After a first version released in the spring of 2019 and hailed for its autonomous proposal free of any thread, the Oculus Quest 2 arrived at the end of 2020. An identical promise, but a leap in ahead in terms of power and possibilities. What can become the best value for money in the sector? Our answer.
The Oculus Quest 2 continues the legacy of the first model and the line of virtual reality headsets from the pioneer company Oculus VR. But unlike the early models or the current competition, the Oculus Quest 2 is an autonomous virtual reality system, like its predecessor. This means that you can use it without having to carry around a computer to connect it or any other device (smartphone, console, etc.). Less discomfort also in moving. Is it at the expense of experience or power? We tell you everything.
Oculus Quest 2 datasheet
This virtual reality headset was loaned to us by the brand.
What is a virtual reality headset?
The first time around, it’s often scary to see people, helmets on their heads, spinning around, armed with strange levers, without really understanding what they are doing. Welcome to virtual reality! This helmet is your passport to a New world. It will offer gaming and discovery experiences, but also leisure experiences such as concerts or shows, allowing you to view your video or photo content in a universe that is all your own. Just put it on.
Certainly then cut off from the outside world, caught in a virtuality, but not quite. Because some experiences also allow you to interact with your friends who are not next to you, through online play or to watch a movie together, chat …
More compact and lighter, but with some regrets
Compared to the first version released in spring 2019, the helmet, which has become white, has been redesigned to be optimized. Even the product packaging has been shaken up … It still contains the Quest 2, two Touch controllers, a goggle spacer to attach to the headset, as well as a one-meter USB-C cable to charge the phone. apparatus.
First surprise, the fastening system has changed dramatically. The slightly more rigid side of the first version, especially at the level of the binding around the head, has given way to a wide elastic band of three adjustable branches at the back to tighten, with the scratch on the top to manage the depth. The elastic comes from the two stiffer side plastic branches. This choice is not necessarily for the best.
While on top it doesn’t change much, the abandonment of the side scratches makes the fit of the helmet less obvious when soloing. It’s not necessarily easy to find the right ruler settings for the head circumference and, poorly adjusted to your head, the helmet will tend to put a lot of weight on the front and tire you out. This is one of the changes brought about by the new design that is not for the better, even if the weight has been revised downwards (503 g all the same, 68 g less than the previous one). It takes several uses to get this done and also for the rubber band to adjust to your head.
Oculus has planned everything and, if you are embarrassed by the new attachment, you can fall back on the Elite Strap which offers a whole system to be clipped on the helmet, including a dial on the back which adjusts the straps much better. settings. But with an additional cost (49 euros).
As for the exterior aspect, we find a similar shape and, indeed, a little more compact which also makes it more elegant, with a good finish of the materials. The Oculus Quest 2 displays 191.5 x 102 x 142.5 mm (strap folded) when the first version was 193 x 105 x 222 mm with its temples.
There are four sensors on the front of the helmet that will constantly scan the surroundings and help you find your way around, while avoiding obstacles. There is also a jack for plugging in your headphones on the left side, just next to the horizontally repositioned USB-C port under the clip, which is less inconvenient to connect the Oculus Link cable (see more bottom) or recharge the headphones. On the right, we find the power button and, below, two microphones as well as the button for the volume.
The Touch controllers have been completely redesigned. They are more ergonomic and comfortable in the hand. They are similar to the design of the Rift controllers. The keys and triggers fall more intuitively under the fingers, even for small hands, with an enlarged surface and thus less tightened buttons.
Touch controllers are immediately recognized by the headset when it is configured, which facilitates their immediate use. They work with one AA battery each (included) and their autonomy is rather comfortable, between 20 and 30 hours. Above all, if you had taken the first versions in hand, you will appreciate the better finish of the battery cover which no longer comes off as easily while you are in the middle of virtual combat.
It is also possible to opt for controls with the hands in the menu of the helmet, as well as for certain applications thanks to the technology Hand Tracking . The interactions are then done without the Touch controllers, for example by pinching the fingers to validate a choice. The pointer appearing on the screens thus follows the movement of the hand.
The Quest 2 has an improved audio system. It is directly integrated into the branches of the helmet. It is therefore possible to do without headphones which would put a little more weight on your head. The quality is present and we take full advantage of it during experiences such as games. You will hear the dialogue perfectly as the enemies behind your back.
Display drops Oled for better experience
Quest 2 traded in Oled for LCD. But the screen now displays a resolution of 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye. This is a marked improvement over the Quest 1 (1440 × 1600 per eye), although it loses quality in blacks and contrasts. For light experiences, this is okay. If you like horror games or experiences that provide a nighttime environment, you will see a difference.
If you have already tested the first helmet, you will not notice a crazy visual difference, on the contrary. The advantage of the LCD is that it reduces the gaps between each pixel (by adding more subpixels) and thus limits the grid effect that one can have with a screen so close to the eyes. Oculus announces 50% more pixels for more clarity. But what also improves the visual quality is the change of the refresh rate from 72 to 90 Hz with the update of November 2020.
The screen, let’s talk about it. The Quest 2 swapped the two screens for a single panel. It also causes a change in interpupillary adjustment. Exit the adjustment wheel, the helmet has reduced this to three fixed options (58, 63 or 68 mm). And that is not necessarily practical. Needing a gap between two positions, I had to go for one and readjust the helmet fit accordingly.
Note that if you wear glasses, an adapter to add inside the helmet is provided for your comfort. However, Oculus has also reduced the width of the screen area slightly. If you wear glasses that are a bit wide, you might be embarrassed by the foam surround.
Even more powerful
It is now Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 platform that equips the Oculus Quest 2. It is an adapted version of a Snapdragon 865 for virtual reality and augmented reality which replaces the Snapdragon 835 of the first model. It is coupled with 6 GB of RAM. This will bring much more power to the headset (2 to 3 times, Oculus announces), allowing it to run more demanding games, but also to offer smoother navigation in the main menu and a much improved definition. Some games gain in rendering.
The display of your arrival hub, representing your choice of a landscape or an interior, also takes advantage of this power to give a more natural feeling of movement when you turn your head to see everything, display information, launch videos, etc.
The Oculus Quest 2 is offered in two configurations: 64 or 256 GB. There is only 100 euros difference between the two versions. While the former may be more than sufficient for the majority of users, you will have the opportunity to see more storage coming with the latter option.
Very easy to use … but under the umbrella of Facebook
The Oculus Quest 2 has one big advantage: it does not need detection cameras to install in order to operate. So just take the headset out of its box, put it on, turn it on and configure it to use it. And that no matter where you are.
Upon power-up, the interface will ask you to connect your Facebook account if you have one or to create one. This is one of the new and somewhat controversial points due to the takeover of the company by the social network, which wants to maximize the interactions between its services and products. If you previously had an Oculus account, you can still use it to sign in. But after December 31, 2022, you will need to switch to your Facebook account in order to continue using it with full technical support.
It must be admitted that if you usually use your Facebook account, everything is simplified and the settings are made quickly (identifiers, last name, first name, services, apps if they exist, list of contacts, etc.). All you have to do is connect the headset to your Wi-Fi network and then go to the store to load the games, experiences and applications of your choice.
The Guardian: a playground to suit you
To get the most out of your virtual reality headset, you have to have some space around you. Oculus recommends a minimum of 2x2m, but the smaller your area, the more frustrated you may be in games that require a little movement. However, this remains sufficient for many experiments.
Thanks to its system of cameras distributed on the front of the helmet, you will be able to define your play area thanks to Roomscale technology. It will thus take into account nooks and crannies, furniture and other objects. A real blessing to fully enjoy your Quest 2. On your screen, the sensors display your environment, and thanks to the Touch controllers, you will point the ground to perfectly delimit the area (or with your hands, but it is a little less convenient). A fence (Guardian) will then appear to show you the safety limits (in red, stop!) On the screen, so you don’t end up hitting the table or the wall.
The Passtrough + function, which displays your surroundings in your helmet like a surveillance camera, allows you to “return to the real world” at any time. It is used when setting up the zone, but also if you are starting to exit the Guardian. The sensors automatically switch back to camera mode. You can also access it with a double tap on the side of your helmet. Ideal especially if your phone starts to ring or you feel something entering your play area.
Note that a stationary Roomscale is also available to define a play area around you. You will then find yourself in the center of a circle. This will especially apply to experiences that do not require you to be in motion or where you may even be seated.
Even more perfect tracking of movements
As on the Quest 1, the quality of motion tracking is excellent and responsive. On your screen, the Touch will indicate a pointer to validate a choice in a menu, to take a direction in a game. The joysticks and triggers come to your rescue for more intuitive and natural gestures. We hardly ever experienced a loss of connection with the controllers, or it was only a second before they got back on track. You can be standing, crouching, sitting, turning or just bending down to grab objects and the sensors virtually echo your movements in the same timing.
The same goes for gesture control, which is not yet usable for everything, but quite convenient. This is perhaps the exercise that requires the most control for the sensors to capture your movements. But this is a marked improvement over the Quest 1. Too bad it is currently used mostly in menus and to control video playback or launch applications. Note all the same the possible use in Elixir which uses hand tracking to compose potions.
The companion app
To accompany his headset and facilitate downloads or adjustments in particular, Oculus has provided a companion application. It centralizes everything: the store, social relations and settings.
This is where you can easily buy your games and apps from the Store and then download them to your headphones, keeping an eye on what Oculus TV offers and the most popular of the day.
You will also be able to access your library and even sort your applications by Comfort Level ( Oculus Video to view your content on a large screen being the most comfortable proposition, while Epic Roller Coasters , a roller coaster game in VR, shines with its side mixing thrills and visual effects that can cause discomfort to many users).
Oculus Home: your home
Once you have configured everything, you arrive in your new home. This is where the interface will appear on the screen and direct you to the Oculus Store or your applications and games already owned, your multimedia content and make the link with Facebook (your videos, your list of friends…).
You can also from a menu accessible by pressing the Oculus button on the Touch controller broadcast your experience on the social network, take screenshots …
Distributing its contents
Note that the mirror function of the Oculus Quest allows you to broadcast images to your TV with Chromecast, your PC or your smartphone. Just start from the app and choose your broadcast space. On the headset, you only have to validate the streaming and those around you can see what you see too.
Oculus Link: and the headset becomes an Oculus Rift
At launch, the Quest stood out from its sidekick, the Oculus Rift S, by its independence. It was slightly less powerful than this one, but it had the advantage of having no cables for more autonomy. And this, while enjoying the majority of applications and even playing some games with owners of Oculus Rift S.
For some time now, the Oculus Quest (1 and 2) can also roll mechanics. It is now possible to connect it to a Windows 10 PC using a USB-Type C cable. Games from the Oculus Rift and SteamVR stores are yours.
Oculus obviously boasts of its Oculus Link cable. Note that this one is still sold 100 euros for 5 meters in length. But it does take advantage of the power of your PC (with a USB-C port!) To run more resource-intensive games and experiences and stream them to your headphones.
You can still opt for any USB-C / USB-C cable that is long enough not to be in the way. This will play on the latency between the official cable and some cables from online resellers. But several tests showed that the difference was small and that in terms of flow rates, the difference was also imperceptible. All for prices up to 10 times lower.
Be aware, however, that at this price, the Oculus Link cable does not charge the Oculus Quest 2 headset while you play. This continues to discharge during play, although it is a little slower than in stand-alone mode. And don’t expect to connect it with the USB-C / USB-C cable included in the box for charging. Unlike the approximately 3m cable that came with the first Oculus Quest, the Quest 2 cable is extremely short. Not enough to hope to find an alternative there…
There is a solution to do without a cable called Virtual Desktop. This is an app from the Oculus Store that will allow the image to be streamed directly to the headset over the local network. The app works with SteamVR. All you need to do is activate some headset options. It will be particularly useful when the gaming PC is in the same room as the play area.
A little more autonomy
No leap forward at this level. The battery drops quickly as soon as you start playing. Oculus reported between 2 and 3 hours depending on the type of experience. If you play mostly, you easily fall under 2 hours. This is still the price to pay for freedom of movement.
The proposed experiments
So what can an Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset be used for? To many things, one would be tempted to answer quite simply. Obviously, the first image that comes to mind is for video games. And in this, the product is an undeniable asset.
We cannot recommend the excellent Beat Saber enough, an ultimate letdown in which you have to break in the right direction colored blocks that land on you, using your Touch which has become blue and red lightsabers. The Walking Dead is aimed at thrill seekers as is The Exorcist VR , inspired by the film of the same name and which offers a plunge into a rather oppressive universe. Another game to scare yourself a little, The Climb 2 and his urges to climb, even urban ones. If you are prone to vertigo, go your way, because the sensation is very real!
OrbusVR: Reborn is an MMORPG to play with friends or solo. Using Roomscale to feel like you are fully evolving in an open world and fully enjoying a real game, with over 100 hours of content.
Shadow Point (20 euros) is a dreamlike game in the form of multiple small puzzles to solve to progress through the story. We take full advantage of the movement tracking and possible movements to play with the virtual elements.
The Quest 2 is also a fantastic tool for touring the world and even space. Wander takes you to the four corners of the planet, with the added bonus of explanations on the different places. The app Mission: ISS is a real eye-catcher with an experience in the International Space Station and an eye on the universe.
The helmet will also be the link with your colleagues. There are many productivity and collaboration applications available. They are as easy to use as those linked to social networks. Facebook’s app Venues is still in beta and is experiencing some common bugs. But you will be able to meet your friends or complete strangers there to discuss, share an activity, a film… A strange experimental place to discover.
You will also be able to enjoy a fitness or relaxation experience. Watch sports programs or even concerts that are regularly offered via the Facebook Watch app. And yes, a reminder that you have to give your approval to the social network to make the most of your headphones.
We appreciate the app Oculus Vid e o which offers a large cinema room to watch its contents, alone or with friends. What’s nice is the number of experiences and free games offered by the Oculus store, before even opting for the wired PC version with dedicated stores. YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video also have their applications. You will have to enter your codes from the integrated keyboard to enjoy them in a recreated virtual living room environment. And you can still use browsers (and other social networks like Twitter) to access additional services.
Price and availability
Facebook’s masterstroke is keeping the price extremely low for the only standalone headset on the market. The Oculus Quest 2 headset starts at 349.99 euros for 64 GB of storage or 449.99 euros for 256 GB of storage. It is simply 100 euros less than its predecessor for a move upmarket.