The latest v50 update is finally here for the Oculus Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro, bringing some very handy features to both VR headsets that should make using them less tedious.
One big update that Quest 2 owners are sure to appreciate is the ability to open 2D apps (such as the Browser) without leaving your current VR experience. This multitasking feature was already available to Meta Quest Pro owners, and makes it much easier to check a walkthrough if you’re stuck in a VR game, or fetch login details from a password manager without needing to take your headset off.
It’s not the biggest upgrade, but it should make using your headset less annoying; although considering that the Quest 2 is less powerful than the Quest Pro, you might find multitasking is a little more sluggish on the older hardware.
The other super-exciting tool packed in with v50 is Direct Touch. This much-needed hand-tracking update makes navigating menus much more intuitive than the existing point-and-pinch system currently employed by the Quest 2 and Pro.
As demonstrated by users (opens in new tab) who've tried the feature as part of the v50 beta, when Direct Touch is switched on the Quest’s menus will appear right in front of you, and just as you would on a smartphone you’ll be able to use your hands to tap on buttons and swipe through menus.
Best of all you’ll be able to type on the keyboard just like a real one – as someone who’s used the Quest’s virtual keyboard to write pieces in VR, I can see how this new system will be significantly less tedious and might make working in VR more feasible (though you might still want to pick up a VR-compatible keyboard like the Logitech MX Keys if you’re planning to type a lot).
Hand tracking is one of my favorite VR features, but it's not quite where I’ve wanted it to be in terms of usability. Direct Touch will do a lot to mitigate my biggest issues with hand tracking, and makes me much less nervous for VR headsets to go controller-free – which the rumored Apple VR headset is expected to do.
Last but not least, v50 will bring a minor improvement to the Meta Quest Pro’s controllers. The Touch Pro handsets are more accurate than Meta’s basic controllers as they’re self-tracking, though this can mean they take a second to work out where they are and start working. The latest update has reduced the amount of time it takes for this initializing step to take, so switching between hand tracking and controllers should take less time.
As with the previous Quest updates from Meta it might take a couple of days, or even weeks, for the new software to hit your system. To check if you’re on v50 (or able to update) you’ll want to head into your headset’s Settings menu, then go to System (the top-left option) and check Software update. Here you’ll see what version you’re running and if the next update is available or not.
Want to try the Oculus Quest 2 or Meta Quest Pro? Both Meta headsets have just had a massive price drop.