The latest v50 update is finally available for the Oculus Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro, bringing some very useful features to both VR headsets that should make using them less of a pain.
One big update that Quest 2 owners will definitely appreciate is the ability to open 2D apps (like the browser) without leaving your current VR environment. This multi-tasking feature was already available to Meta Quest Pro owners and makes it much easier to check the manual if you get stuck in a VR game or retrieve your password manager login information without having to take your headset off.
It’s not the biggest improvement, but it should make using the headset less annoying; although given that the Quest 2 is less powerful than the Quest Pro, you may find that multitasking is a bit slower on older hardware.
The other super exciting tool included with the v50 is Direct Touch. This much-needed update to hand tracking makes menu navigation much more intuitive than the existing point-and-pin system currently used in the Quest 2 and Pro.
How demonstrated by users (opens in a new tab) who tried this feature as part of the v50 beta, once Direct Touch is enabled, the Quest’s menus will appear right in front of you, and just like on a smartphone, you’ll be able to use your hands to touch the buttons and slide your finger across the menus.
And most importantly, you’ll be able to type on a keyboard just like a real one – as someone who has used Quest’s virtual keyboard to write songs in VR, I can see how this new system will be much less cumbersome and could make working in VR more doable ( although you may still want to opt for a VR compatible keyboard like the Logitech MX Keys if you plan on typing a lot).
Hand tracking is one of my favorite VR features, but in terms of usability, it’s not where I wanted it to be. Direct Touch will do a lot to alleviate my biggest hand tracking issues and much less of annoyance about VR headsets being controller free – which is what the Apple VR headset is supposed to do.
Finally, v50 will bring a slight improvement to the Meta Quest Pro controllers. The Touch Pro earphones are more accurate than the basic Meta controllers because they track themselves, though that may mean they take a second to figure out where they are and get to work. The latest update has reduced the time it takes for this initialization step, so switching between hand tracking and controllers should take less time.
As with previous Quest updates from Meta, it can take days or even weeks for the new firmware to hit your system. To check if you are on version 50 (or if you can upgrade), go to the Headset Settings menu, then go to System (top left option) and select Software Update. Here you will see what version you are using and whether the next update is available or not.