The VR market has come a long way since the original Oculus Rift prototype. Back around 2012, the original oculus prototype creator Palmer Luckey was fooling around with the concept of VR in his garage, until one faithful day he met a time-traveling space wizard named John Carmack. Yes, I am talking about the John Carmack. It was around then that their partnership led to Palmer founding a company.
Fast forward to 2014 when Facebook acquired them and fast forward even more to 2020 when the world saw the release of the wonderful and accessible VR headset, the Oculus Quest 2. This headset since its initial release has been on every Best VR Headsets list, in many YouTube videos alike. Many online creators have based their entire entertainment and gaming channels playing VR games with the Quest 2. All of this is but a sign pointing that this headset has managed to pull off a cheap VR experience that is accessible and very fun. This technology review will give you some insight on whether you should get one for yourself.
Games & Entertainment
There is no shortage of Oculus Quest 2 games whatsoever, in fact, there are lots and lots of different types of games that gamers of every taste can enjoy. If you are a fan of FPS games, lots of interesting titles of you, fan of board games, you got it, fan of adventure games, plenty, fan of simulator type games, you got a bunch, multiplayer, plenty. All of this gaming is done independently, you won’t need to connect your headset to the PC and you won’t need any fancy graphics cards for it. However, if you are interested in the topic of pc hardware news do check out our article “GPU: The New, The Available, and The Expensive”. Once you get into the roster of games yourself you can quickly start to see just how much variety there is.
Sideloading is also an option, which is a fancy way of saying piracy. If you’re not against sideloading or you don’t live in a country where online piracy is monitored closely, there are some pretty comprehensive guides on how can you download pretty much every game available for this VR headset, absolutely for free. The process can seem a bit tricky, and you will have to look through a couple of videos and guides until you get the hang of it. The best part is that you can even sideload on our Oculus Quest 2 games without connecting it to the PC whatsoever. You can sideload games from an Android device which is cool, but in my experience, I found out that using a PC is much easier.
There is also the ability to set up a Virtual Cinema or a Virtual Video Player. These can be used to watch all of your favorite movies, shows, and any type of videos that you’d like. There are also apps that can transform your Quest 2 into a virtual desktop. If you can get behind the idea of working in VR, then you should give these apps a try.
Hardware and Software Quality
Right out of the box the Quest 2 VR does seem like a nice and durable VR headset. The packaging is conveniently small and compact so much so if you don’t want to waste extra cash on getting the Oculus Quest 2 accessories, such as the carrying case, you can keep your headset and controllers tucked away in that box. Or you can check out this review by Tom’s guide of different cases which you can buy for your Quest 2 VR.
One of the other big advantages of the Oculus Quest 2 is its front cameras and tracking capabilities. Oculus has done a great job at really tuning out the tracking system of this headset and making it accessible to almost every play space imaginable. It doesn’t matter if you have a big room all to yourself, or just a small space that is right in the middle of your bed and desk, I feel like every player can enjoy the Quest 2 even with some special limitations that they have.
You do get 2 types of special tracking modes, or guardian boundaries as the headset calls them. The first one is room-scale which allows you to essentially draw out a line of the play area yourself. You can draw this area how big or small you want to, it doesn’t have to be a perfect square or a rectangle either, you can draw your play space in any shape or form that you want. The second mode is the stationary mode which allows your headset to draw a small circular play space for you. This mode is designed for people who have space limitations or for any occasion that you are not using the Quest 2 VR for gaming, instead are enjoying the Virtual Cinema, Virtual Desktop, or the Virtual Apps that don’t require you to move around much. Your headset will do a good job keeping up with your movement in the real space and will alert you in a non-intrusive way whenever you get close to your setup boundaries or whenever your head or arms get out of them. This will not break the flow of your gameplay, so don’t worry about the guardian system, you’ll only appreciate it during your time using Oculus Quest 2.
One of the coolest features is the Casting ability for Quest 2 VR. This feature gives you the ability to see directly into the headset without any special hardware or software. This feature is built-in from the get-go and it essentially allows you to cast your Quest 2 screen onto any device that is logged into your Oculus account. You can cast wirelessly to your phone, PC, or even the TV so that the people around you can seamlessly see what are you playing in real-time, without having to wonder about your weird movements in the VR space.
Another important aspect of this headset is the Oculus Quest 2 controllers. Controllers for any gaming system can make or break the experience of the user, especially in VR. I am glad to say that Quest 2 VR does have awesome controllers at its disposal. The tracking is flawless, I’ve never felt the controllers lagging or falling behind my actual hand movement. They are sturdy and stylish; their good design should be appreciated. I have never had the feeling that accidentally tapping or hitting them against any surface would instantly break them. I do think that you’d require a lot of force to actually break the Oculus Quest 2 controllers or damage the headset itself. There are lots of videos online that did various stress tests, so you can check those out to see just how much beating the Quest 2 can take.
One of the prominent disadvantages of the Quest 2 is that it requires you to log in via your Facebook account. The Oculus app does also share similar information tracking and nudging notification settings as the Facebook app. For example, it can keep track of the players that you’ve played with recently and recommend you to add them as a friend on the Oculus app. This can seem like something innocent but the general distrust around Facebook in recent years has made everyone very suspicious as to what exactly is Facebook tracking and what sort of data can they get from their headsets.
There is a workaround if you do sideload games into your Oculus Quest 2. Since your sideloaded games do not require an internet connection and are not accessible through the Oculus Store, you can log out of your Facebook account and use all of the sideloaded apps and games that you have in there.
There is one more disadvantage that will impact some users and will be completely irrelevant to others. I am talking about the general comfort of the headset itself on your head. The Oculus Quest 2 head strap has a system that allows you to adjust your headset tightness from the sides and from the top. As for the lenses, it has 3 modes that allow you to move the lenses farther from each other and closer to each other.
Now, as for the tightness adjustment and comfort, it heavily depends on the head shape and size of the user. If you find the right setting for yourself and leave it on then you should always feel comfortable playing with the headset. However, if you’re sharing your headset with someone else, you can quickly realize that every time you give the headset to someone else and take it back afterward, you’re gonna find yourself adjusting the size of it constantly. And for me, this meant that sometimes I’d get a comfortable experience and other times, when I didn’t fiddle around with it too much, I’d get headaches because of it.
As for the lenses, those are the most fragile parts of the whole system. You have to keep your Oculus Quest 2 lenses away from direct sunlight and be very careful with them and try to clean them regularly. Then when you fiddle around with the lens 3 settings, you should be able to get the clearest picture possible, that is if the space between your eyes matches the Quest 2’s 3 lens settings. For me, it does not perfectly align and that can be a disadvantage as you won’t get a completely sharp image. All of this comfort is actually for you to get the sharpest image possible so that you’ll get the best experience using the device and won’t get headaches doing it.
In conclusion, I can firmly say that if you’re interested in VR and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on the equipment, you should definitely get the Quest 2. It can serve as a perfect gift, a gaming console replacement, and will provide you with hours and hours of fun, for yourself and your friends. The hardware and software quality is great, you’re not gonna encounter lots of bugs, and you can use it with limited play space. The Quest 2 headset is a must-have entertainment system if you’re looking for some form of entertainment that you’ve never experienced before.