VR headset gaming isn’t for everyone, but it can pack a serious punch for the right gamer. If you’re shopping for a new VR headset, you have plenty of options at various price points. Two of the most compelling options on the market today both come from Oculus, a VR firm owned wholly by Meta (Facebook.)
The two current options from Meta are the Oculus Quest 2
and the Oculus Rift S
. Both sell for $299 currently, but there are many differences to consider between the two machines.
Trying to decide which one to buy? This guide will show you what you need to know.
Similarities Between the Quest 2 and Rift S
Some attributes are exactly the same between systems. First, the sensors produce accurate motion tracking and don’t require anything external like earlier systems did. On this point, the Rift S and Quest 2 are equal.
Control schemes are nearly identical as well, with both sets using Oculus’s 6 Degrees of Freedom
(6DOF) motion tracking technology. This system is a big upgrade from the 3DOF system in Oculus Go. The lesser system tracks only orientation, whereas 6DOF tracks orientation as well as positioning.
The last shared attribute is a negative one: user experience. It’s been around 10 years since VR went “mainstream,” but in that time, it still hasn’t exactly gone mainstream. One reason is that a significant percentage of people just can’t do it: they get aggressively motion-sick, no matter what. In fact, over half of users in one survey
reported motion sickness at least some of the time.
Along the same lines, wearing some two pounds of equipment on your face can cause fatigue. Some people don’t enjoy the experience enough to put up with that fatigue.
The takeaway? If you’ve never tried VR, find a friend who already has it so you can test it out before you drop $299 on something that just makes you feel sick or hurts your neck.
Now, on to the differences between the Oculus Rift S and the Oculus Quest 2.
Oculus Rift S: Tethered VR Gaming at Its Best (and Last)
Released in May 2019, the Oculus Rift S is a powerful tethered VR headset. This means that it connects to your computer and cannot function without that connection. Because it’s tethered, the Oculus Rift S is as powerful as your PC is, achieving graphics levels that standalone headsets can’t match. At least, they couldn’t at the time of the Rift’s release.
The Oculus Rift S follows up on the original Rift and makes all sorts of improvements. Each eye gets a 1280 by 1440 pixel display with an 80Hz refresh rate. Because it’s PC-based, the Rift S has access to your full VR software library, too (though getting SteamVR configured correctly can take some effort, according to PCMag
Connection to your PC is handled over DisplayPort, not HDMI. Unfortunately, many PCs don’t have DisplayPort — so you’ll need the right PC if you want to use a Rift S.
A Dying Breed?
There’s one more thing you need to know about the Rift S: it’s being phased out. Facebook has made it very clear
that there will be no Rift 2, Rift S 2, or whatever the name would have been. The company seems to believe that exclusively tethered VR gaming is a dying breed and that standalone or tethering-optional is the future.
Oculus Quest 2: Powerful Wireless VR (But with Limitations)
The other option in the Oculus family is the Meta Quest 2. This is a true standalone VR headset, one that operates truly wirelessly if you want it to.
In the past, choosing a standalone headset meant sacrificing features and quality. And it still does, but only sort of.
The Quest 2 runs a modern Snapdragon 865 processor, the same chip that’s in most flagship Android smartphones and tablets. It’s not as powerful as your PC’s processor, but it’s good enough to power a solid experience for many games.
The Quest 2 even manages to increase both resolution and refresh rate over the Rift S.
And if you’re worried about missing out on some of the more processor-intensive VR games, fear not. While Quest 2 runs perfectly well in standalone mode, you can also tether it to your PC for that extra processing power (and access to the full Oculus Store library). Because it can do a lot in standalone mode but still do the rest in tethered mode, the Oculus Quest 2 is the better choice for 2021.
Picking up an Oculus? Make an Upsie Extended Warranty Part of Your Reality
This far into 2021, the Oculus Quest 2 is the better choice for most considering an Oculus VR headset. But either way, your virtual reality headset isn’t immune from damage in the real world. VR headsets are especially prone to defects, connection issues, and accidental damage. That’s why you need an Upsie extended warranty
to protect your VR headset.
With Upsie, you’re protected if something goes wrong. In addition, Upsie’s warranties cost up to 70 percent less than retailer warranties, yet still offer premium coverage. You can purchase an Upsie warranty for any Oculus bought within the last 60 days.
Ready to get protected? Get Upsie now!
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