Since its launch in 2019 Oculus Quest has represented a major shift in Facebook’s VR strategy by moving away from the PC. Quest 2, which launched in October 2020, has become the most popular VR headset on the market. Sensing traction, the company has been aggressively updating the headsets with new features, making them better they were at their launch. Here’s a look at the biggest updates so far.

Updated – January 21, 2022

Note: Some of these features are still ‘experimental’ and may not be available to all users. Make sure your headset is up to date to access the latest features available to you.

Hand-tracking

Hand-tracking first came to the original Quest in late 2019, offering users and developers a controllerless option for input on the headset. While there’s a handful of hand-tracking games available on the headset, the entire Quest menu, including the Oculus browser, can be controlled completely by your hands. This is really handy when you want to do something in the headset that doesn’t really need the precision of controllers (like watching videos).

Oculus Link & Air Link

Image courtesy Oculus

While Quest 2 became the most popular VR headset in use on Steam just a few months after its launch, the original Quest couldn’t even connect to a PC when it first hit the market!

Today, both Quest and Quest 2 can connect to a PC to play PC VR games either with a cable (Oculus Link) or wirelessly (Air Link). Air Link is technically still in beta and is cumbersome to enable, so we’ve got a full guide here.

Up to 120Hz Refresh Rate on Quest 2

Like the original Quest, Quest 2 launched with a default refresh rate of 72Hz. However, the headset has been steadily updated to support faster refresh rates—first 90Hz and today up to 120Hz. A faster refresh rate means a smoother image which reduces latency and can improve comfort and immersion. It’s up to developers to choose which framerate their application uses, and most still use 72Hz, but having the range of options makes Quest 2 a more flexible headset.

The original Quest is still stuck at its initial maximum of 72Hz, purportedly because it was only certified for that rate by regulatory agencies; increasing the refresh rate would have required recertification.

Fitness Tracking

Image courtesy Facebook

The v23 update brought ‘Oculus Move’ to Quest and Quest 2. The feature works a bit like a FitBit or Apple Watch by using your movements to estimate your calorie burn.

Beyond just a gaming device, Facebook has been pushing the fitness angle on Quest and Quest 2, and the feature naturally pairs well with movement-focused applications like Beat SaberOhShape, and Supernatural.

Bluetooth Mouse & Keyboard Support

If you want to achieve any sort of productivity in a VR headset, a keyboard and mouse is a must. Luckily Quest and Quest 2 now have the ability to connect to a bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

To pair a bluetooth device to Quest go to Settings > Experimental, and then find the Bluetooth Pair button which will open a dialogue to display nearby bluetooth devices to connect to.

Of course you can’t use the keyboard or mouse in typical VR games, but they’ll definitely help you navigate the Oculus Browser much more quickly, or you can even use an app like Virtual Desktop to access your desktop computer (PC or Mac) remotely, and use the paired mouse and keyboard for real productivity work.

Desk, Couch, & Keyboard Tracking

Since the start, Quest’s Guardian feature allowed players to outline their playspace to track the edges of where they can safely enjoy their VR games. But over time, Oculus has added the ability to track more than just the playspace.

Today you can track the position of a desk, couch, and even a keyboard. But why would you want to?

While most VR experiences are designed for a large and open playspace, for some you might prefer to sit on your couch or pull up to your desk.

For example, if you just want to kick back and watch some YouTube in VR, you’ll probably want to be seated. If you set up your couch to be tracked in your headset, you can actually see a representation of the couch in (or even outside of) your usual playspace. If you walk over to the virtual couch and sit down, the Guardian system will understand what you’re doing instead of complaining that you’re outside of the boundary. Better yet, it will ask if you want to switch to couch mode, and automatically move the Oculus menu in front of you for easy viewing.

Desk tracking works similarly. You can tell the system when your desk is, and when you walk over to the desk it will ask you if you’d like to switch to desk mode, which will automatically move the Oculus menu over to the desk. This is especially handy in combination with keyboard tracking.

Keyboard tracking detects a keyboard in front of you and makes it appear inside of your virtual space, along with a visual representation of your hands (to make it easier to type). Unfortunately keyboard tracking only currently works with a specific keyboard (the Logitech K830 [Amazon]), though Oculus says its working to add tracking for more keyboards in the future.

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  • BCC Dude

    I wonder if handtracking can ever be treated as a separate input. Right now they replace each other, but some tasks just feel more immersive and satisfying through handtracking, while controllers are suited for more complex games.

  • Elbek Daniyarov

    audio thru USB C or better bluetooth headset audio capability (which doesn’t lag) for those multiple users who have broken 3.5mm jacks (and getting mono audio) after yanking headphone cords

  • Yeah, voice commands–that I can’t even get in my country (UK).

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    • Needle0

      Let alone non-English-speaking regions.

  • xyzs

    Now my Christmas list for Quest2 > Quest 3 new features:

    Basically the Haldome v3 +
    -OLED RGB
    -Eye tracking
    -Larger FOV

    -A standard AND a premium Quest, so that low budget AND enthusiasts can be happy together.

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  • JakeDunnegan

    Great article, though I find the opening line a bit…disconcerting. “Since its launch in 2019 Oculus Quest has represented a major shift in Facebook’s VR strategy by moving away from the PC.”

    Thing is, mentioned almost immediately following that sentence, and what is probably no doubt one of the driving factors of the Quest 2 growth – is exactly that capability to be used on Steam.

    By connecting with the cable or Airlink, Quest 2 has the largest library available in VR today. That has to be one of the biggest factors to Quest 2’s success, particularly in lieu of the fact of the Facebook account requirement no doubt holds back their even more thorough adoption by the VR buying public.

    So, I don’t know that Facebook is necessarily “moving away from the PC”. If anything, with the adoption of Airlink, they’ve proven that the PC is still the best environment for VR, and now that it can be done wirelessly, they’ve stumbled across a legit winner.

    • Blaexe

      Only a pretty small minority of Quest users use it to play PCVR. It’s not really an important part to drive sales – it being standalone is though. That’s the main reason.

      • JakeDunnegan

        Not sure how you gather that. I haven’t seen any articles or data to back your opinion.

        On the other hand, on this very site, they massage the numbers from Steam’s own monthly reports, and 32.5% of the almost 3M VR users are on the Quest2 (just under 62% use one of the Oculus products).

        That’s a million Quest 2 users using Steam in July 2021.. What good is that, if they’re not using it with their PC? As of Feb 2021, it was estimated that a total of about ~2-3M Quest 2 units have been sold.

        If we assume they’re up to 3M now, then that’s at least a third of Quest 2 users are using it for PC – that we KNOW of. There are still games units that are likely not account for, AND that doesn’t even count units that use the cable and only connect to the Oculus store – and face it, the Oculus store and the PC have a LOT more games than just the Quest 2 by itself.

        Additionally, there are actually more Quest 2 users on Steam than there are all the other Oculus headsets combined! I imagine many of those Quest 2 users are like me – they moved from the Rift and Rift 2, over to the Quest 2, particularly since all the other 3 sets (Quest, Rift S and Rift) all have seen declines in use on Steam since the Quest 2 came out.

        For reference:

        https://www.roadtovr.com/steam-survey-vr-headsets-on-steam-data-july-2021/

        If you have a Quest 2 and you aren’t using it to connect with your PC, you are missing out on a STUPID amount of games available, and nearly all of the AAA games that are available for the VR, with a few exceptions.

        • Blaexe

          We know that around 4m Quest 2 have been sold in the US & Canada only. We can assume (based on facebooks revenue distribution) that at least 6m Quest 2 have been sold worldwide – the estimations go up to about 8m.

          That makes less than 20% of Quest 2 owners using it for PCVR.

          If you have a Quest 2 and you aren’t using it to connect with your PC

          Most Quest 2 owners don’t even have a PC. People inside the PCVR bubble tend to forget how small the PC crowd is compared to the non-PC crowd.

          • JakeDunnegan

            Links? We don’t know any of that stuff.

            The Quest 2 library on its own makes it little more than a gimmick. You’re stuck with a few good games, like Beat Saber, Star Wars at Galaxies Edge, and a couple others.

            Even most of Oculus’ store (some of them published by Oculus) AAA games can’t make it to the Quest 2, like Asgard’s Wrath. Boneworks, Blade & Sorcery, Lone Echo, Stormland, Arizona Sunshine – and on and on. You’re S.O.L.

            Additionally, even on Steam, the 1M connected users doesn’t take into account using Virtual Desktop, and we’re not even 100% sure if it accounts for the new Airlink functionality. Or people that just aren’t using it all that much – which is also common with VR.

            Why would Facebook have pushed out the Airlink (after discovering how much people were using Virtual Desktop)? For free, no less – if they were “moving away from PC” and/or if only a tiny fraction even used it?

          • Blaexe

            https://uploadvr.com/oculus-quest-2-facial-interfaces-four-million/

            https://www.reddit.com/r/OculusQuest/comments/ot4eza/guy_godin_developer_of_virtual_desktop_given_that/

            https://www.reddit.com/r/OculusQuest/comments/o9obkj/evercore_analyst_estimates_8_million_oculus_quest/

            https://s21.q4cdn.com/399680738/files/doc_financials/2021/q2/Q2-2021_Earnings-Presentation.pdf

            And yes, the Steam survey does count Virtual Desktop and AirLink.

            15% of Quest 2 users with Link are significantly enough for Facebook to care, but it’s not the big argument you want it to be.

            Sooner or later you will have to accept that the VR world doesn’t revolve around PCVR anymore.

          • JakeDunnegan

            Didn’t see your response earlier. And thanks for the links.

            I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree, mostly on that last word of your post. ;) I think the dream is to have a completely stand-alone headset – or heck, pair of glasses, or even smaller. The smaller the better, for sure. But, we aren’t there yet, and with the worldwide chip shortage, it’s not going to happen anytime within the next two years, if not more like 4-5.

            In the meantime, I think quite accidentally, Facebook/Oculus has stumbled across a good method for “having your cake and eating it too” – which is to stream games to the headset. (Obviously borrowing from Virtual Desktop’s idea…)

            Plus, as more people get used to the tech (airlink has only been available in beta format since April) and realize they can access thousands of games by way of Steam, as opposed to being limited to the few hundred on the Oculus store, even more people will adopt it.

            At least, that’s my prediction, and so far, the numbers prove it. (Quest 2 & overall Oculus steam numbers are increasing and all other numbers on for Oculus sets on Steam are declining).

          • Cless

            You sound exactly like the guys in the 2000s saying that the PC was going to die because consoles where popular now…

          • ViRGiN

            And you sound like pcvr will never die as long as there is still that one last person logged into steamvr.

            You know what never died? Original Gameboy. Original commodore. Original atari. People still play on those, and there are people developing for it actively. Yet you wouldn’t ever call them alive.

          • Cless

            So… what about the PC? Did it die? Because people where saying the same stuff about it. That is the thing you don’t get. PC only gets better and more powerful, and until there isn’t mobile hardware than can meet or raise above it, which, being serious, will not happen in a long time if ever, what you say… just won’t happen :)

          • ViRGiN

            I don’t care what they said about pc. The subject isn’t pc itself, but pcvr.

          • Cless

            But PC was my example, so its relevant. The same thing they said that would happen to PC gaming, is what will happen to PCVR, its here to stay! And it will only keep on getting better with each passing year!

          • ViRGiN

            I never said that. People said tablets will replace pcs, and for many it did. I never agreed with that.
            Pcvr was supposed to be the high end vr experience, but it’s the furthest thing from that. It did not get better each year already. The adoption is miniscule, and content is almost non-existent, and the top 10 pupular titles looks nothing that anyone would say it runs on going end pc. Roblox has better looking mods than nearly entire steamvr library.

            Let’s replace “dead” with “irrelevant”. Pcvr is irrelevant and not worth investing into. You will always have people using it for one reason or another, just like PlayStation 3 is still hot in Brazil. If anything, it’s the Microsoft acquisition of Activision might make pcvr relevant for the first time, if they decide to commit that game portfolio for vr. Sure, you have people buying vrchat just to walk around as anime girl, but think of what a real call of duty with modern title graphics would do to pcvr. That would single handely “undead” it.

          • Cless

            I never said that.

            Ah! My bad, my reference is exclusively to Blaexe’s comment, not necessarily yours.
            PCVR is not supposed to be the high end VR experience, its just the high end VR hardware. Experiences are very subjective, hardware isn’t.

            Oh! Yeah, VR in general I would say is irrelevant. The only one that escapes that definition I would say is, specifically PSVR and the Quest 2. Looking at midterm, probably the PSVR environment is the only one to stay relevant through numbers though, through PSVR2, and only if they price it properly.
            I won’t comment about Facebook, since I don’t know much about the “Quest 3” or whatever they are really working on next yet!

            And… for now I wouldn’t say MS seems very interested in VR, if anything at all…

            And well, the PCVR thing isn’t so easy. This projects are so goddamn expensive, and made by companies that focus solely on the money (they’re business after all), that won’t risk it.
            What I think we will start seeing is “VR modes” come out for console, and if those games are multiplatform, for those to translate to PCVR.

          • kool

            Dude its something like 200 mil pc gamers, don’t forget some countries cant play any other way.

      • TheWarrior19xx

        No they’re not minority, a lot of people buying it because of the ability to connect it to pc

        I have a quest 2 and bought it mainly because of Oculus link and the airlink to use it with PCVR games and also development on unity and unreal engine 4

        If it doesn’t connect to pc I wouldn’t even think about it in the first place

        • Blaexe

          Going by the best guess based on the numbers we have, around 15% to 20% of Quest owners use it for PCVR. A small minority, as I said.

        • JakeDunnegan

          That’s my reason as well. As purely stand-alone, to me, it’s worthless in its current state. The Rift S is far superior for my uses, but due to Airlink, I actually went out and bought TWO Quest 2s. One for myself and one for my kids to use.

          Oh yeah, that $300 price tag is pretty sweet too, particularly since it’s able to co-opt the horsepower from the PC.

          • Cless

            As a developer is depressing and heavily restricting. I don’t know one dev that is happy to work with the restrictions of a mobile chip.

          • ViRGiN

            I don’t know a single developer making a proper use of a medium end pc hardware for vr.

          • Cless

            Most if not all big studios internally are testing VR in all of its configurations, and they have been for years, testing the waters. Most until quite recently have come to the conclusion that the medium end PC isn’t powerful enough, that has been changing the last year or two. If they think that of the average PC… IMAGINE what we think about mobile powered devices lol

            In any case, the fact that you don’t know any developers doesn’t mean anything to me really… Unless you have some first hand people you’ve talked that are at the moment hands on it.

            Personally, all the devs I’ve met and talked about, from AAA companies or from AA/Indie, have been saying the same though.

          • ViRGiN

            If medium end isn’t good enough (what even constituties midend today?) They better have a wonderful product, cause as it stands today, even with rtx3070 you aren’t anywhere close to anything that midend pcs have done in 2012s. I played battlefield 3 on 680 in 120hz. The faster pcs become today, the less optimization is done by those who are still developing for pcvr. This is only going backwards.

          • Cless

            Well, the market follows pretty closely with what the steam statistics report. A GPU with an rtx 2060 or equivalent performance is what most developers point towards nowadays. Keep in mind that target goes up slightly each passing day though.
            You can also keep in mind that current gen consoles will be the ones heavily dictating what AAA studios aim for performance wise. Sony’s new console and MS are/will be at around 2070-3060 performance level.

            I played battlefield 3 on 680 in 120hz.

            And well, performance since battlefield 3 has been about the same, the problem you are most likely noticing is simply the diminishing returns we get on graphics.
            And increase of 50% in GPU power from the PS1 era would have been pretty noticeable, while now… you just get rounder models, a slight increase in pixels density which half won’t barely be noticeable and slightly better shaders and draw distance…

            Adding to that is just money. Good performance costs money, and quite a lot of it. You need programmers improving and cleaning their code, artists doing waaaay more assets and optimizing what its already in… and this is not double, but three times more important in VR. There just hasn’t been many games that had that kind of budget yet. Arguably, I would say HF:Alyx is the one that gets the closest, and it was on the lower end of AAA budgets last time I heard of it, so there is that.

        • ViRGiN

          One day I hope to be disconnected from reality as you are, but not just yet.

    • Göran Carl Heintz

      Don’t think this is accurate regarding steam vr. Should be a quite small percentage.

    • ViRGiN

      Nobody cares about shovelware library. Few gems doesn’t make it a legitimate platform – 99% is just indie crap that nobody wants to play, and ALL stats prove this. Most people are focused for YEARS among the very same MOBILE games running on PC. Fuck PCVR

    • Ad

      It clearly helped by killing off PCVR hardware and consuming the Alyx wave

  • ViRGiN

    That can’t be! Vive/Index owners already called Quest as an abandoned product, while they have never ever received any substantial update.
    PCVR is D E A D

  • Andrew Jakobs

    I just hope they will finally release the cambria version. Quest 2 is a great product, but it’s time for a newer version.

  • Needle0

    “Native Interface for Oculus Link & Air Link”
    I’m not sure if this is even coming anymore. It was mentioned in passing several years ago, and nothing has come of it (not even a status update) ever since. Come to think of it, it makes sense as the experience isn’t exactly unusable as-is, and there are much bigger fish to go chasing after in terms of features to add.

  • Ad

    Is that selective passthrough of the hands?