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Oculus Quest 2 Review: A Great Next Step For Oculus VR

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The Oculus Quest 2 is a great improvement on the original, even if it doesn't feel like a mandatory upgrade from the Quest 1.

The Oculus Quest is a special device. While it doesn't match up with the beefiest of VR-ready PCs, it's still able to compete with them in the experience it provides, thanks primarily to the wireless freedom it grants its user. Playing a VR game without worrying about a cable or external sensors is liberating in a way that makes it significantly easier to lose yourself in an experience for hours--or at least until the battery dies. Of course, there's also the option to connect the Quest to a PC and enjoy virtual worlds that demand a wired headset. There's no doubt that the Quest is one of the most exciting gadgets of the past few years, and now it has a successor that improves on it in almost every way.

The Oculus Quest 2 has a faster processor, more RAM, and higher-resolution lenses that will eventually support a 90Hz refresh rate--at launch, you'll be able to use system software like the headset's Home menus and Browser in 90Hz as an experimental feature. The increased resolution brings the lenses up to 1832x1900 from the original's 1600x1440. The Quest 2 definitely has the hardware to be a worthy successor and the potential for unique experiences that wouldn't be possible on the original Quest. However, Oculus plans to continue supporting its first all-in-one headset for the foreseeable future, releasing games that work on both headsets.

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The Oculus Quest 2 is the most comfortable VR headset I've ever worn. As someone who wears glasses nearly 100% of the time, VR can cause me quite a bit of discomfort. Putting on a headset isn't always a convenient or comfortable experience, and taking it off may cause my glasses to fall to the floor or get stuck in the confines of the face shield. With the Quest 2, I haven't had that issue--it's extremely easy to take off this headset and put it back on quickly. It's also noticeably smaller and lighter than the original Quest, making it easier to wear for longer.

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Setting up the Quest 2, on the other hand, was a little more cumbersome. The interpupillary distance toggle is now relegated to three positions, which you have to adjust by moving the lenses themselves. It would normally require you to take the headset off; however, I was able to slip my fingers up my cheeks and into the headset to adjust this while in VR. When I set the distance between my eyes properly, things still looked slightly blurry. At this point, I had to readjust and re-tighten the headset's strap, which works a bit differently from all of Oculus' previous headsets--the headstrap now features two tighteners, which work similarly to a backpack's straps. As someone who's very familiar with Oculus's headset lineup, the change in strap design took some time to get used to, though once I finally had it set perfectly, I was up and running with no issue.

If you're intimately familiar with the original Quest, you'll notice the increase in resolution immediately. Despite the change from Dual OLED to fast-switch LCD displays, the Quest 2 provides a beautiful view. Games like Pistol Whip and Beat Saber look crisp, and the smaller, lighter build of the Quest 2 makes playing for longer sessions more comfortable and feasible. The slightly larger Touch controllers also offer a place for your thumb to rest when not in use--this is a big improvement for games like Beat Saber, which just have you waving the controllers around. And the accuracy of the controllers and headset tracking feels as great as ever, completely unchanged from the Quest 1. Pairing these usability improvements with the increased specs make for an enjoyable experience that will keep me from returning to the original Quest.

Playing games like Pistol Whip and Superhot VR is as fun as it is on the original Quest as well. I had a great time testing out upcoming games like Rez Infinite and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, both of which I've played previously while wired to a PC. The wireless freedom was much appreciated in The Walking Dead, as stabbing and swinging my blades forcefully to puncture zombie skulls was much more intuitive without a cable getting in the way. The Quest version is much less graphically impressive than the PC VR version, but playing wirelessly is worth the compromise.

Oculus will continue to support the first Quest, and for the time being, all games will be playable on both headsets. The Quest and Quest 2 will also share player polls, which is great for multiplayer games like the upcoming battle royale Population: One. Quest 1 users have no reason to be unhappy about the Quest 2 launch, especially since the games I've seen and tested don't make the new headset's game performance feel substantially different from its predecessor--just an improved experience in terms of build quality and visual fidelity. How the Quest 2 and Oculus's plan evolves remains to be seen, but as of now, Quest 1 users will still be able to enjoy a lot of great games in the near future.

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Connecting to a PC via Oculus Link--which will be out of beta with the Quest 2's release--also works great, and if you're familiar with using a Quest in conjunction with your PC, then you'll know exactly what to expect. You can connect the Quest 2 to your PC using a compatible USB-C cable--which is sold separately--to gain access to the entire Oculus Rift library as well as everything on Steam, the Epic Games Store, and more. There are a ton of great PC VR games like Half-Life: Alyx, Stormland, and more that are definitely worth checking out, and the Quest 2 handles them deftly. It's not as accurate or as high-end as the Valve Index, but it's still a great VR headset that excels at both wireless and wired PC experiences without the frustrating setup of external sensors.

With the release of the Quest 2, Oculus plans to discontinue the original Quest. The new Quest 2 costs $299 for the 64GB model and $399 for the 256GB model, the latter of which is double the original headset's largest storage option. These prices are also $100 less than both of the previous models. The 256GB model is definitely tempting, but 64GB is enough to store 10-20 games, depending on the size. For everything you get with the Quest 2--from its freeing wireless experience to the ability to connect to a PC and play games like Half-Life: Alyx--$299 is an incredible price.

The Oculus Quest 2 is an excellent VR headset that is well worth your time and money, especially if you don't already own the original headset. For those looking to upgrade, it's a little more complicated. The Quest 2's improvements are definitely noticeable and appreciated, but they'd feel a lot more impactful if the Quest 1 wasn't already such a great VR headset. At the moment, it's not necessary to upgrade; you won't be unhappy with your Quest 1 any time soon--the eventual 90Hz update could be a real game changer. However, if you do choose to snag the Quest 2, you'll be picking up an improved version of one of the best VR headsets out there. Just temper your expectations for anything truly groundbreaking.

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