By Whitson Gordon
Virtual reality is a total explosion, but until now, it has not been very accessible to normal people. The HTC Vive, for example, was launched at $ 800 and required a gaming computer to play, and Oculus Rift is also required on the PC. The Oculus Quest changes it, offering a completely standard headset with room-scale tracking for $ 400, no need for cables or PC for games. And sure, it comes with some rebates of PC-based systems, but in all of the ways, Quest is a lot of fun and brings true virtual reality to a whole new audience.
Oculus Quest – Design and features
The $ 400 Quest looks like a minor upgrade to the Rift, in terms of design. You get an unadorned VR headset with rounded corners and four sensors on the plastic faceplate that tracks your movements for total freedom of six degrees. This is a strong contrast to the Oculus Go, which, although it is also an independent Oculus headset, is a step back in almost every respect. Go only offers three degrees of freedom, which allows you to turn, tilt and turn your head, but it does not track your movements from side to side or from top to bottom. Quest tracking is more like today's PC headsets than it is today, and has a completely different set of titles available. You can share some titles with the Go, of course, but also share some games with the Rift, although not all Rift titles support the game crossed with the Quest.
The rest of the body of the headset is covered in sturdy fabric, with adjustable straps along the top and sides, so you can adjust it to the head. There is a pupil distance slider (IPD) along the bottom left, so you can adjust the lens to your eyes, and a volume control on the bottom right. The Quest has built-in speakers, so you do not necessarily need headphones, although I definitely recommend them, there are headphones on the left and right sides of the hearing aid, although you'll have to use your own buttons, since none are included in the box.
Unlike the original Rift, which used plush foam around the eyepieces, the Quest uses a rough cloth, which I found a bit irritating on my face, although this may be softened with use. The Quest also includes a spacer for glasses that you can add between the padding and the headset if you wear glasses.
Guts of the Quest is powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor running an Android-based operating system, and each eye has a resolution of 1600×1440 operating at 72Hz. For comparison, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive (which worked at 1080×1200) have a lower resolution rate (72Hz vs. 90Hz in the Rift and Live). This diminishes the screen by a little effect, at the expense of a little softness, although I personally found that the decrease was barely noticeable.
Finally, the Quest comes with touch controllers that work just like the Rift, with two triggers on the handle, as well as pulsating joysticks and two buttons for the thumbs. The tracking ring can also detect some movements of the fingers, which allows the Search to see when it is extending an index finger or making a fist. I still find it a bit clumsy, but nonetheless it is impressive.
Oculus Quest – Configuration and requirements
The configuration of Oculus Quest is very simple: simply download the Oculus application on your phone, turn on the headset and follow the instructions on the screen. Put it on your Wi-Fi, put AA batteries in the drivers, things like this. You may also have to wait five minutes for the headset to update its firmware, but once this is done, you are ready to put it on.
Adjusting the headset is a bit confusing at first, since it is on top of your head in its original state. As a result, I- and other IGN evaluators – discovered that it would slide across our faces too easily, thus erasing the game's graphics. The key, which I found later, was to undo the Velcro on the top and pull the back of the strap to the bottom of my head, so that it would wrap around the bottom of my skull. Once I did it, it stayed in much safer form.
There are no external sensors or base stations needed.
The Quest recommends a space of 6.5 by 6.5 feet to play in the game room, but you can get something smaller than you need (just do not break any lamps). Oculus also recommends the use of the unit indoors, probably for safety reasons, but potentially also for follow-up. There are no external sensors or base stations needed, since the system is completely autonomous. Instead, the Quest uses headphone sensors to track its movements through the room to see the world around it. The headset will notify you if you have trouble tracking because there is not enough light in the room, or something like that.
Once you put on your headphones, you will see the real world through its sensors, which will allow you to draw your game limits in the room with your controller. This is incredibly fast and intuitive, and Search will recognize and remember your game space next time. That means you do all this initial setup, you will not have to do it again unless you take the Quest to a new place.
Oculus Quest – Game and graphics quality
The Quest menu is quite minimal and easy to navigate: just point the controllers at an icon and press them to click. You can download new games from the app on your phone or from the VR menu, and switch between foot and game mode to room scale at the touch of a button (which is great if you're playing somewhere other than be your main VR space). The Oculus Touch controllers are as comfortable as ever, and although I prefer Vive's simpler triggers, tracking the fingers and the Oculus compression buttons do a bit more immersion once you get used to them.
Gaming on the Quest is, simply, impressive.
Gaming on the Quest is, simply, impressive. As the owner of an HTC Vive, I was surprised to find the Quest field … well, remarkably similar to its more expensive PC-based competitor. Moving around the room did not cause any noticeable tracking problems, such as heavy stuttering or floating hands. In fact, even the players of Expert + Beat Saber say that the follow-up in the Quest is sufficiently responsive to them, which means that it should be good enough for almost everyone. Playing VR without wires is amazing, and I mentioned in my review of Vive's wireless adapter, it's something you have to experience. I never found that the VR cables were upset until a room-scale VR was experienced without strings attached, and now it is difficult to return.
That said, there are some minor casualties here, particularly in graphic fidelity. Space Pirate Trainer, for example, shows a significantly greater number of colored bands and aliases in the Quest than in the Live, and while it did not make the game less fun, the owners of Rift and Vive will notice some degradation. (He also stuttered a little at the launch, but he looked quite soft after about 30 seconds).
It seems that while the Quest screen is higher than the Rift and Vive screen, many games can run at lower resolutions in the Quest, to optimize them for the lower-power Snapdragon chip. The developers of Beat Saber noticed these challenges in an interview with Ars Technica, and said they had to reject certain graphic effects (such as fog) for the game to run smoothly. Again, it's not a big problem, but it's remarkable, and it can prevent certain graphics-intensive games from appearing in the Quest.
Another experience with the VR headset that was quite painless.
But, honestly, I'm willing to overlook that the search is perfect. There's a power button on the side, but I never had to use it: when I opened the receiver, it automatically lit my eyes and left me where I left it, so I could play immediately. Another experience with the VR headset that was quite painless. Usually, they take a couple of clicks or touches on your PC or phone to get things going and, occasionally, on my computer, at least, I'll have to restart Steam or do something silly for Vive to work. But with the search, you just have to put yourself in the head and ready: no clicks, no wires, nothing. The transition is incredibly fluid, and I can not overemphasize how nice the experience is. While I know that Search has been technically reduced and has been reduced compared to PC-based systems, the total experience feel as an update, because it's so simple to use.
Battery life for VR is hard to prove (because it's incredibly tiring to be in the headset all that time) but I can say it was a bit better than expected:%, you can probably get 2-3 hours of play (depending on what you're playing). That does not sound like a lot, but, frankly, I tend to need a break before that anyway, at which point I simply put it back on the charging cable. However, it could be annoying if you are running a group of friends through virtual reality demonstrations.
And at the end of the day, the best virtual reality games like Beat Saber and Space Pirate Trainer require graphic perfection to be fun. If you are a virtual reality enthusiast who expects to play demanding games on a large scale like Skyrim VR, the Quest might not be the device for you. But for everyone else, the Quest is a total game change, which finally makes virtual reality accessible to the masses.
One final note, according to Oculus here, is the list of launch titles for Oculus Quest, although the company notes that some of this may change before its release on May 21.
- Angry Birds VR: Island of the Pigs, Resolution games
- Apex Build, Fast travel games
- Apollo 11, Immersive VR Education
- Bait!, Resolution games
- ballista, High voltage software
- Beat saber, Beat Games
- Bigscreen Beta, Bigscreen VR
- VR box, Fit XR
- creed, Survios
- Dance centerHarmonix
- Dead and buried 2, Oculus Studies
- Drop Dead: Duel Strike, Pixel Toys
- Electronauts, Survios
- Rich mountains of rollers, Games B4T
- Face your fears 2, Turtle Rock Studios
- First contactOculus
- Fruit Ninja VRHalfbrick
- Guided Tai Chi, Cubicle ninjas
- I hope you die, Schell Games
- Work simulatorOwlchemy Laboratories,
- Journey of the gods, Turtle Rock Studios
- Keep talking and no one exploits, Sets of steel boxes
- moss, Polyarc
- National Geographic VR Explore, Force field VR
- Hikes in natureGreener games
- Crack of the ocean, Dr. Llyr Ap Cenydd
- Oculus BrowserOculus
- Oculus GalleryOculus
- Oculus tvOculus
- Oculus VideoOculus
- Orbus VR, Orbus Online
- PokerStars VR, LuckyVR
- Racket fury: Table tennis, Pixel Edge Games
- Recreation roomAgainst the gravity
- Robo Recall, Drifter Entertainment
- URGENTBinary mill
- Shadow point, Coatsink
- Skybox VR Video Player, Source Technology Inc.
- Space Pirate Trainer, Illusions
- Sports fight, Armor Studies
- SUPERHOT VRSUPERHOT team
- The Exorcist: Legion VR, Developer Wolf & Wood, Fun Train Editor
- Tilt brushGoogle
- Ultra wings, Bit Planet Games
- Immortal father, ILMxLab
- Virtual desktop, Virtual Desktop, Inc.
- Virtual Virtual RealityTender claws
- VR Karts, Point of view games
- VRChat, VRChat 53. Wander, Interactive Parkline
the Oculus Quest will go on sale on May 21 for $ 399. You can receive notification when advance orders are made on the Oculus site.