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The Meta Quest 2 is the best value VR headset you can buy, with a wireless connection and integrated chip removing the need to spend big on a gaming PC or console.
The Meta Quest 2 may not be the best VR headset in terms of specs, but it strikes a perfect balance between accessibility and performance to make it a more viable option for most people than a Vive Cosmos or PlayStation VR 2 headset.
The biggest selling point here is the fact it uses a wireless design and an internal processor, with no need to tether to a powerful console or PC in order to play VR games. Not only does this make the headset more accessible to the masses, but also lowers the overall required cost.
And while fierce rivals have appeared in recent years, including the Pico 4, few headsets can compete with Meta’s ever-growing library following acquisitions of the studios behind Beat Saber, Iron Man VR and the Resident Evil 4 port.
With the Quest 2 entering its third year, and a Quest 3 expected to arrive before the end of the year, is it still worthy of a place in our best VR headset ranking? Here are my thoughts.
Price and Availability
The Meta Quest 2 originally arrived in stores back on the 13th of October and is available to buy right now.
It originally launched with a £299/$300 starting price for the 128GB configuration. At this price point, the Quest was an absolute bargain.
Unfortunately, Meta has since decided to increase the price. You’ll now have to pay at least £399/$400 for the Quest 2, which represents a £100/$100 price hike. As a result, the Meta Quest 2 isn’t such a great bargain anymore, but it’s still one of the most affordable VR headsets on the market.
It may be worth checking out the slightly more expensive 256GB model instead. Meta is currently selling it for £429.99/$429.99.
Specs and Performance
- Can run multiple games independently
- Oculus Link cable unlocks more power via gaming PC
- Inside-out tracking removes the need for external sensors
The Meta Quest 2 is more powerful than its predecessor, featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor and 6GB RAM. That’s still mobile-grade performance, so don’t expect the new Quest to be able to run more demanding games, such as Asgard’s Wrath and Half-Life: Alyx without being plugged into a gaming PC.
However, there are still lots of great games than can run on the Quest, with the extra grunt ensuring a smoother performance and generating more pixels to take advantage of the 1832 x 1920 per-eye resolution – that’s a higher pixel count than the more expensive Vive Cosmos and Oculus Rift S VR headsets.
In-game worlds immediately look sharper, making it more difficult to see those immersion-shattering screen door effects. The odd game, such as Thumper, still sees a bit of pixelation among all the hypnotic visual effects, but the likes of Beat Saber, Robo Recall and Tetris Effect all look outstanding with bright colours and clear detail.
That screen resolution isn’t quite as impressive three years later. The Pico 4 now offers a 2160 x 2160 resolution per eye, while the PlayStation VR 2 flaunts a 2000 x 2040 resolution per eye as well as an OLED screen for punchier colour. But while it’s no longer a key strength of the Quest 2, it still offers sharp enough screen quality to prevent me from calling it a weak point.
The Quest 2 is also capable of plugging into a gaming PC via the Oculus Link cable (sold separately for £89), which is basically just a 5-metre USB-C to USB-C connector. You have to make sure your gaming PC or laptop has a USB-C port, but if it does, you’ll gain access to a huge library of VR games that are too demanding for the Quest when operating independently. Asgard’s Wrath looked incredible with the Quest 2, with a flawlessly smooth performance.
Meta has improved the performance of the Quest 2 since its release too, upping the 72fps refresh rate cap to an impressive 120Hz. This means supported games will be capable of presenting smoother motion, which not only looks better but also reduces the likelihood of causing motion sickness.
Meta has cranked up the max storage option to a whopping 256GB. The base 128GB option should be plentiful enough for the majority of players though, as most games and applications take up less than 1GB of space, while Robo Recall is one of the most demanding at just 3.51GB. That said, the price difference between the two configurations isn’t large at all.
Like its predecessor, the Meta Quest 2 features inside-out tracking, which means it can track your movement without the need for external sensors. It’s surprisingly accurate too, with even the slightest head turn registered with pinpoint accuracy. I still can’t get over how easy this headset is to set up – literally pull it over your face and you’re good to go.
There are two options for play: room-scale and stationary. The former offers the best experience by far, allowing you to move around and dodge incoming enemy attacks, but not everyone has the required 6.5ft x 6.5ft floor space for this. Fortunately, most games support a stationary mode, so you can still play even if you have limited space. In-game boundaries pop up if you do come too close to a collision, preventing you from smashing into a wall or a TV.
The Quest 2 also supports hand tracking, which means you technically don’t need the bundled controllers to play select games. While the technology sure is impressive, it’s not quite accurate enough to provide the same immersive experience as controllers. I recommend sticking to controllers for now, but the prospect of being able to use your hands is certainly exciting.
The Meta Quest 2 is lacking a few features that you can get with the new Meta Quest Pro model (such as eye tracking, mixed reality and colour passthrough), but I don’t think they’d offer a significant enough improvement to justify the extra cost – at least not for the average gamer. But that could change when the Meta Quest 3 potentially launches later this year. We don’t know what sort of upgrades to expect just yet, but it does mean you’re probably best off waiting a few months before making a final decision.
The only area that Meta hasn’t improved substantially is the battery life. The headset lasts just over 2 hours of game time (and around 3 hours for video content), which is more or less the same stamina as the original headset. You can get better longevity with rival headsets, such as the Pico 4.
You can technically keep playing with the headset plugged into a power source, but the bundled charging cable is far too short. You could buy your own USB-C to USB-C charging cable (the Oculus Link cable is a good shout), but it feels like a needless extra expense.
- Quest 2 is 10% lighter than the original headset
- Two speakers are built into the sides of the headset
- There’s no longer a physical IPD slider for lens adjustment
Initially, the Meta Quest 2 doesn’t look hugely different from its predecessor, other than the new white paint job that Meta hopes will draw in a wider audience. Meta claims there are no current plans to release alternative colour options, and such a prospect seems very unlikely now, with the Quest 3 set to launch in 2023.
Take a closer look at the Quest 2 and you’ll notice a couple of subtle design tweaks. It’s now slightly smaller and 10% lighter than the original headset. It can still cause your head and neck to ache after extended use, but the trimmed-down design is nevertheless very welcome.
The newer Pico 4 headset flaunts an even lighter design at 295 grams, which is almost half the heft of the Quest 2. This shows that there’s plenty of room for improvement.
The strap has also seen a couple of changes, as there’s now only one velcro clasp, ensuring you don’t need to make as many alterations when swapping between players. The elastic straps accommodate various head shapes and sizes, although Meta will also be selling strap accessories for those who can’t find a good fit with the default design.
I’m not the biggest fan of the straps, as they’re easy to slip out of place and can sometimes dig into your head. The Pico 4’s plastic headband with a dial to adjust the fit provides a far more comfortable experience.
Two speakers are built into the sides of the headset and can be cranked up surprisingly loud. The detail is fairly impressive and the positional audio helps you to determine exactly which direction gunfire and approaching footsteps are coming from. The built-in speakers suffer a little with bass-heavy music and sound effects, but you can plug in some headphones via the 3.5mm jack or connect Bluetooth buds to remedy that.
The only other port on the headset is the USB-C slot for charging. There are very few physical buttons on the headset, with the volume control found on the underside and a power button on the right.
Previous Quest owners will notice there’s no physical IPD slider. Instead, you can just pull on the eye cups to toggle between three preset positions. I personally found the default setting perfectly comfortable, but it’s still good to see Meta allowing for some customisation.
- Touch Controllers are slightly larger than before
- Button placement smartly simulates real-life hand movements
- Still use AA batteries rather than being rechargeable via USB-C
Meta claims it has “completely redesigned” the Touch Controllers, although I can’t see many major changes from the previous pair.
They feel slightly larger now, while the rear and side triggers feature more travel for more satisfying presses. Haptic feedback has also been repositioned for improved immersion. Otherwise, these new controllers feel very familiar.
That’s no bad thing, though, as the Touch Controllers are fantastic. The button placement smartly helps to simulate real-life hand movements, such as squeezing a gun trigger, giving your friends a thumbs up or catching a ball. The buttons feel great to press too and are all easy to reach.
I am a little miffed that the controllers still use AA batteries, rather than being rechargeable via USB-C, but the batteries come pre-installed and last for ages. I’ve been playing on the Quest for countless hours so far, and the controllers are showing no signs of running out of juice.
For comparison, the PlayStation VR 2 controllers can be recharged via USB-C, but only last 4 and half hours on a single charge. I don’t think there’s a clear winner for either approach.
The controllers also turn on as soon as you don the headset. Previous VR experiences have been an absolute pain to set up, forcing you to turn on every device individually, so having all the Quest hardware spring into action simultaneously makes the whole process significantly easier.
Games and Apps
- Great library of VR games, both new and old
- Oculus Link opens up support for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive games
- Meta requires you to log into Quest with a Facebook account
The Meta Quest 2 has access to all of the same games and applications as the original headset, and all of your purchased software should transfer over with your profile if you’re upgrading.
The original Quest had a superb line-up of games when I reviewed it back in 2019, including Beat Saber, Moss, Robo Recall and Superhot VR. It was a delight to revisit these gems, particularly Beat Saber, which has only got better thanks to the new music packs from the likes of Green Day, Imagine Dragons and Linkin Park.
Since 2019, an abundance of new games has arrived on the platform, resulting in an even broader library with pleasingly varied experiences that will appeal to people of all ages. Among Us VR and Resident Evil 4 are perfect examples and key reasons why I’d recommend the Quest 2 over rival headsets, such as the Pico 4.
The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners will scratch that zombie-slaying itch, Cook-Out is a scrumptious cookery co-op venture, and Pistol Whip is an addictive rhythm-based shooter. You’ve also got the amazing Echo VR, which is essentially PvP online multiplayer volleyball in zero gravity. It’s a surreal experience and one of the best showcases of VR’s potential.
If that’s not enough, you can buy the Oculus Link cable to hook the headset up to your gaming PC and play games such as Asgard’s Wrath and Lone Echo. It’s even possible to access SteamVR, which means the likes of Half-Life: Alyx and Skyrim VR are on the menu.
The only major VR games that the Quest can’t run are exclusives for the PlayStation VR 2, so you sadly won’t be able to experience Horizon Call of the Mountain or Gran Turismo.
While the Meta Quest 2’s priority is unquestionably gaming, there’s also plenty of social-based experiences, fitness apps and video content from the likes of Oculus TV and YouTube VR. Rec Room is one of the standout social apps, allowing you to meet up with your friends, customise your in-game hubs and challenge friends to various games, including paintball and laser tag.
I’m still not convinced about Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse vision, as the Quest 2 is a long way from becoming the definitive platform for social interactions online. But if you’re into gaming, it’s still a great way to spend a few hours having a laugh with a group of friends.