There are quite a few VR headsets out there that are worth considering, and the Oculus Quest 2 and Oculus Rift S are two of the best. With that said, there are plenty of differences between the two devices, from resolution to price. Additionally, the Rift S is the predecessor to Oculus Quest 2 and has since been discontinued, so you might have a bit of trouble locating one. Nevertheless, here’s a more in-depth review if you’re looking to compare them.
Oculus Quest 2 vs Oculus Rift S: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Oculus Quest 2||Oculus Rift S|
|What It Is:||Standalone VR Headset||PCVR headset|
|Primary Use:||VR Games, Rooms, Work, and Experiences||VR Games, Rooms, Work, and Experiences|
|Conceived:||October 13, 2020||March 20, 2019|
|Initial Release:||October 13, 2020||May 21, 2019|
|Technologies Influenced:||Gaming, Apple VR, Spectacles, modeling applications, remote work, spatial computing||Gaming, Apple VR, Spectacles, modeling applications, remote work, spatial computing|
Oculus Quest 2 vs Oculus Rift S: What’s the Difference?
Wired vs Wireless
The most obvious difference between the two comes down to how the devices are used. The Meta Quest 2 is used either standalone or tethered to a PC with a USB-C cable or wirelessly. The Oculus Rift S only has the option to be connected by DisplayPort and USB 3.
Standalone vs Tethered
While it may seem like an iteration of the previous point, the Quest 2 can operate standalone while the Rift S is essentially a VR monitor. That means the Quest 2 can run some of the best games available for VR with the highest refresh rate without the need for a desktop tower or a bulky laptop.
IPD and Refresh Rate
As expected with upgraded devices, the Quest 2 has better optics. It’s not just a higher resolution. The IPD can be physically adjusted by pushing the optics lens closer together or further apart in one of three different settings. This helps to remove blurriness caused by improper focus. The Quest 2 can also push out a much higher refresh rate of 120 Hz over the Rift S’s 80 Hz refresh rate. These two seemingly small differences make the Quest 2 optics a much better experience overall.
Keeping in line with the comfort provided by improved optics, the Quest 2 has a large market of third-party accessories. While it may seem like a downgrade to purchase head straps and other accessories after the initial purchase, the size of the accessories market for the Quest 2 is growing every day. Whether you prefer a straight connection like the Meta Quest Elite Strap or the improved comfort of “halo” head straps, the options are available.
The Rift S comes as is. It does use a rather comfortable halo head strap, but it can’t be replaced.
Useability and Function
The wireless and standalone nature of the Quest 2 lends it to many more functions than just a VR monitor for desktop applications. It promotes freedom with movement and supports entire room tracking that has been used to map out VR users’ entire homes. This allows the Quest 2 to act as a powerful AR headset as well.
Similarities and Differences In a Nutshell
- Both use inside-out tracking
- Both use Oculus Touch controllers
- Both have access to the Oculus Store
- Both can be tethered to a PC
- They are only three grams apart in weight
- Quest 2 can be used standalone
- Quest 2 has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Quest 2 supports hand tracking
- Quest 2 has higher resolution overall and per eye
- Quest 2 has a 120 Hz refresh rate vs the Rift S’s 80 Hz
- Rift S is discontinued
Meta Quest 2 is the primary VR headset offered by Meta/Facebook for VR/AR experiences that can range from gaming to remote work. It features inside-out tracking and standalone processing. That means it does not require any external tracking devices and it can be used without the need of a powerful VR-ready PC or laptop.
The Meta Quest 2 was released under the Oculus brand as the Oculus Quest 2 on October 13, 2020. In November 2021, Facebook went through with the final changes to the Meta brand name. The VR headset comes in two different models (128 GB storage model and 256 GB storage model).
- Buy Meta Quest 2. Get Beat Saber. For a limited time, get the hit VR rhythm game included when you buy Meta Quest 2.* Keep your experience smooth and seamless, even as high speed action unfolds around you with a super-fast processor and high-resolution display.
- Experience total immersion with 3D positional audio, hand tracking and haptic feedback, working together to make virtual worlds feel real.
- Explore an expanding universe of over 350 titles across gaming, fitness, social/multiplayer and entertainment, including exclusive blockbuster releases and totally unique VR experiences.
- Travel universes in blockbuster fantasies, scare yourself witless in horror adventures or collaborate with colleagues in innovative workspaces.
- Come together in incredible social spaces and multiplayer arenas as you take in live events with friends and family, find your new workout crew or join quests with fellow adventurers.
Meta Quest 2 Specs
- Operating System: Quest System Software based on Android 10 source code
- SoC (System on a Chip): Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2
- Memory: 6 GB
- Storage: 64 GB (discontinued in July 2021), 128 GB, 256 GB
- Display: 1,832 x 1,920 per eye @ 120 Hz, LCD
- Display: 1,832 x 1,920 per eye @ 120 Hz, LCD
- Sound: Two built-in speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Input: 6DoF (6 Degrees of Freedom) inside-out tracking, hand tracking, Oculus Touch controllers, Bluetooth keyboards and mouse, microphone
- Camera: Four infrared cameras
- Connectivity: USB-C, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
- Battery Life: Two to three hours
- Online Services: Oculus Store, Steam VR(through Oculus Link)
- Weight: 503g (17.7 oz)
- Price: $299, $399
The Oculus Rift S is a peripheral VR headset that must be tethered to a VR-ready computer to operate. It was released in May 2019 and features the inside-out tracking that was developed for the Oculus Quest lineup. It was released as a successor to the Oculus Rift CV1 model with a higher-resolution display, inside-out tracking, and a “halo” head strap for increased comfort.
While the Oculus Rift S is an improvement over its predecessor, it does suffer from some shortcomings such as a lower 80 Hz refresh rate in comparison to the CV1’s 90 Hz.
- Top VR gaming library: Blast, slash and soar your way through the top library in VR gaming. Oculus Rift S lets you play hundreds of games and exclusives already available in the Oculus store, with so much more to come.
- Improved Optics: Stare down the competition with next-generation lenses and a sharper display. Improved optics deliver bright, vivid colors and reduced “screen-door” effect.
- Ergonomic Design: Keep your head in the game thanks to a halo headband redesigned with speed in mind. Rift S stays securely and comfortably in place with a quick twist of the fit wheel, so it can take-or double take-your fastest reactions.
- Oculus Touch Controllers: Arm yourself with our updated Oculus Touch controllers. Your slashes, throws and grabs appear in VR with intuitive, realistic precision, transporting your hands and gestures right into the game.
- Oculus Insight Tracking: Take a step forward with Oculus Insight. It translates your movements into VR no matter which way you're facing and provides room-scale tracking without external sensors.
Oculus Rift S Specs
- Display: 2,560 x 1,440 (1,280 x 1,440 per eyes) @ 80 Hz, Fast-Switch LCD
- Sound: Integrated speakers
- Input: 6DoF (6 Degrees of Freedom) inside-out tracking
- Camera: Five cameras
- Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0
- Controllers: 2nd Generation Oculus Touch
- Weight: 500g (1.1 lb)
- Online Services: Oculus Store, Steam VR
- Price: $399 (Discontinued)
Are They the Same Thing?
Both of these products are VR headsets. Both can be used tethered to a VR-ready computer. They even have a lot of physical similarities. However, they are not the same thing. The Oculus Rift S is a VR headset meant to be used as a peripheral for a VR-ready PC or laptop. It has no internal battery or processing unit and cannot operate without being tethered to another device.
The Meta Quest 2, on the other hand, is meant to work as a standalone VR headset meaning that it can play the best games available for VR right on the headset itself. The physical setup is also quite a bit different, but it’s mostly due to improvements and pathways to cut the price. The Meta Quest 2 is easily the most affordable VR headset on the market.
While the Meta Quest 2 is primarily a standalone device, it can also be used tethered to a VR-ready computer so players can not only play the best games for VR but at the highest resolution and graphic quality available.
Oculus Quest 2 vs Oculus Rift S: Pros and Cons!
|Works standalone or tethered to a PC||Short battery life|
|High-resolution display||Requires a Facebook/Meta account|
|Inside-out tracking eliminates the need for external tracking devices or sensors|
|Modular design that supports customization with third-party accessories|
|Incredible developer support|
|Doesn’t need to be charged||Mediocre speakers|
|Inside-out tracking gives it a leg up over other tethered VR headsets||No hand tracking|
|“Halo” head strap designed for comfort||Requires connection to PC|
|No physical IPD adjustment|
|Non-modular design, meaning no support for customization or accessories|
|Discontinued in favor of the Meta Quest 2|
Oculus Quest 2 vs Oculus Rift S: Five Must-Know Facts
- The Oculus Rift S was discontinued in June 2021.
- Oculus Quest 2 comes in two models (128 GB storage or 256 GB storage).
- Oculus Quest 2 can be used with a VR-ready PC for Steam VR.
- Both headsets use 6DoF tracking, but only the Quest 2 has hand tracking.
- Oculus Quest 2 has support for a plethora of third-party accessories.
Which is better?
The Meta Quest 2 is objectively better than the Oculus Rift S which was made abundantly apparent when the Rift S was discontinued as the Quest 2 carried on improving. From technical specs like tracking quality and resolution to device features and price, the Quest 2 has a massive lead in quality in comparison to the Oculus Rift S.
If you’re in the market for a VR headset and are considering purchasing a used Oculus Rift S, I would urge you to reconsider. While the Rift S can be obtained at a cheaper price, the Quest 2 is a better value overall. In the next section of this article, I’ll break down the technical specifications and weigh the pros and cons between the two devices to outline why I recommend the Oculus/Meta Quest 2 over the Oculus Rift S.