Finally back in stock after a lengthy, Covid-19 and consumer demand fueled, vacation from store shelves. Along with a few extra goodies added in the way of features, the Oculus Quest may well be representative of the best that is available in the Virtual Reality headsets market.
When looked at through the eyes of the everyday consumer, VR goggles can be a little intimidating, or even unnecessary. This can – in part – be blamed on people’s general aversion to complexity. The Oculus Quest – nestled between it’s stable mates, the PC powered Oculus Rift and the self contained Oculus Go – combines the best of both to provide console-like ease of use.
What’s All The Hype About?
Since it was launched last year, the Oculus Quest has shown a lot of promise. As the third offering from Facebook’s virtual reality development wing, the Oculus Quest marks the company’s first shot at combining their experience in the development of VR headsets and software into one offering. It offers a more up to date experience than the Oculus Go, while offering greater ease of use than the Oculus Rift.
Apart from the $400 (in its simplest format) price tag, the Quest has done a wonderful job of breaking the barriers to entry. Facebook’s third generation VR headset does not need a PC, there is no need to install tracking sensors around the room, the Oculus Quest does a great job of tracking the user with its own cameras.
Upon powering it up in a new room you wish to play in, the Quest will display a real time feed of the room in black and white. You will then be required to use the handheld controller to mark the “safe area” you would like to play in. This should make travel arrangements for the device a lot easier.
Under its skin, the Oculus Quest runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor. Though Facebook likely could have opted for the more up to date 845, or even the 855, it is quite likely that retail price targets had a role to play in the final decision.
Another feature that might not feel satisfactory for a device of the Quest’s calibre is that it only has 4GB of RAM at disposal. Some users are of the view that this limits the abilities of the Quest’s multitasking features.
Whether that is the case or not, it is a little disappointing when you consider the fact that the Oculus Quest uses the very same LPDDR4 RAM that has become a standard in most smartphones. A little more shouldn’t be too costly for a company of Facebook’s scale to acquire.
That said, the Oculus Quest features two 1400×1600 resolution Pentile OLED displays for each eye to view your virtual world of choice through.
The Quest is still made available in two formats, the $399 64GB and the 128GB version that goes for $499. Both ship with the headset and two handheld controllers. When taking the supply shortage into consideration, it is not very likely that the price will come down anytime soon.
Other Notable Features
One of the Quest’s new features is hand-tracking. Although it is not unique to the Oculus Quest and doesn’t help with much more than navigating a few simple apps and the Quest’s user interface, it has a lot of potential as it offers developers the option of building games that use hand tracking as opposed to the handheld controllers.
As much as the Oculus Quest is marketed as a full stand-alone VR experience, users who have access to a high-end PC can really maximise the Quest’s VR experience with the help of a Oculus Link USB-C cable. Yes, it can be tethered to a PC to run a game like Half-life Alyx for example.
The Oculus Quest is quite a well rounded product, however, there might be some room for improvement on the internal hardware front. That is something that a later model could and probably will address. For now, one could summarise it as being very close to magic.