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Oculus Quest is fully mobile VR

Here's what it's like to wear Facebook's newest PC-free VR game system.

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Scott Stein, Sarah Tew
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The Oculus Quest, available May 21, is a completely self contained VR headset. It costs $399. It's made by Facebook. I've been using one: here's what makes it amazing.

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If you've played VR on a PC, you know about "full motion" 6DoF tracking, which allows you to lean and duck and walk and wave your arms. You can do that here.

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Quest has built-in tracking in its headset, called Oculus Insight. Its included Touch controllers can also be tracked.

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Quest looks like most other VR headsets: big and boxy. But it's pretty comfy, with foam padding, and fit over my glasses fine.

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I will never look flattering in VR.

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There's a lot of motion with Quest: you'll be dancing, grabbing, ducking. It can be a workout.

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Oculus Quest pairs to a phone, but only to adjust settings, set up your account, and help manage app purchases and downloads. You don't need it when using Quest. The Oculus App runs on iOS or Android.

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The Touch controllers: they're imposing, but they're fantastic.

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The Oculus Touch controllers on Rift had buttons, finger position awareness, vibration and 6DoF tracking. Same here.

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The Quest headset has stiff side straps but is otherwise compact.

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Velcro straps adjust to fit my head and face.

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Carrying Quest in a bag isn't easy because of those stiff straps. Pick up Oculus' $40 carrying case, which is designed to contain this and protect its lenses.

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The design means it's not always easy to tuck away. That's still a problem with VR.

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A look at the Fresnel lenses. The Quest's LCD display has a resolution of 1,440x1,600, which looks fantastic and crisp.

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The elastic side bands stretch to allow my head to drop in.

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Inside, small speakers in the straps pipe in spatial 3D audio, no headphones needed (but there are two headphone jacks).

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A look from the back.

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The lenses can be adjusted to fit for IPD (interpupillary distance), like the PC-based Rift.

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The Quest controllers have wrist straps. Wear them! (Don't toss the controllers across the room.)

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Each controller has two buttons, an analog stick, and two analog triggers. Plus, it'll register whether your fingers are on or off the buttons, allowing pointing and "grabbing."

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It means that you can kind of feel like you're reaching out and picking up things, which is really cool.

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They're comfortable, too.

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The controllers use AA batteries. So far they've lasted a week and a half without needing replacing.

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This is me using the Quest outside. You can do this, sort of, but Oculus seriously recommends using it indoors (bright light can disrupt tracking).

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Also, Quest can draw a boundary for your playspace, erecting a glowing blue "fence" to show your safety zone -- but it won't sense when new obstacles have arrived. You've been warned. But: if you peek outside your play area limits, passthrough cameras show your world in black and white. It's cool! (And useful.)

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Using the iOS app to peek at new game releases.

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You can use Quest while standing or sitting. In stationary modes, the glowing fence gets a little intrusive.

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Finding a place to store your VR headset might be a challenge.

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Dancing games like Dance Central and Beat Saber (kind of dancing), or sports games like Sports Scramble, make amazing use of the full-motion controllers.

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Is the Quest for you? Consider its price: $400 is like a fancy game console. That's expensive for some, affordable for others (AR headsets cost over $1,000).

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Oculus Quest runs its own apps and games, and won't necessarily port all Rift and Go titles. Many games and apps will support cross-buy and cross-play -- but which ones?

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A look at the Oculus Go from 2018 (left), Oculus Quest (center) and 2016 Oculus Rift (right). Quest feels like the fusion of the other two.

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The Quest's comfy feel and well-made design, and its self-contained audio and sharp display, are like Oculus Go.

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The Quest's adjustable lenses and support for 6DoF tracking is like the Rift.

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Go and Quest are both Android based and use Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. The Go has a Snapdragon 820, while Quest has a Snapdragon 835.

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Oculus Go is a stay-seated and turn-your-head experience, like other phone-based VR, and has just a simple Nintendo Wii-like controller. Oculus Quest's Touch controllers are far fuller featured.

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But, Quest is still locked off from other ecosystems. It won't integrate with Android, or Windows. It runs whatever apps it chooses to run, and while there's 64 or 128GB of storage, there's no SD card slot.

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The Oculus Quest (left) vs. the Rift (right) look similar from a distance, minus the cable. But the Rift connects to a PC.

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The future of Oculus VR might be a fusion of both Rift and Quest. Oculus' newest Rift, the Rift S, also has built-in positional tracking.

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There's no eye tracking on Quest. Maybe in the future?

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But for what it does, Oculus Quest feels like an incredible achievement in mobile VR.

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It's most likely the beginning of a wave of smaller, mobile, affordable devices. Some with AR, too.

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But for now, Quest is the best; just beware of a limited app library for now. Read my review.

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