Oculus Quest 2: a mind-blowing virtual adventure

Virtuality reality has come of age with the new Oculus Quest headset, says Chris Carter.

Virtual reality (VR), long touted as the next big thing, now really is the next big thing. Trust me. The Oculus Quest 2 VR headset that was released a couple of weeks ago is mind-blowing. 

It costs just £299 (oculus.com/quest-2) – a bargain considering the cutting-edge technology on offer. The “guardian” feature, for example, allows you to “spray paint” a virtual playing space, preventing you from crashing into the wall. When you get too close to the boundary, a blue grid appears that glows red the closer you get. And if you decide to “pass through” anyway, the four front-mounted cameras show you the room around you in real-time, so you don’t accidentally step on the cat.

Unlike earlier VR headsets, the Quest 2 doesn’t need to be tethered to a PC. In fact, it is essentially a standalone PC – one you strap to your face. So you don’t need any other kit, although it is able to interface with your laptop – I’m writing this in VR right now. Sadly, the headset doesn’t totally fill your vision. It feels a little like peering through scuba goggles – though this is fun when you’re diving beneath the virtual waves with sharks. 

The Quest 2 hasn’t completely dispensed with the motion-sickness problem that has bedevilled VR since the get-go. But the 6GB of ram and the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor makes a good fist of limiting the lag between what you see and what your brain thinks it should see (hence the nausea).

All apps made for the original Quest also run on the Quest 2. That means you can enjoy the enormously popular Beat Saber (in which you slice at fast-coming shapes to pop music), and play crazy golf and table tennis; or just sit back in a virtual cinema and watch films on Amazon Prime or Netflix. You might even choose to read MoneyWeek in a virtual Parisian café – or why not in space? The possibilities are endless.

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