10 Quest VR Headset Features You Should Be Using

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Meta Quest VR headsets are brilliant standalone VR systems packed with games and accessible experiences, but these affordable VR machines can do so much more than you think. These are ten of the coolest features you should try today.

1. Mixed reality

The cameras on the exterior of the Quest headset were originally only intended for environmental tracking, but now they can also be used for mixed reality (MR) applications. Depending on the app, this means you can import real-world objects into virtual reality. The Quest itself lets you see your real-world couch in VR, and pair and track a limited number of keyboard models. Apps like PianoVision let you play a real piano in virtual reality, learning as you go.

2. The Passthrough Mode Shortcut

Quest Gateway
Meta

Unlike some VR headsets, Quest headsets don’t have a halo strap system with a flip-up mechanism. It’s good for portability but not great when you need to quickly leave VR to deal with something in the real world.

Luckily, you can quickly enter “Passthrough” mode while using your Quest by double-tapping the side of the headset. This will show you the world through the exterior cameras. It’s a little weird, but it’s the easiest way to switch between virtual reality and the real world. The double-click feature is not enabled by default, so you’ll need to enable it first.

3. Manual Tracking

Tracking Quest Hands
Meta

The touch controllers that come with the Quest are great, but you can ditch them altogether and use your bare hands to navigate the Quest UI and even play a few games. After enabling manual tracking, you’ll find that many non-gaming applications, such as web browsers or streaming video, are much more comfortable to use if you don’t have to search for a controller all the time. There are also a few brilliant games built around this feature, providing an entirely different kind of VR immersion.

4. PC VR!

Half Life Alyx Official Image

The best thing about the Quest is that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a powerful gaming PC to use it. It is a stand-alone system with its own software. However, if you have a powerful PC or are getting one later, you can connect your Quest to it for the full PC-VR experience.

The feature is known as Link, and using it is as simple as installing the Quest software on your computer, then connecting the Quest using a USB-C cable or wirelessly via Wi-Fi .

5. High framerates (for quest 2)

A fast refresh rate can make a big difference to the VR experience, but by default the Quest 2 is locked to 90Hz. That’s enough for a great sense of immersion, but the actual display panel in the headphones can go faster. You can enable 120Hz mode in the Experimental Features section of the Quest under Settings.

This will impact battery life, but there are a few Quest games that take advantage of this refresh rate. If you’re using your Quest for PC VR with a USB-C cable, battery life issues obviously don’t apply.

6. Keyboard and controller support

An Xbox controller
Microsoft

We mentioned that Quest headsets could pair with certain Bluetooth keyboard models above, but you can also pair a gamepad to your Quest, which will work with certain games and apps. For example, you can use a controller with Tetris Effect or Virtual Desktop. Just follow the steps to pair a gamepad, and you’re set.

7. Fitness Tracker

Fit XR Official Image

There are plenty of great fitness apps on Quest, and VR is a great way to stay active even when you’re not playing something specifically aimed at exercising. So it makes sense that Meta added a feature called Oculus Move to track how much you exercise in VR. Even better, if you use an iPhone or Apple Watch to track your fitness, you can sync your Quest data directly to Apple Health. Quest Move can be found in your VR App Library.

8. Voice commands

Navigating in virtual reality on a quest is intuitive enough, but why use your hands when you can just say what you want to happen? Like a smartphone, Quest has voice commands that you can enable by activating the option in the Settings menu or your Quick Settings panel. From here you can say “Hey Facebook” or double tap the Quest button on the right controller then use a command from a full list for social media, apps, take screenshots, control the device and even the FAQs.

9. Mobile Mixed Reality Capture

It’s cool to broadcast your VR point of view on the Meta app so others can see what you see, but what’s even cooler is to project yourself in VR and then capture it on video . If you have a supported iPhone model and VR game, you can stream or record videos of yourself in VR, although you’ll need the help of a friend to do the camera work !

10. Cast to TV

A man using a Quest VR headset with the visuals playing on a TV hanging on the wall.
Sydney Butler / Practical Geek

Broadcasting your quest on the Meta app is great, but you can only share your experience with a limited number of people clustered around your tiny phone screen. The good news is that you can stream your Quest 2 to any Chromecast or Chromecast-enabled TV or device.

Chromecast 3rd Gen

The Google Chromecast is a simple device that acts as a bridge between your TV and a number of devices and apps that support the Chromecast standard.

More features are coming

Meta engineers seem to constantly find new ways to use existing hardware on Quest headsets. Third-party app developers are also constantly innovating the capabilities of these devices, so we’re sure it won’t be long before even more amazing features make their debut on these affordable VR systems.