Following the recent launch of the Oculus
Quest 2, there has never been a better time to immerse yourself in the world of
VR. And yes, I say this knowing full well that consumer VR experiences are in
their relative infancy. VR as a technology has been around for a long time, of
course. But it was not until Oculus, now owned by Facebook, brought the Oculus
Rift to Kickstarter that the modern VR movement began to take off. Now just a
handful of years later, the Oculus Quest 2 propels the category forward in a
big way by combining a standalone form factor with the flexibility of plugging
it into a PC.
Oculus considers the Oculus Quest 2 to be its
"most advanced all-in-one VR headset" to date, and that is an
accurate description. It is also arguably the best VR headset for many people,
especially first-time VR users, because the cost of entry is relatively reasonable at $299. That gets you the version
with 64GB of onboard storage. There is also a 256GB model that costs $399. For comparison,
the first-generation Oculus Quest debuted at $399 for the 64GB model and $499
for the 128GB model.
Which version should you opt for? Well, apps
and games typically range in size from a few hundred megabytes (like Bait!,
which is just over 200MB) to around a couple of gigabytes (like Dance Central
VR, which is 2.78GB). There are exceptions in either direction—Netflix and
YouTube VR are each in the neighborhood of 90MB, while Arizona Sunshine is just
over 4.5GB. Bear in mind there is no way to expand the built-in storage. If you
anticipate installing many apps and especially some of the bigger games, the
256GB model is the wiser choice. Otherwise, the 64GB model is more affordable,
with still enough room for at least a dozen apps and games, depending on their
Oculus also unveiled a Quest 2 Elite Strap for $49. This increases
balance and support for added comfort and has a nifty dial to adjust the fit a
cinch. I'd recommend springing for this upgrade if you can swing it. Or for
$129, Oculus sells the Quest 2 Elite Strap bundled with a built-in battery pack
and carrying case if you anticipate spending several hours at a time in VR.
Otherwise, it is more of a luxury add-on than a necessity.
Oculus Quest 2
1832x1920 per eye
1440x1600 per eye
72Hz initially (90Hz later)
Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
64GB or 256GB
64GB or 128GB
Built-in + 3.5mm jack
191.5 x 102 x 142.5mm
193 x 105 x 222 mm
Compared to the original Oculus Quest, this
second-generation model offers 50 percent more pixels. It also sports a faster
processor and more RAM, it is lighter on the noggin, and eventually will have a
faster refresh rate to boot. Oculus intends to push out a firmware update that
will bump the resolution to 90Hz, which is the same as the HTC Vive Cosmos and
HP Reverb G2.
Interestingly, Facebook is making it a
requirement to link the Oculus Quest 2 headset to a Facebook account. The only
exception is if you already have a separate Oculus account—you can choose to
merge it with your Facebook account or keep them separate until January 1,
2023. If you do not link your accounts after that date, it could potentially
break some experiences.
Since the hardware is built into the Oculus
Quest 2, it does not need tethering to a PC. It falls into the standalone (or
all-in-one) category. This is also true of the tracking—inside-out tracking
means the built-in cameras and sensors track your position and movements,
rather than having to clutter your living room or designated VR space with base
stations. It is a truly wireless solution and one of the biggest appeals of the
Oculus Quest 2. It's essentially a mobile VR headset.
The disadvantage of an all-in-one design is
that the built-in hardware pales in comparison to a high-end PC. Headsets like
the Valve Index, for example, must be connected to a computer and are powered
by the system's components (CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage). There are other
advantages with the Index as well (higher refresh rate and better tracking),
but it requires a substantially higher investment—$999 for the full kit, which
includes the headset, controllers, and base stations. Plus, the cost of a PC.
That said, one of the neatest things about the
Oculus Quest 2 is the option to connect it to a PC as well if desired. This
feature is called Oculus Link, and while it is not quite the best of both
worlds, it is undoubtedly a compelling proposition that makes the Oculus Quest
2 even more intriguing. To do this, you need a high-quality USB 3.x Type-C
cable (or USB Type-C to Type-A). Alternatively, Oculus sells a (pricey)
fiber-optic Oculus Link cable for $79.99.
If you plan to go this route, you will want to
make sure your PC meets the recommended requirements. Fortunately, you don't
need an uber-powerful and/or ultra-expensive setup. Just the following:
Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD Ryzen 5
1500X or better
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Super or
AMD Radeon RX 400 series or better
1x USB port
Oculus maintains a list of currently supported GPUs and ones that
are not supported, like the GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, GTX 1060M, and GTX 1650
(non-Super). In short, though, any relatively modern PC should be good to go.
If going the prebuilt route, you can find
compatible PCs that cost less than a grand, like the Acer Predator Orion 3000 (Core i5-10400F,
GeForce GTX 1650 Super, 12GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD) for $949.99. Or, if building
your own, you could assemble a capable PC for even less. Micro Center has a
bunch of CPU and motherboard bundles that are good starting points. To give an
example, here's a system I came up with on a sub-$800 budget:
Intel Core i5-9600F and Gigabyte B365 Ultra combo:
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 1650 Super Windforce OC: $169.99
16GB (2x8GB) Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3200: $69.99
1TB WD Blue NVMe SSD: $104.99
NZXT H510 Mid-Tower Case: $69.99
EVGA 650BQ 650W 80 Plus Bronze PSU: $79.99
You can order this exact build from our Custom PC Builder. Add on Same Day Pro Assembly to be ready for gaming the moment you leave the store!
The total cost is just north of $700 (plus Windows 10, if needed). This would be sufficient to play a game like
Half-Life: Alyx, though if you can swing a higher-end GPU (like a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti or better), you can play
more comfortably at higher settings.
The bottom line is, the Oculus Quest 2 is
worth looking into if you want to dive into VR without spending a fortune. It
combines the convenience of an all-in-one form factor with the option of
plugging it into a PC for expanded experiences. It's not perfect—Facebook's
push to tie the headset to a social media account feels overbearing—but
overall, this is a great place to start your VR journey.
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