Talk me into (or out of) an Oculus Quest 2

Earlier this week my father in law was visiting for dinner, and somehow we got on the subject of VR headsets. I have to admit that it’s not something I’ve given much thought to before, but after reading some reviews I’ve come to the conclusion that I absolutely have to have an Oculus Quest 2. I read several positive reviews, the price seems reasonable (about the same ballpark as a gaming console) and it looks like they have a good selection of games and apps, also reasonably priced.

Any folks out there that would recommend it? Or not? Or a different headset instead?

The main downside is that it’s owned and controlled by Facebook. They collect a creepy amount of data about what they’re doing, they force you to use a facebook account to use your gaming hardware, and if you ever run afoul of them for any reason, my understanding is that they can basically make your device useless/non-functional and take away/invalidate your game library.

They also have a bad attitude towards open platforms and usability. Most VR headsets comply with various OpenVR standards so that any game/any game store/any headset can all be used interchangeably. Not so with Oculus. They want to force you onto their store, to only use their headset. You have to use software tricks to be able to play games from other sources. I’m not sure if this is still the case, but years ago they even tried to segregate their player base, keeping people who bought their games from the oculus store (which they required) from playing in multiplayer with people who bought the game on more open platforms.

Oculus makes some good, affordable hardware, but I am not going to be buying a facebook device to strap to my face and let into my home and play under their control and at their pleasure. Oculus policies are controlling and anti-consumer.

I’m not very up to date on current VR hardware, but I’ve seen some WMR (windows mixed reality) headsets for around that price or a little cheaper.

Keeping things short and punchy, I was interested in the Oculus system only so long as John Carmack was involved. (That’s a guy who had a pretty good knack for efficient gaming programming.)

He’s recently taken an “advisory” role with Oculus development. Aaaaand there’s all the disturbing privacy issues Senor Beef has mentioned above, which would have been at the forefront of my response had they not systematically covered it already.

If you plan on doing PC gaming, I’d suggest something from HTC. The Vive (and newer models) integrate with Steam. There’s some good motion-tracking aspects to it as well, and you can get Wii-Fit-like games if that’s also your jam, over and above total immersion.

Me? I plan on getting something from HTC for iRacing, in due time. Unless there’s another third-party option that’s better. I haven’t looked that closely.

After I posted my question this morning, I saw a TV ad for the Quest 2 and saw “by Facebook” and I immediately thought “nope, screw that.” I will have to check out the HTC and others.

This seems to be true. Certainly Facebook is being very creepy here. Given the cost I would not chance it and go with another VR manufacturer.

Yeah, Facebook was the end of me looking at an Oculus.

So I was thinking of getting a VR headset and I haven’t looked and what was available in years. I just assumed there would be non-facebook competitors around the same price range that were similar in quality. But… that doesn’t appear right now to be the case. You can do better, but you need to pay twice as much to get there. I can’t find any good options between the $300 Quest 2 and $600 HP Reverb. (I also haven’t looked very hard yet, so if there’s something there, please let me know)

The quest 2 is also unique in that it has enough processing power on board that it can run games independent of a PC, which definitely gives it some added versatility. I don’t have much room in my PC room to do roomscale stuff, but if I could take it to another room and run it independently of the PC I could do stuff there. Or take it over someone else’s house that doesn’t have a gaming pc and play with it together. Definitely a cool feature.

So… I’m going to say… maybe… to the quest 2. I hate everything about facebook owning oculus, and if there was an alternative that was similarly priced and capable, or even if it were a somewhat worse value (rather than double the price) I’d recommend that. But it may be that there’s nothing even in the Quest 2’s class right now, which then makes it a harder decision.

The fact that it’s so good for so cheap makes me wonder if it’s a loss leader for facebook to spy on you in unprecedented ways, though. But then again, I guess, it’s not that different from google having a microphone and camera with you at all times on their smartphone.

Incidentally, the Rift S (also oculus) is on sale right now for the same price. I was going to compare those too. The rift is going to be losing support in the future (I’m not sure exactly what this means) in favor of the Oculus Quest 2, which is where they’re going to focus all their efforts. It may or may not be better hardware. It’s apparently more comfortable, with better straps and ergonomics, better fresnel lenses, but less resolution and no off-pc capability.

That is another thing that I never thought about. If I am going to have any sort of gear strapped to my head I want to be sure it is comfortable. Buying a headset and then finding out there is something that chaffs would suck.

Assuming there was no covid, is there anywhere to test these things out?

I’m in sort of the same place where I’m interested in trying VR but none of the few options feel really satisfying for the price. Plus the whole Facebook thing. Being able to work independently isn’t a selling point since I have a high end PC so the ability to use comparatively low-end internal processing doesn’t mean much to me. I’m also not planning on dancing around my room with it or taking it to anywhere so a few cords don’t bother me either.

Buuuuuttt… my options feel like the Oculus Quest 2 for $300 with the issued described above or the $600 HP Reverb G2. That’s not even getting into things like the $1000 Valve system. I’d tell myself to just shelf it for now but I don’t see hints that this is going to change at all, especially with Facebook trying to muscle anyone else out of the market and discontinuing Rift support to force users into its ecosystem.

I think your best bet is going to a Best Buy.

I know in Chicago there are some other places to try VR and there was a Samsung store in New York where they let you try their VR (with their phones). Depends where you live. You will have the best luck near a big city.

For what it’s worth, you can also plug the Quest 2 into your PC and use it like a Rift. I tend to prefer using my Quest this way because offloading much of the processing to the computer means bigger worlds and deeper games are possible.

I live in Toronto but there is a current Covid lockdown. And I have not looked. I should do a little research for when the world returns to normal.

I know this thread is from last month but here’s my 2 cents:

My son got an original Quest last summer. Enjoyed it so much he upgraded to the Quest 2 last month. I’ve played both quite a bit.
My opinion, find an original used on Ebay or elsewhere. You can pick one up now for a little over $200.
They improved with the Q2 in only two ways IMHO. It’s lighter and the graphics are a tad sharper.
They did however “cheap out” on the Q2 in a lot of ways which was really disappointing. The original had solid rubber straps to keep it on your head which worked great. The Q2 switched to some type of stretch bands which are pretty crappy. They know this so they also sell an optional “elite strap” that’ll run you $50.
The original also had had nice fabric covered padding where the unit pressed against your face. The Q2 has switched to a cheaper foam like you might find on a ski mask.
Most disappointing though is that they downgraded the screen type. The original had OLED screen while the Q2 went with LCD. OLED has the ability to make black literally be the absence of light. LCD is a dimly lit “gray”. Which IMHO is a huge part of the VR experience. With OLED you can experience standing in a completely dark room, hear Darth Vader breathing, and suddenly have the VR environment lit up as Darth turns on his light saber making you squint at the change in lighting.
With LCD you kind of are standing in an already lit gray fog as that happens.
So, if you still are in the market for a set and don’t see using it for more than 90 minutes per session (about how long I can wear the original before the weight is too much) find an original and buy it.

So, guess what my girlfriend got me for Christmas.

So, the facebook thing is absolutely a concern and a valid reason not to buy a quest 2. I’m not going to talk anyone out of that, and I’m not very comfortable with that myself.

But… other than that… it’s actually really amazing. I like it better than I thought I would. I love that it’s completely self contained and I can throw it in a bag and take it over to her place to play it even though there’s no gaming PC there. I love that I don’t have to fool with tracking stations or anything like that. The stuff that runs on the headset itself is pretty good - it has surprisingly beefy processing power. Tracking has been perfect. Guardian system works really well. Controllers are solid.

I also hooked it up to my PC via the virtualdesktop wireless link method, and that works more or less perfectly. Some people said to expect lag and compression artifacts but that hasn’t been my experience. It’s surprisingly robust. The total latency even factoring in the wireless transmission is very low and practically not noticible. But I have the freedom to run better versions of games and other programs on my PC and stream it wirelessly to the quest which is something that only the Index can do, and even then you have to pay for a $300 expansion card (which is the cost of the whole quest system).

So… the Facebook issue is a huge one, but other than that, it’s pretty amazing. I’m thinking I may end up modding it a lot with stuff like prescription lens inserts, different face masks, better strap, etc.

I think you’re underselling the differences. The Quest is powered by a Snapdragon 835, and the Quest 2 is the 865 plus extra VR processing. That’s 3 years newer in processing tech, although apparently the CPU runs underclocked relative to what it’s capable of, so the difference isn’t as stark as that suggests. This gives a technical comparison, suggesting that the Oculus 2 is about 50% faster in CPU speed and about double (100% faster) in GPU speed, as well as 50% more ram.

You’re right that going to OLED to LCD is a downgrade in black level and contrast. But it’s a significant upgrade in another way - both because of the higher resolution and the pixel layout, it pretty much gets rid of the screen door effect, which is a significant problem in VR. Here’s a close up comparison of text. The Quest 2 runs at 90 hz compared to 72 for the Quest 1, a significant difference.

Of course, you’ve used them both and I haven’t, so you may be right, but I do think the Q2 has more benefits than you’re listing.

We got my daughter a Quest 2 for Christmas. I just played the first episode of Vader Quest. A lot of fun. Got a little bit of a headache after about a half-hour.