For a “wearable” piece of technology, the Meta Quest 2 is pretty hard to wear out of the box. Ads for the virtual reality device will have you believe it’s as easy to throw on as a hat or sunglasses, but that wasn’t my reality. After a blissful 72-hour honeymoon period, I realized that, as much as I loved playing in it, I couldn’t use the Quest 2 every day without a few adjustments.
The headset was huge on my face and it was heavy, dragging on the skin under my eyes and constantly sliding down my forehead and nose. When I tightened the strap to keep it in place, the squeezing gave me a headache. I could only stand to wear the headset for about 15 minutes at a time, after which I’d emerge red-faced and sweaty, with an outline of the device imprinted on my forehead like a cookie cutter on unbaked dough.
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This discomfort is practically by design. To make the Quest 2 available for just a few hundred dollars, Meta cut corners by downgrading to cheaper styles and materials for its accessories. Even with Meta’s recent price hike to $399, the Quest 2 remains the most affordable standalone virtual reality device on the market.
But to play every day, a few upgrades were necessary. The accessories listed below have elevated my time in my Quest 2 from feeling like a kludgy experiment to a thrilling, otherworldly experience. They add comfort, improve fit, and compared to the default accessories of the Quest 2, can serve as ad hoc accessibility solutions for people with disabilities.
In total, these three accessories set me back about $130 after shipping and taxes, but they also made sure I got my money’s worth out of the Quest 2. Here are the add-ons that took me from struggling through an uncomfortable 15 minutes in the headset to breezing through an easy hour.
Get a grip
Adding controller grips was one of the cheapest, most significant upgrades to my experience. The Quest 2’s hard plastic controllers are short and slippery, even in my petite-ish hands. I’d secure their (fairly thin) safety straps around my wrists, but still found myself ending a 30-minute Beat Saber session with achy thumbs or forearms, or waking up sore the next day. My muscles were working overtime to hold onto the smooth plastic as I flung my arms around. That struggle affected my gameplay, too; I lacked the speed and accuracy needed to hit beats on advanced Beat Saber maps, or the support to comfortably grab onto items in other games.
The Controller Grips(opens in a new tab) ($29.99) from VR Cover eliminated all of those issues. I no longer have aches or pains after playing. I feel more immersed in my gameplay and my aim is way more accurate, which has helped me breeze through higher levels of difficulty in Beat Saber.
The grips slip onto your controller like a sheath, making them feel slightly fuller in your hands while adding a textural grip along your palm. The real game changer for me is the adjustable strap that runs along the back of your hand and creates a “locked-in” fit, making it possible to completely release your grip on the controller and still have it sitting comfortably against your palm. This makes the fit feel more like the controllers for the pricey Valve Index.
Upgrade your head strap
The Quest 2’s dinky, default head strap was practically designed to fail. It’s not properly weighted to suitably support the headset and feels like squeezing a rubber band over your head. And even when you think you’ve got the fit just right, it’ll slide all over the place the minute you start moving your head.
I tried so hard to make it work, and I was willing to look dumb while doing it. I put my hair in a high ponytail just above the strap to stop it from scooching up. I tightened the straps to the point my face hurt a little. I tried placing a winter sock between my forehead and the device for comfort, fit, and to wick off all the sweat I was working up. No workaround made wearing the headset bearable.
That’s why there’s an entire selection of replacement straps available for the Quest 2 online. I stuck with a Meta-branded solution and bought the Elite Strap ($59.99), which rests along the back, bottom curve of your head to create a counterweight that helps with comfort and stability. It slips right on and can be tightened with several clicks of an adjustment wheel. While the Quest 2’s default headstrap has to be carefully adjusted by pulling sliders at the back with both hands, the Elite’s adjustment wheel only requires one, which means you can hold the front of the headset with one hand and ensure the best fit as you tighten with the other.
To further upgrade my comfort, l purchased VR Cover’s Elite Strap Foam Pad(opens in a new tab) ($19) for extra padding. Meta also sells an Elite Strap with a battery(opens in a new tab) in the back for about $120, which would probably deliver an even more comfortable counterbalance to the front-heavy headset, given the battery’s added heft.
Ditch that Meta foam
The default facial interface on the Quest 2 is a hard plastic base covered in scratchy foam. The foam can’t be removed, so it drinks up all the sweat and bacteria on your face, and is kind of a hygienic nightmare.
The foam has caused allergic reactions for some users and, as a fix, Meta now includes a removable silicone cover for the foam with purchase. But the rubber repels sweat, which means that even a small amount of perspiration will turn your face into a mini slip-and-slide.
I adore the Facial Interface & Foam Replacement Set(opens in a new tab) ($29.00 – $39.00) from VR Cover, which includes a hard plastic base with removable and adjustable padding that is not absorbent (or as sweaty as silicone) and can be wiped down in between uses. The padding is so soft and plush, and helped significantly with fit. Plus, the plastic base comes in a handful of fun colors like blue(opens in a new tab) and pink(opens in a new tab), and the set includes a lens cover so you don’t accidentally smudge or ding your lenses when they’re not in use.
People with smaller-sized faces can experience light leaks when using the Quest 2’s default facial interface, which gaps significantly around the bridge of the nose. Most of VR Cover’s replacement sets come with a removable rubber nose cover that blocks out those leaks. That detail has made my gameplay more immersive and, though light still leaks in, I notice it much less once I start playing.
Adjust the lenses
This is probably a no-brainer, but you should definitely adjust the Quest 2’s lenses for optimal comfort. After adding the accessories above, adjusting the “Inter Pupillary Distance” (or IPD) was the final step in making my Quest 2 feel like a custom fit.
Messing around with my IPD immediately improved clarity, but it did take me a few tries to figure out which setting was right for me. You can switch between the headset’s three IPD options — 58mm, 63mm, and 68mm — by gently pushing your lenses towards or away from each other. Between your lenses, at the bottom of the interface, you’ll see the IPD number change with each adjustment.
Future iterations of virtual reality headsets will likely make these kind of adjustments for you. You can take a look at what Meta has in the VR pipeline for the next decade at this link and, if you’re ready to get your headset on, maybe go on a spacewalk by clicking here.
Elizabeth de Luna