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Facebook Vr Headset Review

That led to my trying out the Oculus Quest 2, to see if I could figure out if this standalone VR headset from Facebook can provide enough of an escape in a world that’s still far from normal. Strap on a headset, controllers clutched in your palms, and you are transported to a whole new virtual world, where a play area is defined and games are at your fingertips, or in this case, controller-tips. The headset has a pure white body with a black foam face mask, which now has a silicon attachment.

I have been using the Quest 2 for the past few weeks, and I often had it strapped on for more than an hour at a stretch – it was comfortable overall and did not give me a headache.

The Oculus Quest 2 controllers provide haptic feedback and are powered by AA batteries Oculus offers three manual lens spacing settings for even more clear vision, which feels less restrictive.

It can be found popping up on some e-commerce sites at very high prices, but these are units sold unofficially by third-party vendors. Experiences include viewing the New York City skyline, or riding roller coasters This lets you use the controllers to sketch a virtual boundary around your furniture and space, which will prevent you from bumping into things. If you leave your Guardian boundary while using the headset, it will switch to this mode so you can see your surroundings instantly, and avoid collisions.

In the Epic Roller Coasters app, I felt butterflies in my stomach as I went down steep slopes while sitting at my desk. They let me feel pulses with a slight vibration, and this definitely added to the thrill of a rollercoaster going down a steep rail!

You can pair an external Bluetooth keyboard to use the Oculus Web browser or Facebook Messenger. The experience is not ideal, since you have to be seated, and looking around for keys is a bit tedious, especially if you need to type long URLs. Oculus has recently started supporting some keyboards such as the Logitech K830, so navigating its physical surface in virtual space is much easier. Using the Oculus Quest 2 for more than an hour at a stretch, I did start finding it slightly uncomfortable towards the end. The straps were tight around my head and I started feeling the weight of the device on my nose, so there was some slight physical discomfort. Audio is a big part of the experience, and the Quest 2 delivers on that front, especially the sound directionality that the speakers allow for.

Each controller takes one AA battery, and they ran for several weeks without running out of charge in my experience, so hopefully that isn’t a major limitation. It works untethered, and the visual fidelity, audio, and content all make for a great overall experience. Oculus defines a lower age limit for users as 13+, and since something like this will have a lot of takers in their teens, the device could also have benefited from having parental controls.

Review: Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 is outstanding – TechCrunch

In short, the new Quest 2 headset is a fantastic piece of hardware that showcases what a rewarding ecosystem can be built when you throw enough money and engineering talent at a dream. Arriving around 18 months after its predecessor launched, most users were likely expecting this update to host a minor spec bump, yet the Quest 2 is a true upgrade, making advances in about every way.

Games were limited because of the aged Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 powering the headset and the device’s OLED display felt too pixelated. For developers, this could mean doubling the visual complexity of titles, something that would allow them to more easily port PC experiences to the standalone headset. A big concern with early leaks of the Quest 2 was that users wouldn’t be able to adjust the distance between the lenses to account for different face shapes. This won’t deliver a perfect experience for everyone, but is a relief for users that Oculus would follow in the footsteps of the Go and Rift S and just get rid of adjustable IPD altogether.

That brings me to the headset housing, it has ditched the fabric-covered enclosure of the original and is now completely hard-shelled with a new two-tone light gray and black design. I think the sweet spot for a device like this would be a bit longer, so it’s too bad that the company opted to set this as the goal, especially given that they actually shrank the size of the battery in this release.

All of these software perks have been evident to existing Quest owners who have seen the upgrades bringing items like hand-tracking and updates to the Oculus browser. I worry that so many of the VR-curious platforms have already grown tired of VR and decided it’s not worth the effort of maintaining a separate app. One clear difference in the onboarding for this device compared to past hardware is that a Facebook account is now required to activate the headset. For a small subsection of folks this might be a dealbreaker, but it’s not the most surprising development, as Facebook has been slowly opting to treat Oculus as more of an internal division rather than a distinct organization.

It is surprising to see such a revamp coming just a bit more than one year after the original Quest’s launch, but the new hardware is a sign of Oculus itching to double down on a new direction wholly focused on a single, more accessible device driving their vision. This is the most convincing argument Oculus has made for VR since its inception and pricing the device at $299, on par with a Nintendo Switch, will likely open up more folks to the vision. It’s still largely for gamers and could still fall danger to getting mainstream users excited for a few weeks, only to spend the rest of its life gathering dust in the closet.

Oculus Quest 2 review: Facebook’s $299 VR headset is still one of my favorite game consoles

Editors’ note: A new version of the Quest 2 doubles the storage of the $299 model to 128GB, and includes a silicone cover for the foam face piece after a voluntary recall of the foam covers earlier this year due to facial irritation concerns with a small subset of customers. There’s a pair of magic goggles I’ve gone back to again and again over the last two years, opening up worlds of games, theater, conversations, art and experiences that are tough to even describe. The Quest 2 keeps improving its software: it can get phone notifications now, pair with keyboards and connect with virtual meeting apps, do basic fitness tracking, and wirelessly stream to PCs. The Quest 2 adds a faster, VR-optimized Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor, a higher-resolution display, and yet is $100 less expensive at $299. In a year defined by quarantine and remote communications, Facebook looks more intent than ever on getting as many people to use VR as fast as possible. Others, such as (by Justin Roiland, creator of Rick & Morty) and , look even closer to PC VR experiences now.

The Quest 2 requires you to connect or merge with a Facebook account, even if you’re a long-standing Oculus user. That’s concerning in the longer-range scope of how Facebook handles data on its VR headset, but in the short term it doesn’t affect much at all. It can connect with PCs or stand on its own, and with a new Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor it could be capable of running much more advanced software. Read more: Why you should buy a Nintendo Switch Lite and Oculus Quest 2, instead of PS5 or Xbox Series X If you treat the Quest 2 as a motion-enabled game console for your face and hands, or a way to socialize with friends in magic worlds where you can run around as invented avatars, it’s fantastic. The Quest 2 looks to be walking that same path with its curated app store and self-contained ecosystem.

It’s more of a VR mini game console than anything, but its other tools — virtual big-screen computer monitors, fitness training software, immersive theater portals — could add dimensions you may not even have considered. Still, the Quest doesn’t interface with Apple iOS or Google’s Android OS, although it pairs with a phone app like a smartwatch for some basic syncing and screen casting.

Right now they’re more like customized and different toolkits with positives (physical immersion) and negatives (no face-to-face camera conversation, and no easy work tools like a mouse and keyboard).

Facebook’s trying to solve working in VR with some of its recent efforts in 2021, but while apps such as Horizon Workrooms are impressive, they feel more experimental than essential.

But I can’t get physical feedback, and mastering the specific gestures needed to open an app, drag an object somewhere or type a response to a message feels extremely difficult. The system should be able to run more advanced apps and evolve its room awareness and tracking skills.

Qualcomm’s chip is several generations beyond what the previous Snapdragon 835 could offer, and has specialized computer vision AI. That collection of apps is already pretty large and full of great VR game options. (Update: A year since the Quest 2 launched, the game library has continued to push out excellent titles.) It’s not as friendly to my larger glasses: The eye area on the new Quest is a bit smaller, and the included foam padding feels firmer and cushier.

Facebook is selling a fit pack ($39) with a few different snap-out foam frames for different face types, so maybe I need one of those. Facebook sells a longer cable (or you could buy your own for PC tethering via Oculus Link).

In a darkened virtual movie theater or with a dark game like The Room VR, I’m a lot more aware of the display’s light. The Quest 2 replaces the slider with three preset eye distance settings (53mm, 63mm, 68mm) that are meant to fit most people, but at first my vision didn’t feel 100% with any of them. Direct sunlight can cause permanent damage to the displays if beams go through the inner lenses, and when I played outside, the headset tracking had some trouble finding the controllers.

Facebook’s road to the future is set toward augmented-reality smart glasses that can blend the virtual and real, but that could still be years off. In the meantime, the Oculus Quest 2 could have enough onboard power to evolve new ideas for Facebook’s immersive work. The first Quest changed a lot in its first year, adding hand tracking, PC connectivity and other experimental features.

As more compact and mobile-connected VR headsets start arriving in the next year or two, the Quest 2 could be ready for even more.

Oculus Quest 2 review

Facebook (now called Meta) just announced its latest VR headset – dubbed Project Cambria – at its most recent Connect event, with the company explaining that this new device will be home to groundbreaking technology which aims to help establish the earliest days of its ambitious ‘metaverse’. The Quest 2 allows you to (almost literally) step inside gaming worlds, as well as access 360-degree video content and apps covering all genres.

It’s similar to the original Oculus Quest in that it’s a battery-powered, standalone headset that allows you to freely roam around your physical and digital play spaces without fear of tripping over a wire. What’s more, where the Quest 2 is concerned developers now have the option to make their games run at 90Hz (this is important for increased comfort and even more realism while playing), and the headset itself is noticeably lighter than before, with double the battery life in the controllers.

Though some will shudder at the newly-introduced Facebook account requirement (more on this below) or the recent introduction of ads, the Oculus Quest 2 is superb when playing with friends, whether you choose to do that through online avatars, or in the same physical room thanks to the option to Google Cast whatever you’re viewing within your headset to a nearby display. And yet, while Quest 2 is the most accessible and feature-rich VR headset we’ve tested to date, it still falls foul of some of the same pitfalls that virtual reality as a whole suffers from.

There’s still the chance you’ll experience a degree of motion sickness, depending on your constitution, which is unavoidable on most headsets – even those that claim to have solved these problems – and might require you to introduce yourself to VR more gradually to avoid the telltale signs. The passthrough tech will essentially act as an overlay to your VR activities, and will be able to provide experiences based in social, productivity and gaming-focused areas.

Developers will be able to patch in passthrough API features into their games and apps later this year, and the update could allow dev teams to add even more value and functionality to their projects. As mentioned, the tech is only available to Oculus Quest 2 developers at present, but we’ll update the review when we’ve had the chance to test out some of these passthrough features in the near future. Where a scuba mask’s window would be, you’ve instead got a padded cavity that houses a pair of goggle-like lenses that sit in front of a screen, giving you stereoscopic 3D visuals. It’s a similarly lightweight design to the first Oculus Quest (now available in white plastic rather than a dust-hugging, fabric-covered black) with its outer shell housing external cameras that help to track your positioning and that of the supplied controllers.

While most won’t notice any difference (the three settings cover the most common IPD ranges), it’s a shame that more delicate control has been lost. Oculus has managed this thanks to significant improvements to its tracking algorithms, which extend to the controllers too, now offering double the battery life (we’re talking weeks of constant play) compared to their predecessors. They’re reasonably clear and loud enough to get across the drama and directional audio feedback of your games, while keeping your ears free in order to allow you some awareness of your physical surroundings. You’ll turn on the headset after its first charge, and be showed a few safety clips, and a very short intro video that introduces you to controllers and how their wand like point-and-trigger system can be used to navigate menus. Facebook admits that may change over time as developers get more to grips with the increased specs potential of the new model, but for now anyone rocking the first-gen edition won’t get locked out of upcoming experiences. Resolution is markedly sharper, the whole system and its menus feels dramatically more responsive than even the snappy earlier edition, and, where it will become buttery smooth in motion in 90Hz apps. It’s this last point that’s perhaps the biggest, most exciting change – should developers choose to take advantage of it, they can now activate a 90Hz refresh rate mode in their existing titles. Though a tolerance to VR motion sickness can be built up over time, be prepared to limit your play sessions accordingly, or keep a bucket handy.

Many games thankfully have various comfort settings that can ease you in, such as snap turning, or features to make moving on the spot less sickening, so you should be able to find something that works for you.

VR can be educational – there are applications talking you through historical moments, such as a touching look at the life of Anne Frank, and one letting you visit the Chernobyl disaster zone. There are great apps from National Geographic and other organisations that let you visit locations around the world for a spot of virtual tourism, while also opening up the very real dangers of climate change. With fitness studios and meditation spots also available in app form, if you can visit it in the real world, there’s a good chance there’s a VR alternative being developed, or already in existence.

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube are all also available to download, offering digital living rooms for you to watch titles on. Should you be lucky enough to have a decent-spec gaming PC, you can use the Oculus Quest 2 to tap into tethered virtual reality experiences powered by your computer.

It’s simply a matter of plugging in a high speed USB 3.0 cable to your headset, setting up the PC-based Oculus launcher and store on your computer, and grabbing the apps that take your fancy. In addition, PC-based experiences, by virtue of the potential GPU horsepower behind them, can be more detailed and ambitious by an order of magnitude than their mobile counterparts.

With the greater power of a PC at hand, the Quest is capable of taking advantage of some really impressive adventures, such as the god-stomping Asgard’s Wrath and mind-blowing Lone Echo. Offering access to both these play scenarios through one headset line is a wise move by Facebook, reducing the amount of hardware it supports. We wouldn’t want to see apps focus solely on the lower-powered mobile headset and give a cold shoulder to the more powerful made-for-PC experiences that can be achieved. What has however started to come through is third party accessories, like the Customizable Facial Interface & Foam Replacement set from VR Cover, pictured below:

On sale from VR Cover’s online store at $29 (about £25 / AU$42) it includes a replaceable facial interface that includes venting for passively reducing heat from the display to reduce the build up of humidity, as well as a pair (thick and thin) of leatherette padded foam cushions for the inside of the headset, which is far more comfortable than the default standard the Quest 2 ships with. Self-contained and remarkably easy to use, Oculus Quest 2 represents the very best of VR gaming and experiences, in a package that even a technological novice can set up and appreciate.

Oculus Quest 2 can be enjoyed by anyone, thanks to the way it scales its Guardian room tracker from seated, to standing, to free roaming experiences. But Quest 2 is at its best when you’ve got a large (indoor) space to roam around, free of obstacles to break the illusion of wandering around a digital world.

There’s lots of ways to minimise this effect, including not playing racing or flying games, but it’s a consideration that doesn’t usually have to be made with other platforms and media.

Oculus will sell you a Quest 2 headset that doesn’t need Facebook for an extra $500

That money gets you a robust virtual reality headset with 6GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 CPU, 64GB of storage, 1832×1920 per eye display and a pair of controllers. This is something the Oculus Quest 2 is upfront about: You absolutely need a Facebook account in order to use the device and it does have its data collection policies in black and white.

There’s also an annual fee of $180 that kicks in a year after purchase, which covers Oculus’ business services and support, but that just muddies the waters.

The point being, the Quest 2 for business, the headset from which Facebook can’t access your data directly, costs $500 more.

So that’s essentially the value the social media giant attributes to your data, which either seems like a lot or barely anything at all, depending on your stance. Others suggest setting up a fake Facebook account to use them, but even then, there’s still plenty of data being passed back to the company on your usage.

Such things as your physical dimension, including your hand size, how big your play area is using the Oculus Guardian system, data on any content you create using the Quest 2, as well as more obvious stuff like your device ID and IP address.

Oculus Quest 2 review: better, cheaper VR

Oculus has kept that standalone Quest design with the same feature set, while improving its screen, reducing its weight, and — with one noteworthy caveat — making it more comfortable. Facebook-owned Oculus has become known for its all-black flagship devices, but the Quest 2 has a pure white body and a black foam face mask, giving it a two-toned appearance.

The Quest 2’s screen resolution has leapfrogged most other VR headsets, offering 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye compared to the original’s 1440 x 1600; Oculus also promises to upgrade the suboptimal 72Hz refresh rate to 90Hz after launch.

Oculus is also offering an alternate strap option, though: a padded plastic ring that rests more easily around your head and tightens with a convenient wheel at the back. Wired ones need their long cords pinned behind the straps, and Oculus apparently isn’t planning wireless earbud support anytime soon — Quest 2 team lead Prabhu Parthasarathy says latency is too big an issue. But it’s a little frustrating that Oculus isn’t including the improved strap and earbuds by default, since new headset owners won’t necessarily realize how much better their experience could be.

Early Quest 2 leaks prompted fears that Oculus might be ditching focus adjustment — the option to move a headset’s lenses to match different interpupillary distances, improving the experience for a wider range of users. Instead of moving a smooth slider on the headset’s underside, you have to remove it and snap the lenses to one of three distance settings, then put it back on to see the improvement.

It’s also slowly being rolled out to third-party apps, including the workplace social tool Spatial — a good, low-pressure test case where you don’t need perfectly reliable fast-twitch motion. But gestures like pinching or turning your palm can be either accidentally triggered or fail to register, and when you’re using your hand to move a cursor, it doesn’t always point where you’d expect. Upcoming games include Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, created by Lucasfilm effects studio ILMxLAB; a VR installment of Sniper Elite; a Jurassic Park puzzle game called Jurassic World Aftermath; a shooter set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe; and a VR adaptation of Myst. Stealth game Phantom: Covert Ops pushes the limits of the Quest’s power and screen with a large, dark, and low-contrast world, but its clever conceit — you’re infiltrating secret bases and assassinating enemies from a kayak — easily makes up for it.

That includes upcoming battle royale game Population: One, which will be released in the fall of 2020 and features cross-play across HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, and Oculus headsets. The Quest got a huge boost last year with Link, a feature that lets it play PC VR games with a USB-C connection. While I expressed some frustration with the system this spring, it worked great with the Quest 2, in part because the official Link cable is an improvement over a much cheaper USB-C option like the Anker Powerline.

The Oculus Quest 2 retains current-generation VR’s baseline flaws: it’s grainy, bulky, and socially maladroit compared to a modern phone or laptop. Motion sickness can still be a problem in VR, but as developers have learned better design tricks and headset tracking has improved, it’s become easier to find experiences that don’t trigger it. Facebook already owned all the information it collected through Oculus, including some data that’s predictable (your app usage history) and some that’s less obvious (how you draw the boundaries on your play space.) I don’t regularly check Facebook, but based on a recent scroll through the News Feed, it’s currently trying to sell me on distance learning and Nextdoor — not the latest VR shooter. The company’s new terms of use suggest you can lose access to content if you do something like make a Facebook account with a fake name, but Oculus says the details are still being worked out. But Facebook moderation happens on such a huge scale that individual users can get stuck in the system, and the prospect of losing access to your purchased games and hardware is a scary one. Facebook could theoretically link VR activity to social media accounts before, but going forward, it’s automatically adding a whole new set of data points to an already vast catalog of your behavior. As Road to VR outlined last month, for instance, Facebook’s invite-only Horizon social space includes the option to have a moderator invisibly surveil your conversations with another person for potential rule-breaking. This is an extension of standard gaming moderation practices — Sony and Microsoft, for instance, let you report abusive private messages.

Facebook has discussed opening a less restrictive store for a wider range of apps, but it declined to offer more detail at this time, suggesting that developers build for PC if they want to experiment. Some social VR developers are already complaining about Facebook suppressing competition, and the Quest 2 only increases its power to set the terms of engagement — and potentially the kinds of games that headset users see. Facebook’s VR head start is growing, and the coming year could set industry expectations for privacy, developer autonomy, and basic consumer-friendliness.

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