Something happened on May 21, 2019, that changed the history of consumer VR and removed all barriers of entry in the VR world -even for the most conservative VR critics. Oculus Quest, a completely wireless, PC-free, and standalone VR headset was released! While that makes it less powerful than a PC-based headset, and the games you can play are limited to Oculus’s dedicated quest store, there plenty of excellent VR games there. Let see what it has for you.
Design: All-in-one VR
What makes Oculus quest amazing is how the creator has managed to cram everything into just two hand controllers and a headset! It is a totally standalone package with everything built-in from the tracking system, to the computer, and the Wi-Fi connection! It saves you the hassles of having to fix tracking sensors around your room, or purchase an expensive gaming PC. With four cameras on its corners, and 6 degrees of freedom head and hand tracking, the Quest manages to track you fully. You don’t need a PC, and the fact that the thing is completely wireless, you can carry it around and play anywhere without any limitations. Its untethered operation and sensor-free tracking make it an ideal starting point for newbies to taste VR capabilities.
Ease of use & set up
The setup process is effortless and hassle-free whether you’re at home or a new place. Pass through cameras allow for a way to check your surrounding without taking off the headset. When you switch it on in a room you have never played before, it will first show you the real world around in black and white, and then ask you to define a safe play area simply by drawing out with your hand controller as a pointer. Then the real world disappears after you confirm your play area, and you are immediately transported and immersed into a gorgeous, magical, beautiful, and calming VR world.
Its Guardian system remembers your play space boundaries and shoes you the edges of your safe play zone in neon grid walls so that you can play inbound and avoid nearby objects while in the game. It works in small or big spaces so that you can play while standing, seated, or room-scale play.
Video quality and display
Oculus Quest has more vibrant OLED display as opposed to the LCD of the Rift S, with a higher resolution of 1440×1600 per-eye compared to the 1280×144 per-eye for the Rift S. But there is an overall downgrade in display and its overall video quality for detail-packed games such as Half-Life: Alyx, which look crisper on the Rift S than on the Quest. Oculus had to sacrifice memory and graphics processing power to build this standalone headset. With only 4GB Ram and qualcomm snapdragon 835 processor, it is easy to understand why it is not as powerful as a PC-based headset that hooks to a PC with advanced graphics cards and huge amounts of memory. That’s why most of the native game content on the Quest relies on simple graphics.
With Oculus Quest, you can listen up and all around! It comes with positional speakers that use spatial audio built directly into the headset. Even without headphones, you can hear your teammates, converse with your demo staff or friends, or just hear everything sneaking behind you. For a more immersive experience, the headset is also compatible with 3.5mm headphones.
- Integrated stereo speakers
- 3.5mm headphone compatibility
Compared to the Rift S, the Quest is pretty uncomfortable to wear for long periods. It doesn’t have a rear adjustment dial, and the only means to get a comfy fit is by using the Velcro straps on the top and side of the headset. This makes the headset top-heavy since there is nothing to anchor it to the back of your head. It also becomes quite painful, with every gaming session ending with marks on the top of your nose and cheeks due to minimal padding around the front of the headset.
- Minimal padding
- No rear adjustment
Plenty of VR content
You can navigate to the Oculus app store and download games and other experiences where you can browse over 50 titles and VR hits like, Robe Recall Beat Saber, or Superhot VR, and Creed: Rise to Glory. There is plenty to choose from –around half to a third what you would play for a blockbuster PlayStation game. You can play only games limited to the Oculus store while using it wireless
Link to your PC
if you have a gaming PC already, you have the option to hook the quest up with an Oculus Link USB-C cable and experience all of its worth with the access to the latest and the greatest in the VR world! Just sacrifice its wireless capabilities and use the high-speed USB-C cable to plug it into a gaming PC and use your Quest to play hot new VR games on Steam.
- USB-C cable
For the 128GB, the Oculus Quest starts at $499 while the 64GB is valued at $399. The fact that you don’t have to purchase a gaming PC or incur extra cost for any additional parts makes this price absolutely reasonable for a stand-alone VR headset. The 64GB seems to be enough for most people intending to use the Quest as both a wireless and PC-based headset since any Rift or SteamVR games you want to play through the oculus link will be installed on your PC. But if you want loads of Quest games installed on the headset at the same time, then the 128GB is right for you.
- Where do we go from here?
While the Oculus Quest is not yet perfect, its untethered, standalone design makes it a masterpiece of usability. It sets us on a new stage and opens a new gateway for all sorts of mind-blowing and incredible experiences of future VR headsets. Going forward we can only expect wireless, standalone VR headsets to get better in the coming future with better graphics processing, wider fields of view, and higher resolutions. We don’t know what the future of standalone VR holds, but undeniably, the quest is a game-changer in the consumer VR space.