VR Hardware Review: Oculus Quest

6DoF is a necessity for a great VR experience and while consumers have had that since 2016 when the Oculus and Vive launched, it is deemed as too expensive (around $2-3k per player) and cumbersome to setup (takes at least 5 min to setup) for most non-enthusiast players.

With the launch of Oculus Quest at a price of $600+ for the entire system. We may have what it will bring VR to more people. Read on to find out more!

Setup

For the first time setup, you will be using a mobile phone to help with the setup to connect the headset to wifi, pair controllers, watch a safety video and then after you wear the headset for the first time to play the Oculus Quest tutorial, which is the best tutorial I have tried.

From then on, getting into VR is very fast as in:
1) you press the button turn it on,
2) wear the headset,
3) the system either recognize your play area and asks you to confirm or if you are in a new area, you get to draw the new play area.

Facebook/Oculus has streamlined the process of getting into VR as smooth as we have seen and it is simply enjoyable.

The companion app on the phone, other than setup, also helps in doing stuff that is easier on the phone screen like buying games, connecting to wifi, settings. It also enables casting from the headset to the phone screen or a chromecast V3 enabled TV to share what the VR player is seeing.

Cost

At USD 399 (or SGD 600 + including shipping via Amazon) for the 64GB version (there is a 128GB version at USD 499), you can get into Roomscale VR at about a fifth of the previous price to get a VR Ready PC and VR headset and screen. VR needs to be a social thing and between buying a headset for everyone in the family and just getting one better headset for yourself, its a no brainer what most regular folks will chose.

At present, there is no other standalone VR headset with 6dof controllers that is selling at this price.

Tracking

The Quest uses Oculus Insight, its own version of inside out tracking with the 4 cameras on the headset which is almost as good as any PC tethered headset with just some very rare problems when you put your hands in blind spots (like right under your nose, very near the front of the headset or far behind your head) which don’t occur often in most games.

Visual quality

The Quest will not be able to show very realistic graphics due to the graphic processor used is significantly less powerful a PC Graphics Card that but the display is definitely have improved beyond the 1st gen of PC VR headsets to reduce the screen door effect. A good example is Robo Recall, one of the graphically impressive games that is both on the PC’s Rift and now Quest. The gameplay is exactly the same but there is a significant drop in graphical fidelity (lighting, textures) but you will not notice it when you are in the thick of action.

One clever thing that the Quest do is fixed foveated rendering which is a technique in which a headset only fully renders the centre part of its display, taking some of the pressure off of processing, so it really helps in eking out the juice available to render the graphics. If you are try to notice it, it may be distracting but for most people if you keep your eye in the centre, it is not something they will identify unless you tell them to look out for it.

Comfort

The Quest gives you 360 freedom as it is completely wireless. Say good bye to tripping on wires 🙂

The Quest is a bit front heavy so it pushes against your face quite tightly, even after adjusting to the best position.

Battery life

The battery can last about 2-3 hour plus long, depending on the game you are playing and that is probably enough for most game plays as it gets physically tiring as you play for long periods. Seasoned players or arcade operators who wish to play longer than that in one sitting may not be too happy about this though, but for most it should be fine.

It takes about 2 hour to charge it fully from flat and uses a Usb C to Usb C cable.

Content

The Oculus library has many excellent ports from the PC VR games and is also highly curated to make sure the quality is there. Quantity wise is quite limited for now but we expect it to grow quickly as more developers get their hands on the hardware. Oculus has also funded many game studios to create quality titles which will quell those who claim VR has no good 10+ hours games.

However cross-buy is not available for all titles, meaning even if you own the game on the Oculus Rift, you may not get to play it on the Oculus Quest. But that is up to the developer to decide.

Conclusion

Standalone VR is the way to go for the future of VR. While there will always be people who will want the highest quality VR, I believe that the Quest is a very comfortable level that gets the balance between all the factors above to usher in mass adoption of VR. If it (or a future generation of this) doesn’t work out still, then maybe Facebook (or Mark Zuckerberg)goal of having 1 billion people in vr will take a far longer time or impossible to achieve.

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