REVIEW: Oculus Quest 2

3 minute read

My first taste of VR was a cheap plastic Google Cardboard headset. The Quest 2 is the real deal. After 4 months I confidently say it is worth it, and exceeds expectations.

The good

My first three VR games were Red Matter, The Room VR, and Tokyo Chronos

At this point I’ve completed three games: Red Matter, The Room VR: A Dark Matter, and most recently Tokyo Chronos. All grabbed when they were Oculus daily deals or if I had a discount code.

I have not been disappointed. VR is great for immersion. I love escape room games (hence Red Matter and The Room) which work really well as immersive VR. For a visual novel like Tokyo Chronos, it really makes you feel part of the story, and it really does feel like you’re in an anime.

I was never much into the idea of tethered VR, and now with Oculus Air Link I can use the Quest 2 for PCVR without being connected by USB. I did consider getting the Oculus Link cable but I’m glad I didn’t (saving myself the £89!) because there’s plenty enough to do with just the standalone HMD, and I’ve got Air Link for any of the minimal PCVR I may want to do.

And rather than the headset being merely a peripheral for a VR-capable PC, the Quest 2 is its own standalone unit, i.e. it’s a VR games console. The advantage of that, and the concept of games consoles generally, is that I don’t have to worry about my hardware specs. I don’t have to worry about keeping up with the latest graphics card, of which there is currently a shortage.

The latest graphics card I have access to is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile, which is barely VR capable by today’s standards - but it’s fine for older games or games with low spec requirements. It won’t be the main engine for my VR experience but it’s there if I want it.

The bad and really bad

My main complaint is to do with the ergonomics. The headset is very front-heavy and can quickly become uncomfortable with the included strap, unless I miraculously have it exactly right.

Oculus also sells an Elite Strap that is easier to adjust and is more comfortable. After little more than a week I caved and shelled out for the Elite Strap (with battery), and with it I was having a much better time in VR. In my view, the Elite Strap is not an optional accessory.

This issue must either be down to bad design or a deliberate choice to make you spend more on the headset - i.e. sell the headset at a low price but design it so that if you want to be comfortable, then you have to buy the “Elite Strap”.

The issue with the strap does not end with the Elite Strap either. My Elite Strap with Battery snapped after less than four months, and I’m not alone. The Elite Strap has been plagued with defects since its launch.

image showing snapped Elite Strap

Oculus responded to widespread complaints about Elite Straps snapping by extending the warranty to two years.

I had bought mine directly from Oculus, expecting better service that way. I was wrong about that. They have refused to give me a refund because it’s after 30 days. Instead I’ll be getting a replacement. The kicker is that they do not have stock available at the moment. So I have to wait, and I’m back to using the original strap.

So I’m waiting and don’t have use of the Elite Strap, and yet stilI running down the warranty. Good thing it’s extended, huh?

I really hope that the stock unavailability of the Elite Straps is because Oculus is actually trying to fix the design and/or their manufacturing processes.

Verdict

The Oculus Quest 2 is an amazing bit of tech that’s been let down by poor design in non-tech related areas. It’s like a car designed with the best engine, and the best tech, but without enough thought into everything else.

Overall I don’t regret my purchase of the Quest 2 but if there’s one thing I would have done differently it’s that I would have sought an alternative solution to counterbalance the front-heavy headset, or I would’ve bought the Elite Strap from somewhere else - maybe John Lewis, or even Amazon - so that if it breaks within the warranty period, I could have got a refund more easily.

If I had known about VR Balance before I bought my Elite Strap directly from Oculus, I might have gone for that instead. I still might.

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