The Meta Quest 2 is the most user-friendly VR headset I’ve used, and it’s the one that I think is right for most people.
It can be used both wirelessly and tethered to a PC for increased performance. Combine that with its high-resolution display, comfortable design, advanced controllers and list of over 200 games and experiences on the Meta Store, and there is something for everyone.
If you’re looking for a VR headset you can quickly pick up and play, the Meta Quest 2 is a great option. Similarly, if you’re looking to play the most advanced VR games by connecting it to your gaming PC, you can do that too.
But the most attractive part about the Meta Quest 2 is its price. At $580, it’s significantly more affordable than its competitors, and you don’t have to buy an expensive gaming PC to go with it.
- Great price
- Wireless/tethered gameplay
- Advanced controllers
- Decent performance capabilities
- Controllers require AA batteries
- Accessories are expensive
- 2-to-3-hour battery life
The Meta Quest 2 costs $580. This is a very good price.
To put this in perspective, similar headsets like the HTC XR Elite costs $2,299, and the Sony PlayStation VR2 costs $999.
The Meta Quest 2 is a wireless/tethered VR headset. You can use it wirelessly or tether it to a PC via a USB-C cable for better performance (more on that below).
At 500g, it’s lightweight, and I had no issues wearing it for long periods. It comes with a three-way adjustable strap that makes achieving a comfortable, secure fit easy.
One problem I had was a lot of outside light would come through the gap between the headset and my nose. I could clearly see my feet or even look at my watch if I looked down, which wasn’t ideal. I tried to remedy this by adjusting the fit, but I couldn’t find a nice balance between eliminating the light and maintaining comfort. You can purchase a Quest 2 Elite Strap for an additional $100, which may remedy the issue, but I didn’t get a chance to test this.
On the left side of the headset, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB-C port for charging. There are speakers built into the headset. These were fine for more traditional games like Thrill of the Fight and Blade and Sorcery; however, for music-based games like Beat Saber, they didn’t provide the bass capabilities I like. Fortunately, plugging headphones into the 3.5mm jack is easy, and it immediately fixed the issue.
On the right side, there’s a power button and an indicator LED to tell you if the headset has been turned on. On the front, there’s a volume rocker. I was happy with the inputs and found the headset much easier to use than my HTC Vive.
Inside the headset, you can alter the lenses to three different positions. This should accommodate most people’s eyesight. After a few alterations, I almost completely eliminated blurriness when wearing the device.
The headset also comes with a “glasses spacer,” which helps people who need to wear glasses. It’s a nice touch.
The Meta Quest 2 controllers boast an ergonomic design allowing a comfortable and natural grip. They’re lightweight and precise. I never had any issues with the headset failing to pick up my movements or losing track of the controllers. I could accurately slash sabers in Beat Saber, throw punches in Thrill of the Fight and fire arrows in Blade and Sorcery without coming across any tracking problems.
Inside the controllers are haptic motors that generate rewarding haptic feedback. The controllers vibrate when performing actions in-game, and using the buttons, joysticks, and triggers feels good. Each input is well-placed and easy to access.
The controllers are also compatible with finger tracking. Built-in sensors can detect individual finger movement, allowing for more natural hand engagements within virtual environments. This comes into its own when playing more physics-based games like Boneworks or interacting with others in multiplayer games like Outward.
The Meta Quest 2 controllers also boast grip pressure sensitivity systems in which the controller can detect how firmly you’re holding them. This is great for games like Blade and Sorcery, where a light grip will invoke a weak attack while a tight grip allows for more powerful attacks. It adds to the immersion of the game.
Frustratingly, the controllers require AA batteries. They aren’t able to be plugged in and charged. While this does have its benefits – depending on the batteries you use, you can get a lot of life out of them – overall, it’s a bit tedious. I would much rather have been able to put the controllers on charge between uses.
The Quest 2 comes with a Snapdragon XR2 processor built-in and 6GB of RAM, allowing for wireless play. In this mode, you’re limited to the games on the Meta Store – don’t worry, there are loads of them. It won’t let you play the most graphically demanding VR games like Half-Life: Alyx and Boneworks, but it’s capable enough to provide smooth gameplay for lesser games like the aforementioned Beat Saber, Thrill of the Fight and Blade and Sorcery. I was impressed by the performance capabilities of the chip and didn’t notice any issues with stuttering or lag.
Playing wirelessly is significantly more user-friendly than other VR headsets like the HTC Vive, where you have to plug the headset into a PC and set up accompanying base stations. Just put on the Quest 2, grab the controllers, and you’re immersed in a VR world within seconds. It’s excellent, and I used it a lot more because of this capability.
A standard Meta Quest 2 comes with 128GB of internal storage. This cannot be expanded. You can purchase the more expensive $690 256GB version if you want more storage.
The 120Hz, 1,920 x 1,832 resolution lenses for each eye provide a clear, sharp image. While it isn’t as good as the market-leading HTC Vive Pro 2 with its 4896 x 2448 pixels in each eye, it’s good enough, and I didn’t have an issue with it.
To boost the performance capabilities of the headset, you can plug it into a PC. This is done via a USB-C to USB-C cable that you must buy separately for an extra $140 – which is annoying. This will give you access to the Steam VR library and allow the headset to utilise the PC’s power to play more graphically demanding titles. The only downside is that you will have to play tethered to the PC. For specific games in which you’re moving a lot, being plugged in can get annoying. To remedy this, Meta has released Meta Quest Air Link, which allows you to connect to your PC via a shared Wi-Fi connection. I found this to be a little unstable, and it comes with many caveats like the headset needs to be in the same room as the router, it works best on a non-mesh network, and it requires a 5 GHz band.
It’s also important to know that to get the most out of tethered gameplay, you’ll need a VR-ready PC. This means you’ll have to spend quite a bit more on top of the $580 for the Quest 2. But having the option for both tethered and wireless play is great.
Meta’s user interface is straightforward to use.
When first turning on the headset, you have to pair it with your phone and create a Meta account. This is a bit frustrating, especially if you don’t want to sign up for the Meta ecosystem, but it’s easy and doesn’t take long at all.
Once logged in, you can access loads of VR games and experiences that can all be played without plugging the headset into a PC. There’s a good range of games here, like Superhot, Rez Infinite, Outward, Gorn, and more. And, of course, you can plug it in to gain access to the Steam VR store, massively expanding the number of games you can play.
The headset will run you through an initial setup in which you’ll select your play area – you can choose seated as an option – and it will take you through settings and navigation. It’s all effortless and quick.
The main problem with standalone VR headsets is the battery life. How much this will impact you depends on how you use the headset.
You can expect to get between two and three hours of battery life before recharging the Meta Quest 2. And it takes under three hours to fully charge the headset from empty.
If you’re looking for a headset that can provide long play sessions, then this isn’t it. But it’s plenty if you’re like me and you tend to play VR for an hour or two here and there.
It’s important to know that if you’re using the headset tethered to a PC, it doesn’t charge the headset simultaneously. While it may add a little bit of extra juice, you cannot endlessly play with the headset plugged in, and you will notice the battery draining. The battery will also drain faster if you play a more graphically intensive game.
The Meta Quest 2 is the VR headset for most people. It’s easy to use, can be used both wirelessly and tethered, has good performance capabilities, has a nice design, has controllers with advanced features and is significantly more affordable than other VR headsets.
Compared to the $2,299 HTC XR Elite and $999 Sony PlayStation VR2, the Meta Quest 2 offers a compelling VR experience at a very attractive price point of just $580.
If you’re looking at getting into VR gaming, this is the headset I would recommend. You can use it as a standalone device. The Meta Store has many games to play wirelessly, including fan favourites like Beat Saber, Outward, Thrill of the Fight and more. And then, you can decide to improve and expand its capabilities by purchasing a gaming PC and tethering the headset if you wish.
While the lenses don’t boast the highest resolution, they provide clear, sharp and smooth 120Hz imagery. Also, if you’re looking for a headset that will allow you to immerse yourself for hours, the battery life here may disappoint.
But overall, the Meta Quest 2 is a fantastic VR headset, and the best thing about it is you don’t need to break the bank to get it.