Cost-cutting & Accessories
So it's got a better screen and more powerful chipset, and yet it's $100 cheaper, so what's the catch?
It's safe to presume that Facebook is losing money on every headset sold. Just adding up the parts and doing a bit guesstimation work, there is no conceivable way this thing doesn't cost more than it's RRP for them to manufacture.
But that's not to say they are throwing money away, and some of the changes in the Quest 2 have likely been done to try to bring these costs down, or to allow them to sell expensive accessories to try and recoup some of that money.
The strap on the Quest 2 is the most obvious downgrade, the original Quest had a thick rubber strap that cupped the back of your head, helping to counter-balance the device and move some of the weight off your face. It wasn't great, but this was mostly as the device was simply too heavy.
In comparison, the Quest 2 takes a step foward by being 20% lighter, but then takes one massive leap back by ditching the old rubber strap and swapping it out for a cheaper elasticated fabric strap. You could argue it's easier to take it off now, but it also does a worse job of keeping the headset sturdy, which is a problem if you intend to play games that require sudden movement.
To make up for this Oculus is selling the 'Elite Headstrap' accessory for £50/$50, which is more akin to the original strap, but with improved ergonomics and extra cushioning. It's a massive upgrade, and if you were to ask me on day one, I would say almost essential purchase.
But unfortunately, just one month from launch, a lot of users have been reporting various manufacturing defects with the strap, with the arms either snapping or cracking during use due to the rigid cheap plastic used on the arms, or the entirely plastic PSVR-style dial-mechanism on the back for tightening the device, getting worn away and failing to function properly due to plastic rubbing against plastic.
My strap is currently still in one piece, but given how cheap it feels; I'm not expecting it to remain like this for very long.
At the time of writing this review, the Elite Strap is currently unavailable from both the Oculus store and third-party sellers. There has been no official statement, but this is presumed to be due to an internal investigation happening over these reports of widespread failures.
My other peeve is the new travel case, the Quest 1 case was expensive at £50/$50 but this felt justified, it was snug, well designed and built to last. I used it for lugging my headset to work, to demo events, and even on vacation, and I never had any concerns about it damaging the headset inside
In comparison, the Quest 2 travel case costs the same, but is flimsy and made from cheap materials, the tiny "this-feels-like-its-going-to-break" zipper is just glued onto a horrible coarse fabric. It also does a very poor job of holding things in place, with the touch controllers moving about during transit. I still use it to store the device at home, but I would be wary about taking it outside of the house in this, and to be blunt, it's only a marginal improvement from keeping it in the box it came in.
The accessories being over-priced is one thing, but both, in my opinion, are unfit for purpose and should not be on the market at all. My advice is to either wait until they recall and resolve the issues, or go with other third-party solutions for now.