Though virtual reality technology still feels like a novelty, it’s safe to say that it’s here to stay. From Microsoft’s impressive HoloLens2 to Apple’s exciting announcement of the upcoming Vision Pro, now may be the time to start experimenting with a VR headset of your own.
That’s exactly why the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Media & Tech Lab went face to face with one of the most popular VR headsets on the market today: The Meta Quest 2, previously known as the Oculus Quest 2. Whether you’re a VR newbie or you’ve been immersing yourself in this tech for years, we’re here to help you decide whether the VR headset is worth it.
Our staffers tested out the Meta Quest 2 over several weeks, playing all sorts of games, working out (that’s right!), streaming 3D videos and more. We also asked consumer testers to share feedback on their experience using the device, like how easy or comfortable it is to use.
Below you’ll find everything you need to know about the Meta Quest 2, including what we liked and what we wish was better.
What is the Meta Quest 2?
The Meta Quest 2 is owned and operated by Meta (previously Facebook), and was previously referred to as the Oculus Quest 2. It is a virtual reality headset that enables you to have immersive experiences. Thanks to two lenses inside the headset, you can go from your living room to another 360º reality in a matter of minutes. Recommended for those 13 years and older, it allows you to play interactive games, use apps for activities such as learning or playing sports as well as watch entertainment or immersive videos. The Meta Quest 2 is the second generation of its predecessor (a.k.a. the Oculus Quest), and the latest third generation model (Meta Quest 3) is expected to be released later this fall.
How much does the Meta Quest 2 cost?
The Meta Quest 2 starts at $299, which is a fairly affordable price considering all the technology it houses. For that price you’ll get 128GB of storage, but if you think you’ll need more you can upgrade to the 256GB model for $349. Whichever option you choose, you’ll be provided with a VR headset, two touch controllers with AA batteries, an additional glasses spacer and all necessary charging cables and power adapters.
How do you set up the Meta Quest 2?
Setting up the Meta Quest 2 is an easy process, though you will be required to either log in through Facebook or (if you’d rather avoid that route) sign up for a new Meta account before being able to use the device. It only took the Good Housekeeping Institute’s test engineer Alec Scherma around 30 minutes to set up the headset and run any necessary updates. “Setting up the Meta Quest 2 was very straightforward, though you do have to go back and forth between wearing the headset and taking it off,” Scherma says. I had to do the same when setting up my own account on the Meta Quest 2, and going back and forth felt a bit nauseating as your eyes have to refocus on your smartphone and then inside the headset.
Once your account is up and running, you can create an avatar for yourself and start exploring. You’ll also be prompted to set up “Guardian,” i.e. a clear playing space inside your home without any obstacles. I found creating these safety borders super easy and quick; all I had to do was trace a virtual boundary with the assistance of my hand controller. “I liked the boundary setup and how it made me feel safe in this new world,” says one tester. Just keep in mind that the headset didn’t recognize when my dog laid down smack in the middle of my play area so you’ll still have to be cautious.
Design and comfort
The design of the Meta Quest 2 is both sleek and compact. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say wearing the headset was an extremely comfortable experience, it’s certainly a huge improvement over other bulkier VR headsets I’ve tried in the past. According to Meta, it’s 10 percent lighter than the original Oculus Quest and weighs just barely over a pound. “I think the design is pretty slick, very easy to set up and very intuitive for a first-time VR user,” says one tester.
Adjusting the straps to suit your head size and shape is simple, and I like that you can move the lenses inside to best align with your eyes. I’ll admit that I found the Meta Quest 2 heavier than I’d like and I quickly started to feel my neck straining, but I was impressed by the soft cushioning framing the device that never irritated my skin. Other things to keep in mind are that the headset may start to feel hot after a while, and you could feel a tiny bit of dizziness like I did after 30 minutes or so of playtime.
Scherma agrees that though wearing the Meta Quest 2 wasn’t uncomfortable, he wouldn’t wear it for hours at a time. He also points out that the experience was a bit hindered as someone who wears glasses, which prevented the headset from being completely sealed against his face. “The headset does have an attachment that’s supposed to make it easier for people with glasses to wear — essentially a spacer so the glasses don’t touch the screen — but it didn’t work that well and I was still able to see through the bottom,” he shares.
As a novice VR user, I was most impressed by the Meta Quest 2 when playing games, like the super fun Beat Saber that had me dancing while slashing cubes flying toward me with a bright saber. The performance felt fast and responsive, and I found the hand controllers extremely intuitive to use once I got the hang of them. I also liked how easy it was to navigate back to the main menu with the press of a button on the right controller. Scherma was equally impressed by the Meta Quest 2’s performance, as well as its controllers. “Each button created a different interaction, and you could see everything,” he says. “I just love being in a VR setting where you can interact with everything around you, and the entire space changes and moves with your eyes.”
Because each LCD display features 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye (that’s 50 percent more pixels than the first gen model), graphics should feel crisp as you use your Meta Quest 2. Though I’d still choose to watch a movie on my 4K TV over this device, you won’t be able to get that 360 feel without it. “I thought the immersive 3D videos of wildlife or space were astonishing,” says one tester. “You are there and can almost feel things.” Though I did find some details could be sharper, for instance when watching Jurassic World, the quality was still better than I expected and I loved how I felt thrown into a world where dinosaurs exist. It’s made me excited to see how entertainment experiences such as this one evolve and improve over time. “Graphics are about what I’d expect from any VR headset — nothing exceptional, but decent,” Scherma says. “Some games are naturally going to look better than others, especially those optimized for VR.”
When it comes to audio, I found the sound quality to be good and loud enough to really help immerse me in what was going on on-screen. One thing to note is that the Meta Quest 2 doesn’t isolate audio like wireless earbuds or noise-canceling headphones, and those around you may get annoyed being able to hear what you’re listening to. To solve this, you can use the 3.5 mm audio port to plug in wired headphones or connect wireless earbuds via Bluetooth (though I haven’t yet tested this myself). If you need to adjust the volume, you can do so directly on the headset itself.
As for battery life, you should get around two to three hours of use out of your Meta Quest 2 before needing to recharge it via USB-C, with games eating up the most power. For some players, this might be plenty, but for others, it may feel lacking. Recharging the device fully should take about 2.5 hours.
What we like about the Meta Quest 2
As someone who isn’t naturally drawn to VR and hasn’t really gamed since my teenage years, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the Meta Quest 2. The headset and its controllers are extremely easy to use, making this product feel accessible to even those who aren’t super tech savvy. I also appreciate how there’s a wide variety of games and apps to choose from, so there’s really something for everyone whether you’re trying to work out, learn something new or immerse yourself in a game. “I played a few games and they were fun and exciting,” says one tester. “Not only are you fully immersed, but you actually need to move around and duck. I haven’t yet tried anything fitness-related, but I see how this could really work.” Scherma points out that because the Meta Quest 2 always connects to an app on your phone, purchasing and downloading games is seamless.
The Meta Quest 2 is also wireless, unlike other VR headsets, which makes moving around freely possible. Speaking of moving freely, I was impressed by the play area you create via a built-in camera and controller before you’re able to use the Meta Quest 2. Thanks to this feature, you shouldn’t bump into anything by accident, and you can see your surroundings the moment you step outside of it. Personally, this made me feel comfortable moving around in my space.
What we didn’t like about the Meta Quest 2
The Meta Quest 2 could certainly be lighter, and this isn’t a headset I can see myself wearing for an extended period of time. While it’s still compact for what it is, it would take up some room when traveling and sadly accessories like a carrying case aren’t included. Games are also an extra investment to factor in, which will quickly drive up the initial low cost of the Meta Quest 2.
Similar to Scherma’s experience, I noticed that the headset never completely sealed against my face and introduced light from the bottom. Though this wasn’t much of an issue, I’d prefer a perfect seal.
Bottom line: Is the Meta Quest 2 worth it?
If you’re willing to invest time and money into the games and experiences that you’ll find on the Meta Quest 2, then it can absolutely be worth it. While I do think VR technology still has a long way to come, I’ll admit that I found this headset super fun to play games on, though I can’t see myself using it for streaming movies or shows. Nevertheless, I’m excited to test the next generation of the Meta Quest and see what improvements Meta has in store.
“The Meta Quest 2 is great for anyone who wants to play a game — teens, young adults, even regular adults,” Scherma says. “If you are interested in a nice VR set that is portable, can be played anywhere and played by anyone, this is the one.” With setup being so simple, and no extra cords, cameras or bulky devices required, the Meta Quest 2 makes it easy to have a good time and escape reality for a little bit.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
Product analysts and engineers in the Good Housekeeping Institute Media & Tech Lab test everything from video games to gaming consoles, smart glasses to smart home devices.
Media & Tech Reviews Analyst Olivia Lipski covers consumer electronics and gadgets like the Samsung The Frame TV, the Apple Watch Ultra, the Loftie Alarm Clock and more for GH. She stays on top of the industry’s latest innovations and helps readers make better buying decisions by testing and reviewing the best products to hit the market. Though she still has a lot to learn and discover when it comes to virtual reality, she had a blast testing and researching the Meta Quest 2 for this article.
Testing for this story was overseen by Alec Scherma, the Good Housekeeping Institute’s test engineer. He helps create and implement new product testing methodology across home, cooking and cleaning appliances, wellness, tech products and more. He graduated from Drexel University’s College of Engineering with a B.A. in mechanical engineering. He has lifelong experience gaming, playing almost every console that has come out, as well as testing various video game consoles in the GH Media & Tech Lab.
Media & Tech Reviews Analyst
Olivia (she/her) is a media and tech product reviews analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute, covering tech, home, auto, health and more. She has more than five years of experience writing about tech trends and innovation and, prior to joining GH in 2021, was a writer for Android Central, Lifewire and other media outlets. Olivia is a graduate of George Washington University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, political science and French, and she holds a master’s degree in communications from Sciences Po Paris.
Alec Scherma (he/him) is the Good Housekeeping Institute’s test engineer, where he helps to create and implement new product testing methodology across home, cooking and cleaning appliances, wellness, tech products and more. He graduated from Drexel University’s College of Engineering with a B.A. in mechanical engineering.