The Meta Quest 2 (formerly known as the Oculus Quest 2) has been one of the most popular standalone virtual reality headsets since its release in 2020. With its all-in-one design and affordable price point, the Quest 2 opened up quality VR experiences to the masses without the need for an expensive gaming PC.
However, as with any technology product, the Quest 2 is not without its flaws. As exciting as VR is, purchasing a headset is still a big investment for most people. If you‘re considering buying a Quest 2, it‘s important to weigh both the pros and cons to determine if it‘s the right choice for you. There are also some new headsets coming out soon that may be worth waiting for.
In this guide, we‘ll provide a comprehensive overview of the Meta Quest 2 to help you make an informed decision before hitting that buy button. Here‘s what we‘ll cover:
- Quest 2 hardware specs and features
- The pros and cons of the Meta Quest 2
- Its performance for gaming, media, and other uses
- Comfort issues and solutions
- Limitations of the standalone design
- How it compares to upcoming headsets
- And most importantly – whether or not you should buy it
Let‘s get started!
What Exactly is the Meta Quest 2?
The Meta Quest 2 is the second generation of the Oculus Quest standalone VR headset. It was released in October 2020 as the successor to the original Oculus Quest.
Some key things that set the Quest 2 apart:
- All-in-one design – No PC or wires required. The computing power, battery, sensors, and displays are built right into the headset. This makes it completely portable.
- Improved specs – The Quest 2 bumped up the performance with a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor, 50% more pixels, and 6GB of RAM.
- Lower price – The original Quest launched at $399. The Quest 2 starts at just $299, making it one of the most affordable quality headsets.
- Optional Oculus Link – You can connect the Quest 2 to a gaming PC with a USB-C cable to access more powerful PCVR games and experiences.
So in summary, the Quest 2 aims to deliver a high-end wireless VR experience at a mainstream consumer price point. It‘s not as powerful as headsets that rely on gaming PCs, but impressive for standalone mobile hardware.
Meta Quest 2 Hardware Specs
Here‘s a quick rundown of the key hardware specs and features that allow the Quest 2 to deliver solid VR performance in a standalone design:
- Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2, faster than the Snapdragon 835 in the original Quest.
- Resolution – 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye, 50% more than Quest 1. This reduces the screen door effect.
- Refresh rate – 72Hz or 90Hz, a bump up from the Quest‘s 60Hz-72Hz variable refresh rate.
- RAM – 6GB, double the RAM of the original Quest.
- Storage – 128GB or 256GB options. Not expandable.
- Tracking – 6 degrees of freedom (6DoF) inside-out tracking via 4 ultra wide-angle cameras. No external sensors required.
- Controllers – Updated ergonomic controllers with better haptics than Quest 1.
- Battery life – 2-3 hours of regular use. Can be extended with accessories.
- Other features – 3.5mm headphone jack, volume rocker, Bluetooth, WiFi 5 connectivity.
The Quest 2 delivers a significant improvement over the original Quest while using similar mobile hardware. But how does this translate into actual performance and experience? Let‘s look at some of the highlights and drawbacks.
The Pros of Meta Quest 2
Here are some of the biggest advantages that the Quest 2 offers over other VR options:
1. Affordable All-In-One Design
The Quest 2‘s biggest selling point is its completely wireless, standalone design powered by mobile hardware. This allows it to offer PC-quality VR without the need for an expensive gaming PC or wires tethering you to a computer.
At $299-$399, it‘s priced similarly to mainstream gaming consoles yet delivers a PC-like room scale VR experience. This kind of quality was unheard of at this price point just a couple years ago.
2. Impressive Visuals and Performance
Considering its mobile chipset, the graphics and performance of the Quest 2 are very impressive. The increased resolution and refresh rates make visuals crisp, smooth, and immersive. There is minimal motion blur or screen door effect.
While visuals aren‘t as sharp as wired PC headsets, they‘re quite good for standalone. Performance is also great with 72Hz-90Hz refresh rates that help avoid VR motion sickness issues.
3. Large Content Library
A key advantage of the Quest is access to two content libraries:
- Oculus Quest Store – 300+ games and apps designed specifically for the Quest platform. No wires or PC needed to run them.
- Oculus Rift Store – Play Rift PC VR games by connecting your Quest 2 to a gaming PC with Oculus Link or Air Link. Hundreds more titles.
In total, Quest 2 owners can access nearly all of Oculus‘ vast content libraries spanning Quest standalone and Rift PCVR titles. There‘s content for all interests ranging from big action games to puzzle titles and fitness apps.
4. Intuitive Controls & Tracking
The Quest 2 offers intuitive control schemes whether you‘re playing native Quest games or PCVR titles. The redesigned 6DoF controllers are comfortable to hold and mimic natural hand presence and gestures in VR.
The 4 wide-angle tracking cameras provide 6DoF tracking of both your head and hands. This inside-out tracking works great without any external sensors to set up. The large tracking volume lets you freely roam and interact naturally in VR.
5. Portable & Easy to Use
One of the Meta Quest 2‘s biggest perks is its portability and ease of use. You can easily take it anywhere or use it while traveling thanks to the wireless design. It‘s simple to pick up and play with no time-consuming setup whenever you want to jump into VR.
For tech enthusiasts and early adopters, the Quest 2 offers an easy entry point into quality VR compared to complex wired PCVR setups. It‘s definitely the most plug-and-play headset out there right now.
The Cons of Meta Quest 2
While the Quest 2 improves the standalone VR experience in many ways, it still has some drawbacks inherent to its mobile design:
1. Visual Downgrades From PCVR
The Quest 2 has great visuals for a standalone headset. But there are still noticeable downgrades in certain graphics settings compared to playing games on a VR-ready gaming PC.
Some examples you may notice:
- Lower resolution textures
- Simplified lighting and shadows
- Fewer effects like advanced physics, particles, and reflections
- Fixed foveated rendering in the peripheral vision
These visual downgrades are more apparent in graphics-heavy games ported from PC to the Quest. Simpler art styles hold up better.
2. Weaker Hardware Than PCVR
The Qualcomm XR2 processor and 6GB of RAM powering the Quest 2 is impressive for mobile hardware but struggles to match gaming PCs for physics, AI, number of objects, etc.
As a result, some PCVR games ported to Quest are simplified with things like lower enemy counts and physics dialed back. The hardware limits mean you won‘t get leading-edge VR graphics and experiences.
3. Smaller Game Library Than PCVR
While the combined Quest/Rift libraries are sizeable, there are still more VR games only available for PCVR headsets right now. Things are improving with more ports, but the PCVR game catalog is much larger currently.
The Quest platform is also more curated with fewer short experimental projects. Developers have to optimize their games for the Quest 2 hardware rather than target high-end PCs.
4. Battery Life Limitations
Battery technology limits cordless headsets. The Quest 2 battery lasts around 2-3 hours per charge depending on usage. That‘s not bad for a device powering VR on its own, but still interrupts longer play sessions.
You‘ll need to remember to charge it frequently. There are some battery strap accessories that can extend portable play time if needed. But built-in mobile power means runtime isn‘t infinite like wired PCVR headsets.
Meta Quest 2 Comfort
One of the most common complaints about the Quest 2 is regarding comfort. VR headsets with their front-heavy design can put strain on your face and head after a while. Unfortunately, the Quest 2‘s default headstrap has some issues:
- The soft elastic material flexes and sags over time rather than staying firmly in place.
- Limited adjustment range makes it hard to get a secure and balanced fit.
- Pressures your cheeks and forehead more than rigid headbands with an arm to cup the back of your head.
Fortunately there are a few upgrade options that can greatly improve Quest 2 comfort:
- 3rd party headstraps – Replacements with rigid straps and adjustments like the Elite Strap provide a tighter fit and transfer weight off your face.
- VR face covers – Softer replacement face gaskets or pads can reduce pressure points on your face.
- Headband counterweights – Attach a weight to the back headstrap to offset and balance the front heaviness. More even weight distribution.
- Over-ear headphones – On-ear cups transfer just a bit of weight off your face for long sessions.
While a rigid headstrap upgrade is recommended for longer use, other comfort mods can help too. Prioritizing good Quest 2 comfort takes a little extra investment but pays off.
Meta Quest 2 Performance Breakdown
Now that we‘ve covered the core hardware and features, let‘s look closer at how the Quest 2 headset performs in key usage areas:
With its updated mobile processor and graphics, the Quest 2 can run all the latest Quest games and titles built specifically for its hardware capabilities.
Visually simpler games like Beat Saber, Synth Riders, and Pistol Whip play great with crisp and fluid performance. Their art styles hold up well on the Quest.
More advanced games like Resident Evil 4 VR and Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond had to be downgraded from their PC versions but still play very smoothly. Overall the Quest 2 provides a solid gaming experience across genres from shooters to puzzle games.
Playing Oculus Rift PCVR games via Oculus Link does require a capable gaming PC. Visuals will be sharper and gameplay smoother on supported titles. But the Quest 2 can comfortably handle many popular Rift games like Asgard‘s Wrath, Lone Echo, and Stormland when connected to a suitable PC.
Media & Entertainment
Watching 2D, 180°, and 360° video content is another popular use case. The Quest 2‘s display and lenses make media very immersive with minimal glare or distortion. Video apps like Netflix, YouTube, and live events all look great.
Social platforms like VRChat also run well for casual hangouts and metaverse experiences. You can join friends to watch videos and chill in VR spaces.
In general, media consumption and social VR apps perform excellently on the Quest 2. Visuals and interactions hold up even for non-gaming uses.
Fitness & Exercise
VR fitness has taken off with apps like Supernatural, FitXR, and Les Mills Bodycombat. These make working out fun by using motion controllers for natural movement like boxing, dance workouts, obstacle courses, etc.
The Quest 2‘s untethered design and 6DoF tracking is perfect for high activity VR fitness. You can really get your heart rate going without worrying about wires. Just be sure to use appropriate facial interfaces and headstraps that can handle sweat.
The portability also makes it easy to use the Quest 2 for fitness anywhere or pack it for travel workouts. If VR exercise appeals to you, the Quest 2 is a great match.
Limitations of the Standalone Design
We‘ve covered a lot of positives, but there are some limitations inherent to the Quest 2‘s self-contained, standalone design. Things to keep in mind:
- Can‘t upgrade core components like the processor or graphics.
- No expanding memory beyond built-in 128GB or 256GB options.
- Can‘t connect or install most external peripherals. Limited to Oculus Link, headphones, and certain accessories.
- Hardware already outdated compared to new headsets in development. Short shelf life.
- Closed ecosystem limits mods and customization.
- Reliant on Meta ecosystem and accounts being maintained.
For tinkerers used to PC platforms, the Quest 2 offers little control over the experience. It‘s a sealed appliance you have to take as-is. Lack of repairability or upgradability also shortens its usable lifespan as new VR hardware advances quickly.
How Does the Quest 2 Compare to Upcoming VR Headsets?
The Quest 2 is starting to show its age as newer headsets with cutting-edge features are on the horizon. Two models, in particular, look very promising…
Meta Quest Pro
Meta themselves recently announced the Meta Quest Pro releasing later this year at $1,499. It‘s focused on mixed reality for work usage but will also support regular VR experiences.
Some ways the Quest Pro looks to improve over Quest 2:
- Higher resolution displays with local dimming
- Pancake lenses with less glare
- Eye and face tracking
- More powerful processor
- Replaceable headstrap
- Front-facing cameras for passthrough AR
- Full-color mixed reality integration
The Quest Pro aims for a premium experience but with a steep price tag far above the Quest 2. It will be overkill for many consumers just looking for VR gaming and media. But the technology gives a glimpse of where Meta is headed.
Quest 3 (Project Cambria)
Meta is also rumored to be releasing a Quest 3 in 2023 under the codename Project Cambria. It will likely retain a similar price point to Quest 2 but with improved specs.
Potential upgrades over the Quest 2 include:
- Higher resolution mini-LED displays
- Faster processor like Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 1
- More RAM
- Lighter and slimmer design
- New pancake style lenses
- Face and eye tracking capabilities
- Mixed reality passthrough
The Quest 3 would build upon the Quest 2 foundations and learnings with more power. It‘s aimed at consumers while Quest Pro targets professionals.
Either of these newer headsets may be tempting upgrades for Quest 2 owners. We‘ll have to wait on exact details, but the Quest 2 will have stiff competition from Meta themselves let alone other VR brands.
So Should You Buy a Meta Quest 2 Right Now?
Even two years after launch, the Meta Quest 2 remains the overall best standalone VR headset available today. Despite some flaws, it delivers quality PC-like VR wirelessly at a reasonable price.
However, with the next-generation of headsets nearing release, it does create a bit of a dilemma:
The Quest 2 is still a very solid choice for VR here and now. If you want great VR today without breaking the bank, the Quest 2 will satisfy. There‘s a huge content library already available and more coming.
But the shelf life is limited. The outdated Snapdragon XR2 chipset and dated features mean the Quest 2 will be obsolete sooner rather than later. We estimate 1-2 more years at most before it really starts to show its age.
Upcoming headsets will raise the bar. The Quest Pro and eventual Quest 3 model will bring better displays, performance, mixed reality, and comfort. If you can wait 6-12 months, future options look very compelling.
So in summary:
- Buy a Quest 2 now if you want affordable VR immediately and can live with its compromises.
- Wait for the Quest 3 if you want the latest technology – but don‘t mind paying a bit more when released.
- Get a Quest Pro if you need premium enterprise features and price is no concern.
Take some time to consider your priorities. While still a capable system, the Quest 2 has a limited lifespan going forward. Weigh how soon you want VR against upcoming advancements on the horizon.
But if your appetite for VR just can‘t wait, the Meta Quest 2 does deliver a lot of fun and value even here in late 2022. Just make sure to factor in some comfort upgrades for the best experience.
We hope this comprehensive guide helps shed light on the full pros, cons, and considerations around purchasing a Meta Quest 2 VR headset. Let us know if you have any other questions!