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While the obvious separation between Oculus and gaming consoles is the virtual reality immersion, there’s one place the VR users probably wish could be the same—power. A gaming console or PC is plugged in, with power at your disposal unless a freak lighting storm rolls in.
You can play the Oculus Quest while charging and, like a smartphone, its battery will only hold up for so long. While it may be a bit of a pain to play while charging, you can do so as long as you’re careful and follow a few guidelines until it’s fully charged.
The built-in battery only lasts between two and three hours, depending on the game you’re playing and the age of the battery. That’s not all that long when you think about the longevity of some of the games out there. If you prefer to keep going, there are a couple of things you can do.
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How Long Does it Take the Oculus Quest 2 to Charge?
According to the manual that comes with the device, it takes about as long to charge as the device will last on a charge—2.5 hours. That’s not very long when it comes to playing time and seems like forever when it comes to charging up the device.
If you are using the Oculus while charging, that 2.5 hours is bound to increase, probably to around an extra hour or so. It really depends on what you’re doing on the Oculus and how much of a battery drain it is.
Since the Oculus Quest 2 also has an active cooling system, that is something else that draws on the battery, especially if it’s constantly running to keep your Oculus cool.
If you’re charging and playing, the cooling fan within is likely to run the entire time, lengthening the charging process.
1. Use the Recommended Charging Cable
When you open the box for the first time and haul out the quest, along with the manuals that come with it, you’ll find that the recommended charging method is the cable with the device. Of course, that’s the recommendation. Most products will recommend their own cables for charging purposes.
Oculus also recommends that you not play while charging, as it may shorten the battery life. That’s entirely up to you. The most important thing is that it’s safe to do so.
The problem with the original charging cable that comes with the Oculus, is that it’s only 5 feet or so long.
That doesn’t leave you with much room to do anything in virtual reality. One quick movement could snatch your cord from whatever you’re using to charge it.
Fortunately, the Quest also has an internal fan to keep it cool. Since charging is another source of heat creation, the fan is ideal.
So, while there are advantages to using the charger that comes with the device, your movement will be highly restricted.
2. Use the Elite Strap
Oculus manufactures more than just the virtual reality setup and the charger that comes with it. Knowing their device doesn’t last very long off the charger, the Elite Strap was designed to provide more portable power for extended playtime.
The Elite Strap is an accessory device with an extra, external battery. As the name suggests, it straps onto the Oculus, providing backup battery support when yours is nearly dead. It’s nothing wild or crazy, just an additional battery backup power source.
When you strap it onto the Oculus, it creates a heavier burden on the display but it’s something you can get used to over time. Oculus’ problem is the same as most portable devices. For instance, the Steam Deck is struggling with this very issue.
The Deck, like the Oculus, is a portable gaming device, much like the Nintendo Switch or the PS Vita, and Gameboys before it. However, it runs PC games like a gaming laptop but on an even smaller platform.
Like the Oculus, it struggles with maintaining playtime beyond a couple of hours.
Until these companies develop something lighter and longer lasting, we’re stuck with a couple of hours, maybe three, of playing time before using something like the Elite Strap or plugging in to charge.
3. Use the Oculus Link Cable
This cable comes with the Oculus and it’s not a charging cable per se, though that’s one of its functions. It’s a cable for connecting your Oculus device to your PC.
The cable allows you to play much more graphics-intensive games (that are designed with VR in mind) without melting down the Oculus.
As a secondary function, the cable also charges your Oculus. Even better, its a seriously long cable—like four or five yards long. The only thing you have to worry about is movement constraints.
Since you’ll be tethered to a computer, you’ll just have to remain mindful of where the cable is. Virtual Reality is not what you see in commercials or movies. What we mean to say, is you’re not running through your house, jumping over things, and doing barrel rolls.
The thing wouldn’t stay on your face if you had to do all that. It’s mostly a “move-in-place” experience. Swinging your arms is really the only thing you would have to worry about.
You don’t want to swing a lightsaber, snag the cable, and rip your entire gaming rig off your desk.
Maintaining the Battery
This could technically be a number four, but it’s more about getting the most out of what you have than playing while charging. As we mentioned above, 2.5 hours of playing time (a time period that will grow shorter as the device gets older) is not very much.
If you’re playing a pretty exciting game, 2.5 hours might seem like just a few minutes. There are a few things you can do to get the most out of playing without charging and to increase the speed of charging while playing.
For one, don’t reduce the battery to below 20%. This isn’t an Oculus thing, it’s just a battery thing altogether. Batteries don’t do well when they are reduced below 20% before charging. It shortens the overall battery life.
On the flip side, don’t charge it all the way up to 100% every time you charge. The 80% norm applies here as well. That cuts the 2.5-hour time even shorter when you think about it but it also means your Oculus will be around for much longer.
Try to stick with the original power cable if you can. It’s not always possible, especially if you need something much longer for playing while charging.
Meta sells a 2-meter-long charging cable without the adapter, so that might also be an option for you.
Last but not least, never plug your Oculus in to charge and leave it that way all night long. That’s a good way to sacrifice the internal battery quickly. Fortunately, the controllers come with their own, separate AA batteries; you don’t have to worry about charging them.
All Things Considered
As you can see in the above examples, there aren’t many ways to play the Oculus Quest while charging. Even when you do, you have to be conscious about the cord and where it’s at.
The Elite Strap makes everything a little easier, but it’s yet another device you have to charge and it adds weight to the device.
Oculus, like many other portable gaming devices out there, still hasn’t solved the short battery conundrum. They just don’t last very long before it’s time to charge it. Here’s to hoping the succeeding model will have far more longevity than the current one.