Last Updated on February 23, 2023 by Michael Brockbank
I’ve been looking forward to some semblance of virtual reality for a while. I finally got the chance to play with the Oculus Quest 2, thanks to my son for giving me one for Christmas. Is it something you should consider buying?
At the moment, I am leaning more towards, “yes.” But there are a few caveats. It’s not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. However, it’s not a bad platform if you’re unable to afford something like the HTC Vive.
What is the Oculus Quest 2?
The Oculus Quest 2 is a wireless virtual reality system that works as a standalone entertainment platform. This means you don’t need any other hardware aside from a WiFi connection.
The unit downloads and installs its own games while also being able to network with your computer for additional titles, such as those offered on Steam.
Developed by Facebook, it’s part of the META platform that Mark Zuckerberg is trying to push for online social interaction. Even though it’s kind of tanking at the time of this post.
The Oculus Quest 2 is also among the cheapest VR headsets available while offering a decent experience.
Right now, the unit goes for around $299 brand new, which puts it in the range of other gaming platforms. However, the Oculus is a bit more than just a game console you wear on your face.
What Can You Expect from the Oculus Quest 2?
There are a lot of features and functions of the Oculus that are pretty interesting. Though, some of them were a bit hard to find as I had to spend a bit of time in Google to track down certain things.
Still, it wasn’t overly difficult.
So, what are some of the things that stood out to me most about the Oculus Quest 2?
Decent Visual Aesthetics
One of the first things I noticed about the device is the visual aesthetics. For being a wireless system running on its own hardware, it looks pretty good overall.
However, you can increase the graphic quality by using the SideQuest app that I’ll go over in a minute. But all things considered, the visual quality was better than I thought it would be.
Though, I haven’t really played a lot of games on the system. Just a few rounds of Subnautica from Steam and playing a lot of Premiere Bowling.
Sound Quality is Excellent!
For having such small speakers, I am shocked by the overall sound quality of the Oculus Quest 2. It doesn’t have that small, smartphone speaker squelch and is quite comparable to some of the PC headsets I’ve used in the past.
Not only that, but the surround-sound aspect is truly a work of art.
Between the visuals and the sound quality, I’m really looking forward to dumping a bit more money into games for the Oculus. That is if it’s still around after Meta tanks.
Able to Access My PC Desktop from VR!
One of the neatest features is being able to use my desktop PC in the VR headset. This is done with its built-in experimental feature that remotely connects and controls your computer.
In the virtual environment, I am able to use my computer just as if I was sitting at my desk. As a writer, I highly doubt I would use it for work.
Still, I can essentially play any game I have installed through the wireless headset. I haven’t tried it with Diablo III or any of the other games I have. But, it is part of how you can use Steam VR games.
More on that in a moment.
Air Link Compatibility is a Bit Wonky, but Works
The Air Link function, which is how you connect to your desktop, is a bit finicky. Apparently, it doesn’t always work depending on your WiFi router, PC performance, and other things that might interfere with the connection.
After the first time I connected Air Link, I had to fight the settings to get it to work the second time. However, it hasn’t given me a problem over the last handful of times I’ve connected to the PC.
I guess it might just be one of those things you have to live with for now.
Customizable Home Locations
When first setting up your account, you can choose one of several home environments. Mine is the space station.
However, you can also set up customizable home locations where you can decorate and create a somewhat unique layout. You can also unlock new add-ons to your custom home environment to add more decor.
The controls to move and change the objects in your home are a bit time-consuming to get used to, though. Still, it’s kind of neat to decorate the interactive space.
My son can use his bow and arrows to shoot targets in his Oculus Quest 2 home.
Compatible with Steam Games – Ish
Using Air Link, you can load up VR-ready games from Steam running on your computer. However, you may need to look up the controls for those games using the Quest’s controllers.
For instance, I had a hell of a time trying to do more in Subnautica than run around my sea base.
Something else you may want to consider is lag. If you don’t have a good WiFi access point, or if your computer lacks a bit of processing power, the Steam VR games can lag a bit.
Especially if you’re playing multiplayer games such as Phasmophobia.
Fogs Up the Glasses Quickly
Perhaps one of the more annoying aspects of the Oculus Quest 2 is how quickly my glasses fog up when using the device. I can only play for about 20 minutes or so before I just can’t see any longer.
Now, there are ways to treat your glasses to prevent them from fogging up. And I plan on writing up a post for ways to treat your glasses in the near future.
It’s just something you might want to be aware of if you need your glasses to see clearly.
No Ability to Adjust for Focus
The Oculus Quest 2 does not have a built-in function to adjust focus. If you need glasses to see, you’re still going to need them when putting on the headset.
The reason I bring this up is that some of the smartphone VR headset devices I’ve used in the past have a function to move the phone closer or further away to alter focus.
This means you don’t need glasses to use some smartphone VR headsets, something the Oculus does not include.
If you know of a way to adjust the focus on the Oculus, feel free to comment. I’d love to know and will change this part of the review if it works.
On the upside, you can buy lenses that connect to the Oculus tailored to your prescription of glasses. I haven’t had a chance to try these yet as the one I want is more than $100.
Silicone Protector Is Easy to Install but Creates Issues
The silicon protector that comes with the Oculus is easy to install. It prevents sweat from seeping into the foam guard around the device. However, I found it to create a few issues.
For one thing, I break out everywhere the silicone protector touches.
It’s a good idea to wash your face with hot and then cold water after using the Oculus, especially if you work up a decent sweat.
How Does the Oculus Quest 2 Work with Steam VR Games?
I am thrilled that the Oculus supports playing Steam VR games. However, there are a few things that you need to be aware of before jumping into your Steam library.
As I said earlier, the Air Link function is a bit squiffy for some. I only had the one issue with it in the beginning, but it was enough to warrant mentioning.
Secondly, there may be quite a bit of lag if you are playing wirelessly. A lot of players prefer connecting the Oculus directly to the computer for Steam VR games, but that would mean getting a decently long USB cable.
Otherwise, you’ll sit at your desk to play. And if I’m sitting at my desk, I have no need for the VR headset as I rather like my 27-inch curved monitor (soon to be 35-inch widescreen as soon as I find the power cord).
Lastly, you’ll need to look up the controls for certain games. As I said above, I was a bit lost when it came to Subnautica VR. I still haven’t figured out how to switch to my repair tool to fix my base after smashing into it with a camera drone.
How Difficult Is it to Stream the Oculus to Something Like Twitch?
Currently, the Oculus Quest 2 is capable of streaming immediately to your Facebook account. All you need to do is hit the share button. However, it’s a bit more convoluted when it comes to sharing on Twitch.
Perhaps the best way to do so is to open the Oculus page when you start streaming and use something like OBS to capture the browser window. It’s a bit of a pain when you’re also wearing the headset.
Still, you could always Air Link to your PC and set up the stream that way.
Something else you’ll need to bear in mind is that the field of view of the Oculus is quite narrow when streaming. It looks more like it was intended for streaming to mobile devices.
However, this can be adjusted by using the SideQuest app.
Using SideQuest to Get More Out of Oculus Quest 2
SideQuest is a free computer app that opens the doors to a lot more of what you can do with the Oculus Quest 2. It’s full of games and functions that greatly expand on the VR system.
With SideQuest, you can adjust graphic rendering level, video capture size, CPU and GPU levels, textures, and much more.
I haven’t had a chance to dive into it much over the last month or two since getting the Oculus. But it’s on my list of software I need to set up as I want to do so much more with the VR system this year.
From what I’ve heard, though, turning up the quality of the Oculus will deplete its battery quicker. So, keep that in mind when you’re adjusting the visuals. You may not be able to play as long.
Well, unless you’re sitting at your desk and plugged in through USB.
Would I Recommend Buying One?
Even though it’s sponsored by Facebook and its Metaverse branding, the Oculus Quest 2 is quite impressive for the price tag. I would still love to dump some money into a much bigger platform, but that’ll be something for which I’ll have to save my pennies.
But if you don’t have the thousand dollars for the bigger systems, the Oculus does a great job compared to those more elaborate setups.
Especially when you consider that the Oculus is wireless. Given that it has a lot of games at its disposal and a lot of functions and apps to use, it’s definitely worth the money.
And this is coming from someone who really doesn’t like Facebook all that much.
There are just a few things that I don’t like about unit, such as the inability to adjust focus. However, things like this are not dealbreakers for me.
The bottom line is that I thoroughly enjoy the Oculus and look forward to seeing what developers put out for it in the coming months.
What Do You Think About the Oculus Quest 2?
One thing I’m interested in is looking for an easier way to stream the Oculus to Twitch. A built-in app would be amazing! For now, I have a lot of fun playing around in my virtual home and bowling against others around the world.
Though, I doubt I’ll ever jump into any of the Metaverse stuff Zuckerberg tries to push. I’m a simple man with simple pleasures.
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