Facebook’s Virtual Reality hardware wing, Oculus, recently went live with the release of the update to their, wildly successful, Oculus Quest headset offering – The Oculus Quest 2. Packed with improvements on the original headset, geared towards making it more user friendly, the next generation of the VR industry’s benchmark headset comes out leagues ahead of its predecessor.
Launched on October 13th of 2020, the Oculus Quest 2 isn’t just 10% less weighty than the previous headset in the Quest family, but also a hundred dollars cheaper, at a $299 price point. The device also marks a new direction for the firm behind the Quest headset line, Oculus, as the firm will discontinue all other headsets in their stable, in order to focus on making a single, comfortable, gateway device for new entrants into the VR gaming world. As such, the firm has departed from their trademark, black and have opted for a more distinct, white – making the Oculus 2 easier to distinguish from other VR headset offerings.
Like its forebear, the Quest 2 features Oculus’ proprietary Oculus Insight motion tracking system, but seeing as the Quest 2 is intended to usher in a new era in VR – enabling developers to throw together enhanced VR experiences – the firm has pulled out all the stops regarding hardware capabilities. The Quest 2 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon™ XR2 processing unit, allowing for added AI functionality.
Oculus have also added 6 Gigabytes of RAM to the 503g Quest 2 (the original quest weighed in at 371g), along with increased display resolution, at 1832 × 1920 pixels per eye – second only to HP’s Reverb headset which, it is said, will deliver a 2,160 × 2,160 pixel display to each eye. In addition to offering a 50% more vivid display than its predecessor, the Oculus Quest 2 also processes graphics at 90Hz (no upgrade required), making the headset capable of running system applications; Oculus TV, the Oculus Home Environment, App Store and Browser. Oculus will allow developers to full 90Hz soon, the company says.
Now for the controllers. This area is usually a bone of contention with users. Understandably so, seeing as VR is a fledgling industry, and both hardware, as well as software, developers in the field are still figuring the interface element out. Oculus’ Quest 2 headset comes with a set of freshly minted Touch controllers, which are designs with ergonomics in mind. The company even went as far as forgoing a built-in rechargeable battery, for a standard AA battery – optimised to last four times longer than previous Oculus model’s controller, mind you – because they couldn’t figure out a charging position that wasn’t “awkward”.
VR For The People
From weight distribution, to hardware performance, and design, right down to the price, the Oculus Quest 2 was constructed with the aim of positioning the device as the go-to VR device for new adopters of the technology. It is, essentially, the first of a new generation of VR headset geared towards mass-adoption. A 10% weight reduction to improve portability is one attestation to that fact, but a more obvious one is likely the fact the Quest 2 comes with a built-in IPD (interpupillary distance) adjustment mechanism.
Along with support for a new range of accessory options designed to enhance the duration of headset use, as well as overall comfort, the Quest 2 comes with a Fit Pack; offering interchangeable “facial interfaces” – designed to fit wide and narrow face types
The Future Is Quest
The VR firm have also announced that, following the launch of the Quest 2, they will be putting all their weight behind stand alone VR offerings and essentially sang their PC-connected headset offering – Oculus Rift – a sweet requiem. All games requiring a PC can still be enjoyed through the Oculus Link USB cable, using a Quest.
Global sales of the first Quest headset also ceased with the Quest 2 going on sale, however this does not mean that support for the device has been cancelled. On the contrary, developers will still be able to release titles for the original device.
“Our goal with the original Quest was to bring standalone VR to as many people as possible. We’re doubling down on that goal with Quest 2. It combines the performance gamers want with the flexibility people need, all at a price significantly lower than similarly featured headsets on the market. Quest 2 is more than just the next step in all-in-one VR.” – Oculus