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Oculus Quest 2 review: The perfect gateway into virtual reality

Is the Oculus Quest 2 worth buying? Meta’s latest VR effort offers truly wireless VR, PC connectivity, and a wide array of apps for an impressive price point.

Oculus Quest 2 review - Oculus Quest 2 VR headset
(Image: © Facebook Technologies, LLC.)

Live Science Verdict

Oculus Quest 2 is a full VR ecosystem in a box for $299/£299, making it an attractive proposition for VR newcomers while still offering desirable features for experienced users.

Pros

  • +

    Lower price compared to other options

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    All-in-one with controllers included

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    Extensive app ecosystem

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    Can act as a Rift S with a PC connection

Cons

  • -

    Requires a Facebook account

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    Apps can be expensive

Oculus has been at the forefront of VR for years, and the Oculus Quest 2 takes everything great about VR and tucks it neatly into a standalone headset, bundles it with two controllers, and sells it for under $300.

That sweet price point makes it one of the best VR headsets out there, and while it packs a full VR ecosystem of games, apps, and experiences, its potential is perhaps greater than it first lets on. This is thanks to an impressive PC connection option that works wirelessly or through a cable connection, and also to its compatibility with the likes of SteamVR. That helps sidestep the frustration of an app store that’s quite expensive and lacking in cross-buy options.

One of the major drawbacks of the Oculus Quest 2 is that you need a Facebook account to operate it; those avoiding sharing their most intimate details may scoff at logging in (and making purchases) through a Facebook account. At present, if you lose or delete that account, there appears to be no way to recover your purchases which is a bummer.

Editor's Note: The Oculus Quest 2 has been officially renamed to the Meta Quest 2 in line with Facebook's rebranding. We're leaving our review title alone for now, since everyone knows the device as the Oculus Quest 2.

Oculus Quest 2 review: Setup and usability

Oculus Quest 2_What comes in the box_Facebook Technologies, LLC.

(Image credit: Facebook Technologies, LLC.)

Opening the Oculus Quest 2 box, you’ll be presented with the headset, two controllers, the charger, and an eyeglasses spacer to fit the headset over your existing eyewear.

Each controller requires an AA battery which slides into a compartment in each handle, while the headset itself charges via a USB-C charger in the box. It is possible to play while the headset charges, as long as you’re not expecting to throw your head around.

The first thing you’ll need to do is download the Oculus app on your smartphone, and either log in with your Facebook account or create one to get started.

Once you’re ready, strap the headset on (the fabric strap is adjustable, but can be a little fiddly to get just right) and tap the power button on the right side to get started. Volume buttons can be found on the underside of the headset.

The rest of the setup process is completed through a combination of the headset and your app, and you’ll also be able to set your “safe area” using Oculus’ “Guardian.” This will ensure you’re not going to smack into a wall or trip over the coffee table, and you’ll need to set it whenever you turn the headset on.

Oculus Quest 2 review: Design and display

Key specs

Platforms: Standalone, PC via Oculus Link
Price: $299.99/£299.99 for 128 GB
Resolution: 1832 × 1920 per eye
Field of view: 90 degrees
Refresh rate: 60, 72, 90 Hz (120 Hz experimental)
Controllers: Touch Controllers (included)

The Oculus Quest 2 is a pretty compact package, and it’s also impressively sturdy. The area that touches your face is lined with a soft-touch material – but, as you can imagine with any VE headset, your comfort will suffer after long play sessions.

The onboard speakers work well enough, but there’s the option for headphones via a 3.5mm headphone jack next to the charger port which can be ideal for the likes of rhythm games like Beat Saber.

The front of the device is fairly nondescript outside of a series of infrared circles that help with the aforementioned Guardian system (see image below), as well as tracking controllers in all directions.

Oculus Quest 2_Guardian_Facebook Technologies, LLC.

(Image credit: Facebook Technologies, LLC.)

The controllers offer two face buttons each, as well as a menu button on the left and the Oculus button on right. There are triggers on the back of each controller, as well as a button in the grip of each. They’re lightweight and thankfully come with wrist straps to keep them from being thrown across the room early Wii style.

When it comes to the display, each lens has an 1832 x 1920 resolution. That’s a sizeable jump if you’re coming from the PSVR (960 x 1080) and is higher than the 1600 x 1440 of the Valve Index. Sadly, there’s only a 90-degree field of view, just shy of the PSVR, but the Oculus Quest 2 can hit a 120 Hz refresh rate.

The Oculus Quest 2’s display is LCD, but thanks to a vibrant series of menus, it never feels flat or lacking in contrast.

Oculus Quest 2 review: Features, games, & apps

The Oculus Quest 2 starts strong, with a free-floating menu hovering in your view with smart cursor controls, a look at what your friends are doing on the platform, and access to the store.

Purchases are easy to make, but we do have some hang-ups. Many games cost more on Oculus Quest 2 than they do on more open storefronts, like SteamVR, and cross-buy functionality is restricted to some games but not implemented store-wide. As a result, your Oculus Rift purchases may not show up in your Oculus Quest 2’s library, meaning you’ll have to splash out again.

Still, the Oculus Quest 2 will play Oculus Quest 1 titles, and works just as well seated and standing – this may help alleviate some nausea and help some earn their “VR legs.” If you’re looking to find a way to play the likes of Beat Saber and Superhot VR, you’ll find it here.

If gaming isn't your thing, there are also a host of interactive experiences, virtual tours, and scientific recreations to check out on the Oculus store. Likewise, there are mindfulness and fitness apps to help you look after yourself, body and soul, so to speak.

Beat Saber_BEAT GAMES

(Image credit: BEAT GAMES)

The real power of the Oculus Quest 2, though, is that it’s two headsets in one. If you’ve got a capable gaming PC (we tested it with a GTX 2070 Super), you’re able to connect to the headset through the Windows Oculus app (you’ll need a long USB-C cable or you can connect wirelessly) and play Oculus Rift and Rift S games through the Oculus Quest 2.

The lack of universal cross-buy we mentioned earlier can make it confusing to remember which platform you’ve purchased things on, but it means you’ll have access to more demanding VR games like Asgard’s Wrath, a mythical Norse adventure.

And that’s not all, because the Oculus Quest 2 will also play nicely with SteamVR. That means if you’ve got a few games with VR modes, either in your Steam library or externally, you’ll be able to enjoy those in VR. We tested the headset with the VR version of Elite Dangerous and the Xbox Game Pass version of Star Wars: Squadrons and had a blast – at least before the VR motion sickness kicked in. So, yes, that means Half-Life: Alyx is very much an option.

Half-Life: Alyx_Valve Corporation

(Image credit: Valve Corporation)

Oculus Quest 2 review: Performance

While the first Oculus Quest was no slouch, the Oculus Quest 2’s increased RAM (6 GB) and new processor (Snapdragon XR2) makes everything buttery smooth. Playing games, bringing up the Oculus menu, and jumping straight into something else is a simple process, and even though there are understandable load times, they’re usually brief.

A firmware update has unlocked the 120 Hz refresh rate on the Oculus Quest 2 as well, making the likes of Superhot VR more fluid. However, developers also need to update to the new refresh rate, but expect to see more of them do that as time goes on.

We’re also quite impressed by the headset’s audio. While you’ll get much more bass from adding your own earbuds, the internal speakers aren’t a hindrance in games that rely on clear audio. You can also stream your viewpoint via a Chromecast.

Finally, a word on storage. Oculus has phased out the 64 GB version, so your options now are 128 GB or 256 GB, with a $100 difference between the two. While more storage is never a bad thing, if you’re looking to play the majority of your games from your PC, you may find that the 128 GB version will be perfectly fine.

Should you buy the Oculus Quest 2?

The Oculus Quest 2 is a compelling package… if you’re okay with sharing your data to Facebook. It’s an all-in-one system that’ll let you jump into any number of games in VR, while also letting anyone with a gaming PC play more demanding games that may already be sitting in their game libraries.

Admittedly, the current ecosystem could do with some fine-tuning, but otherwise it’s an excellent way to jump into VR and explore everything the nascent media has to offer.

Lloyd Coombes freelance tech and fitness writer for Live Science. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as in computer and gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews, Space.com, and TechRadar. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games at Dexerto.com. He also covers board games and virtual reality, just to round out the nerdy pursuits.