I’m an avid fan of virtual reality and all its potential. But ever since VR started making its way into the mainstream, the question has been, when will it finally be a true consumer product? This is the year and Meta Quest 2 is the product. The latest version of the standalone VR headset refines or expands the things we loved about the original. It’s lighter, has a higher resolution display, a more powerful processor, more ergonomic controls and expanded social and sharing features, just to name a few.
But as great as all that is, the real kicker here is the price. The Quest 2 starts at $299, meaning Meta may have finally bridged VR’s biggest obstacle –– affordability. For the price, you get a system with few compromises that comes with over 200 games and a strong social presence. All that combined and this is definitely VR’s year.
Meta Quest 2 pricing and availability
Meta Quest 2 comes in two flavors: the $299 iteration with 64GB of storage and the $399 version, which bumps the storage up to 256GB. Both versions of the headset are equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 SoC, 6GB of RAM and a 3664 x 1920-pixel fast-switch LCD display (1832 x 1920 per eye).
The Quest 2 will have a 72Hz display refresh rate at launch, but that will jump to 90Hz in the near future.
Meta Quest 2 design
The Quest 2 is different from anything we’ve seen from the brand. For starters, it’s white. In fact, it’s the first white consumer headset we’ve seen from the company. And compared to the original Quest, everything has undergone some measure of refinement. For example, the indentations surrounding the quad of sensors on the Quest 2 are smaller and rounded compared to the elongated ovals found on the original.
The Quest 2’s body is made of light gray matte plastic. The power button has moved onto the headset’s body, just underneath the right stabilizing strap, while the audio jack and USB Type-C charging port sit beneath the left. The only thing that relocated is the elongated volume button that resides just to the right of the faceguard. Speaking of the faceguard, the black matte plastic is the only non-gray piece on the headset. The detachable component is lined with thick foam making for a more comfortable fit.
Instead of the slightly rigid system of soft-touch plastic bands and straps, the Quest 2 uses pliable light gray fabric strips. The side straps can be lengthened or shortened by repositioning a pair of gray plastic strap adjusters. The top band has velcro lining to help achieve a secure fit.
Inside the headset are the lenses covered in a protective film out of the box that direct the gaze into the fast-switch LCD display.
At 17.4 ounces and 7.5 x 5.6 x 4 (strap folded in) inches, the Quest 2 is 10% lighter than its predecessor, which weighs 20.1 ounces and measures 8.7 x 7.6 x 4.1 inches.
In addition to the headset and the controllers, the Quest 2 also ships with a glasses spacer and a USB Type-C charger. And for the purposes of my review, Meta also sent along the $49 Elite Strap, which replaces the soft fabric straps to the more rigid configuration found on the original Quest (more on that later).
Meta Quest 2 comfort
Out of the box, the OG Quest was the more comfortable headset with my butt-length hair down. But after adjusting the Quest 2’s soft straps a bit, I got a fit that was both comfortable and secure. Although the Quest 2’s heft lies in the front, the wide straps helped to comfortably distribute the weight around my head.
For years, I’ve been complaining about how VR headsets are not made for folks like me who like to wear big hair. It seems Meta took my people’s complaints to heart and that’s how we got the more flexible soft straps. I put the straps to the test as I placed my hair into a rather sizable bun.
Hair matters aside, there’s the matter of actually seeing in VR. I’ve worn glasses since I was 8 years old and while I typically wear contacts, since the pandemic, I’ve gone back to wearing glasses full time. That’s where that handy glasses spacer comes in. After popping out the faceguard, I just popped the spacer into the headset and replaced the faceguard. And voila, I could wear my fancy Miu Miu frames in comfort.
A major change the Quest 2 introduces is how Meta handles IPD (interpupillary distance). Instead of a clunky slider along the undercarriage of the headset, you simply shift the lenses left or right to get your ideal setting. The headset has three settings, the first of which positions the lenses at their shortest distance, 58mm. The second setting has a more central position (63mm) while the third has the farthest distance (68mm).
Meta Quest 2 setup
From unboxing to setting up the Quest 2 then jumping into VR was about 40 minutes –– only because you need to get the Quest fully charged before you dive in. My headset came with a 51% charge and from there, it took about 30 minutes to get a full charge. In the meantime, I made sure the free Oculus app (Android, iOS) was downloaded and updated and the controllers were ready to go.
Once the headset was charged, I popped it on and hit the power button. From there, I went through the steps of adjusting the lenses, connecting to Wi-Fi and updating the controllers and headset. Then the headset either pairs automatically or the app will prompt you to enter a five-digit code generated from the Quest 2. Next, you draw out the Guardian boundary (the demarcation line that keeps you from walking into a wall or furniture) and you’re ready to go. Just like the original Quest, the Quest 2 recommends a 6.5 x 6.5 feet, but I managed with a 5 x 6.5-foot area. Still, I really want Meta and every other VR company to start thinking about how to make room-scale happen in even smaller spaces.
Once the setup was complete, I was transported to what I wish was my real home: a sublime luxury cave carved into a red rock cliff face. The furnishings were rustic yet elegant and I immediately felt at home.
So let’s address the elephant in the room. Meta, by way of Facebook, would like Quest users to merge their Oculus account into their Facebook as Oculus accounts will be phased out on January 1, 2023. When I launched the app, one of the first prompts I saw encouraged me to make the switch. I chose to pull the Band-Aid off now rather than wait until later. Having the Oculus login address merge with the Facebook account means one less independent platform to manage. It also means Meta will be taking on Facebook’s code of conduct, for better or worse, to which the latter will add a VR section.
If you choose not to merge accounts, you can still use your headset after 2023. However, some of your games and apps might not work.
Meta Quest 2: What’s it like?
“You miss a day, you miss a lot, my high school math teacher Mrs. Daly used to say. It’s been a while since I’ve used an Meta headset and the interface has definitely gotten more refined. You still navigate using either the controllers or your hands (more on that later) with your selections floating on a blackboard similar to Facebook’s dark mode.
As for the actual hardware, the Quest 2 offers 6DoF (degrees of freedom) which is a fancy way of saying you have a complete range of movement. In terms of display, the Quest 2 has a 3664 x 1920-pixel fast-switch LCD display, which equates to 1832 x 1920 per eye. It’s packing 50% more pixels than the Quest (2880 x 1600 OLED panel, 1440 x 1600 per eye). For refresh rate, both headsets have a 72Hz refresh rate, but the Quest 2 will be bumping it up to 90Hz in the future, which makes for smoother animation and a more immersive experience. For those who are a bit motion-sensitive, it could cut down on any nausea.
I think the screen door might finally be closed. At least, it seemed that way to me when I strapped on the Quest 2. Whether I was playing a newer title like Warhammer 40,000: Battle Sister or something older like Space Pirate Trainer, it was hard to see those telltale gaps between pixels that make it appear as if you’re looking through the titular screen door. I’m not saying it’s completely gone, but it’s pretty darn close.
I jumped into the deep end and launched Robo Recall Unplugged. And while it doesn’t have the graphic fidelity of the Rift version, the Quest version is every bit as frenetic as the original. And I didn’t see any stuttering or disorienting blur as I whipped around the city, dismantling rogue bots as I went.
For those moments, I was only inches away from an unfortunate meeting with a wall; the Guardian system sprang into action, throwing up the signature grid. It’s an early warning system letting you know you’re about to have an accident. And if that’s not enough to save you from disaster, Passthrough+ is back to let you see what you’re about to crash into. The cameras mounted on the faceplate provide a black-and-white view of the world. It’s so sharp that I could read a text on my phone, provided I held the phone close enough to my face.
Meta Quest 2 social
I made two new friends last night ..., well Meta virtual friends, but it was still cool nonetheless. I loaded up the beta version of Venues, Meta’s platform for live events. And after making myself an avatar, I strolled into the lobby. Since it was 11 p.m., I didn’t expect to see too many people, but to my surprise, there was a small group congregating. I walked over and before I knew it was in a deep conversation about the state of VR with a car salesman and a model. We remarked on how well the facial tracking worked and the different ways the light shimmered off one of my new friend’s bald head.
Sure, none of the actual events were playing, but I spent 30 minutes getting to know these people. When it was time to get back to the business of reviewing, I asked if we could be friends. After they said yes, I raised my left wrist, hit the menu friends button, found their names, and sent them a friend request. From there, they accepted my request and I took my leave. If Facebook has its way, this might be our future.
In practice, Venues, looks like PlayStation Home and Second Life had a high-def baby. While options for avatar creation are very limited (I’d love to see more body types, hairstyles and colors), I created an avi that I’m comfortable with. Interacting with other people i’s pretty simple:, just talk. But if you want to do a bit more, there are some very Facebook-esque emotes to work with. Giving a thumbs up will be rewarded with a slight pop and a couple of thumbs- up emojis while raising your hands above your head triggers a brief confetti rain.
And as fun as making it rain confetti is, the big thing here is the facial tracking. Despite half of our faces being obstructed by a headset, I was impressed by how well my new friends’ virtual mouths moved in sync with their words. And seeing them furrow a brow or burst into laughter really made me feel like I was standing in the lobby of an entertainment center with friends. With the pandemic still going on and social distancing rules still in place, this could be a great way to meet up with friends and family in lieu of Zoom, Google Meet or whatever video chat you’ve been using.
But with any community, there’s always going to be a few flies to spoil the ointment. If you’re a gamer or participate on a social media network, you’re bound to run into trolls. It’s an especially worrying situation because VR adds the potential of touch, albeit virtual to the mix of verbal harassment. Meta allows you to protect your virtual space by muting, blocking and reporting ne’-er-do-wells. I’m not sure how effective these tools will be in Venues and Horizons, Meta's upcoming virtual space where you can meet up with friends and play, watch movies and create worlds, but I’m hopeful it’ll work out.
Meta Quest 2 sharing features
Just because your friends and family doesn’t own a VR headset, it doesn’t mean that they can’t get on the fun. Meta has expanded its sharing capabilities, allowing Quest 2 owners to cast your content to devices running the Oculus app, although I’m hoping the company finds a way to let us send our VR shenanigans to TVs sooner than later. You can also record, capture a screenshot or livestream your encounters to VR. With the first two options, the fruits of your labor areis saved on the headset, and from there, you can share it to your Facebook timeline, w. Which is also the case if you’re looking to livestream.
Meta Quest 2 controllers
Just like the headset, the Touch controllers have gotten a bit of a makeover and are mostly made out of light gray matte plastic. The top of devices, where the face buttons and analog joystick reside, are colored dark gray. The rear and side-mounted trigger and shoulder buttons are made of glossy gray plastic.
Each controller has that large halo with a shiny “O” gracing the center while the bottom of the controller has a light gray lanyard to keep you from accidentally chucking one. Like its predecessor, the Quest 2 controllers are powered by a single AA battery, H\however, the key difference is how you access them. The Quest 2 controllers’ battery compartments are secured with a few notches instead of magnetic tethers. It ensures the battery covers stay in place, instead of ending up in some obscure corner of your play space.
The new controllers weigh 4.4 ounces (without battery) and measure 3.5 x 4.7 inches, which is a bit heavier than the Quest’s (3.7-ounce, 4.7 x 4.3 x 3.5 inches). Those larger dimensions make for a more comfortable tactile experience, particularly when interacting with the face buttons and analog sticks.
Instead of gingerly resting my thumb on the face buttons because it has nowhere to go, my weirdly long digits can reside along the side until it’s time for some action. Meta even went so far as to add a small circular area made of a slightly different texture so my thumbs can find their way by muscle memory and feel.
Despite the larger size, I prefer the Quest 2’s controllers. In addition to giving my thumbs a resting pad, the large frame feels more natural in my hands. The rear trigger just fits the natural curve of my index finger. My only real complaint about the new Touch controllers is that the side button doesn’t provide enough feedback; it’s a bit mushy for my taste.
Meta Quest 2 audio
Meta continues to impress with its integrated audio. Whether I was nodding my head to the beat in Rez Infinite or listening for the thing that goes clank in the night in Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted, the headset’s integrated audio was loud and rich. And as an added bonus, it’s positional, meaning that when an explosive barrel on my left went kaboom, most of the weight came from that direction.
What I really appreciate is how well the headset picks up voice chat. Standing in a circle of fellow VR enthusiasts, their voices came through loud and clear. And thanks to the integrated microphone, so did I. The spatial audio really enhanced the experience, and it really felt like I was standing in a group of people chatting.
Meta Quest 2 games, apps
When I reviewed the Quest for my sister site, Tom’s Guide, Facebook (now Meta) had over 50 titles. A little over a year later and the Quest-ready titles has been expanded to include over 200 with even more apps on the way. And while I gravitated towards some games like Warhammer 40,000: Battle Sister, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had racing around the track on a magic broom in Little Witch Academia: VR Broom Racing. But the Oculus library is more than games. The catalog has expanded with apps, including productivity and collaboration software such as Spatial.
Pricing in the Oculus store continues to span a wide range starting at free and topping out at $39.99 in most cases.
Meta Quest 2 battery life
Meta is claiming the Quest 2 headset will last between 2-3 hours. If you’re playing games, you’ll likely get 2 hours. But if you’re just watching movies, you could potentially squeak out 3 hours of battery life. That’s an accurate assessment as I squeezed 2 hours and 13 minutes out of the headset before I got the low battery indicator after playing several games.
I finished playing level 3 in Rez Infinite and checked to see that the headset had 14% left. I made it through 2.5 episodes of Umbrella Academy before I got the message it was time to recharge.
Meta Quest 2 accessories
Meta has a slew of accessories to augment the Quest 2. The most important is by far the $79 Link cable. Yes, this 16.4-foot cord does tether you to a PC, but the trade-off is a significant bump in graphics, which means you can also play games meant for the Rift or Rift S.
Another potential must-have is the Elite Strap with battery and carrying case. For $129, you get the rigid stability of the Elite Strap with an integrated battery pack that will double the headset’s battery life and a bag to store it in. If you just want a more rigid fit, there’s the $49 Elite Strap. You can also purchase the carrying case separately for $49. Oh, and there’s the $39 Fit Pack, which comes with two light blockers and a couple of face cushions designed for wider or narrower faces.
There’s also a slew of third-party gear, including the $100 over-ear Logitech G PRO Gaming Headset, Logitech G333 VR In-Ear Headphones ($50) and the VR Cover Facial Interface & Foam Replacement Set ($29).
At last year’s Oculus Connect, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, envisioned a world where every household has a VR headset. The Meta Quest 2 puts us leaps and bounds closer to that reality. This latest headset answers one of my major beefs with VR: affordability. It starts at only $299, which is what the PSVR started. But with the latter, you still have to purchase the console, which you’re then tethered to. Oh and then there’s the matter of the PS camera.
The Quest 2 is a standalone headset with a powerful processor, generous RAM and a high-resolution display with plenty of games. And the headset offers a surprising amount of customization from the head straps to the actual configuration. Hell, you can use your hands instead of the controllers depending on the app. There are still some things Meta needs to work on like the battery life and room-scale requirements. But for the money, the Meta Quest 2 is the ambassador VR’s been waiting for.