For the first time ever, Facebook is making an upgraded strap accessory. How does it fit? Find out in our Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap review!
The Oculus Quest 2 is more comfortable than its predecessor. It’s smaller, lighter and has a softer strap. But, of all the many improvements to be found in Facebook’s newest standalone headset, comfort feels like the smallest leap.
While the lighter design is kinder to your face, Quest 2 is still a front-heavy device that will weigh on you after a short amount of time. Its facepad digs in, and the soft strap can make it difficult to quickly find a comfortable ‘sweet spot’, especially if you’re constantly adjusting it between friends. For the first time in Facebook’s six-year history-making VR headsets, though, the company is offering its very own upgrade to the solution.
Meet the Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap.
Before we go any further, it’s important to note that talking about comfort in VR can be a pretty tricky thing. Everyone, obviously, has different head sizes and everyone finds different headset designs to work differently for them. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve only been able to test Quest 2’s Elite Strap with both myself and UploadVR Video Editor, Zeena Al-Obaidi, and we were both consistent in our thinking, but do bear in mind that might not be the case for everyone.
The Elite Strap is essentially Facebook’s answer to a Quest 2 comfort mod. By removing the headset’s foam face-lining and two side fittings, you can easily remove the existing strap and then replace it with this plastic alternative. The Elite Strap has a hard lining to better handle Quest 2’s weight, plus a dial at the back that can be turned for a tighter fit on your head. They don’t come with any headphones fitted or other extras, but Facebook has partnered with Logitech for an official headphone solution.
By itself, the Elite Strap costs $49. But Facebook is also releasing another version with a battery pack fitted for longer play sessions, and a carry case, for $129. We haven’t had a chance to test that gear out yet.
Right from the off, it makes fitting the Quest 2 to your head a much more accessible experience. Turning back the dial lengthens the strap to easily fit over any head and then it’s simply a case of twisting it back in until you find the right fit for yourself. The harder strap houses the dome of the back of your head and you can twist the two straps on the side of the Quest to get the angle just right.
In terms of sustained use, the better weight distribution means you’ll be able to play in VR for longer without feeling the strain of the Quest 2. Without the strap, I could play for maybe 15 minutes before starting to notice some fatigue on my cheeks and forehead. With the Elite Strap on, that time becomes much, much longer.
I still wouldn’t say, though, that the Elite Strap offers a more comfortable experience than headsets with a halo-ring design. Devices like the Oculus Rift S and Sony’s PSVR feature a top ring that’s designed to place much of the weight further up your head, where it rests much more comfortably. The headset’s visor then hangs in front of your face without pressing in, and a counter-weight at the back makes for even distribution. To this day, this remains the most comfortable design I’ve seen in a VR headset, though I’ll concede it would make the overall design of Quest 2 bulkier.
If you were a regular Quest 1 user, you might also be aware of the range of third-party mods, accessories and replacement straps that kit saw over its 18-month life. Facebook didn’t make this easy; you had to remove the initial straps with some force which, while ultimately harmless if done right, is a little unnerving to do. But it was worth it; I used the FrankenQuest mod, which replaced the strap with HTC’s Deluxe Audio Strap for the original Vive. It increased the kit’s comfort tenfold and added a fantastic audio solution. Or you could have simply strapped a counterweight to the back of the strap like the VR Power, which doubled as a battery pack.
Given that it’s much easier to remove the straps in Quest 2, I can’t help but think we’ll see a renewed push for third-party accessories and mods on the new headset, even with Facebook’s official alternatives. I definitely think others could push the comfort even further; I’d be likely to replace the Elite Strap with a new FrankenQuest solution should a 3D-printed design come about.
The Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap does a good job of making the headset a more comfortable and universal device. It makes it much easier to find the best fit within seconds, and makes the headset more comfortable to wear over longer stretches of time. Quest 2’s inherent design still keeps it from being the most comfortable VR headset on the market, though, and I can’t help but wonder if we’ll see better mods and third-party accessories that will improve upon the Elite Strap. But, for $49, this is a sturdy add-on that will make your time with Quest 2 that bit more palatable.
What do you make of our Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap review? Will you be picking the headset up? Let us know in the comments below!