The new version of Oculus Quest offers us, at a low price, a further evolutionary step for all-in-one viewers.
The Oculus family continues to expand, trying with each new component to set new goals of accessibility and technological power in the field of virtual reality. As you may have discovered by reading our Oculus Quest review, the company has already imposed important benchmarks for the construction of stand-alone viewers, i.e. those that work autonomously, without the need for external wires or hardware. The jewel of the American giant, however, is ready to be replaced by its direct descendant, that Oculus Quest 2 arriving on 13 October and which promises to fully amplify the experience tested with its predecessor, in such a way as to market the most advanced autonomous viewer for virtual reality ever made. Available at a price of 349 euros for the 64GB variant, and at a cost of 449 euros for the 256GB one, Oculus Quest 2 manages to achieve its ambitions almost perfectly: a small concentrate of power that only in some points shows the side to some acceptable compromise.
The technical characteristics and the comparison with Oculus Quest
Let’s start immediately from the design: the style is more sober than that of the first Quest, and the white color allows it to differentiate itself more from the previous viewer. Even the softer shapes make it a more refined object on an aesthetic level, which elegantly fits into the Oculus family concept while preserving its own personality.
In terms of size, Quest 2 is 10% smaller than the progenitor: while the first viewer measures 193mm x 105mm x 222mm, the newcomer has dimensions equal to 191.5 mm x 102 mm x 295.5 mm (with extended strap) . This last parameter leads us to talk right away about the first flaw of Quest 2, namely the elastic band to be adjusted to properly wear the helmet.
The solution adopted by the company is significantly cheaper than in the past, gives the viewer a less solid impact and, in our opinion, is also less intuitive in the adjustment phase. Prolonged use does not involve excessive annoyance, but we still preferred the straps belonging to the first Oculus, more rigid, comfortable and easy to adapt when wearing the headset for the first time.
Beyond this detail, Quest 2 has a slightly lower weight, equal to 503 grams against the 571 of the predecessor: to benefit is, as obvious, the usability in case of prolonged sessions, without feeling too heavy either on the nasal septum or on the neck. Overall, however, in terms of ease of use, this second viewer does not differ much from the previous model, maintaining a certain continuity with the past.
Where a noticeable improvement can be felt quite clearly is in the visual quality: the LCD display panel (the previous one mounted an OLED) has a resolution of 1832×1920 per eye (Quest proposed 1440x1600p) with a 72hz refresh rate, which will be upgraded to 90hz after launch. Adding all these values, the yield seemed rather higher than the last viewer, with evident benefits both in the navigation of the menus, now much more defined, and during the game sequences. As for the processor, Quest 2 mounts a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform SoC with 6GB of RAM and, like the first headset, also offers 4 internal sensors that track the user’s position, which can therefore benefit from the canonical 6 degrees of freedom. (6DOF).
Finally, both the well-known Guardian system, which delimits the space around us, and the Passthrough function, thanks to which to observe the surrounding environment and trace the area within which to act, return. The two setups also offered by the first Quest close the picture, namely the “Room scale” and the “Static Mode”, in the name of an experience with a totally familiar taste for anyone who has already used a headset from the American giant.
Oculus LinkHave you decided to buy Oculus Quest 2 but feel an irrepressible desire to play Half Life Alyx (on Everyeye.it you can find the review of Half-Life Alyx) or Asgard’s Wrath, available only on PC? Fear not: even with the new stand alone helmet you can experience the great epics in VR, but it will cost you a little more: with the outlay of 99 euros you will be able to buy the Oculus Link 5-meter cable (USB 3 Type C ), which will allow you to connect the headset to the PC and thus completely replace Rift S. The experience in terms of fluidity is almost the same as that of the “big brother”, and we only noticed some slight compromises in terms of visual compression, hardly perceptible as long as you do not use both viewers assiduously. The experience with Half Life: Alyx, for example, was really satisfying, almost equal to the one tested with Rift S.
To conclude the purely technical examination, it is worth pointing out that Quest 2 also contains integrated speaker and microphone, with 3.5 mm audio input: even without headphones, the audio performance seemed decidedly efficient, in line with what we tested in the first version. A rather risky step back was instead made for the setting of the IPD, the interpupillary distance: if the first Quest gives us the opportunity to manually adjust the aforementioned parameter, through a cursor placed in the lower part of the viewer, and if Rift S proposes an adjustment via integrated software, Quest 2 allows us to change the IPD only by manually acting on the lenses and moving them with your fingers. The modifiable settings are unfortunately only three, specifically 58, 63 and 68mm, a limitation that could, in short, not make the experience of that audience that does not precisely fit one of the aforementioned IPD parameters ideal.
A further change was finally made on the Touch Controllers, with a slightly revised design and with dimensions equal to 9 x 12cm for each PAD: the quality of the handle is the same as that of the first Oculus, while the weight is equivalent to 126g against 105g of the previous edition. Also in this case, two AA batteries are needed to power the controller, one for each model, and the residual charge can be kept in sight as always by the Home of the viewer.
In this regard, the autonomy of the Touch seemed to us a little longer compared to the controllers of the first Quest, while the longevity of the headset is exactly the same as the previous model. Oculus Quest 2 lasts about 3 hours, with fluctuations that depend on the software and the mode of use: an extended lap in the home or the viewing of multimedia contents allow the battery to resist for 180 minutes, while with an active game the average life settles around 150 minutes. Nothing too long-lasting, but in any case perfectly comparable to the performance to which the previous all-in-one viewers have accustomed us. Finally, it should be noted that it will be mandatory to associate your Facebook profile with the Oculus app in order to take advantage of the helmet and its software library.
A satisfying experience
With the technical information pitted, it’s time to take stock. Oculus Quest 2, if it is excluded a pinch of extra effort when adjusting the straps, guarantees a very satisfying experience, a significant step forward when compared to the previous model. The higher resolution offers excellent visual quality, and the tracking system works once again without undue failure.
For the occasion, we also tested hand tracking again, which allows you to select icons or scroll through the Home indicators using only your fingers: interactivity is quite pleasant, with only some slight inaccuracies that make the use of the Touch anyway more immediate and precise.
The lightness of the viewer and the increase in resolution maximize the potential of the most visually striking games: we tested a series of software such as the delightful Moss, the powerful Robo Recall, the timeless Beat Saber, and the evocative In Death Unchained (for learn more here is the review of In Death Unchained), all feeling a tangible improvement in terms of graphic cleansing.
Oculus Quest 2, although it does not represent a substantial revolution of stand alone VR systems, brings in a notable upgrade, easy to use and never too high temperatures even after two hours of uninterrupted play. Unfortunately, there are some avoidable ingenuities that partly undermine its full success, such as the aforementioned elastic belt and the manual mechanisms with which to regulate the interpupillary distance; however, if we exclude these lackluster solutions, overall Quest 2 proves to be the worthy successor of the first model. The low price and its power turn it into a great alternative to the Rift S (to learn more, we refer you to the Oculus Rift S review), especially if you have an Oculus Link with which to connect it to the PC and allow the use of large-caliber blockbusters. In short, Quest 2 has almost completely met our expectations: if you decide to catapult yourself into the world of VR, and especially if you do not own the first edition, the new born of the Oculus family could prove, at the moment, the most valid choice. Virtual reality without wires therefore welcomes a new champion.