Every new iteration of a product is meant to be an improvement on its predecessors in some way or another.
However, is the Oculus Quest 2 truly the best VR headset the company has released to date?
It has received considerable praise from both the media and Oculus users and developers.
It is the 5th headset that Facebook has launched in almost as many years.
So, how does it stack up against their other headsets?
Considering the price tag that comes with the Oculus Quest 2, there has to be some level of compromise to be able to provide an affordable headset at $299 for the entry-level 64 GB model ( rising to $399 for the 256 GB model) in order to keep costs down.
We will take a detailed look at the Oculus Quest 2, and compare it to the other Oculus headsets by examining the specs, controllers, design, and content library to see if it truly comes out on top.
Hardware specs are crucial in determining whether or not a device is worth its price tag.
With VR in particular, you want a great experience.
Who can get immersed, if there are poor graphics and poor performance?
The price of $299 isn’t a lot to pay for a VR headset.
It is clearly affordable compared to the Vive Pro, which costs $599 (without the tracking base stations and controllers or the PC).
However, you still want to get a quality experience for what you’re paying.
Therefore, here are the Oculus Quest 2 specs, compared to its other Oculus counterparts.
|Standalone / PC Hybrid
|Standalone / PC Hybrid
|6DOF with 360-degree positional tracking
|6DOF with inside-out SLAM
|6DOF with inside-out SLAM
|6DOF with inside-out SLAM
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
|Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2
|Display per Eye
|60Hz / 72Hz
|72Hz / 90Hz
|3 GB of LPDDR4 RAM
|4GB of RAM
|6GB of RAM
|32 GB / 64 GB
|64 GB / 128 GB
|64 GB / 256 GB
|2 hours depending on usage
|2-3 hours depending on usage
|2-3 hours depending on usage
There are two main areas where the Oculus Quest wins hands-down.
These are probably also the reasons why it’s hailed as the best Oculus VR headset to date.
The first advantage is its processing power.
Compared to the Oculus Go and first-generation Oculus Quest, the Qualcomm XR2 chipset on the Oculus Quest 2 delivers much better performance, when running apps and games.
It can even come close to the refresh rates on the Rift and Rift S, depending on how resource-intensive an app or game is.
Everything will still look great either way.
However, the Oculus Quest 2 sports the best display of any Oculus headset to date.
By comparison, the screen door effect is an eyesore on the OG Rift.
There is an affordability compromise since the Quest’s OLED display is replaced with a less expensive LCD display.
As a result, the overall contrast ratio between colors and shadows suffers slightly.
The original Oculus controllers have now been modified twice.
However, the first version of the Oculus Touch controllers that came with the Rift is still widely considered to be the best.
Thankfully, Facebook seems to have taken a step back to the controllers’ roots.
As a result, the new Quest 2 controllers look to be a hybrid between those and the second iteration of Oculus controllers that came with the Rift S and Quest.
The biggest improvements to the controllers are their comfort.
The shape is similar to that of the second generation.
However, the controller is larger overall and the “face” area with the buttons is also larger with more space between the buttons and thumbstick.
There is no longer a risk of accidental button presses since it provides a place for your thumb to rest.
The Oculus Quest controllers also use AA batteries, although the battery life on the new controllers has also been extended.
This does come at the expense of some internal tracking LEDs.
They’re also white, which shows dirt and grime much faster than the black controllers.
Headset comfort is a critical element because you wear it on your head (up to two hours a day).
You don’t want any uncomfortable areas ruining the experience.
Compared to the Oculus Quest, the Quest 2 is much more pleasant to wear for longer periods of time.
The first generation was slightly heavier. It had a semi-rigid rubber strap that felt very secure.
However, it didn’t mold very well around the shape of different heads.
Both the Rift and the Quest also had hard, rigid straps, while the Oculus Quest 2 has stretchy straps that conform to your head, as the Oculus Go did.
The straps on the Quest 2 are designed to allow people to take them off easily.
This is an advantage because they will need to be cleaned more often due to their white color.
The design also allows people to replace their straps with an Elite Strap or Elite Battery Strap that are sold separately.
Both of the Elite straps add an adjustable plastic ring around the back of the head.
They are also more comfortable to wear because they distribute the weight of the headset more evenly, instead of it resting more heavily on the face, like with the flexible straps.
The Oculus Quest 2 probably has access to the most content of an Oculus headset.
The standalone version has access to all of the apps and games of the first Quest headset.
There is also emerging exclusive content like Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge.
Although there was talk that the headset would also support Oculus Go games, that backward compatibility support has been dropped, as John Carmack explained on Twitter.
If you decide to buy the $79 USB cable, it also has access to all of the PC VR titles that it won’t otherwise be able to run.
There is also a sharper display than the Rift or Rift S can provide.
We will now look at how the Quest 2 stacks up against each individual Oculus headset.
Oculus Quest 2 vs Oculus Quest
Since it is the second-generation Quest, it is useful to first compare it to its predecessor.
In terms of overall performance improvement, the Quest 2 wins easily.
It has a much better processor, better display, more memory, and potentially better refresh rates, depending on the app.
The only real drawback is that it comes with the new Quest headset which replaces the OLED display with an LCD one.
Therefore, it will not have the “true blacks” that you’ll notice with the first Quest.
However, the new faceplate design seems to let in less light, which should help keep things nice and dark.
The design of the Quest 2 also has better aesthetics than its predecessor.
The most striking change is the shift to an all-white color scheme.
However, there are also some deeper changes.
As mentioned earlier, the first-generation Quest had a harder rubber strap that did not conform very well to the head.
Facebook swapped that out for a flexible material strap that is easier to adjust and provides a more comfortable fit.
The only “compromise” is the replacement of the manual IPD slider with a three preset position system.
Although Facebook says that one of the three settings should work for nearly everyone, having less control can be a drawback for some people.
The near-ear speaker has also been improved.
It is now closer to your ear but still not great.
In addition, unlike the Quest which had two headphone jacks, the Quest 2 only has one.
The Oculus Quest was a great piece of hardware to kick off the 6DOF standalone generation.
However, because Quest 2 is so affordable, it just doesn’t make sense to purchase the Oculus Quest anymore.
Oculus Quest 2 vs Oculus Go
How do you compare the Oculus Go and the Quest 2?
There’ is almost no comparison in performance.
The Oculus Quest 2 has much better controllers, 6DOF (instead of the 3DOF the Go offers), and access to PC VR.
It’s hard to compare the two fairly because the Oculus Go is much cheaper and caters to those who want a more simplistic experience or might want educational applications.
It is the first standalone VR headset that Oculus ever released.
It was a good headset at the time, but the Quest 2 is in another league.
Oculus Quest 2 vs Oculus Rift
There are still a few ways in which the original Rift outshines the new Quest 2, even though it is generally inferior.
Those two elements are its controllers and audio.
As mentioned earlier, the original Rift controllers are still considered some of the best controllers that Oculus ever created.
Even though the new Quest 2 controllers are good, they are not at that level.
In terms of audio, the Rift had a terrific pair of on-ear headphones that produced great sound.
Why Facebook didn’t keep them is a mystery.
Purchasing the original Rift no longer makes sense, given the numerous overall improvements that the Quest 2 provides and its price tag.
Oculus Quest 2 vs Oculus Rift S
The Rift S might be the Quest 2’s only true direct competitor right now (if you’re just looking at Oculus headsets).
However, it is still inferior in many respects, if consider the addition of an Oculus Link cable.
The Quest 2 is superior to the Rift S in almost every possible feature, including processing power, display, and audio (since the Rift S still uses the old near-ear speaker version).
However, there are two areas in which Rift S still holds the edge.
They include comfort and tether quality.
However, Facebook has introduced a few modifications to help Oculus Quest 2 users narrow the gap.
The Rift S is still the most comfortable headset in the Oculus range, thanks to its halo-like strap that rests on top of your head and the plush strap that goes along the back.
While Quest 2 has an improved design that is more comfortable than the other three Oculus headsets, you will need an Elite strap if you’re going to approach the comfort of the Rift S.
Oculus has two options for PC tethering with the Quest 2.
The company offers “more affordable” cable options, like the USB 3 cable from Anker.
It is also possible to choose the more expensive Oculus Link fibre optic cable with better specs.
This should provide the same level of performance as the Rift S cable.
There currently aren’t many standalone VR headsets in the market.
Those that are available don’t compare with the Oculus Quest 2, in terms of processing power, display, or price.
It is true that the Rift and Rift S both had recent price cuts.
However, Quest 2 still provides a much more affordable entry into VR.
Its flexibility also ensures that those who want access to more powerful experiences can still do so by connecting to a PC.
It would also have a better display than with the Rift or Rift S.
Therefore, despite some concessions to keep it affordable, in terms of value and experience, the Quest 2 is definitely the best choice in Oculus headsets.