Budding tech industries move quickly and often leave prior products in the dust: it’s the nature of the business.
I’ve said this a lot having covered every major gaming-oriented headset since the first consumer version of the Rift was released in 2016, but: “buyer beware.” Not only are headset manufacturers constantly on edge, but developers are closing down VR studios in recent years after the expected VR boom didn’t match their expectations.
Even still, VR is in a very good spot at this point from a consumer standpoint. So many studios (defunct or otherwise) have contributed to the landscape in a positive way, to the point where we are spoiled for choice when it comes to quality VR games.
The Oculus Quest was one of the most ideal ways to experience that newfound glory, especially if you count the option to tether your headset to your PC for extra juice. The Oculus Quest 2 reaffirms what I said last year about the Quest: this is looking more and more like the future of VR, now.
Product: Oculus Quest 2
Input: One USB-C charger
MSRP: $299 (64GB), $399 (256GB)
Here’s some fast-facts for folks who are looking to upgrade from a Quest  or dive into VR for the first time. First, the value prospect. The Oculus Quest 2 will run you $299.99 for the 64GB version. In 2019 (that’s not that far away!), the original Oculus Quest was $399.99 for 64GB.
The Quest 2 sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor, which is incredibly impressive for the form-factor of the headset. The per-eye display resolution is 1832×1920, with a refresh rate of 72Hz, and the promise of a future update to provide a latent 90Hz. It also sports more RAM (up to 6GB). It’s also 10% lighter (503g), which is absolutely noticeable when wearing a computer on your head for long periods of time. In case you’re curious, you can use the same charger as the original Quest as a backup. The head strap, unfortunately, is a downgrade from the first Quest; utilizing a cheaper Oculus Go-esque strap instead of the premium rubber (an upgrade is available for $50).
So what does this all mean? I’ve spent hundreds of hours with the Quest prior to testing out the new iteration, and the Quest 2 is slightly better in just about every respect, minus the default strap. I noticed that games looked a tad sharper with the new headset and ran more smoothly in a subtle manner. It’s also more comfortable, which is a fairly important factor if you’re going to be using this thing often (and if you’re stuck in your house, you might). That’s all the techy stuff though: the Quest 2 has a few more upgrades and sidegrades.
The new remotes are one of the flashier new additions. Look, I’ve always been a fan of the Touch remotes, ever since they debuted in the Rift line. But the advancements that Oculus has made in recent years have absolutely cemented my love for them. They’re comfortable, intuitive, and easy to use in just about every genre from action RPGs to shooters. Now, the Touch remotes for the Quest 2 are a little snugger to grasp, coupled with the ability to drop controllers altogether and use hand tracking.
This is easily one of the more enticing aspects of the Quest 2. While the Touch remotes are great as a whole, sometimes I just want to boot up my headset and browse the store or mess around with some apps for a few minutes. Having to drain controller batteries and pair them every time for that purpose was annoying, but now you can move your finger around like a pointer and pinch to select elements of the UI. That’s mostly what it’s good for now though: games will “gradually” get controller-free support, but the feature is not widely used outside of menus.
The rest of the Quest experience still holds up. For longer sessions, the tether-less mantra of the device is so easy to vibe with. The speakers are powerful enough to create a sense of immersion with succinct highs and powerful lows and I can’t stress how convenient the lack of a tether is when playing room scale shooters. Even in smaller spaces where you don’t have a lot of room to move, just being able to turn around without getting a cable wrapped around you is bliss. If you’re keen on hooking the Quest 2 up to your PC (just like the Quest), you can buy an $80 link cable (which was not provided for testing).
The Quest 2 still clocks in at roughly two hours of battery life for hard gaming and three hours for video playback. For most people, that’s going to be more than enough. For me — a person who consumes games like mana of life — it can be on the lower side. A lot of games already account for this. Many titles are either level-based experiences (Robo Recall) or episodic (Vader Immortal), with clear act breaks for when you need to give the headset some power love.
Now, playing a lot of those same games (it’s important to note that no big “exclusives” were granted for this assessment because they don’t yet exist) did feel a little better on the Quest 2 thanks to the sharper visuals and better remotes. Even lo-fi titles like Superhot VR felt a little snappier, in fact. It really drives home that the Quest 2 might not be a gargantuan generational leap, but it’s the new standard.
There is something I absolutely need to mention though: as of the Oculus Quest 2, you are required to have a Facebook account. For prior Oculus users such as myself this isn’t really a problem if you’re sticking to previous tech, as you can still access your Oculus account until the end of 2022. For any Quest 2 user, even someone who had said Oculus account, it might be an issue, because the headset forces you to merge the two. If this is a dealbreaker, I completely understand: I just needed to mention it.
If you already own a Quest, there isn’t a huge reason to completely jump ship at this time because there aren’t any “Quest 2 exclusive titles” at the moment. Yet, I fully recommended the original Quest and I will continue to recommend the straight-up-upgrade of the Quest 2. The Quest family is probably the smartest way to get into VR right now and the most future-proof.
Since my Quest 2 review, Logitech has provided us with two recent headsets “designed for the Quest:” the G333 VR Gaming Headphones (ear buds) and the G Pro X headset. Having tested both of them out, I can safely say that the G Pro X is a pretty unique addition to the Oculus line.
The G333 VR buds, like many high-quality buds, offer “VR environment” audio quality, which accounts for directional audio to allow VR games to really sing without bugging anyone around you. But the G Pro X is really what I did the bulk of my testing with, as they are designed around booming lows: many of which are chill-inducing depending on the game. Another perk of the G Pro X: it comes with a tiny little audio cable that’s “Quest ready.”
In short, it’s just long enough to slot into the Quest and allow you to tease the headphones over your head and on your ears, without having the cord hit your head constantly. Having used various headphone solutions in VR for years, this little concession is appreciated: even if you can buy a similar cable yourself. The leatherette cups are very comfortable, which is a pretty important thing to get right if you’re going to try and forget that they exist when inside of the VR realm. I tried them out for multiple hour-long sessions, and they didn’t feel like they were weighing on my head.
Rez Infinite was probably the best possible way to test the Go Pro X, and it passed. The dynamic nature of Rez‘s soundtrack is a great way to get some mileage out of the highs and lows of any potential set of headphones, and the directional audio really helped with the Area X 360 degrees of freedom zone. I finished the entire game with one session with the Go Pro X and never felt annoyed that they were on my ears.
Either way, strapping headphones to the Oculus Quest 2 is the way to go. A set of high quality headphones is far more effective in terms of immersion than the standard in-headset speakers: although I should still note that the Quest 2 projects audio wonderfully, and I will take it any day of the week over nothing.
[A full retail Oculus Quest 2 headset was provided by Oculus VR for testing. Logitech audio was provided after the review period.]