Josh Hendrickson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and is responsible for the site’s content direction. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smart home enthusiast who built his own se, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read more.
When Facebook unveiled the Oculus Quest 2, it hailed the updated virtual reality (VR) headset as lighter, cheaper, and more powerful than ever. As a huge fan of the original Oculus Quest, I immediately jumped on board and ordered the sequel. And now I regret it. The Oculus Quest 2 isn’t truly lighter or cheaper. But worst of all: It’s a downgraded experience.
How We Got Here
The original Oculus Quest changed the name of the game for VR. Before the Oculus Quest, most “mainstream” VR headsets called for an expensive and tethered gaming computer to run your games and apps. That made VR headsets expensive and incredibly inconvenient to use. Most didn’t offer any room tracking either; you sat in a chair or held still. The few that offered room tracking required a large-scale camera setup that meant spending even more on the system and more room for all your equipment.
The Oculus Quest changed all that. It didn’t need a powerful gaming computer, and it didn’t need a sensor setup. The headset did everything, even tracking your controllers and your movements around the room. You got all that at a much more affordable price and with graphics that were “good enough.” Not as good as a gaming computer, but find enough to enjoy the average VR game. Once upon a time, VR seemed like a fad destined for the dustbin of failure history. Now it’s the future, and Oculus played a large hand in that.
Facebook promised the Oculus Quest 2 would take everything great about the original Quest and make it better. It has a higher resolution display with a higher refresh rate, weighs less, costs less, and is more powerful. What’s not love? Well, all the broken promises. Ticking off those boxes led to shortcuts, and those shortcuts compromised the system.
The VR Headset That “Weighs Less”
Wear any VR headset for long, and you’ll find out why weight is such a big deal. You’re essentially strapping a small computer and monitor to your head and face. The heaviest part, the screen and lens system, goes in front of your eyes, leading to an uneven drag on your skull.
A lighter headset should be more comfortable, but the devil is in the details. Facebook didn’t reduce the weight of the heaviest parts of the Quest, the display system. Instead, it swapped the head strap system from a robust rubberized halo strap to a cloth belt loop system.
The old system did an excellent job of lifting and balancing the heavy front design; the new straps don’t provide as much pull without really winching it down. Worse, they’re more challenging to put on and resize, an issue if more than one person uses the headset. Now it pulls at the front of your head more than the original Quest. Technically it weighs less, but instead of relieving discomfort, it adds to it.
Facebook seems to know that the new strap system isn’t a good option because it sells an optional headset strap accessory system. But that breaks this promise and the next in one go.
The VR Headset That “Costs Less”
To solve the terrible strap system, you can use the Oculus Quest Elite strap. That gets you back to something closer to the original Quest’s rubberized strap system. It’s easier to use, too-just put the Quest 2 on and turn a dial to tighten. And because it’s heavier, it balances out the VR headset better. But there goes that “it’s lighter” promise.