Oculus Quest 2 review: The best VR headset for most people

A lot has changed for the Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset since it was first released in 2020. In addition to the Meta Quest 2 rebrand, there are major software upgrades, including better refresh rates of up to 120Hz, upgraded hand tracking, wireless PC connectivity, and voice commands.

But one thing hasn’t changed: the Meta Quest 2 remains the most popular VR headset out there, thanks to its affordable price, ease of use, and sheer fun factor. Packed with one of the largest and best libraries of VR games and apps, this standalone VR headset costs $400 for 128GB of storage and $500 for 256GB, making it a breeze to set up even if you’re new to VR. After nearly a year with the Meta Quest 2, here’s our take on why it’s still the best VR headset you can buy.

The best overall VR headset

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Meta Quest 2 is the most popular and easiest to use VR headset on the market today. A simple and comfortable design, respectable battery life, great software, and an affordable price make it the best VR headset for most people.

Smart design, great comfort and easy setup

oculus quest 2 tips passthrough

Mike Andronico/CNN

Right out of the box, Meta Quest 2 immediately presents a minimalist yet easy-to-use design. Unpacking reveals the earbuds themselves, the USB-C charging cable/brick combo, the strap, and the Meta Touch controller with battery. Buyers who need eyeglasses will be happy to know that eyeglass spacers are also included in the box.

The all-white Meta Quest 2 does feature some aesthetic differences as opposed to the original all-black Quest color released in 2019. The outer shell is entirely hard plastic, rather than the cloth-like material of its predecessor. This extends to the stretchable fabric, which is more comfortable than the stretchy feel band that covered nearly the back of the user’s head on previous models.

All of this makes for a comfortable headset that’s actually lighter than the Quest 1 despite the increased power and features. With the Quest 2 on your head, all you have to do is press the power button on the right and log in with Facebook (more on why this is a problem later). The built-in speakers are good enough, though there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left side for headphones and the ability to use Bluetooth earbuds (albeit with some lag issues). Volume controls are also easily accessible on the bottom right corner of the headset. Next to the headphone jack is a USB-C port for charging the headset and connecting it to a VR-capable desktop or laptop.

Oculus Quest 2 Gaming Leads

Mike Andronico/CNN

No matter how long our VR sessions were, the headset never felt uncomfortable. But, be warned: Playing action-intensive games or exercise apps is sure to result in profuse sweating. Over time, prolonged sweat can make face pads smell like unwashed gym socks. So it’s best to either buy a silicone case or keep a healthy supply of antibacterial wipes on hand. Despite its light weight, the Meta Quest 2 feels durable enough to take a few bumps. Please note that the white plastic may show noticeable wear and tear over time.

Part of what sets the Quest 2 apart from other top VR headsets is how easy it is to set up, and the fact that it’s a completely self-contained device that doesn’t require a computer. Meta’s Guardian system creates a virtual play space in your home as it allows you to draw a boundary around yourself and get notified when you step out of it. Thanks to the handy pass-through camera, you can instantly see what’s going on around you in the real world with a quick double-tap of the headset (or when you step out of the guardian zone). Since there are four camera sensors on the headset, there is no need to set up an external sensor to start playing.

Intuitive controllers and many powerful features

oculus quest 2 tips hidden features

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Meta Touch controllers are by far the best input device in VR. Even with the AA batteries inserted into each controller, they feel relatively light. From the analog sticks to the face buttons and triggers, the controller always feels comfortable. The Touch controllers provided an intuitive experience, whether we were performing massive swinging moves in Beat Saber or chopping down infected villagers in Resident Evil 4.

The haptic feedback isn’t quite as good as what you’ll find on consoles like the Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 5, but they do a good enough job at making hand movements feel immersive. Shooting a gun feels great, hitting a punching target in Supernatural has a sweet rumble of confirmation, and cutting a lightsaber in Vader Immortal is as close to reality as possible thanks to well-implemented haptic feedback. While the battery life on the Quest 2 itself isn’t the best, the Touch controllers last a long time.

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Taking it a step further is how much hand tracking has improved since the original Quest. Using only your hands to control games like Cubism or Unplugged: Air Guitar and applications like Virtual Desktop is a technological leap that you have to experience for yourself. The recently updated Hand Tracking 2.0 further enhances these features, such as better hand movement without interrupting tracking. Some games can even be controlled with an Xbox or PlayStation controller as well as a mouse and keyboard. Voice control can even be used to quickly open apps. Opening apps with your voice works just fine, though voice control isn’t absolutely perfect. The versatility of Quest 2’s controller inputs is outstanding.

Input aside, Quest 2’s capabilities cannot be underestimated. Using your headset’s Facebook login credentials makes it easy to find friends to connect with in the virtual world.

Gamers who want to share their experience with friends nearby or online can also cast their sessions to a TV or live stream to platforms like Twitch. Again, Quest 2 is a lot of stuff. Part of enjoying headphones is learning all the ins and outs, making usage more user-friendly over time.

Incredible library of apps and games


As of now, there are hundreds of games available for download for Quest 2, with more to come. The best Oculus Quest 2 games have something for everyone, from casual users to gaming enthusiasts, and even individuals looking for other ways to exercise. Casual gamers will enjoy beat and puzzle games like Rhythm Lightsaber or Tetris Effect: Connect as well as sports-inspired titles like Eleven Pong VR or Tenet: Rise to Glory.

Shooters are probably the best transition to VR of any genre, and the number of options on the Quest 2 is impressive. Battle royale shooters like Population: One rival popular console games like Fortnite or PUBG, but with a more immersive feel. Pistol Whip is a unique game that blends on-rail shooter with rhythm-based gameplay. Then there are unique VR versions of contemporary hits and console classics, from Superhot to Resident Evil 4.

Many games on the Quest 2 will make users sweat a lot. Those looking to intensify their workouts should know that the headphones feature a plethora of workout-focused apps, such as the very popular Supernatural and FitXR. Both games offer a short trial period before requiring a monthly subscription of $10 to $20.

Eleven Table Tennis VR

Games like Resident Evil 4 and Population: One look great on the 1832 x 1920 monocular screen, now with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz for ultra-smooth gameplay and navigation. Thanks to the built-in Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 mobile processor, we didn’t experience much of a slowdown — but it did happen occasionally. While the Snapdragon XR2 allows the Quest 2 to be completely self-contained, it’s not as powerful as what you’ll find in more expensive PC-based headsets like the Valve Index or the HTC Vive Pro 2.

Fortunately, Quest 2 owners with a powerful enough gaming PC can use the Quest 2 Link cable, a compatible USB-C cable, or the wireless Quest Air Link feature to play PC-only high-end VR games. This allows access to bigger VR blockbusters like Half-Life: Alyx and Star Wars: Squadrons. While both Air Link and Quest Link work well and are easy to set up through the Oculus PC app, it’s better to use a cable because of the lag that comes with wireless connections. There are also a number of non-gaming apps on Quest 2 that users can try, including Bigscreen Beta, which offers the feeling of watching a movie in a theater, or Virtual Desktop, which allows users to use their desktop computers in VR.

Quest 2 users are likely to get an average of two to three hours of battery life, depending on the type of apps they’re running. More complex VR experiences like Vader Immortal or Resident Evil 4 will likely extract the juice more quickly due to the visual fidelity of those games. On the other hand, those who watch videos or play less demanding games may get more miles.

It’s probably better to be on the safe side. Regardless, the recommended maximum time in a VR headset is reportedly about an hour. The Quest 2 battery is about 3,640mAh in size, which means it takes about two hours or so to charge from empty to full. Those who use the headphones a lot will have to periodically place them on the charger.

Oculus Quest 2 Protagonist

Michael Andronico/CNN

With its stunning looks, premium build for long-wearing comfort and variety of input options, and the amazing Quest Touch controllers, Meta Quest 2 truly stands out. The selection of apps and games is one of the best you’ll find on any VR headset, from Meta’s robust built-in app store to the many great PC-based experiences available through Quest Link.

The $400 starting price, while more expensive than it used to be, makes it the most approachable high-quality VR headset on the market. To put it in perspective, the Quest 2 costs a fraction of the price of high-end VR headsets like the $799 HTC Vive Pro 2 or the $999 Valve Index, both of which require you to have a powerful gaming PC. Sony’s PlayStation VR headset is $349 at most retailers, but you’ll need a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 to use it.

Be aware that Meta Quest 2’s short battery life can be a bit frustrating. Despite this shortcoming, the Quest 2 is still the best standalone VR headset you can buy right now.

Oculus Quest 2 Comparison Card

Virtual Reality

HTC Vive Pro 2

valve index

required system

None (optional PC compatibility via Quest Link)

PS4 or PS5

PC (Nvidia GTX 1060/AMD RX 480 or higher)

PC (Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD RX 480 or higher)

Connection Type

fully wireless


Wired or wireless (via adapter)



1.1 lbs

1.3 lbs

1.87 lbs

1.78 lbs


1832 x 1920 per eye

960 x 1080 per eye

2448 x 2448 per eye

1440 x 1600 per eye

refresh rate

up to 120Hz

up to 120Hz

up to 120Hz

up to 144Hz






Battery Life

2 to 3 hours





from $400




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