VR & MR Headsets

The field of AR, VR, and MR is rapidly getting recognisiton and is projected to be a multi-billion dollar industry by 2025 – due to its untapped potential in many diverse areas. With an exciting future ahead, this has spurred many companies to produce and designed their own headsets. In this post, I will be reviewing some of my favourite VR and MR headsets.

VR Headset – Oculus Quest 2

Oculus Quest 2 Pre-orders Were Five Times Higher than Original Quest
Oculus Quest 2

Oculus Quest 2 is the successor of Oculus Quest. The newly upgraded Oculus Quest 2 is lighter, sturdier, and performs way better than its predecessor. It makes for a more accessible VR headset due to it being standalone – meaning you do not have to connect it to a PC to play – and boast a cheaper price compared to its predecessor Oculus Quest (with better specifications too!).

Oculus Quest 2 setup is far easier than most of its peers; having no need to set up additional tracking cameras and able to accept almost all type of cable. Oculus Quest 2 can be used wireless as well, so you no longer have to worry about stepping on the cable when you are fully immersed in your game. Admittedly, using it in wireless mode means you have to give up some of the screen resolution and refresh rate.

Below is the specification for Oculus Quest 2.

Starting priceUSD $299
Image1832x1920p per eye
Screen refresh rate75Hz at launch, will update to 90Hz
Weight503 grams
Battery life2 to 3 hours
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon XR2
Controller chargingAA batteries (2)

Comparison with Oculus Quest

Oculus Quest 2 feels like a direct upgrade on most aspects compared to its predecessor. We will now highlight problems that Oculus Quest 2 has resolved where its predecessor has stumbled – or the other way around!

In terms of hardware, Oculus Quest 2 is vastly superior to Oculus Quest. Oculus Quest 2 boast higher resolution, lighter weight, higher RAM, higher refresh rate, and higher computational power. There is no argument here; Oculus Quest 2’s hardware is simply better than Oculus Quest’s hardware.

Oculus Quest 2 being able to accept most cable type is a life quality improvement that Oculus has introduced in comparison to Oculus Quest that only accepts USB 3 cable. This is a sore point of Oculus Quest as there are complains about user not being able to find high quality USB 3 cable with suitable length.

Another subtle improvement is the battery on the controller of Oculus Quest 2. While both Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2 require the same type and number of battery, Oculus Quest 2 has a clear advantage of simply having a better battery container and longer battery life. Oculus Quest’s battery container often comes loose, in which it could lose contact with the battery during fast movement – thus resulting in the controller not tracking user movement momentarily. For movement intense game such as Beat Saber, this little lapse can cause us to lose! Oculus Quest 2 manages to resolve this issue by having a more sturdy battery container that holds the battery in place.

Notably, Oculus Quest 2 requires mandatory Facebook login whereas Oculus Quest treat Facebook login as optional. Facebook claims that this would allow them to create a more consistent experience for users as well as better data security. Some may treat it as a plus, some may treat it negatively – you decide.

One of Oculus Quest 2’s feature that I personally treat as a downgrade is the head strap. In contrast to the triangle style strap of Oculus Quest, Oculus Quest 2 supports a cross style strap. The triangle strap of Oculus Quest allows the strap to cup the back of the head, allowing for better strapping and counter balance the weight of VR headsets.

Credit: Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Fortunately, Oculus provides an alternative to the head strap, named Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap. The Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap provide more stability and better fitting to Oculus Quest 2, making it more comfortable and stable for prolonged use. Admittedly, equipping the Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap increases the weight of Oculus Quest 2 past 600g. However, the additional weight is situated at the opposite end of the VR headset, allowing it actually counter balance the momentum of the VR headset. The Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap (without battery) comes at USD $49. When combined with the starting price of Oculus Quest 2 of USD $299, it totals up to USD $348 – which is still below the starting price of Oculus Quest of USD $399.

Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap

MR Headset – Nreal Light

Nreal Temporarily Halts Production of 'Light' AR Headset due to Coronavirus  – Road to VR

Nreal Light is the new contender for MR headsets with affordable price and being lightweight, designed to look like fashionable sunglasses. Nreal Light has two tracking cameras on the side and uses an RGB camera at the centre.

Due to its commitment being light, Nreal Light itself has the drawback of not having its own computational power or battery. Instead, it has USB-C plug that allows it to make use other computational unit such as your phone, laptop, or PC.

Below is the specification of Nreal Light.

Starting priceUSD $500
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 845
Image1080p resolution per eye, up to 1,000 nits brightness
Battery Life~3 hours
FOV52 degrees
OSAndroid OS

Comparison with Microsoft Hololens 2

In terms of pricing, Nreal is a much cheaper alternative to Microsoft Hololens 2. In comparison to Microsoft Hololens 2 price at ~USD$3,500, Nreal Light is marketed to be the budget MR headset at ~USD$500. Nreal Light is targeted for public, everyday use instead for enterprise use that Microsoft Hololens 2 is designed for.

With such price, this begs the question whether Nreal performance would pale in contrast to Microsoft Hololens 2. Surprisingly, Nreal Light display is able to solve the ‘rainbow’ artifact in Microsoft Hololens 2; where models texture would be seemingly overlaid with rainbow pattern. Nreal Light is able to do so using a completely different principle in their display pipeline.

Rainbow effect on button interface in Microsoft Hololens 2

Nreal Light, as the name suggests, comes at a much lighter weight than Microsoft Hololens 2; 106g to 566g. Nreal Light is the lightest MR headset in the market by far. This allows for far, prolonged usage without any discomfort.

Nreal Light provide the same 52 degrees FOV as Microsoft Hololens 2. The smaller FOV compared to other MR headsets (e.g. Dimension DXG Ajna Lens has 95 degrees FOV) means that clipping often occurs when models are viewed from short distance.

Admittedly, Nreal Light falls short in terms of extensive interaction capability and processing power that Microsoft Hololens 2 offer. Nreal Light also falls short in terms of resolution; having 1080x1080p/eye resolution in comparison to 2048x1080p/eye resolution of Microsoft Hololens 2. While this may seem to be a deal breaker, the fact that Nreal Light is priced at 1/7th of the price of its counterpart still makes a pretty good case for casual usage of MR headsets.

Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon is developed by Red Hook where the player manages a roster of characters, called Heroes to conquer and cleanse dungeons. However, it is not a rosy adventure: the game is designed to constantly exploit the player’s carelessness and severely punish him for it. In Darkest Dungeon, Heroes do not wear shiny armours who triumph over their enemies; they are survivors who have witnessed the true horrors.

Lens #7: Elemental Tetrad


Darkest Dungeon is heavily inspired by the Lovecraftian genre for its aesthetics and writing style, with slight gory depictions thrown into the mix. The art style uses 2D Sprites with a stylised heavy outline, with the white of the eyes rarely drawn and gives each character a sense of weariness, hopelessness, and mystery. They exude grim, desperation, but also conviction; perhaps the three things needed when death is always around the corner.


This review excludes mechanics exclusive to DLCs and focuses on the basic version of the game.

Undeniably, Darkest Dungeon mechanics is arguably its main selling point. It is a well-designed, complex and interlinked mechanics that work together to create a vivid experience of an unforgiving adventure.

Gruesome and Permanent Implications

At its core, Darkest Dungeon is a turn-based strategy, dungeon crawler game. It is about making the best out of the worst. As stated in the disclaimer of the game: `Quests will fail or must be abandoned. Heroes will die. And when they die, they stay dead.` Essentially, actions are permanent. Characters are designed to be, at a moment of carelessness, wiped out by the enemy. The game punishes you for every mistake you make. This causes every decision taken to be significant and keeps the player to be on the edge.


Darkest Dungeon introduces stress bar(white bar), in addition to the usual health bar. Stress is, as the name suggests, the amount of stress the character is going through. Characters can gain stress through a myriad of causes such as triggering traps, witnessing horrors, get affected by specific enemies’ abilities, or even by being in a prolonged fight. Here is the deal with stress level: characters will experience instant deathregardless of health or buffsonce the character hits the maximum level of stress. In addition to putting another layer of strategy of avoiding stress(especially since there are very few abilities that counter stress), this mechanic keeps enforcing the idea of how gruesome an adventure can be.

Personality of Each Character

Each character is unique in Darkest Dungeon. In addition to the usual lineup of information: name, equipment, and class, the game introduce QuirksQuirks are buffs/debuffs that can affect the character both inside and outside adventures. It can be as basic as +5 DODGE to being Kleptomaniac (chance to steal loot from the player). While it serves as game mechanics, these traits are personal to each character. Traits give them their own identity and enable the player to be more emotionally invested with them. With the permanent death system in place, this makes losing them in the dungeon hurts even more.    


The story begins with one of our predecessors grew bored of living lavishly and decided to spend his fortune away to study the unknown and excavate countless dungeons buried away under his estate. In doing so, he mistakenly released monsters and horrors from within. Workers going insane, missing and countless encounters with abominationsit was only time before the estate is overrun by the vile creatures. In his hopelessness, he sends a plea to the player to clean this mess and reclaim the former glory of the estate before it is too late.

But that is not all. Bits and pieces of information are scattered across the dungeons as journals left behind by unfortunate adventurers who were unable to make it out. Collecting these journals is as hard as it gets since players must sacrifice inventory slots that can be filled with life-saving supplies or precious loots.


Darkest Dungeon runs on Windows 7+ with the minimum requirements as follows: 2 GB RAM, Open GL 3.2+ Compliant, and has at least 2 GB available space.

Website: https://www.darkestdungeon.com/

Darkest Dungeon Official Early Access Release Trailer: