For those who pre-ordered it, Facebook’s long-awaited Oculus Quest 2 will finally arrive on doorsteps next month (the headset itself on Oct. 13th, and the Elite strap and battery accessory on the 16th). Though I will have to wait till then so to do a full review of the device, I wanted to go ahead and offer some thoughts on it, and why I think users should opt for the 256GB version over the 64GB. As a VR enthusiast, I wanted to share some perspectives that may help the VR-curious consumer make a more educated jump. Let’s take a look.
Storage, storage, storage
First off, consumers should understand that at $399, the 256GB model of the Oculus Quest 2 is a considerable bargain considering it is only $100 more than the $299 64 GB model (for comparison, last year’s 64GB Quest model sold for $399 while the 128GB went for $499). In other words, this year’s model offers quadruple the storage, for $100—an absolute no-brainer if you actually plan on using this device and buying apps and games for it. Plus, it’s important to know that none of Facebook’s Oculus Quest headsets have expandable storage, and when it comes to VR, 64GB really isn’t good for anything other than hitting that specific $299 price point.
To further illustrate that point, here’s an anecdote: I currently own the first generation Oculus Quest, which I have had for over a year now. With all of the applications and videos I have installed on the device, I am already up to 62GB. That means that if I wanted to install any more applications or download any more videos, I would have to uninstall something first. Take it from me—you’re going to want that extra storage.
On top of all that, the new Oculus Quest 2 has a 50% higher resolution than the original Oculus Quest, which means that the applications and textures will be bigger and the resolutions of the video files will be higher. This translates to larger file sizes, which means the new Quest 2 will probably actually need 20-30% more storage than the original Quest. Instead of the 64GB device, I would have liked to see Facebook and Oculus ship a 128 GB standard headset, and the 256GB version as the expanded capacity. That said—I do understand that 64GB helps Facebook to hit the golden $299 price point.
Unfortunately, if you want to buy the 256GB model right now, you’re already out of luck. It sold out only a day after it was announced—a great win for Oculus, but likely an indicator the company did a poor job estimating initial demand from us enthusiasts. The company will likely have to put in a bigger order when the headsets start arriving in people’s homes next month.
The last comment I have for now is that you should seriously consider ordering the Elite strap accessory to go along with your 256GB model. Every reviewer that got their hands on the Quest 2 for review says that the Elite strap is a must-have. I pre-ordered the version of the Elite strap with the battery in it, which prolongs the battery life of the headset and reduces strain on my neck. With the original Quest, I noticed strain after 2 consecutive hours in VR—these accessories, if the reviewers are to believed, should enable me to have much longer VR sessions without that strain. The added weight of the battery Elite Strap (321g) might seem counter-intuitive to helping neck strain, but part of the neck strain is due to the unbalanced weight at the front of my face. A weight in the back can help counter balance it. The 321g Elite Strap with battery counters the Quest 2 which, at 503g, is already lighter than the original Quest’s 571g.
The new Quest 2 looks like an amazing piece of hardware, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. That said, storage will be a big concern for 64GB users and they should expect to have to delete apps and videos periodically to clear room for new content. Nowadays, even most smartphone vendors ship with at least 128GB if there are no expandable storage capabilities on the device. Heck, the new $349 Google Pixel 4a ships with 128GB standard. This should be the minimum for all devices moving forward (yes, Apple, that includes you too). Sure, the Quest isn’t much of a content creation device yet. That said, there’s no knowing what apps might make their way to the Quest 2 now that it has a Qualcomm XR2 processor and is effectively as powerful as the fastest smartphones on the market. Stay tuned for more coverage in the coming weeks.