Oculus Quest, the most recent member of the Oculus household, has been within the works for years. It’s been cooking within the minds of engineers (and followers) since across the time the Rift first launched in 2016, and now Oculus is lastly able to launch it to the world early subsequent yr. 

Not like the Oculus Go that got here simply earlier than it, the Quest headset will supply six levels of freedom monitoring that can help you stroll round wherever and not using a wire holding you again whereas nonetheless permitting lateral actions, crouching and leaping. 

That freedom is nice but it surely comes at a value: to some extent, the Oculus Quest is much less highly effective than an Oculus Rift, that requires an Nvidia 960 GPU or higher to function. However that does not imply it’s operating on half-baked – Oculus Quest is a cell VR headset that appears nearly pretty much as good as its tethered counterpart. 

When it arrives subsequent yr, Oculus Quest will convey 50-something titles together with it – together with Star Wars’ Vader Immortal, Superhot VR, Stormland, Moss and extra – all of that are optimized for standalone VR. All these titles will use revamped variations of the Oculus Contact controller that will probably be tracked by 4 ultra-wide sensors on the aspect of the headset. 

The headset will cost by way of a USB-C port and output all sound by way of the scarf strap.

It’s asking lots from a headset that has nothing linked to it and handles all of the processing contained in the unit itself – however, at simply $399 (about £300, AU$550), it’s one we will’t wait to get into our own residence.

Launch date and value

At Oculus Connect 5, Fb CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced that Oculus Quest can be obtainable beginning in North America in “Spring 2019” (so March-April subsequent yr). 

When it arrives within the first half of subsequent yr, the Oculus Quest will value simply $399 –which is about the identical as a brand new 4K recreation console just like the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X

Relying on how in-love you might be with digital actuality, that quantity will both shock or appall you, however contemplating that wired VR headsets just like the HTC Vive launched at $799 simply two years in the past, it’s nothing wanting a miracle Oculus Quest prices as little because it does.

Design

The explanation it prices what it does is that the Oculus Quest is a standalone headset. Which means, for each higher and worse, all of the processing energy the headset wants is baked proper in. However, whilst you received’t be capable to improve the headset two years down the highway like you possibly can along with your PC-based Oculus Rift setup, Oculus Quest is a headset that goes the place you go.

The concept of a tetherless headset would possibly sound scary at first – particularly when you’ve come to make use of the wire as a type of security line that permits you to know you haven’t drifted too far-off from the protected play area you’ve carved out for your self. However don’t fear, the chaperone system remains to be alive and nicely within the standalone headset and it’ll stop you from, say, strolling into the road throughout a recreation of Superhot VR. 

In keeping with Oculus’ Hugo Barra, the Quest can observe as much as four,000 sq. ft – an enormous distinction in distance to in comparison with what we’ve seen on wired headsets to date. That ought to offer you sufficient room to map out everything of your yard or a small discipline at your native park.

To maintain you from strolling too far, and to trace the new-and-not-so-improved Contact controllers, the Quest makes use of 4 ultra-wide sensors positioned alongside the outer edges of the headset. The sensors act like smaller variations of these that include an Oculus Rift – permitting the headset to trace the place your arms are, even when it loses sight of them for a couple of seconds.

Whereas Oculus has been cagey with definitive specs, it sounds just like the Quest will share the identical decision because the Go – round 1600 x 1440 per eye. 

Like each the Rift and Go there’s a focal slider hidden underneath the entrance of the headset that provides you the choice of shifting the focal distance (though, glasses-wearers are most actually welcome right here).

Additionally conveniently positioned underneath the entrance of the headset is a quantity rocker. Audio comes out by means of the pinnacle straps close to the ears however, when you’ve received a greater audio resolution, the Quest has a regular three.5mm auxiliary jack positioned on both aspect of the headset.

The headset itself has a smooth, cloth-like high quality that feels good within the hand. The straps that go behind your head are fabricated from a stretchable rubber materials. This can be a break from the extra inflexible plastic straps discovered on Rift. 

Even higher, the Quest’s straps stretch to go round your head earlier than snugly cradling it. The entire contraption is safe as you progress round VR worlds, with no slippage. It feels akin to sporting a well-fitted hat.

Video games library

So what are you able to count on to be taking part in on the Oculus Quest when it comes out? Nicely, because it seems, rather a lot really. 

In keeping with Oculus, there will probably be over 50 video games obtainable on the headset when it launches. Probably the most thrilling of the lot is a three-part expertise developed by Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB and Oculus known as Vader Immortal that takes you to the planet Mustafar. ILMxLAB has labored on quite a lot of Star Wars-based VR experiences up to now, however this one will probably be unique to Oculus’ standalone headset. 

Alongside Vader Immortal, Oculus has confirmed Quest ports for Lifeless and Buried, Superhot VR, The Climb, Face Your Fears, The Unstated, Robo Recall and Stormlands – all of which will probably be optimized for the cell processor. 

We additionally count on quite a lot of Quest-only video games to be introduced earlier than the headset arrives on our doorstep in 2019. 

One proven off at Oculus Join 5 was known as Challenge Tennis Scramble which feels a bit like Wii Sports activities for the VR period. A variety of builders we spoke to on the present flooring talked about that standalone VR was going to be a magnet for them transferring ahead and that the headset would allow distinctive experiences that wouldn’t be doable with wires.

Efficiency

So how do these video games look on Oculus’ standalone headset? The reply is … nicely, not dangerous. 

Within the demos we received with the headset, video games appeared refreshingly crisp. Superhot VR gave us a great sense of realism and not using a important quantity of noticeable jaggedness, and Challenge Tennis Scramble radiated lovely colours with out revealing any imperfections.

Whereas it’s not exhausting to poke holes within the Oculus Quest’s efficiency if you stack it up towards one thing with a bit extra energy – just like the HTC Vive or HTC Vive Pro – Oculus has neatly traded a small quantity of visible constancy for freedom of motion and so far we’ve but to see any recreation the Quest can’t run. 

…and but, we’re positive these video games exist on the market someplace. 

Sooner or later down the highway it wouldn’t shock us to listen to a few recreation that will probably be obtainable on the common Rift, however not on the Quest or Go. That will probably be a disappointment however it’s the actuality of a platform that will probably be offered as-is and not using a solution to improve.

Talking of issues you possibly can’t improve, nobody we discovered may give us a definitive reply on how lengthy the Oculus Quest’s battery would final for – with some stations altering out headsets each four-to-five demos. Demoers say the change was to make sure the optimum efficiency for the headset, however battery life remains to be a possible suspect for the change.

If the battery doesn’t final quite a lot of hours, that wouldn’t shock us. In spite of everything, the Quest must show video, talk with controllers and pump out audio all on the identical time. It’s value retaining in thoughts that Oculus’ first standalone headset – the Oculus Go – may actually solely maintain a cost for about two hours of use earlier than needing a three-hour interval to recharge. We will’t make certain, however the Quest seems to be prefer it’s heading in the identical route. 

The brand new Contact controllers, that are mainly simply smaller variations of the present controllers, however with a monitoring ring on high as a substitute of under it, labored simply fantastic throughout our time with them. There have been only one or two minor exceptions when the headset misplaced observe of our arms and the sport began to shake erratically. 

Early verdict

Regardless of sharing some comparable specs, the Quest will not be a replica of the Oculus Go – it’s a considerably improved standalone headset that gives six levels of freedom monitoring at a stage nearing tethered, PC-based headsets. 

We nonetheless have some considerations about lacking specs and bumped into a couple of points throughout our hands-on demos however, based mostly on what we’ve skilled to date, Oculus Quest (*cough* Challenge Santa Cruz *cough*) has been well-worth the wait.

Shop Amazon