Will Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 bring VR to the masses?

Will Facebook's Oculus Quest 2 bring VR to the masses?

Oculus Quest 2 is Facebook’s next-generation standalone virtual reality headset. Can it compete with XBox Series X / S, PS5 and Switch for your time?

It’s been almost two decades since I strapped into a heavy VM and took a few hesitant steps in a poorly rendered landscape. Over the course of these two decades, the cellphone market has revolutionized all the technologies needed to make virtual reality a reality – from dense, fast screens to blazingly fast processors and audio systems capable of delivering bass response from the most small spaces.

So here we are, the Oculus Quest 2.

Facebook’s latest standalone headset is a marvel. Sleek, lightweight, well-made, and if you’re new to the whole experience indistinguishable from magic.

Equipment

The pale gray headset comes in two models – 64GB and 256GB at $ 299 / $ 399 respectively – and is nicely packaged with a pair of controllers to control your crawling. VR experiences in the Oculus Store are surprisingly memory efficient, so the 64GB model should be adequate for most uses. The exceptions will be if you plan on loading a ton of personal media, but our recommendation would be to go for the smaller version and use the extra $ 100 on content.

Oculus Pack Shot 700
The packaging alludes to style and sophistication and has learned many lessons from Apple.

Built on the Snapdragon XR processor with 6GB of RAM and a single 1832 x 1920 display, split across the two lenses, the Quest 2 is the lightest of the current generation of VR headsets.

The adjustable fabric strap is comfortable and an insert allows goggles inside the helmet. Lenses can be set to one of three positions to manage focus. In practice, we found the picture to be clear and were able to load a web browser in the “home” environment (which, again, seemed magical) and could read text on web pages without any issues.

Oculus 700 PhotosOculus 700 Photos
The web browser is capable of rendering complex sites, including Google Photos. We couldn’t find a way to download from local storage, however.

We got fogged up a few times at the start of a session, but it cleared up as we went along.

Sound is covered by a pair of tiny speakers in the headband which do a good job, but there’s also a very welcome headphone jack next to the USB-C slot, which is used to charge or connect the headphones to. your PC for additional gaming experiences. Tied to a decent PC, it works like an Oculus Rift.

Both controllers are comfortable to hold for long periods of time and have must-have straps to keep them anchored to your wrist. The suspenders are a little thin, but they are a safety measure rather than something to keep tight on the wrist at all times. They are also replaceable which is good.

Oculus Config 700Oculus Config 700
The standard menu overlay is available in all applications.

Both controllers have a stick, two buttons, and two triggers (for index and middle fingers), and the device on the right has an Oculus button, which is used for menu operations and re-centering the screen in your House. Each works with AA batteries, which are included. We’d like a little more consistency in use with controllers, but getting used to gripping with the index finger rather than the middle finger is a small adjustment. Presumably, as developers become more familiar with the system, these methods will become standardized. And if you’re not a fan of controllers, you can switch to “manual mode” which takes some getting used to.

Oculus Hands 700Oculus Hands 700
If controllers aren’t your thing, it’s possible to control almost everything just with your hands. It can be tiring though.

The most important factor in hardware is comfort over long periods of time, and once you have the headset properly adjusted to your head and you are done seeing an accurate representation of the controllers “in game” without your hand attached, that’s fine.

The headset’s battery life in our first tests was good for around two hours of intense gaming, but you can also play attached to a USB C power cable (get a long one – the included cable is too much). short) if you need more time.

Interface

Your first virtual reality experience may actually be augmented reality (AR), as the headset will pass through your real environment so that you can set up a Guardian perimeter, thus avoiding walking into walls or tripping over tables. It’s good enough for detecting ground level and highlighting obstacles in your play space.

Oculus Web 2,700Oculus Web 2,700
The new tab button opens new windows, so you can literally be surrounded by the web.

Note: The new quest includes the need to log in with a Facebook account, so if you don’t have one, you’ll be prompted to create one.

Once you have a safe space to play, you are presented with your “home”: a 3D rendered room with spectacular views and comfortable furnishings. At this point, we wondered why anyone would buy a TV again! This feeling was only made worse by installing and launching the Youtube, Netflix and Amazon Prime apps. Each offers you a breathtaking environment to watch your giant screen. Bonus points at Netflix, because their in-game sofa was the same color as ours, which improved the feeling of being there.

You can adjust the home environment with a selection of scenarios including a sci-fi space station, ski lodge, cyber town, and others. You can also hack into your own spaces, but that’s not yet part of the main interface.

Pressing the Oculus button on the correct controller brings up your main menu where you can configure various items, connect with Oculus owner friends (Facebook), take photos or videos, and basically play around with your surroundings.

Oculus Home 700Oculus Home 700
The store contains a selection of free and paid games, movies and experiences.

The Store inevitably brings you to a shopping area with many different experiences. There is a good range of free stuff and paid options, with demos available to try before you buy. The store’s refund policy – available within 14 days if you’ve played for less than two hours – is very generous and gives you plenty of time to really check out a title before committing.

Some apps

We first installed a pair of free tutorial games to master the controllers and a feeling of being somewhere else, then watched a pair of Jurassic Park shorts, which were so incredibly lifelike we were really worried about being knocked over. by an apatosaurus. or chewed by a T-Rex.

Oculus Trek 700Oculus Trek 700
Quiet, relaxed and really nice. Nature Treks VR offers a range of natural environments in which to bask in.

We then installed a few paid apps: Nature Treks VR and Tripp, both of which offer you different environments to explore in an effort to promote mindfulness and meditation. It’s hard not to use the breathtaking phrase every five minutes because these experiences are so new.

Oculus Cinema 700Oculus Cinema 700
The big screen cinema experience can be enhanced by randomly drawing things anywhere in 3D.

Finally, we considered broadcasting local media on the Big screen beta (You will need a standard USB-to-USB C cable to transfer media files from a computer to the device.) After five minutes of Pitch Perfect 3 at IMAX screen size with dynamic lighting in the room, we forgot we were sitting at the dining room table at home.

Conclusion

The Quest 2 firmly places VR in the same price bracket as a new XBox, PS5, or Switch, but offers a very different experience than traditional games. It’s more lonely at the moment and looks perfect for two extremes of the game – the first-person shooter and the calming mindfulness app – and for watching media at screen sizes that would be inconceivable in the world. most homes.

Oculus Youtube 700Oculus Youtube 700
YouTube VR offers stunning videos that make you feel like you’re flying.

As the platform grows, whole new experiences will become available, but if you’re in the mood for standard AAA gaming, one of the next-gen consoles will likely be a better proposition for now.

However, if you are fascinated by the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčtechnology and intrigued by how it can affect play and work in the future, this is the most cost effective way to step in the cottage door of ski.

It’s exciting, potentially stimulating, and a great way to watch your media. And at the very least, listening to someone play Tripp for the first time is great fun, even if you can’t be there yourself.

If, however, you prefer a cheaper, more affordable VR headset, here are some great choices.

Related:

Andy Channelle

Andy Channelle is a writer and web developer who has written for Linux Format, Mac Format, 3D World, and others, and has also published bestselling books on Ubuntu Linux and OpenOffice.org. He recently worked on web projects and campaigns for the International Red Cross and the UN. It produces – but hardly ever publishes – electronics under the name Collision Detector. Andy lives in Wales, UK.

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