Since my partner brought home the Oculus Quest 2 last year, we’ve loved every second of it. We’ve used it for all sorts of gameplay, from shooting in Medal of Honor, to boxing in The Thrill of the Fight. Plus, it’s had its uses outside of the best Oculus Quest 2 games, such as watching dinosaurs roam in Jurassic World and for meditation on Guided Meditation VR. And while all of these applications have been amazing, we couldn’t help but notice that the design still has room for improvement.
While the Quest 2 is lighter and more portable than its predecessors, the comfort and accessibility between more than one user could definitely be improved. Waiting for the Oculus Quest 3 could take some time to see these changes, so we were relieved when we discovered that one such accessory has been designed to improve this: The Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap with Battery ($109, Amazon). Since trying it, we have found that it’s one of the best Oculus Quest 2 accessories.
So before we get into the new accessory, it’s worth flagging the problems we were having with the current design — namely the headstrap. As it is, you can adjust the strap to fit your head by moving the sliders on either side, followed by the central strap, which is held by velcro. While this isn’t too much effort to initially set up, or even adjust from time to time, it becomes much more annoying when more than one of you is using the device.
You end up fiddling with the straps for a good 30 seconds every time you use the Oculus Quest 2. And because my patience has worn so thin from doing this, I’m simply setting it too tight — so I don’t have to spend so much time adjusting it to find the perfect fit. As a result, you end up a little bit frustrated before you even switch on the Oculus, and the overall experience isn’t as comfortable as it could be.
Another problem I’ve had is the Quest 2 feels very front-heavy to me. While I know that the weight can’t really be helped, I do feel like it could be better distributed, so it doesn’t feel like I’m wearing a pair of trial frames that you get in the opticians. If I exhaust myself in gameplay while boxing, I find my head inevitably ends up looking down at every interval which can get uncomfortable.
Lastly, another reason I wear the strap a little too tight is to do with the grip, or lack thereof. Because I have long, fairly silky hair, the strap struggles to grip at times if it’s not tightly fitted. The Oculus ends up essentially falling off, so I either have to tie my hair in a low ponytail to better hold it in place, or wear the strap a little tight — which is what I’ve taken to.
You can certainly live with these complaints, but they’re not ideal. That’s why we were keen to try out the Oculus Quest Elite Strap with Battery ($109, Amazon). This is essentially a replacement for the standard headstrap, and uses a wheel at the back to quickly adjust the fit. It comes with a rubber plate so it better shapes to the back of your head. The fabric straps are replaced with plastic ones, with the exception of the top strap, which is still fabric and uses velcro to adjust. It holds a secondary battery which can double your playtime, though the extent of this depends on your gameplay.
Swapping the straps over takes minutes, if that. You simply remove the facial interface, detach the straps from the top and sides, then fit the Elite Strap with Battery in its place, connect the two via cable on the side, and you’re good to go.
On first trying it on, the Elite Strap feels much more sturdy than the regular strap. You have to fit it on a little loosely to get the rubber frame over the back of your head. Then once it’s on you can tighten it via the wheel. This felt a little unusual at first, but one I’d fitted it I realized how much easier this was than messing with the sliders. Adjusting it using the wheel is much easier and quicker — which is great if there’s more than one user. The fit can also vary widely for different head-sizes.
The Elite Strap immediately felt more secure on my head. I was happy to find that the rubber plate at the back could grip my hair without issue. Between this and the wheel, I could fit it comfortably for a change.
I also realized that the Oculus Quest's front-heavy design was no longer dragging my head down. This was thanks to the added battery weight at the back as well as the sturdy plastic straps. I was worried at first that the added weight might make the whole thing too heavy and less maneuverable in gameplay, but it actually made things better. It no longer felt like my face was being pulled down. The better fit did reveal a bigger gap to the outside world if I looked down my nose, but this was a happy compromise overall.
On top of all this, the added battery life was only a bonus. A small cable connects the Elite Strap to the Oculus Quest, which is neatly secured to the left-side strap. While I don’t tend to use up the original battery life in one go, it’s great if my partner wants to use the Oculus Quest straight after me — he no longer has to wait around for it to charge. It’s also useful that you can charge both batteries at once from a port under the wheel, so you don’t need to store extra cables.
This design is not without its drawbacks though. It’s more awkward to store because of its plastic design, although you can get dedicated cases which fit the Elite Strap with Battery, such as the Oculus Quest 2 Carrying Case ($49, Amazon). The original fabric straps can be tucked away more easily by comparison.
This added comfort and convenience also doesn’t come cheap: The Elite Strap with Battery costs $100. A less expensive option of the Elite Strap without the battery is available ($49, Amazon), but then the weight won’t be as balanced and you don’t get the added battery life, so you’re sacrificing a few benefits.
Would I recommend the Elite Strap with Battery? Definitely if there’s more than one of you using the Oculus Quest. While it’s a pricey addition, it makes adjusting the fit so much quicker and easier. Plus, you can achieve a more comfortable fit as you can adjust it while wearing it. If you’re an avid Oculus-user, then I’d say this accessory is still worth the splurge; the better weight distribution and secure design provide for a more enjoyable gameplay.
If you’re not bothered by the added battery life, and the steep price tag puts you off, then consider the standard Elite Strap as an alternative.