Oculus Quest Review: Clunky, Expensive – and a leap Forward
It is already a good sign if a tech tester finds it difficult to tear himself away from his device in order to write down the experiences with it. This is the case with Facebook’s new Oculus Quest virtual reality glasses.
Of course, this does not mean that she is perfect. She is chunky and a little heavy. And because it works without computers and cables, the graphics are mediocre. After two hours, the battery runs out. At the time of testing, which was three weeks before the start of sales on May 21, there were only a few games. Nevertheless, the Oculus Quest * is so captivating that you want to ask the manufacturer: keep it up.
The glasses reminded us of the Nintendo Wii from 2006, a game console with simple graphics. For the first time, many people fidgeted in front of the TV with motion-sensitive controllers because they were smashing tennis balls over the net.
The Oculus Quest is a VR headset with built-in displays and a processor, so you no longer need a computer to use it. It is supplied with two controllers for the left and right hand. The glasses are heavy with almost 600 grams, but can be easily attached to the head with the straps.
Setup via the Oculus smartphone app is quick. Apps and games can also be installed directly on the glasses, but this can also be done later in virtual reality. Oculus has already had similar glasses on the market for some time. But compared to the Oculus Go, the Quest is a big step forward.
The two displays for the left and right eyes have better resolution, and the built-in processor is faster. But the most important difference is the room tracking. While users of the Oculus Go only transfer their head rotation to virtual reality, Quest users can really move around the room. Four forward-facing cameras record the position in the room. For other glasses, extra cameras had to be installed on the walls.
At the start, users define an area in the room so that they do not bump into furniture. Oculus recommends a free space of two by two meters in size. So you have to move one or the other table, chair or armchair aside. Then this area can be delimited with one of the two controllers on the floor. If the user now comes close to the demarcation during the game, a virtual grid appears, which first turns blue and then red. The glasses even remember this distinction for several rooms.
In conjunction with the two hand controllers, you can now really immerse yourself in the games, grab, throw, move objects. The controllers have several buttons, which are occupied depending on the application. In virtual reality, they become hands holding tennis rackets, weapons or fishing. A small introduction explains how it works. Space tracking not only allows you to turn your head. Players can now also move forward and backward, duck or dodge. In comparison, the Oculus Go was just an appetite stimulant.
At the start of sales, there will be more than 50 games and applications. We have already been able to try some of them. We really liked Beat Drool, in which the player holds a red and a blue lightsaber in his hands and has to disassemble cubes flying towards him to the beat of the music. From time to time he also has to dodge walls and let small mines fly by.
If you still know Wii Sports, you should also find Sports Scramble easy. Users play tennis, bowling or baseball in the virtual world here. That even fishing in virtual reality could be fun with the game Bait, we had not imagined in advance. Even Angry Birds is available in a VR version with a twist that also feels like it.
In contrast to the Wii, however, playing in virtual reality is more of an individual occupation. With the glasses you largely hide the real reality. Oculus is working on some solutions to address this shortcoming. Thus, the image that the player sees can also be streamed to a TV using the Google technology Chromecast. Friends can then follow what the player is doing. In the test, this worked perfectly.
However, it makes more sense to play in multiplayer mode, as is provided, for example, in Sports Scramble. Then players can compete against friends via the Internet who do not need to be in the same room. Not even in the same country. In the test, the multiplayer mode was not yet available.
Conclusion: Room tracking actually makes the crucial difference when it comes to VR games. In the Oculus Quest, this is solved excellently. The setup and use are kept really simple. By the way, the sound is emitted directly from the glasses near the ears. This has the advantage that you are acoustically not completely cut off from your surroundings. But if you want, you can also connect headphones.
The graphics of the games are still rather modest, but we didn’t find that bad. In the end, however, such a platform stands and falls with the selection of games that are available for it. However, it is still too early for a judgment in this regard. One battery charge lasts about two hours while playing. If you only watch videos, you can also manage up to three hours. However, apps such as Netflix were not yet available at the time of testing.
When playing, the Oculus Quest gets a little warmer, and a built-in fan starts to work. But you hardly notice it. However, in order to make virtual reality really deceptively real, it still needs better image and graphic quality, which is currently not possible in such glasses. The Oculus Quest costs 449 euros with 64 gigabytes of memory. With a memory twice as large, it will cost you 100 euros more.
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