Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 is the best value in VR, thanks to hardware that eliminates the need for a powerful PC or wires.
But it’s not quite powerful enough to run the most high-end VR experiences. A software update could slightly alleviate that problem.
The new v28 Oculus update brings a bundle of new features, but the most important is Air Link, available in the headset’s experimental mode. For those not in the know, the Quest 2 isn’t designed for really horsepower-intensive experiences like Half-Life Alyx.
The only way to play those games on a Quest 2 is to connect it to a PC using an $80 link cable accessory. With Air Link, you can stream VR experiences directly between a PC and a Quest 2 wirelessly using a WiFi connection.
Air Link isn’t a finished product yet, so it might not be a flawless experience, especially for those with a congested WiFi connection. Users will have to go to the beta section of the settings menu in the Oculus PC app, as well as the experimental section in the headset’s settings menu, to turn it on. Oculus warned that things like visual fidelity might suffer compared to a hard-wired connection, but the fact that a Quest 2 can connect to a PC wirelessly at all now could be a godsend to those with the appropriate hardware.
The v28 update also brings 120Hz support, enabled by a toggle in the experimental portion of the settings menu. This will bump up the native refresh rate of the Quest 2’s display, which sits at 90Hz by default. There aren’t any apps or games that run at 120Hz yet, but when there are, they’ll run at that rate after you turn that feature on.
Lastly, v28 enables Quest users to bring their real-life desks and compatible computer keyboards into the VR home environment. For desks, you’ll scan them with the controller like you scan your play area during device setup, so it’ll appear in VR when you need it for web browsing or other work tasks. The same goes for the Logitech K830 keyboard, which will show up virtually after you pair it with the device. That’s the only keyboard that works with this feature for now, sadly.
Even if you never plan on using the desk and keyboard integration, Air Link could be a game-changer for those who justifiably despise using a VR headset with a big, chunky cable jutting out of it. Upping the refresh rate is a smaller (but still potentially big) deal, given how important smoothness is for immersion in VR.