Oculus Quest in review: self-contained VR glasses tried out

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Update from April 17, 2020: Various accessory recommendations added. Added Quest Link experiences (“Half-Life: Alyx” alluded to, more allusion reports on “Stormland” and other PCVR titles on Windows to follow).

Oculus Quest: This accessory is worth it

The Oculus Quest is a successful product. But how often are there details that could be improved? Various accessory manufacturers jump into the breach, who want to make the use of the all-in-one VR glasses more pleasant with various extras. We have tried various extensions and additions for the Oculus Quest during the weeks and months after the test and present our favorites below.

Oculus Quest Vision Lenses Inserts: Bespoke Glasses by vroptiker.de

Without corrective glasses on your nose, VR looks just as bad as in real life. But as a wearer of glasses, a detour into virtual reality is only half as much fun for various reasons – pulling glasses over glasses causes several problems. The most unpleasant are pressure points and the feeling of being constricted. In addition, despite the Mounted Spacer from the Oculus Quest, glasses can irreversibly damage the sensitive VR lenses with scratches. Some glasses are simply too big to be worn under the quest. The solution is special lens inserts with integrated visual correction. In the test, we chose Optik Planet lenses manufactured in Germany, whose shop can be reached under vroptiker.de. The order is no more difficult than with any other “online glasses”: Simply transfer data from the glasses pass and wait for delivery by post. The two individual glasses are delivered in separate microfiber bags for the left and right eye. All you need to do is replace the plastic rings around the VR lenses inside the Oculus Quest to top up the visual strength inserts – time: less than 15 seconds. From now on, it is not possible to wear the glasses under the headset. We have not been able to perceive any significant distortions, color shifts or other changes in the image and have experienced the experience of virtual reality as much more pleasant – the investment is really worthwhile!

VR Optician Oculus Quest Vision Lenses Inserts
Web:
vroptiker.de
Price: 69 euros for a pair of glasses (30 euros surcharge for blue filter coating), also available individually (34.50 euros).

VR Cover: More hygiene and comfort

Especially in summer, VR glasses can be unhygienic. Games such as Beat Saber require full body use, correspondingly sweat-soaked the face pad can be. What may still be OK with personal use becomes a problem at the latest when sharing the glasses with friends, acquaintances and colleagues. The VR cover solves exactly this problem, it replaces the standard fabric upholstery with a washable plastic pad – when passing on to a fellow player, the alternative upholstery can then be easily wiped with an alcohol cloth for cleaning and disinfection. The assembly is also done quickly with two left hands. A must for anyone who wants to share their VR glasses with friends, acquaintances and colleagues.

VR Cover
Web:Buy now on Amazon
Price: 40 Euro

Mamut VR: More grip and more security for Oculus Touch controllers

If the past few months have shown us one thing in the editorial office, it is that playing with the Oculus-Toch controllers can be hot. Flying away battery compartment covers or from the sliding controller – everything already seen and experienced. The loops on the two controllers, which are placed around the wrist, prevent the worst, but the solution that Geektech AB from Sweden has to offer is much more pleasant. Mammut VR is a set of two bespoke plastic overcoats and a kind of laces that fulfil several functions: on the one hand, they protect the controller from quirks, secure the battery compartment cover and, this is the greatest performance, make sure that you no longer have to hold the controllers – the “strapped slaps” secure them on the hand, you carry them practically like a few gloves. Without having to think about the constant clasping of the controllers, one’s own hands become even more part of virtual reality.

Mamut VR
Web:Pre-order now!
Price: 40 Euro

Played: “Half-Life: Alyx” (via Oculus Link)

(Image: Valve)

Anyone who thinks that he has already seen everything in the matter of “video game” is mistaken. But really new, big ideas have become rare – even in the once so creative sector of video games. The last revolution was the motion control, which was rolled out into the wide range with the Wii console, through which people felt addressed by the medium, who until now considered it too complicated to consume. 2020 has once again come such a transformative moment – but this time it remains reserved for the “nerds” of expensive hardware: With “Half-Life: Alyx”, developer Valve merges a credible game world with gameplay that matches VR technology. The new Half-Life may still be a first-person shooter at its core, but experiencing a credible world from a full-face view increases immersion to such an extent that other games on traditional screens feel strangely empty – we’re sure after the first hours of the game: VR is the future of video games! On the Oculus Quest, the title is playable via the beta-phase feature called Oculus Link, which turns the quest into a wired VR headset, that can play all PCVR titles – so you have not only all VR titles available via Steam, such as the new Half-Life, but also titles like “Lone Echo”, “Stormland” and “Asgard’s Wrath” from the Oculus Store for the Rift/Rift S. The prerequisite is a compatible USB-C cable for connecting the headset and the computer. Windows is both a pre-equipment and a powerful hardware. With our setup, a MacBook Pro 2019 with i9 processor and AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8 GB and the official link cable, most PCVR titles could be played pleasantly fluidly.

Price: 50 Euro
Web: half-life.com/de/alyx/ [[Link auf Steam]

Original article, may 26, 2019: VR glasses have had three major problems so far and were considered primarily a toy for nerds. With prices above 500 euros, they were initially too expensive. In addition, Vive and Co. were complicated to handle, whether many cables and various peripherals. In the end, they also needed a potent (and again expensive) computer that generates the virtual worlds in the first place – as a Mac user, you were left out beyond basic hardware support anyway, notable VR titles for the normal user never appeared for macOS. The Oculus Quest (official website) solves all these problems in one fell swoop and makes virtual reality interesting for those who have been too expensive, too complicated and too PC-heavy for VR.

Oculus proves: Less is more

The fact that the Oculus Quest does decisive things differently from other VR glasses becomes clear from the very first glance in their packaging. Barely larger than a shoebox, it invariably contains everything you need for a complete VR experience – only for the initial setup you have to use a smartphone.

No innumerable cables, no tracking hardware that tarnishes the living room, no scrum on the power strip: Anyone who has ever unpacked an HTC Vive or even a PlayStation VR knows about the terror that the sheer number of peripherals that are absolutely necessary to operate it brings. Different with the Oculus Quest. In the box there are only the VR glasses with an optional spacer for spectacle wearers, an extra-long USB-C cable with 15-watt wall charger and two so-called touch controllers including batteries. More is simply not needed, because the Oculus Quest does not work completely self-sufficient with additional tracking hardware and PCs.

The packaging is tidy, in contrast to other VR glasses, there is a lack of cables and other klimbim – this is a big plus, because until now one felt like a leash under the VR glasses.
The packaging is tidy, in contrast to other VR glasses, there is a lack of cables and other klimbim – this is a big plus, because until now one felt like a leash under the VR glasses. (Image: Stefan Molz)

The scope of delivery is manageable in the best sense – you just don't need more for VR with the Oculus Quest.
The scope of delivery is manageable in the best sense – you just don’t need more for VR with the Oculus Quest. (Image: Oculus website, screenshot)

Quick start: T minus 5 minutes

Commissioning goes quickly by hand via the Oculus app on smartphone or tablet (Android device or iPhone/iPad), the application performs well explained by the setup. A possible firmware update is left out, you are ready in less than 5 minutes for then Departure into new worlds. The iPhone or Android smartphone now serves as a “second screen” on which the live image of the quest can be transferred – so it won’t get boring for outsiders. Unfortunately, the live image, even a transmission on Facebook is possible, quite roughly resolved, slightly time-shifted and without sound. Viewers only hear the latter when streaming to a current Chromecast device – but this does not change the moderate image quality of the stream. Presumably this is why Oculus names the feature, titled “Casting,” as still in beta testing, especially since it isn’t supported by every VR application.

Oculus Quest All-in-one VR Gaming Headset – 64GB

not available

At the risk of us repeating ourselves: the Oculus headset combines all the required components in one device. That’s why it’s a bit heavier and a little more head-heavy than other headsets. Nevertheless, the around 600 grams heavy VR glasses sit quite comfortably on both small and large heads. The quest can be adjusted to your own head via three tabs with Velcro fasteners, a slider allows you to adjust your personal eye distance. You don’t have to put on headphones: There is a mini jack for earplugs on the long side, but the quest has built-in speakers. These not only conjure a kind of spatial sound from the apparent nothingness, but also decouple less unpleasantly from the true reality than one is accustomed to the use of other VR glasses with integrated headphones.

Without expensive PC, no annoying cables: To dive into the VR you don't need more than the Oculus Quest and the two controllers.
Without expensive PC, no annoying cables: To dive into the VR you don’t need more than the Oculus Quest and the two controllers. (Image: Oculus)

And off we go…

After switching on, you set the available play area with a camera-supported view into the real world with the controllers. This feature is called “Guardian”. If you leave the area that has been defined as safe, the glasses show the live image of the surroundings thanks to the integrated camera – accidents are thus practically excluded. The Oculus Quest menu can be used to start playing right away. Some games, such as the outstanding Beat Saber, are already pre-installed as a free demo version – and quickly make you want more…

Oculus Store and the agony of choice

First of all, many of the virtual reality games are great fun – and this despite the unimpressive technical key data. While the Oculus Quest’s screen and tracking technology are up-to-date, it has smartphone technology of 2017 in terms of processor and graphics performance. But don’t worry, this sounds more dramatic than it actually is in practice: Ultimately, the quality of the software determines the success of the hardware – and that’s almost always good. From the more than 50 titles available at the launch on May 21st, we were able to try out a lot. The focus was clearly on games on the supply side, but application software is hardly found in the virtual shelves of the Oculus store – and if so, even this is rather playful, such as Google’s VR painting program Tilt Brush.

The two touch controllers are well in the hand, movements are accurately implemented in virtual reality.
The two touch controllers are well in the hand, movements are accurately implemented in virtual reality. (Image: Oculus)

Above all, it is competent implementations of VR titles already known from other platforms that inspire. To the connoisseur, however, these also reveal one of the few weaknesses of the Oculus Quest: If you play the same title on Playstation VR or a Vive, the game worlds are sometimes less detailed due to the lower computing power, for example shadows and effects are missing. But this really does not detract from the gameplay and fun, especially since the presentation itself is sharp and beyond doubt sublime. The purely display-side display quality also stands out for PSVR and the first Vive generation. Video content played back via the Netflix or YouTube app also impresses, as they are even displayed in the size of a cinema screen on request – but HD or even 4K-pampered eyes are of course lacking in details.

The battery integrated into the Oculus Quest is also compatible with movie enjoyment. Depending on the application, this can be extracted between two and a little more than three hours of running time. The battery is charged via the USB-C socket integrated into the glasses and the supplied wall loader, whereby a fully emptied battery is 100 percent filled again in about two hours. If you like, you can also use the USB-C charger and cable of your iPad Pro or MacBook.

Oculus Quest: Rent instead of buy!

(Image: Apple, Screenshot)

The Oculus Quest is worth 450 euros. But newcomers in particular find it difficult to assess whether the investment is actually worthwhile – if you simply don’t enjoy adventures in VR, are sensitive to “Motion Sickness” or have already seen enough of the current game highlights within a few days (which, by the way, are all played out quite quickly, the Star Wars title “Vader Immortal” is ticked off in about an hour), the Oculus Quest is now in the corner. Sometimes it can be worth renting instead of buying right away. For example, for the Grover provider, the 64 GB model depending on the rental period between 24.90 and 54.90 euros per month due – if the rental price reaches 130 percent of the recommended retail price, the device will be transferred to its own property for just one more euro. A fair offer for all VR beginners and undecideds – and significantly cheaper than a visit to a VR arcade with friends, especially if you share the rental price if necessary.



Oculus Quest 64 GB on Grover.com from 24.90 Euro/month rent instead of buy

Oculus Quest shows the future of VR

In its handling, not more complicated than a game console, but not cheap but worth the price, with wireless freedom and, most importantly, good (games) software: we can hardly hide our enthusiasm for the Oculus Quest and feel a little reminiscent of the Nintendo Wii, which made games accessible to a wider audience as a leisure activity. The Oculus Quest could do the same in terms of experiencing virtual reality: it makes the piece of high-tech, once ridiculed as a nerd toy, compatible with the living room of all those who are even initially interested in VR. The only variable is the question of the software supply beyond the strong offer at the start of sales, which at some point even the most beautiful classics become boring. Our conclusion: Despite some nooks and crannies, virtual reality has never been as easy and convenient to discover as with the Oculus Quest.

You should definitely play these Oculus Quest games:

Played: Beat Saber

(Image: Screenshot)

Beat Saber transfers the playing principle behind the music game classic Guitar Hero into virtual reality: armed with two lightsabers, you divide into a floating block in the rhythm of the music. It’s hard to believe, but at higher difficulty levels it’s as sweaty as a workout…

Price: 30 Euro, demo pre-installed
Web: www.beatsaber.com [[Link to the Oculus Store]

Alluded to: Moss

(Image: Screenshot)

The heroine? An inconspicuous little mouse named Quill. Their heart and adventurous ness, however, are great. The player as the “reader” of this interactive fairy tale has a double role in Moss: he not only controls Quill, but manipulates level structures by interfering in the game world – so far unique!

Price: 30 Euro
Web: www.polyarcgames.com [[Link to the Oculus Store]

Alluded: Superhot VR

(Image: Screenshot)

This VR classic is the game-winning counterpart to the bullettime of the cult film “The Matrix” and presents Shooter in a completely different way: Superhot VR plays itself over long distances in slow motion. Every step and every shot wants to be well thought out, mistakes are fatal. A shooter for strategists, not for Rambos.

Price: 25 Euro
Web: www.superhotgame.com [[Link to the Oculus Store]

Robo Recall: Unplugged

(Image: Screenshot)

At its core, Robo Recall is reminiscent of a virtual shooting stall from the beating of a “moor chicken”. Staged in three-dimensional space as a fight against an army of cracked-through robots, Robo Recall is of course not only much cooler, but also more entertaining and, due to the required use of the body, also significantly more demanding.

Price: 30 Euro
Web: www.epicgames.com/roborecall [[Link to the Oculus Store]

Test
Product Oculus Quest
Manufacturer Oculus
Price from 450 €
Website oculus.com
Per
  • no computer needed
  • Wireless
  • Guardian system
  • great game selection to start
Contra
  • no BT headphones can be paired
  • Graphics
  • Streaming feature not mature and not available in all titles
Requirements According to the manufacturer: “Setup requires an iPhone (iOS 10 or later) or an AndroidTM smartphone (6.0 Marshmallow or higher), the Oculus app (free download), wireless Internet access (802.11 b/g/n), and an Oculus account.”

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