(VRfun18) Meta Quest 2 review: VR superstar

The Meta Quest 2 (previously Oculus Quest 2) is an interesting update to the tether-free, wireless virtual reality (VR) headset from Meta.

The original was one of our favourite VR headsets as it was a fantastic leap forward from smartphone VR headsets and a great middle-ground between those and much more expensive headsets like the HTC Vive Pro 2. With no PC requirement, the Quest still managed to offer high-end VR gaming experiences at an affordable price. 

But with the original Quest still being so fantastic, what more can the Quest 2 offer? Well, 50 per cent more RAM, 50 per cent more pixels, plenty of design enhancements, and a great starting price too.

Our quick take

The Quest 2 is an undeniably awesome update to the previous VR headset.

Hand tracking, intelligent battery management, enhanced visuals, and the ability to play PC-level VR games via Oculus Link make the Quest 2 incredibly appealing. Despite being more powerful than the original it’s even more affordable too.

In our mind, there’s no doubt that Meta Quest 2 is the wire-free VR headset king. We’re hard-pressed to find almost anything negative to say about it – and if VR is your thing then we’re sure you’ll feel the same. 

Oculus Quest 2 lead image photo 1

FOR AGAINST
  • More comfortable than the original
  • Intelligent battery management system
  • Snazzy looks
  • Fantastic starting price
  • Game catalogue is not as big as PC VR headsets

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Comfort and design enhancements

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform, 6GB RAM, 64GB / 256GB internal storage
  • Six degrees of freedom-tracking through integrated Meta Insight technology
  • Integrated speakers and microphone with positional audio
  • Stationary or Roomscale play (6.5sqft minimum)
  • Weight: 503g

The first thing that strikes about the Meta Quest 2 is its design. Gone is the black plastic of old and in its place is a striking white on both the headset and the accompanying controllers. 

The headset itself has been lightened (by 10 per cent) and made more comfortable to wear too. The head straps have been rethought, making it easier to balance and get it comfortably on your head.

Quest 2 vs Quest photo 1 Quest 2 vs Quest photo 2

What’s struck us most, though, is how the design of the faceplate leads to a lot less light-bleed from the outside world when you’re playing, meaning a much more immersive experience. 

Under the hood, the Quest 2 has had an upgrade too. It now sports a spec that includes Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 platform. This, along with 6GB of RAM, gives the Quest 2 more power and more potential for future development. Game developers will be able to squeeze more out of it and produce experiences that continue to be on par with PC VR games – just without the need for you to buy a gaming PC.

For spectacles wearers, the Quest 2 offers a glasses spacing system in the box which you can attach to the headset to give you a touch more room. As we wear glasses, that’s a major convenience.

The headset is also more accessory friendly. There are numerous optional accessories you’ll be able to buy to improve usability – including faceplates, strap upgrades (with a built-in battery), audio accessories, and more. 

Essentially the Quest 2 has been crafted to be more accessible, more user-friendly, and just more appealing.

It’s still built upon the familiar design of the original, though, with similar built-in, rear-firing speakers that leave the headset wire-free and easy to use. Alternatively, you can plug in your own 3.5mm headset or headphones for a more personal experience, but the speakers offer the bonus of positional audio. 

Like the original Quest, the Quest 2 uses the company’s inside-out tracking technology. This uses multiple outward-facing cameras that track the movement of your head and hands in the real world.

When popping the headset on, you’re encouraged to map out a playspace in the room by ‘painting’ lines with the controller. Using Passthrough+, the Quest 2 lets you see your environment without taking the headset off. This means you can map out the room, accounting for any obstacles that might be in the way with ease. That map is then used for the guardian system, which presents a virtual wall if you get too close to the edges of your real-world environment and warns you of the potential danger. 

We really liked this system on the original Quest and it’s just as good here. It’s possible to set up a shortcut so you can double-tap the headset to activate the passthrough cameras and see the real world as and when you need, meaning you don’t need to take the headset off to see what’s going on around you. You can also use those cameras to move to another room without even taking the headset off, though Meta recommends against doing so. 

The headset is also clever enough to recognise if you do move rooms and will encourage you to re-draw your guardian map to prevent any mishaps – you know, like punching the fridge or bumping into a precious vase.

Another small change to the design also allows you to flip the headset up ever so slightly, in more of a visor style, so it can almost be moved out of view without removing it entirely. Ideal if you need to talk to a loved one, answer the front door, or just regain your real-world location. 

Impressive and convenient visuals

  • Fast-switch LCD display panel
  • 1,832 x 1,920 per eye resolution
  • 72Hz refresh rate at launch; 90Hz support to come
  • Manually adjustable IPD with three settings for 58, 63 and 68mm

As you’d expect, Quest 2 hasn’t just been improved with more power under the hood and a more comfortable design, it’s also had visual enhancements too. 

Oculus Quest 2 review headset photos photo 2 Oculus Quest 2 review headset photos photo 4

That includes an upping in the pixel count for starters. The Quest 2 uses a fast-switch LCD display panel in place of the OLED display on the original Quest. That LCD delivers 1,832 x 1,920 pixels per eye (compared to 1600 x 1440 pixels in the previous headset), meaning a clearer image and a better experience whatever you’re doing. That’s higher than Full HD per eye, which is a bit like strapping two-and-a-bit flatscreen tellies to your face (minus the weight and practical impossibilities).

With the extra power, the Meta Quest 2 can now also run that screen at a higher refresh rate. When the headset launched that meant 90Hz but now it’s able to support 120Hz refresh rate and there are a number of games that make the most of that too. 

Meta has tried to make the Quest 2 more convenient with an easy-to-use IPD adjustment system. Baffled by such an acronym? It stands for interpupillary distance. And, no doubt, it’s a faff trying to measure and work out what your IPD actually is (er, maybe ask your optician?).

The IPD can now only be adjusted in three levels. On the inside of the headset, you’ll discover it’s possible to move the lenses in and out with your fingers. You can do this to switch between three different levels: 1 (58mm), 2 (63mm) and 3 (68mm).

Meta says that this three-step approach was done to simplify things and the majority of users will find one of the three levels is satisfactory for their needs. This may well be a gripe for some users where a less than average IPD results in a less than satisfactory experience though. That said we’ve certainly not had issue with it.

Intelligent battery management

  • AA battery-powered controllers with intelligent power management
  • 2-3 hours battery life on headset
  • USB-C charging (2.5 hours)

The Quest 2 also features redesigned controllers, featuring a design that’s inspired by those from the original Quest and the Rift S. Meta has also rethought the way the tracking works here, with fewer LEDs inside the tracking loops that result in four times the battery life with – as far as we’ve seen – no negative impact on hand tracking.

It’s the little things that make the difference here. When popping the headset on, the controllers automatically turn on when you pick them up, so there’s no need to fiddle about trying to turn them on manually. 

There’s also clever sleep logic implemented to ensure the headset isn’t unnecessarily running when you’re not using it. So in terms of battery power we found the Quest 2 could manage around three hours of use before it needs charging, depending on what you’re doing. Less taxing tasks that don’t require movement tracking – like watching Netflix, for example – means longer life.

The controllers certainly last a lot longer than the headset itself, which is a bonus as they run on AA batteries and cannot simply be plugged into recharge. Even with just AA batteries and regular use we find we’re very rarely having to worry about juice for these controllers. 

Recharging the headset is easy enough though. It’s USB-C powered, meaning you can simply plug it in and get a full boost in under three hours.

Upgrading the experience

Meta is treating the Quest 2 as the holy grail of VR gaming. Not only is it wire-free and impressive for the asking price, it also has a number of other tricks up its sleeve. 

Meta has been working on hand and finger tracking for a while now. It was an experimental update for the Quest and now is as a more serious addition to the Quest 2. It appears as part of the menu navigation when you first put the headset on and is surprisingly intuitive to use. We just hope more and more developers embrace it and we start to see hand tracking appear in games. 

Quest 2 also supports Oculus Link. With an appropriate cable, you can hook up your Quest 2 to a gaming PC and use it as you would a fully-fledged PC VR headset. Of course, doing this means you’re no longer cable-free, but it also means you can access a lot more VR games via Oculus Store. 

When the original Quest headset launched, it had just 50 titles available. Quest 2 has a much bigger catalogue of games to choose from and with easy access to PCVR games too it’s thoroughly appealing. 

The Facebook future?

When Quest 2 first launched there was some pushback as users were required to use a Facebook account in order to use the headset. 

This caused some issues when users weren’t Facebook users, set one up just to use the headset, then found their accounts closed due to inactivity and their headset rendered useless. 

Meta has since made some changes so that’s no longer necessary and you can now set up a Meta account using your own email or via Instagram or Facebook. So there are options and you’re not as limited. 

Oculus Quest 2 review headset photos photo 26

Optional upgrades

One problem with Quest 2, as with any other VR headset, is how hot and bothered you’ll get while gaming. Especially when playing fast and frantic games or indulging in some super VR fitness games. This issue can lead to a sweat-covered faceplate and steamed up lenses, which is certainly frustrating and also not something you’d want to share with friends. 

VR Cover’s Facial Interface and Foam Replacement accessory for the Quest 2 is the answer. These are faceplates you can swap with the standard Quest 2 ones for enhanced comfort and cleanliness. Made from PU leather, they’re easier to clean – just a simple wipe. But these faceplates also have a clever passive air venting system which helps keep you cool(er) while you game and reduces the problems with steamed lenses. If you’re not a fan of leather, there’s also a silicone/cotton option that’s machine washable and easy to clean. 

If you’re going to get one accessory for your Quest 2, we’d suggest it’s this.  

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To recap

The second-gen tether-free, wireless virtual reality headset from Meta isn’t just more affordable than the original, it has heaps of improved features that make it a VR superstar. However, you now need a Facebook account in order to use it – which may put off some prospective users.