It feels like forever ago that the original Oculus Quest landed in 2019 onto store shelves and into our hearts, its untethered design and power in its sleek and ergonomic form factor wowed us live nothing in the VR world prior. Now, Oculus has developed and released the sequel, which brings the initial design to greater hights.
One of the first big changes being made for this system is its price, dropping right down to just £299, which is £100 cheaper than the 64GB original and £200 less than the 128GB version. Off the bat this is a massive reduction in price, perhaps to help increase market share and take in any on the fence consumers that needed that extra temptation in order to invest. For £299 you get the base 64GB model and for £399 you can upgrade to the absolutely massive 256GB. Without a powerful PC being required it is a one time payment to gain entrance to the virtual world.
For your money you will not find yourself at a loss when it regards power and performance of the machine. New for this year is a higher density, faster screen that has 50% more pixels than its predecessor and will run up to a 90Hz refresh rate, much like 2020’s top-end smartphones. That means the picture inside the headset is appreciably sharper, crisper and smoother, matching the experience you’d get in Oculus’s PC-based Rift S headset. It looks great and existing games from the Quest library automatically benefit from the improvements, running at a refresh rate of 72Hz initially with an increase to the full 90Hz coming soon with an upcoming software update.
As well as this, comfort has also been of top priority, with the new head strap being adjustable via two sliders on the side and a Velcro strap on top. The lenses also now have 3 distinct IPD settings (The distance of the lenses from each other), Oculus say that around 95% of people will be more than able to find a comfortable position. In the side straps you also have 2 stereo speakers that produce some immersive personal audio. Although if you feel like having a more private experience you are also able to plug in some wired headphones into the side or connect some via Bluetooth.
Once again setup is controlled on the Oculus Smartphone app, however the main difference this time around is the need for a Facebook account to be linked during setup, this has been a controversial change to the framework and will be required for any Quest 2 set-up or any new Oculus account created past October, however any created accounts before the cut off date will have until 2023 before any changes will be put in place. Setup from that point onwards is the same as previous, connecting to Wi-Fi is controlled by the phone and then other parts such as the guardian system are controlled inside the headset. Oculus recommends a 2 meter squared space for play but this can be manipulated.
The Quest 2 has Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon XR2 system which is more powerful than its predecessor, based on the current top-of-the-line Snapdragon 865 processor found in 2020’s flagship smartphones. It also has more RAM and your choice of 64GB or 256GB of storage, plus the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard. The headset lasts about two to three hours between charges, depending on what you’re playing. A game of something taxing like Robo Recall or Arizona Sunshine would drain the battery in about two and a half hours, which was more than long enough for a single play session.
It seems as though much of the design of the controllers and headset has been based off of refinement rather than advancement. While the colour of both has changed from black to a very light grey, the weight of both the headset and controllers has been reduced to allow for more comfortable experiences. The controllers have been refined more so with the ability to last up to 4 times longer than the previous iteration, but the tried and tested Oculus design remains, if it isn’t broke, there is no need to fix it.
During these times of social distancing and lockdowns it is is great to have a more mainstream approach to VR that more people can enjoy. The removal of cables or lengthy set-up processes bring a more inclusive experience that VR so desperately needs. Twinned with the expansive library available at launch for the system there is potential to allow many a chance of escapism beyond the usual video games or movies.
At £299 for the base model, the Quest 2 is a great headset at a very affordable price that is designed with all players in mind. Making improvements on a fantastic formula will go down well with all and is sure to make waves within the industry.