz is already being tested for developers to implement in the future. That makes it easier for most users to get a better, smoother overall experience. 90Hz mode can now be used for all Oculus Link games, as well. Here's how to enable 90Hz for Oculus Link.
Seemingly, against all odds, Facebook has actually relaxed their extremely strict — and what felt like arbitrary, at times — standards for the app store. This has resulted in Virtual Desktop being accepted as a fully-featured Oculus Store app, giving Quest 2 players the ability to play PC VR games wirelessly without having to sideload a patch.
App Lab and Virtual Desktop certification have proven that Facebook is willing to relax overly-strict policies.
That, alone, makes this headset feel like a next-gen PC VR headset, and it only takes $20 to do it: that's 1/4 of the price of the official Oculus Link cable and, at least for me and my Wi-Fi 6 home, is a far better overall experience. On the topic of app store policy relaxation, Oculus App Lab launched and provides developers a way to test their apps in Early Access fashion. It's a great way for developers to earn money while developing their titles and simultaneously bypass most of the restrictions/requirements Oculus has for the regular app store.
Oculus Move launched roughly a month after Quest 2 did and provides an easy way to keep track of how many calories you burn in VR, regardless of what game you're playing. That makes the best exercise and workout games a significantly better and more consistent experience. For those times that you'd rather be sitting, however, you can now bring your couch into VR. While that sounds a bit funny at first, it's actually an ingenious way to toggle between room-scale and seated VR experiences by literally sitting on your designated couch.
Facebook Messenger integration has been completed and makes communicating with your Facebook friends much easier than before. It also makes it super easy to transfer videos and photos between all of your devices or sharing with friends much simpler. Apps and games from the Oculus Store can also be gifted now, making Oculus one of the few companies to support digital gifting in the realm of gaming. It's bizarre that this is such a rarity in the digital age but, alas, thus is reality.
The Quest 2 has gained tons of features since launch, all of which make for an even better experience.
Even the Universal Menu that appears when you hit the home button has improved in most apps and games, as it appears over the current game rather than taking you back home. It's sort of the difference between going home on your smartphone and allowing the active window to float on your screen, keeping you from missing anything important that might be happening in the game.
All of this has happened over just six months since the Quest 2 launch, and we expect plenty more to come in the next six months. Estimates show that roughly 20% of Facebook employees are working on VR-related projects, proving that the company is committed to delivering on its promises. Just about everything we've seen since launch, from restrictive policies being relaxed to more developer support being pledged, bodes well for the future of the Quest 2 and the Quest platform, as a whole.
It's still hard to understand why Facebook social network bans result in unusable Oculus headsets and accounts.
The one sore spot — and it's more than just a bruise for those affected — are the folks who have had their Facebook accounts banned and, subsequently, their Quest 2's being rendered useless. While we've seen evidence of this being largely addressed, the possibility that someone's social media account ban can result in unusable purchases and a headset is troubling.
If Facebook can solve that problem — either by decoupling social media accounts with Oculus accounts — or via some other method, then they'll have solved the one glaring issue with their product. So long as you can avoid such a fate, which, thankfully, most people do, you'll be enjoying the very best that VR can offer, and for far less than many thought possible.
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