Oculus Quest 2 long-term review — what I hate and love about the VR headset

My thoughts on this VR headset have changed drastically

Oculus Quest 2 review
(Image: © Laptop Mag)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Oculus Quest 2, now called Meta Quest 2, is a VR headset that gives you the most bang for your buck, but its out-of-the-box design lacks durability and comfort, especially for high-movement users.

Pros

  • +

    Great catalog of free games

  • +

    Affordable VR headset

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    Doesn't require VR-ready PC

  • +

    Designed for wireless gameplay

Cons

  • -

    Battery life is less than 3 hours

  • -

    Uncomfortable design for high-movement games

  • -

    Lenses get too foggy

  • -

    Meta Quest Store paid apps are mid

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“Whoa! This is [expletive] amazing!” I thought when I first strapped on the Oculus Quest 2 (now called Meta Quest 2) in 2020. “First Contact,” a free app designed to introduce newbies into the Quest world, thrusted me into an ‘80s-themed RV where I got to interact with an expressive robot, virtual floppy disks, dancing LED butterflies, rocket launchers, and dart guns.

“Is this paradise?” I wondered, almost shedding a tear. First Contact, as well as First Steps (another get-to-know-the-Quest-2 app), were my first experiences on the popular VR headset.“ This is just the beginning!” I thought. “Considering how awesome these apps are, imagine how mind-blowing the games will be?”

First Contact

First Contact (Image credit: Meta)

Boy was I wrong!

Unfortunately, I struggled to find a Quest 2 game that evoked the same feelings of excitement, wonder and awe that I experienced with First Contact and First Steps — until I played I Expect You to Die 2 a year later. Don’t get me wrong; I think very highly of the Quest 2. However, I’d be lying if I said that my interest in the VR headset hasn’t waned.

Stick around to find out what I love and hate about the world’s best-selling VR headset.

What I love about the Quest 2 headset 

Let’s address the elephant in the room: the Quest 2’s price hike. Yes, the headset launched in 2020 with a $299 price tag, but I always knew this was Meta’s “introductory pricing,” allowing the average Joe to join in on the VR fun at an affordable price point. It was only a matter of time before Meta decided to slap its popular headset with a price increase, but even with its current price tag, you can’t deny that it offers a lot of bang for your buck.

It’s affordable

With a starting price of $399 on Amazon (opens in new tab), the Quest 2 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor, 6GB of DDR4 RAM, 128GB of storage, a modified Android OS, a display resolution of 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye, and a refresh rate of up to 120Hz.

Meta Quest 2

Oculus Quest 2 long-term review (Image credit: Meta)

There’s also a 256GB variant that costs $499, but as I said in Quest 2 128GB vs. 256GB: Which Should You Buy?, you don’t really need that configuration unless you’re a streamer and/or content creator who needs tons of space for gameplay recording and screenshots.

As I hinted earlier, the Quest 2 headset’s starting price of $400 doesn’t ruffle my feathers. Why? Compared to other head-mounted displays on the market, $299 was dirt cheap. Meta was taking a loss on every headset sold. Consequently, the $100 increase isn’t a money grab per se — it’s Meta putting an end to the Quest 2’s introductory price period and slapping a more fitting price tag on it. Now that Meta successfully attracted enough buy-in from the masses (the Quest 2 is the best-selling VR headset), the social-media giant feels that its competitive pricing of $299 served its purpose.

Few availability issues

Do you remember when finding a PS5 and Xbox Series X was like hunting for Big Foot? When they launched in November 2020, it seemed like everyone wanted to get their hands on the gaming consoles — and there wasn’t enough to go around. A global health crisis and the chip shortage were thwarting production, making it difficult for Sony and Microsoft to meet consumers’ demand.

Meta Quest 2 VR headset in use at NFT LA conference

Oculus Quest 2 (Image credit: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

As parents panicked about not being able to get little Timmy the gaming hardware he asked for in his letter to Santa Claus, they looked for alternatives. Cue the angelic choir when moms and dads realized that the Quest 2, priced at only $299, would be the perfect Christmas gift — it’s a VR headset for chrissakes. As a cherry on top, they were less likely to get blocked by an infuriating “sold out” error message while trying to check out. Win! 

As our sister site Android Central reported, the Quest 2 headset has sold 14.8 million headsets to date; which “meets or beats” the sales figures for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S combined (11.4 million units sold by Q4 2021). The VR headset is even nipping at the heels of the PS5’s sales performance. However, it will be a cold day in hell before the Quest 2 eclipses the Nintendo Switch (103.5 million units sold by Q4 2021). This is just conjecture, but I believe the Quest 2 VR headset is rivalling the gaming giants in sales partly because it’s simply easier to secure.

It’s a standalone headset

Wired VR headsets typically require, at the very least, a VR-ready laptop and motion-tracking peripherals. Consequently, getting started with VR is more expensive with a PC-connected headset — and the convoluted setup process often turns people off. Conversely, getting started with the Meta Quest 2 headset is easy. As long as you have a skull, a pair of hands, Wi-Fi, an unobstructed area of 6.5 x 6.5 feet, you’re good to go. Hell, even if you don’t have a large play space, you can use the Quest 2 in Stationary Mode, which lets you play most games while sitting or standing still.

Oculus Quest 2 review

Oculus Quest 2 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Whether you’re playing The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, Superhot, or any other action-packed VR game, a standalone headset gives you peace of mind, allowing you to flail your arms, make giant leaps, and risky lunging motions without fear of tripping over wires or yanking your PC off your desk.

You can use it as a wired headset, too

Many VR gamers purchase Meta’s $79 16-foot cable (opens in new tab) that lets them connect their Quest 2 to their gaming PCs, allowing the headset to tap into their rig’s more powerful components. Alternatively, you can simply purchase a much cheaper third-party USB cable on Amazon (like this $17 cable (opens in new tab)). This opens you to a whole new world of PCVR games that wasn’t otherwise available to you — it’s like transforming your Quest 2 into the Oculus Rift S (now discontinued).

In other words, you’re not limited to the games that run natively on the Quest 2 (like Beat Saber). With a compatible cable, you can enjoy some of the best AAA games from SteamVR’s library, including Half-Life: Alyx, Hitman 3 and Skyrim. Woot!

There are so many free games and apps

From Gym Class VR and Echo VR to Rec Room and Altspace, the Meta Quest Store is teeming with free apps that can keep you entertained for hours. 

Rec Room

Rec Room (Image credit: Rec Room)

Truth be told, you can purchase a Quest 2 VR headset right now, not purchase a single game, and still enjoy yourself with the caliber of free games available in the app store. I’ll even go as far as saying that a lot of the free games available on the Meta Quest 2 are better than the premium ones. Rec Room, for example, features a cornucopia of fun games, including Laser Tag, Drunken Bar Fight, Dodgeball, Boxing, and more. And you don’t have to pay a cent!

What I hate about the Quest 2 headset 

I’ve had the Quest 2 for two years, so I have a pretty good idea of how the headset can be improved. According to the grapevine, Meta is working on the Quest 3, so I hope the social media giant addresses the following issues that plague the VR headset for its next-generation device.

Its battery life could be better

I can only squeeze out three hours from my Quest 2 headset on a good day. Yes, I get frustrated when I see the low-power warning flashing before my eyes while I’m in the middle of an intense gaming session, but at the same time, it’s a blessing in disguise. After spending more than two hours with the Quest 2 headset, I do start to feel eye strain, and on rare occasions, headaches.

Oculus Quest 2 review

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

As much as I’d love to keep playing for longer periods of time, it benefits my health to put the headset down after playing for several hours nonstop. Plus, considering the powerful components stuffed inside the standalone headset built for immersive gaming, a three-hour runtime isn’t half bad. However, I understand that others may be turned off by such a short battery life, so I thought I’d add this as a Quest 2 con.

The out-of-the-box design sucks

First of all, I wish Meta offered a black variant of the Quest 2. An all-white body has never been my style. Secondly, the headset’s straps are white fabric bands that collect dirt like a celebrity tabloid. Adding insult to injury, the straps on my headset are beginning to deteriorate — they need to be replaced. Another aspect of the headset that is easily sullied is the foam facial interface, which collects sweat and other gross elements from your forehead and face. 

Oculus Quest 2 review

Oculus Quest 2 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Quest 2 does come with a silicon cover that can be placed over the foam, but that’s a nightmare, too, because it causes the headset to slip up and down your face, especially if you’re sweaty and playing a high-movement game.

To combat this issue, Meta released the Elite Strap (opens in new tab), an accessory with a snap-in connection that features an adjustable fit wheel that fastens the headset perfectly to your head. I have an Oculus Quest 2 headset with an Elite Stap, and let me tell you, it fits like a dream!

I’m tired of the Quest 2’s lenses fogging up

Anyone who’s ever played VR workout games like FitXR and Supernatural knows that the Quest 2 fogs up like a car window on a cold day. Your body is exerting all of this energy and producing heat while the headset remains cool, which means the Quest 2 lenses will inevitably become Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, unfortunately. 

Esimen VR Face Silicone Mask & Face Cover for Oculus Quest

Oculus Quest 2 (Image credit: Amazon)

Consequently, I must have a microfiber cloth handy to wipe the lenses every now and then, and it gets annoying as hell. One way users rectify this issue is by allowing the Quest 2 to heat up first before using it. Some go as far as warming it up with a blow dryer before strapping it on!

The Meta Quest Store has a mediocre catalog of games

Most of the Meta Quest Store app games are mid. They’re forgettable, unremarkable and mediocre. There are exceptions, of course. As I mentioned at the outset, I Expect You to Die 2 is an incredible game that immerses you into the shady world of espionage; I find myself replaying it often. Another top-notch game is Superhot. While there are plenty of good games, there needs to be more great games — titles that you can’t wait to come home and play.

I Expect You to Die 2 review

I Expect You to Die 2 (Image credit: Schell games)

I also noticed that there are plenty of gaming niches that the Meta Quest Store surprisingly doesn’t fulfill. For example, aside from Bogo (a free mini game), I was shocked to find out that there aren’t any pet simulators. I’d also love to see more extreme sports games like surfing, whitewater rafting, snowboarding, cliff diving, but all I can find on the Meta Quest Store is rock climbing (i.e., The Climb), freediving (i.e., Freediver: Triton Down), and Rush (wingsuit flying). I’m sure there are more, but not enough to satisfy my thirst for adrenaline-pumping adventure in VR.

Bottom line 

Would I still recommend the Quest 2 VR? Heck yes! Check out our best Quest 2 games list, and trust me, you’ll have a blast with Meta’s best-selling headset. And who knows? While scrolling through the Meta Quest Store’s app catalog, you may find a diamond in the rough that we’ve overlooked.

The Meta Quest Store has plenty of social VR apps that slap, including Altspace, Rec Room, and VRChat. All of these apps are free and you can enjoy VR replications of various real-life social functions, including karaoke night, clubbing, comedy events, and more. You can mingle with complete strangers or invite another Quest 2 VR headset user to join you in the metaverse.

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!