If you’re anything like me then being inside a video game is a childhood dream. A dream you probably thought you’d never see become a reality. Around comes 2012 and a promising start up that launched an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over 2 million dollars. The product? A pair of goggles that let’s you step into the game; The Oculus Rift. This was the starting point of a completely new medium: Virtual Reality. Today many companies, most notably Facebook, HTC, Valve and Microsoft, are focusing their efforts on creating the most immersive and most powerful Virtual Reality headset. It may not be the full dive VR I dreamed of as a kid but it’s a necessary steppingstone to getting there. One of the latest entries in the VR-market is the Oculus Quest.
What is the Oculus Quest?
Made by the people behind the Kickstarter that started it all the Oculus Quest is their first all-in-one VR gaming headset. What’s so special about that? Well, a VR headset is really nothing more than a peripheral, like your monitor or gamepad. It’s a way for you to explore VR through another device rather than being a console on its own. Previous headsets need either a beefy PC, a PS4, or a high-end mobile phone to work. Not the Quest. It’s got everything you need to explore VR right out of the box. Just pair the device with an app and you’re good to go.
That’s the first question that popped into my head as well. Why would I want to buy an all-in-one device when I could just get one that I could connect to my PC? Surely there must be downsides to this formfactor?
The most appealing part of having an all-in-one VR-headset is that you don’t need a powerful PC to get an experience comparable to that of a PC-powered headset. As you will see in the specs part of this review the Quest is comparable to pretty much all major competitors while not being more expensive, sometimes even costing less. Add to that the fact that you don’t need to buy any PC parts. If I wanted to play VR-games on my PC I’d have to upgrade my GPU, so there goes another few hundred bucks.
There’s also the added benefit of having no wires since all the components are inside the headset itself. This doesn’t only make life much easier when playing since there’s no risk of getting tangled up in wires, but it also makes the device much more portable. Just throw it in a bag and you’re good to go. Or get the official travel case.
Specs & Features
The Oculus Quest comes equipped with two OLED displays at a resolution of 1440x1600 and with a refresh rate of 72 Hz. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 4 GB of RAM. The lithium-ion battery is advertised at 2 – 3 hours of playtime. It weighs 571 g.
For comparison the original Oculus Rift had two 1080x1200 screens and weighed 470 g. The other specs were decided by your PC. The extra weight in the Quest comes from the fact that all the components are inside the headset itself and shouldn’t be that noticeable.
The device also has built in speakers that are seamlessly integrated into the headband. However, if you’d rather use your fancy headphones with active noise cancellation and ultra-comfortable design you can do that via one of two 3.5 mm headphone jacks.
The headset comes with two Oculus touch controllers. I have had the opportunity to try these controllers out myself while trying public demos for the Oculus Rift and while trying the device out at a friend’s place. The controllers were incredibly accurate and are, in my opinion, the most comfortable and intuitive VR-controllers out there.
And finally, the big selling point: Room Scale VR. Oculus’s biggest competitor, HTC, introduced room scale VR with their Vive headset. By putting sensors in opposite corners of your room you were able to move around freely as long as the sensors were able to see the headset. A couple of years later Microsoft launched their Mixed Reality VR-headsets that were able to do sensor-less room scale VR using cameras on the headset itself. This is the technology the Oculus Quest is using. With the help of four cameras on the device it allows you to move freely around your room and your movements will translate to the games. I’ve tried Mixed Reality headsets with this technology and it works incredibly well. While some VR-enthusiasts swear by the use of sensors I don’t think it’s worth the hassle. I feel no difference in tracking when using a Vive with sensors vs. a Mixed Reality headset with cameras. The sensor-less technology also increases the portability of the device a lot. If you don’t have a completely empty room designated for VR there’s no need to worry since the Quest will allow you to put up virtual borders that warn you when you stray too far out into the furnished part of room.
What are customers saying about it?
The Oculus Quest has been incredibly well received. As of writing this review it has 161 customer reviews on Amazon with 85% of them giving the product a five-star rating. Many customers express their surprise at how good the VR in the Quest actually is, they expected the quality of a mobile-powered Gear VR but instead got a device with the VR quality of a PC-powered headset like the Vive.
Beside the quality of the VR (and the device itself) customers have primarily praised the price and convenience. As it turns out most people aren’t interested in dishing out hundreds of dollars to upgrade their PC in order to be able to experience VR. But even a lot of people who have a powerful enough PC have opted to go for the Quest because they’re simply not interested in the set-up required to get going. They just want an out of the box pick up and play experience; the Oculus Quest provides that. Adding to the convenience factor many customers have praised the portability. Do you want to bring the headset over to a friend’s house? Go ahead. Visiting your family for a few days? Bring the Quest.
Is it all sunshine and rainbows though? Of course not, there have been some complaints. Some customers have complained about the comfort which is a universal issue with VR-headsets. Since not all heads look the same it’s impossible to make a headset that fits everybody perfectly. Primarily it seems the Quest is poorly fitted for people with large noses. If you have a larger nose, I’d suggest trying it out in a store before buying it. If it doesn’t fit you there will certainly be a ton of mods available for the device, like with other VR-headsets, that’ll help with comfort in the future.
Some customers have also complained about the battery life. If you want to play for more than 2 – 3 hours, then you need to have the charger plugged in which is an inconvenience. Now, most people won’t play for this long but for those who do I can see an issue.
Possibly the most common complaint I see is that there’s just not enough content available yet. VR is in its state of infancy so naturally there’s not going to be a ton of content, let alone high-quality content. For the Quest the library is even more limited since it’s not only locked to the Oculus Store (which, granted, has a very large library) but also limited to the games that are optimized to work with the Quest. If you want to see what games are available head over to the Quest section of the Oculus Store. However, it is possible to play games that are not in the Oculus Store, you can even play Steam VR games by utilizing third party software. A simple Google search for “Play more games on Oculus Quest” should get you the resources you need.
The Oculus Quest is an all-in-one VR headset that gives you high quality VR and high-end features like sensor-less room scale tracking. The all-in-one formfactor gives you a completely wireless set-up that is great for both mobility and portability. It is incredibly well received by customers.
If you’re interested to see what the world of VR has to offer or if you’re a VR enthusiast with a lower budget, like me, I highly suggest checking the Oculus Quest out.
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