The successor to Facebook’s self-sufficient virtual reality headset is called Oculus Quest 2, will be launched on October 13 and will cost 350 euros (64 GB version). For the first Quest, which appeared in May 2019, you had to put 450 euros on the table. However, this does not apply to Germany: Quest 2 is not available in this country for the time being. The Rift S PC headset will be discontinued worldwide.
Facebook announced in early September that it would stop selling all Oculus headsets in Germany. The only reason given was “talks with supervisory authorities”. According to c’t information, the sales stop is related to the decision by the Federal Cartel Office to prohibit Facebook from merging data from different parts of the company.
Facebook account is mandatory
The Oculus Quest 2 is the manufacturer’s first headset that requires a link to a Facebook account – right from the start. Older devices must be paired with Facebook from January 1, 2023. Data-efficient users who only want to create an anonymous Facebook account for using the headset could run into problems: Compared to the US blog Road to VR Facebook reported that users who violated community standards “could lose access to their headset.”
With Quest 2, Facebook is now serious about stopping sales: Quest 2 is not mentioned with any syllable in the German press release. If you call up the Oculus webshop from Germany, the headset is displayed as “not available”. In contrast, the headset can easily be pre-ordered from Austria, for example. Quest 2 is available in all neighboring German countries, as well as in Finland, Sweden, Ireland, UK, Italy, Iceland, Norway and Spain; outside of Europe in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.
So far, Facebook has not commented on whether Quest 2 will ever be available in Germany. At the beginning of September it was said that they were “hopeful that sales of the Oculus devices can continue soon”. It is still unclear whether you can get a self-imported Quest 2 running in Germany.
The Oculus Quest 2, which runs completely independently – i.e. without a PC or smartphone – is virtually unrivaled. Other devices such as the Vive Focus not only lag behind in terms of technology, but also do not have as extensive a range of software as Oculus – but neither do they collect any data for personalized advertising.
Technology: Snapdragon XR2 with 6 GB and LC display
The biggest difference to the first Quest is the significantly faster System-on-a-Chip in Quest 2: Instead of a Snapdragon 835, the much more powerful Snapdragon XR2, which is completely designed for VR, is used, and the RAM increases from 4 to 6 GB.
The display resolution increases from 1440 × 1600 per eye to 1832 × 1920 pixels; however, the Quest 2 now has a single LC display instead of two OLEDs. LCDs appear sharper than pen-tile-matrix OLEDs because they have more subpixels. However, they do not create such a dark black, which is why deep black space, for example, always looks a bit gray on LCD VR headsets. A big plus point is the higher refresh rate: The Quest 2 manages 90 Hz, the first Quest was only 72 Hz. However, the developers have to adapt the software to 90 Hz – that means that at the beginning most of the titles on Quest 2 will run at just 72 Hz. The battery life remains the same (around 2 to 2.5 hours), as do the rather quacky-sounding built-in speakers. For real immersion you need external headphones that cannot be connected wirelessly, but only via jack cable.
The adjustment of the interpupillary distance has become worse. With the first Quest you could set this steplessly between 58 and 72mm, with the Quest 2 there are only three fixed steps 58mm, 63mm and 68mm, the setting is more complicated, you have to clip the lenses out and back in again.
The Quest 2 controllers are slightly larger than those of the predecessor and should be more convenient to use thanks to a larger thumb rest. They are operated as usual with an AA battery (or accumulator), but according to Facebook this lasts four times longer.
Oculus offers the 64 GB Quest 2 at 349 euros cheaper than its predecessor, but has a hand in the extensive range of accessories: The link cable for use with the PC costs 99 euros, the more comfortable “Elite” headband and the carrying case 49 euros each, the elite band with integrated battery plus box 139 euros, the “Fit Pack” with exchangeable face pads is available for 39 euros. The Quest 2 with 256 GB flash memory costs 449 euros as much as its predecessor with 64 GB.