If you are looking for a way to experience virtual reality without being tethered to a PC, console or phone, you should consider the Meta Quest 2. This standalone VR headset offers a sleek, comfortable design, a sharp display, a powerful processor, accurate motion tracking, and an impressive game library.
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It also has the option to connect to a PC via an accessory cable for more demanding VR titles. In this post, I will review the Meta Quest 2 and explain why it is the best VR headset you can get right now.
Design and Comfort
The Meta Quest 2 is a bit smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the Oculus Quest. It weighs 17.7 ounces and measures 4.0 by 7.5 by 5.6 inches (HWD), not including the strap. The smooth plastic chassis of the headset is white, while the plastic and foam eye mask behind it are black. The front faceplate is nearly bare except for the four position-tracking cameras along its edge.
The eye mask easily pulls out so you can adjust the position of the lenses or insert a separator that lifts the headset slightly away from your face to accommodate glasses. Even with the separator, however, glasses can make the experience feel awkward if you have particularly large frames.
The headband is a three-point elastic strap that stretches across plastic arms and can pivot slightly up and down. The arms house speakers that pipe sound into your ears without headphones. The top strap connects to the headset with hook-and-loop (Velcro) fasteners, thus letting you adjust how the top of the Quest fits against your face.
The left side of the headset houses a USB-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack, while the right side is home to the power button and an indicator LED. A volume rocker sits underneath the headset, along with two pinhole microphones.
The Meta Quest 2 comes with two controllers that are similar to the Oculus Touch controllers, but with some minor changes. They have a circular tracking ring above the grip instead of below it, and they have a more ergonomic shape. The controllers have trigger buttons, grip buttons, thumbsticks, menu buttons, and system buttons on each side, as well as A/B and X/Y face buttons on the right and left controllers respectively. The controllers are powered by AA batteries and last for about 20 hours of use.
The Meta Quest 2 is designed to be easy to set up and use. You just need to download the Meta app on your smartphone and pair it with the headset via Bluetooth. Then you can create or log into your Meta account (formerly Facebook account) and follow the on-screen instructions to adjust your settings, calibrate your tracking, and set up your play area. You can also access the Meta Store from the app or the headset to browse and buy games and apps for your Quest 2.
The Meta Quest 2 is comfortable to wear for short to medium sessions, but it can get hot and sweaty after prolonged use. You may also need to adjust the straps frequently to find the best fit and balance for your head. Some users may prefer to buy aftermarket accessories such as different straps, face covers, or headphones to enhance their comfort and immersion.
Performance and Display
The Meta Quest 2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor, which is a significant upgrade from the Snapdragon 835 chip in the original Quest. It also has 6GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. These specs allow the Quest 2 to run smoother and faster than its predecessor, as well as support more demanding games and apps.
The display of the Meta Quest 2 is also improved from the original Quest. It has a single LCD panel with a resolution of 1,832 by 1,920 pixels per eye (3,664 by 1,920 pixels combined), which is higher than the dual OLED panels with 1,440 by 1,600 pixels per eye (2,880 by 1,600 pixels combined) in the original Quest. The LCD panel also has less screen-door effect (the visible gaps between pixels) than the OLED panels.
The Meta Quest 2 supports three refresh rates: 72Hz (the default), 90Hz (the recommended), and 120Hz (the experimental). The higher refresh rates provide smoother motion and reduce motion sickness for some users. However, not all games and apps support higher refresh rates yet. You can change your refresh rate from the settings menu on your headset or from the Meta app on your smartphone.
The display of the Meta Quest 2 is bright, sharp, and colorful. It delivers a clear and immersive VR experience that rivals some PC-based headsets. However, it also has some drawbacks compared to OLED panels. For example, it has lower contrast ratio and less vibrant blacks than OLED panels. It also has more noticeable god rays (the glare around bright objects) than OLED panels.
Tracking and Controllers
The Meta Quest 2 uses four cameras on its front faceplate to track your head movement and controller position in six degrees of freedom (6DOF). This means you can move freely in any direction in your play area without external sensors or base stations. The tracking system is accurate and responsive most of the time, but it can lose track of your controllers if they are too close to your face or behind your back.
The controllers of the Meta Quest 2 are intuitive and ergonomic. They fit well in your hands and have textured grips that prevent them from slipping out of your fingers. The buttons are easy to reach and press with your thumbs, while the trigger buttons and grip buttons are responsive and satisfying to use. The controllers also have haptic feedback that adds realism to your interactions in VR.
The controllers of the Meta Quest 2 are compatible with most games and apps on the Meta Store (formerly Oculus Store), as well as some games on SteamVR if you connect your headset to a PC via an accessory cable (more on that later). However, some games may require different controller layouts or mappings that may not be intuitive or comfortable for some users.
Games and Apps
The Meta Quest 2 has an impressive library of games and apps that you can download from the Meta Store or sideload from other sources. You can find games in various genres such as action-adventure (Half-Life: Alyx), horror (Resident Evil 4 VR), rhythm (Beat Saber), puzzle (Superhot VR), simulation (Job Simulator), sports (Eleven Table Tennis), social (VRChat), etc..
You can also find apps for entertainment (Netflix), education (National Geographic Explore VR), productivity (Virtual Desktop), fitness (FitXR), creativity (Tilt Brush), etc.. Some games and apps are exclusive to the Meta Store, while others are cross-platform or cross-buy with other VR platforms such as SteamVR or PlayStation VR.
The games and apps on the Meta Store are optimized for the Meta Quest 2, so they run smoothly and look good on the headset. However, some games and apps may have lower graphics quality or fewer features than their PC-based counterparts.
For example, Half-Life : Alyx on the Meta Quest 2 has lower resolution, texture quality, lighting effects, etc. than on a PC-based headset.
If you want to play more demanding VR games or access more VR content, you can connect your Meta Quest 2 to a PC via an accessory cable called the Link Cable. This cable allows you to use your Meta Quest 2 as a PC-based headset that can run SteamVR games and apps. However, this cable costs $79 extra , requires a compatible USB-C port on your PC , and reduces your mobility in VR.
Alternatively, you can use a wireless streaming app such as Virtual Desktop or Air Link to stream VR content from your PC to your Meta Quest 2 over Wi-Fi. This method does not require a cable, but it does require a fast Wi-Fi connection, a powerful PC, and some technical setup. It also introduces some latency, compression artifacts, or connection issues that may affect your VR experience.
The battery life of the Meta Quest 2 depends on how you use it . According to Meta , it can last around 2-3 hours on a single charge, depending on the game or app you are using. This is enough for most casual users, but hardcore gamers may find it limiting. You can check your battery level from the settings menu on your headset or from the Meta app on your smartphone.
To charge your Meta Quest 2, you need to use the included USB-C cable and power adapter. It takes about 2.5 hours to fully charge the headset from zero. You can also use other USB-C cables or power sources, but they may not charge as fast or as safely as the official ones.
If you want to extend your battery life, you can buy an accessory called the Elite Strap With Battery. This is a replacement strap that has a built-in battery pack that doubles your play time. It also has a more rigid and ergonomic design that improves your comfort and stability. However, this accessory costs $129 extra and adds some weight to your headset.
The Meta Quest 2 is the best VR headset you can get right now for its price, performance, and versatility. It offers a standalone VR experience that does not require any external device or sensor. It has a sleek and comfortable design, a sharp and smooth display, a powerful processor, accurate tracking and controllers, and an impressive game library. It also has the option to connect to a PC for more VR content and quality.
The Meta Quest 2 is not perfect, however. It has some drawbacks such as short battery life, non-rechargeable controllers, lower contrast ratio and god rays than OLED panels, and some tracking issues. It also requires a Meta account (formerly Facebook account) to use, which may raise some privacy concerns for some users.
Overall, the Meta Quest 2 is a great VR headset for beginners and experienced users alike. It is easy to set up and use, and it delivers a clear and immersive VR experience that rivals some PC-based headsets. If you are looking for a way to enter the virtual world without breaking the bank or being tied down by cables, you should consider getting the Meta Quest 2.