If you’re looking at getting a VR headset this Black Friday, there’s no question that you should be considering an Oculus Quest 2, one of the best VR headsets of 2020. Facebook’s latest iteration on the wireless headset brings with it some big improvements, including a higher refresh rate, high resolution, and, most importantly, a lower starting price.
That’s a big deal when you consider how malleable the Quest 2 really is, especially if you have a powerful PC to supplement its on-the-go library of games with more graphically-demanding ones. Since the first Quest, you’ve been able to hook up the headset to a PC and play games designed for the (now discontinued) Oculus Rift, as well as any SteamVR titles. Oculus has even made it easier by relaxing the requirements of the cable you use, so that even the charging cable that comes in the box can be used.
But if you’ve been enjoying the freedom of true wireless VR that the Quest offers, it’s difficult to go back to being tethered. With the right setup and a little patience, however, you can replicate this with PC-based titles, too, using an app called Virtual Desktop.
Virtual Desktop allows you to stream the contents of your desktop to the Oculus Quest using your Wi-Fi network, much like how remote play works on the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. The app is optimized with VR in mind, meaning with the right setup you can achieve the low latency required to not make you immediately motion sick when you start moving around.
The only downside is the initial setup, which can be a bit cumbersome. It involved learning how to sideload apps onto the Oculus Quest, which requires you to switch the headset into developer mode and do some fiddling on PC. It’s nothing too complicated though, and UploadVR has an extensive guide to help you through the entire process.
Virtual Desktop will cost $20 too, and you’ll need to make sure you can hook up your PC directly to your router. Your router is also an important part of the entire chain, and for the best results it will need to support a 5GHz band to ensure the strongest connection to the headset. If you can keep this frequency exclusively open for the Quest, too, that will help your experience.
I used Virtual Desktop and my original Oculus Quest to play through the entirety of Half-Life: Alyx earlier this year, after spending hours trying to get Oculus Link to reliably work without success. After the initial hurdle of setting up, getting back into games was a breeze, and the overall experience was incredibly strong. Not only were visuals crisp, but the latency was not noticeable, even when I was getting involved in frantic firefights or having to yank a head crab from my face. Best of all: no wires to trip over ever.
It’s not a solution that will work for everyone, and Oculus Link has certainly become better since the beginning of the year. But for $20 and a little bit of your time, it’s worth a shot for a potentially transformative way to play PC VR games.
We Test Half-Life Alyx On Every Major VR Headset
Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
Sorry, but you can’t access this content!