The time has come to do another Oculus quest review. You might be thinking – “Alex, we have enough of them.” I say, yes, but we don’t have Quest reviews for the month of June!
The virus outbreak is slowly slowing down in Europe, and what better way to start summer than taking another look at Oculus Quest, a 2nd out of 11 VR headsets that I am going to be reviewing.
First of all, let me start by saying that there have been enough changes that make this piece of gem the most versatile VR headset there currently is. Of course, by doing that, there have to be some downsides. And that is exactly what we are going to cover this time.
This review, as you might know, isn’t going to be a typical lullaby song just for the praise – As a VR site, it is my duty to be rough and stern with what is in front of me. I will do some comparisons to other VR headsets for perspective and an easier understanding of what we have in hand.
So, let me start with Oculus Quest Setup difficulty:
Oculus Quest Setup – Easiest There is?
Done are the days where you had to set your room up for VR in a way that it looked like a spiderweb riddled with cables. For Oculus Quest, all you need is a bit of space and a phone.
For the ease of setup, I am glad to give it a 9,6/10 rating.
As it was a year ago, Oculus Quest remains, in my eyes, the best pick-and-go device. I tried to set it up again, and it felt even smoother than before, while at the same time giving me more customization options. There is, obviously, even more room for improvement, like excluding the need for the Oculus app altogether, but compared to other VR headsets, that is a minor issue.
I really wanted to try out the HUD Guardian color option that they planned to release, but at the time of the writing, I wasn’t lucky enough to get to try it.
To set Oculus Quest up properly for my eyes, it did take some time. However, I found the sweet spot fairly quickly. That was helped by the fact that Oculus did an update this year, that added digital IPD measurement. I could easily see and adjust my IPD after that.
The physical setup for comfortably wearing is another story though…
Oculus Quest Comfort – Worst There is?
To truly have good ergonomics, one must be comfortable for the whole day. If a VR headset manages to that for me, I give it my respect.
So, where does Oculus Quest stand? For me, she is exactly like Oculus Rift S, with exactly opposite strengths and weaknesses.
Taking visual, as well as wearing comfort into consideration, I must give it 6,9/10.
You might ask, why did you give Rift S 8.5 then if they are so similar? That is explained by the fact that wearing outweighs visual comfort. For most, IPD and nausea levels are affecting only certain people, but with wearing, the score has to be tougher. Here is the reason for such a score:
It’s. just. so. darn. front. heavy.
That hasn’t changed over the year. No upgrades were made. But, luckily there are workarounds for discomfort, but I’ll get to it in just a second.
Personally, I managed to wear Oculus Quest for around an hour before my face turned into a color I was ashamed to show to others. The face pressure is real, it is not a myth. Now, your experience might be different, as it depends on the shape of your head, but seeing the overall consensus on forums, I am not alone with that problem. That can be turned into a headache if you want to play bigger VR titles like Half-Life: Alyx through Oculus Link.
But, do not let it discourage you from buying Oculus Quest. There are ways that we, VR people, have found to tackle the comfort problem:
3rd party Halo strap.
The first one is super useful as it tackles 2 issues at once. You get the counterweight needed to alleviate the face pressure, and your battery will last longer. This is the option that I chose (along with VRcover) and I felt the difference immediately – it was just night and day for my weird head build.
The VRcover option is a perfect add-on that you can combine with a power bank for better and softer material. That is easily swappable and can be cleaned as well. Perfect for people who want to give Oculus Quest to their friends or family to try.
Oculus Quest Halo strap is another option that should help you in a big way. I personally haven’t used it yet, but if the reputation is correct, it is amazing. For some, it has worked even better than battery counterweight, so it’s really up to you which one you prefer.
However, even though these options exist, I cannot increase the rating. After all, you do have to spend extra money on such pleasure, and that is not something I like. The default VR headset should’ve had everything for the user to feel comfortable.
So, keep in mind, the wearing comfort rating is low, but it is fixable.
I give it a high rating of 9.6. It really deserves it.
I had no eye strain, even after playing for long periods of time. I had a minor headache when I read things up close, but it was a matter of a second to tune the physical IPD for my personal liking and comfort.
The range for IPD adjustment is 58-72mm on paper, but in reality, that should be tightened by one millimeter. Still, Quest’s IPD covers a bigger majority of people than Oculus Rift S. It’s a huge plus in my book. Although my IPD is 65, I do feel sorry for people that couldn’t use Rift S just because their IPD doesn’t fall into the popular spectrum. Even Palmer Luckey, a former CEO of Oculus, wrote a long article on why even he can’t the Rift S.
As Oculus Quest has a dual-screen, that issue is resolved. As I also mentioned above, they added a digital measurement to your screen, so when you adjust it, you can see and remember the number in case you change it later on.
The Pros and Cons of Oculus Quest Display
This part of the review is always (inserting sarcasm) a ray of sunshine for me. Reviewing VR displays should come with psychotherapy included, as it’s such a big headache. That mainly comes from how hard it is to measure something, as some segments of display scores cannot be measured with official numbers. That isn’t helped by the fact that we all have different IPD’s and distance from the screen.
Anyhow, let us start with easiest and what we can measure:
Oculus Quest resolution is a tricky thing
Despite Oculus Quest having the higher resolution on paper than Oculus Rift S, it’s still blurrier and worse SDE (Screen Door Effect). That comes from having a pentile OLED display, unlike Rift S’ RGB stripes.
If you don’t know what SDE is, it is those black lines that are barely visible on the screen but are still there. It’s the gap between the pixels.
To get rich colors, Oculus Quest decided to go OLED route… an I am completely fine with it. I prefer colors over sharpness many times over for my own reasons. Sharpness is important indeed, but it does slow down the performance, and as it’s a standalone device, you need to squeeze as much out of it as possible.
But, let’s say that you want to play PC games. This is now possible. Late last year, Oculus Quest had an enormous update that allows it to connect your PC through Oculus Link and play whatever game you want. When I heard about this news, I was ecstatic! Though my immediate thought was that I desired a display that was a bit sharper.
Well, do not worry now, as you can use the SideQuest program that basically increases the resolution for you (the article is coming). It worked surprisingly well for me. Only thing is that it eats performance, so it’s best coupled with PC.
All in all, as with comfort, you can fix the resolution issue, but it’s not included by default, so I have to give it a score as if I’ve never seen those solutions.
The Reason I am using Oculus Quest more than Rift S
You know, what makes the screen great differs from people to people. Some prefer higher resolution, some want the refresh rate… I am the type of person that just enjoys true colors. I enjoy watching movies, play horror games, eat up the environment in terms of correct saturation.
For all that, Oculus Quest does the job the best. I love Samsung OLED displays that give richer colors and deeper blacks.
I use Oculus Quest fairly often outside of gaming. When I watch cinema, I oftentimes just lay in my bed, and use Plex with Skybox app to stream content (more on that on another article). I prefer Oculus Quest over Oculus Go (a cheaper and more mobile version) due to me loving 6DoF too much. I want to move around in virtual cinema whatever way I want, and Oculus Quest is best for that.
Yes, it’s not perfect and HP Reverb might have higher quality due to the “humongous” resolution it offers, but Quest has that color depth that makes me wish all VR headsets had that.
But is Refresh Rate Enough?
For games, it is important indeed… but not that much.
When I got my first Oculus Rift DK1, I thought that the refresh rate would play the biggest role in how comfortable I would feel in virtual reality. But then, I was convinced that people can get used to things over time. 72Hz is not much, that is true, but I feel like the importance of it is overblown.
Valve Index has a 144Hz option, and while you do feel the difference, it’s not what makes your jaw drop. With Index, it’s actually the whole package that does that. I noticed over time that Oculus Quest’s 72Hz didn’t really mess up my VR sessions and my nausea levels weren’t spiking. Of course, it is really hard to measure as I have had years to get used to VR, but still, I was surprised how acceptable it was for most games.
In certain competitive games, I did feel like more frames within a second would have given me a competitive advantage. Those were mainly noticed in Beat Saber, sports games, and gunfights. But refresh rate isn’t the only factor in here – tracking plays as big a role, if not bigger.
All in all, I can’t give it a high rating due to the reasons above, but when I take facts into consideration, it shouldn’t really bother you much.
It certainly didn’t bother me.
Field of View?
The FOV for Oculus Quest is around 95 degrees (debatable on which way you measure it). That is close to Original Oculus Rift CV1. If you haven’t tried CV1, it’s kinda hard to explain, but one could imagine horse blinders.
If you want an example. make a circle with each hand, and place those circles around your eyes. Unless you have troll hands, you should feel the constriction. If you want to know what Valve Index, one of the most popular VR headsets, has, open up the hands around 20-30%.
It is certainly tolerable, just like with the refresh rate. You won’t be at a disadvantage playing competitive games, and your online high scores won’t suffer just because you don’t see the angles.
I do wish for VR headsets to evolve so much that it covers all 200 degrees of peripheral view, but, it is what it is.
When the time comes for that, I will be one happy man.
Any artifacts with Oculus Quest display?
Yes, there are some. The most popular topic on the internet usually revolves around god rays. God rays are those bloom-like shinings on high contrast scenes. For example, if there is a white text in the scene that’s in the dark, it will give out that bloom that is quite annoying.
Oculus Quest, for me, didn’t fix that issue entirely but is much better than Oculus Rift CV1. In my eyes, it falls short just behind Oculus Rift S. I also noticed that after using Oculus Quest over half a year, the god ray issue got worse, but after cleaning the lenses with microfiber, I managed to eliminate the problem.
As it is an OLED screen, there is certain black smearing. It can be seen with our phones as well. If you are in dark, lower the brightness a bit, and scroll around the dark images or watch darkened video clips. These same things I sometimes saw with Oculus Quest. I didn’t really bother me, but it was there.
The third artifact comes from Screen Door Effect, also known as pixel gaps ↑. Pixel gaps are certainly an annoyance to almost all VR users, as there are only select VR headsets (like HP Reverb ones) that make SDE almost nonexistent. SDE in Oculus Quest is worse than On Rift S, despite having the higher resolution on paper. That comes from pixel density. RGB stripes that Oculus Rift S has gives an advantage in sharpness but loses to OLED’s color depth that Oculus Quest has.
If you want to avoid that, the only option is to wait for the new generation of portable VR headsets, as there currently are no VR masks that have fixed that issue without being tethered to PC.
All these artifacts mentioned above are kinda annoying, but ultimately, every single VR headset has them. We just have to get used to them for the time being. Don’t let those things push you away from Oculus Quest.
Oculus Quest Controllers Decide Whether Oculus Quest is For You
Whether Oculus Quest headset is for you, boils down to one question:
Do you want/plan to be a competitive VR gamer?
See, Oculus Quest is an awesome device that can do a lot. It can even track with high precision without using external sensors. It has 4 cameras, and the tracking is precise even in areas where cameras don’t see your hand. That is achieved through the hard work that Oculus guys sacrificed in their workplaces.
However, there are some issues that are still present. The tracking has improved over the last year quite tremendously, but when I tested the high speed, sudden movements with my Oculus Touch controllers, I felt it dragging behind me. It wasn’t anything drastic, but in certain areas where you want slightly faster reactions, it might fall behind. It’s basically like comparing a 60Hz screen with 144Hz one. If you never tried the faster option, you might not even know what the problem is, but once you got that taste, you might have difficulties reverting back. In Beat Saber, I felt like my high score was a lot faster with Rift S. I don’t know if it’s because of tracking only, or the computer power helps, but I can’t deny that the difference was felt.
Just to be clear, in other 95% games, that was not an issue for me. It was only an issue when frames and latency were critical parts of the game. I could easily play the most popular mainstream VR games with the controllers I had, just as long as I didn’t plan on making world records in competitive play. The updates that Oculus has released over the months truly changed my mind on what can be achieved with headset cameras only.
That’s why I raise my controller tracking score to 7.6.
How About Ergonomics?
As Rift S an Oculus Quest share the same factory number on their controllers, they can be considered practically the same. They have rings around your thumbs instead of (like on original Rift) knuckles for better tracking precision, and the feel in your hands is the same.
The feel for me is quite good. I really like how they feel around my hands; they are easy to get used to, and the weight is minimal. That means I can play for hours without my hands burning. I do love working out… just not when I want to have fun. Because they are so light, I did feel like they were some cheap Chinese replicas of something better, but that’s just how they are built.
I do wish it wouldn’t inherit some of the Rift S problems, but as they are practically the same, it’s unavoidable. The battery cover on your controllers slips open when things get sweaty. It happened sooner on Oculus Rift S, but the issue is still there.
If by any chance, you will have that kind of a problem, fellow VR users have found all sorts of solutions. My favorite one is this:
Pretty simplistic, minimal, doesn’t scream “notice me”, and does the job. I have tried it and it works perfectly.
Other than that, Quest controllers are very well designed. If you want more information, check out the Rift S controller side of the story. It’s similar.
Oculus Quest Audio – Like Father, Like Son
Oculus Quest audio is similar to Oculus Rift S – which isn’t my preferred build. Don’t get me wrong, when I am listening through these speakers that Quest has inside the plastic strap, I am pleasantly surprised by how clear and ambient the sound is.
But, I do miss that bass, man…
Having external speakers like on the picture does help with hearing surrounding sounds, but, if you ask me, I enjoy being fully immersed, or submersed, however, you want to call it, in my games. This is my guilty pleasure. I want to be distracted from everything: The higher the FOV, better resolution, higher quality audio… all that together creates an atmosphere that I need for my VR experience.
Oculus Quest audio speakers are close, don’t get me wrong, but they could be better. I guess the reason they chose to not have integrated headphones is to put Oculus Quest on diet. Less the weight and room it takes, fewer problems.
I kinda understand it, but it is what it is.
The score for audio remains the same as on Oculus Rift S = 7.2.
Oculus Quest Games – Now This is Where Oculus Quest Shines
What an awesome invention Oculus made for Oculus Quest. This is why it’s best to review VR headsets the second time after one year of usage. The number of changes that were made truly deserves to have its own revised review.
Say hello to Oculus Link, the crazy invention that plugs your PC power to Oculus Quest. Now, the games are not limited to VR mobile apps- they are tethered to fully-fledged triple-AAA games as long as you have the right cable.
Now, I am not really happy that the cable costs as much as it does (around 80 dollars), but it seems that the cable specs are quite powerful which actually makes it cost-efficient. You can get cheaper 3rd-party cables, just make sure they fit the standard.
Not that it is available, the game choice is really unlimited. I managed to play whatever I wanted, and it felt just like Rift S, with obvious characteristics that were mentioned above.
Really good job from Oculus!
This device has really shaped over the months to be a true gem in the VR world. Yes, it has its own disadvantages, but as I was reviewing Oculus Quest, it dawned to me that it truly seems to be the jack of all trades:
You can carry it with you.
Watch movies in bed.
Play games without a computer.
Play games through a computer.
In some areas like color depth, Oculus Quest actually outshines competitors that are hundreds of dollars more expensive.
If you are thinking of getting this one, you have my seal of approval. It is a great piece of tech that will serve you for years to come.
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