The new straps for Oculus Quest 2: Virtual Reality Goggles will make wearing Quest 2 VR Goggles more comfortable. Why do you think this is the case?
For anyone looking to dip their toes into virtual reality, the Oculus Quest 2 is a great VR headset, but if I had one complaint about the standalone Oculus headset (apart from the mandatory Facebook account requirement), it would be the uncomfortable little knobbly bits on its elasticity head strap.
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They're just too painful to use Quest 2 for any significant amount of time, and for the rest of the day, they always give me a nasty headache. Fortunately, I have since discovered that this problem eliminated by the Quest 2 Elite Strap accessory, and it is well worth getting if, like me, you want to play Half-Life: Alyx without feeling like you have a real-life head crab hugging your skull.
New straps for Oculus Quest 2 The Elite Strap is one of the many additional accessories available for Quest 2, and the main headset must purchased separately. It costs another £49 / $49 on its own, but it's also available for £119 / $119 as part of an extra battery and carry case bundle. I've only tested the former, so I can't say how the extra weight of the battery affects the overall headset ergonomics, but I'd recommend sticking to the regular VR Elite Strap if you want dramatically improve your overall VR experience unless you constantly run out of power during a typical play session.
The act of affixing the Elite Strap to Quest 2 has a lot of room for improvement, admittedly. The quick start manual does its best to make everything look nice and simple, but the heart-stopping procedure of twisting and peeling back the hard, plastic arms of the basic strap is anything but. Likewise, hooking and snapping the Elite Strap into place is much more fiddly than it needs to be. And when I got it out of the box, they surprised me at just how fragile and fragile the attachment arms felt. With the simple, put-on-and-play nature of the headset itself, the entire process feels very much at odds, and it's easy to see why so many people end up accidentally snapping their Elite Straps.
Oculus has since acknowledged this problem to their credit and has currently paused sales of both the Elite Strap and the more costly Elite Strap and Battery Park bundle while they sort it out. We don't know when one of them is going to go back on sale yet, but when they do, I can heartily recommend it to fellow headache sufferers.
Indeed, I did so with no unintended breakages, as terrifying as it was to attach the Elite Strap to Quest 2, and once it was on, I was away. The smooth, rubbery head support sat snugly against the back of my head, while the rigid arms do not offer as much vertical change as the basic strap, and the firm, tactile halo dial (similar to the one on the Rift S) let me tighten it as much as I needed to get a good fit. Even on its tightest setting, the halo dial remained put, which is something I can't say is true of the one on the Rift S. When I had it in for testing it earlier in the year, that dial was constantly slipping and jolting out of place, but the Elite Strap of the Quest 2 has held firm throughout the time I've been using it.
And, as a living man, the effect is transformative. Whereas after about an hour (90 minutes absolute maximum), the basic strap often had me ripping off the headset, the Elite Strap let me carry on questing for as long as my weak muscles allowed. For instance, it was not through pain that I had to sit down and have a rest after my first Elite Strap session of Beat Saber. It was through actual fatigue, as for at least a couple of hours I had been merrily swinging my arms about without even the slightest hint of discomfort.
And not just because my terribly unfit limbs had survived that much exertion after months of lockdown-induced laziness. I was happy because it instantly fixed the one big problem I had with the Quest 2 and made it exponentially more pleasant to use a regular basis. I no longer looked at it with a fearful thought, "I'm going to have a terrible headache if I put this on." Instead, at the end of a long day, I actually started looking forward to using it. Before I tried the Elite Strap, for instance, I didn't consider Quest 2 to be a viable fitness device, but now I actually have some incentive to get up and shake my old bones every now and again to do some real (though light) exercise. I don't think I've ever been more overjoyed by 50 quid's worth of plastic before, and I'd always hoped it would be from the beginning that makes Quest 2 the right Rift S successor.
In my initial review of Quest 2, I said as much, but now I'm even more firmly of the opinion that the Elite Strap was just supposed to be part of the design of Quest 2 as standard. I would gladly have paid more for the headset instead of being made to feel like after the fact I'm being diddled out of another £50, and it would also negate the fiddly process of putting it on. Yes, knocking £100 / $100 off the price of the original Quest is a much sexier marketing line than simply dropping the price by £50 / $50, but given the number of other improvements the Quest 2 brings to the table over its predecessor–from its higher refresh rate, superior lenses and higher resolution display–I’d say any reduction in price as practically a bonus at this point. Heck, even if the base 64 GB Quest 2 costs as much as the first one, if it meant we got the Elite Strap from the off instead of the raff, knobby fabric one, I would still heartily recommend it as my VR headset of choice.
Alas, I doubt that in the foreseeable future we will see any change on this front, and especially not until Oculus resolves whatever manufacturing fault causes certain straps to break. Maybe with the inevitable Quest 3.
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