the Oculus Quest 2 represents a big change not just for Oculus, but for VR as a whole. Compact, affordable and almost infinitely versatile, this is the template for the future of VR. Someday we’ll remember that it started here.
A crash course on Quest
In case you’ve never heard of Oculus Quest 2, it’s the latest in a line of stand-alone VR headsets. Standalone means that, like a video game console or PC, you only need to buy the headset to use the software. Inside the Quest 2 is a complete mobile computer as well as a digital shop window with games and apps.
The Quest headsets are battery operated and do not require external motion trackers, so you can take them with you wherever you go. The best thing about it: If you have a VR-capable PC, you can also use a Quest headset as a connected PC VR headset. You can even play PC VR games wirelessly.
Versatility is the key
Quest 2 is incredibly versatile and that’s the main reason we believe it’s the future of VR. All you have to do is buy that one VR headset and get access to almost any form of VR. Whether you want to play high-end PC VR games, use room-scale VR, while seated, or on the bus (in front of amused commuters), you can.
Like a tablet or laptop, you can toss a Quest 2 in a bag and take it with you. (You probably want to buy those official carrier bag before of course.)
The greatest feat that Oculus has achieved with the Quest is removing the friction between wanting to access VR and being in VR. There’s nothing to set up, at least not after the initial setup. Simply put on the headset and you’re right back in the thick of it. VR, which you can jump into at any time, is critical to the technology’s widespread adoption. Quest 2 has already crossed a decisive threshold in this area.
The price of the quest is right
A basic model 128 GB Quest 2 will return you $ 299. While that’s not a little money, it’s definitely on the same level as the Nintendo Switch or Xbox Series S. It’s also a lot cheaper than premium PC VR headsets like the Valve Index or the HP Reverb G2. While it’s only a third the price of a Valve index, the index isn’t three times better. You get 80% of the premium PC VR experience for just 30% of the price. It’s hard to believe that Oculus is making money in hardware at this price point, but it’s a fantastic deal for users and it opens the way for the tech’s mass adoption.
Oculus Quest 2 128 GB
Quest 2 is the only real choice in standalone VR right now, so it’s good that it’s the best option too. Ultimate versatility combined with a great entry-level price.
It’s a gateway to mixed reality
While the Quest 2 wasn’t designed to be a proper mixed reality device, Oculus has continued the tradition of the original Quest by finding new ways to use the headset’s hardware for new things. It started with their attempts to turn the first Quest into a PC VR headset with a USB cable, and it was so successful that it destroyed every other Oculus headset and changed the company’s entire lineup. Oculus also figured out how to use the onboard tracking cameras to track bare hands without a controller. This enables a whole new kind of VR experience and interactivity.
Lately the company has been experimenting with basic mixed reality features. The tracking cameras can only play back black and white footage, which is enough to create some cool use cases. The Quest headsets can now recognize your desk, sofa or computer keyboard, for example, and mix them with the VR visuals. This makes it easy for you to interact with real-world objects and make VR productivity applications more practical.
The future of VR is likely to be “Augmented Reality,” where you can go from full virtual reality to mixed reality to real reality at will. All with a single headset. The Quest 2 isn’t here yet, but it’s emerging as the mainstream entry point for augmented reality. We expect that some future Quest successors will have cameras that also take full color, stereoscopic mixed reality into account.
The Quest Pro and the future of VR
Speaking of which The future of VR, there are persistent rumors about a Quest Pro on the way, although we don’t know much about it other than that it is a separate device from a supposed Quest 3. Microsoft has slowed down a bit when it comes to its enterprise-centric Windows Mixed Reality platform, and we can imagine Oculus might want you to move into the professional realm with a more business-centric search.
As for the future of the Quest line of products for consumers, the trend is likely to be towards smaller and lighter headsets. Possibly with micro-OLED panels that enable VR headsets that are more like ski goggles than a diving mask. Micro-OLED technology is a hot topic in VR and even the rumor Apple VR headset is thought to use it.
Whoever cracks the mainstream VR market, we suspect the product will have more in common with the Quest than it does with the Oculus Rift. In fact, Valve’s successor to Index could prove to be a standalone headset even. Imitation really is the most sincere form of flattery.
The Quest 2 is not perfect
The Quest 2 is a great device, and we really see it breaking new ground for the future of VR – but that doesn’t mean it’s the perfect product today.
One can argue that the Oculus Quest 2 is a step back In a way, of course, compared to the Oculus Quest 1. We wish they didn’t need a Facebook account either.
The Quest 2 has plenty of room for improvement, but it’s hard to recommend any other headset to the average person looking to get into virtual reality today. If you don’t already have a VR headset, this is the most compelling place to buy – unless you have a high-end VR-enabled PC and are willing to spend a lot more bucks on a VR headset.
Although it is not the highest quality headset, it is full of innovative software ideas (such as hand tracking and inside-out motion tracking) and powerful hardware for independent VR experiences. Future versions of the Quest will of course iron out any remaining rough edges, but the Quest 2 is a true consumer product ready for the mainstream.
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