Immersion is the penultimate VR goal. Most of us expect it as soon as we put on our VR headsets. In order to trick our brains into believing we’re in another reality, several things need to come together. Things like visual fidelity, tracking, audio cues, ergonomics and more.
Field of View (FOV) is certainly among the most important factors in creating an immersive VR experience. In this article, I am first briefly going to explain the basics of FOV and then dive into the topic in the context of the Oculus Quest 2 headset.
Based on crowd-sourced data, the Oculus Quest 2 has a horizontal field of view (FOV) of around 89 degrees (+- 4°). The variation in the measurements is caused by people having different inter-pupillary distances (IPD), head shapes and thus also headset adjustment. This causes people to get different FOV results, even though the measurement tool and the headset are the same.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into the topic.
What is Field of View (FOV)?
Field of View (or Vision) is simply the range of a landscape you can see on your screen at any given moment. It’s measured in degrees and the higher the FOV, the more landscape is visible to you and the more ‘present’ you feel in the environment.
The aim here is to make the perspective feel as natural and close to your eyes’ original field of view as possible. Human eyes have a wide FOV and a keen ability to perceive their surroundings with remarkable depth and clarity.
To put that in numbers, we have a horizontal FOV of about 180 degrees when staring straight ahead and up to 270 degrees when we rotate our eyes. So the wider FOV a VR headset is able to create, the more of the world we’re able to take in with greater depth of view – immersion!
The FOV (of the Quest 2) Varies from Person to Person
According to the previously mentioned crowd-sourced data, where people measure and share their field of view measurements for different VR headsets, the Oculus Quest 2 has a horizontal FOV of 89 degrees (+-4) and a vertical FOV of 93 degrees (+- 5.1°)
Since the fit of the Oculus Quest 2 can vary from person to person and depends on the size and shape of a person’s head, one might experience FOV degrees slightly lower or higher than others (thus the +- variation)
For instance, if you have a wider head and wear glasses, you’ll find your eyes are further away from the screen rather than those who don’t wear glasses, which means you’ll experience a lower field of view.
Another key aspect to consider is inter-pupillary distance (IPD) or put simply, the distance between your eyes. Having a lower IPD means that more of the outer edges of the display will be visible to you, thus contributing to a slightly better field of view.
More importantly however, the Oculus Quest 2 has a design flaw for people with above average IPD. To be more precise, when you adjust the IPD of the Quest 2 to the third setting (68mm) the edges of the display become visible.
This of course means that your field of view for the Quest 2 will automatically be less than intended since the display is just not wide enough to cover the whole range for your eyes.
How to Increase FOV on the Oculus Quest 2
The first question we usually receive when it comes to increasing FOV is “can’t you just twiddle a setting in the software?” The answer is no. Unfortunately, that’s not how VR headsets work.
While you can change the FOV through in-game settings, it will mostly end up looking distorted, artificial and bizarre. VR headsets tend to match the view with the position of your eyes and head. So, the only feasible way to increase FOV on the Oculus Quest 2 is to adjust the position of your eyes and your head.
One way of going about this is to adjust the IPD setting of your Quest 2 headset. For example, if your IPD falls somewhere between 63mm and 68mm (2nd and 3d IPD settings of the Quest 2 respectively) then for a better field of view, you might want to prefer the lower (2nd) IPD setting.
Another way to increase the FOV is to find ways to reduce the distance between your eyes and the screen inside. You can replace the foam padding on the kit with something that’s slimmer and sits more snugly around your face. This has the added benefit of reducing light leakage, if that’s something you’re experiencing.
Of course, the closer your eyes are to the screen, the more eye strain you’ll feel, which may also cause discomfort and motion sickness for some. There are several third party foam replacements and even covers that go on the Quest 2’s original padding that can help you get a better fit and hence better visuals, while staying comfy.
The most common (and sometimes) expensive way is to find a whole new replacement facial interface kit sometimes known as a mod. These replace the inner kit as well as the head straps that originally come with the Quest 2.
A new and more flexible mod opens new ways to adjust the Quest 2 resulting in a bespoke fit that always hits the “sweet spot”. However, installing them can be a hassle and you should only do so if you know what you’re doing.
Oculus Quest 2 FOV Comparison Against Other VR Headsets
Even though we concluded that FOV is subjective and varies from person to person, when we collect and aggregate enough data points from different people, we can start to make FOV comparisons for different VR headsets.
The FOV of the Oculus Quest 2 (89 degrees, +- 4°) is around the same as the Oculus Rift S (87° +- 6.4°), slightly less than the original Quest (94° +-5.1°) and quite significantly lower than the Valve Index (108° +- 3.3°).
See also the FOV comparison table below:
|Oculus Quest 2||89° (+-4)|
|Oculus Quest 1||94° (+-5.1)|
|Oculus Rift S||87° (+- 6.4)|
|Oculus Go||89° (+- 2.5)|
|HP Reverb G2||94° (+-11)|
|HTC Vive||89° (+- 4.3)|
|HTC Vive Pro||93° (+- 11.3)|
|HTC Vive Cosmos||97° (+- 1.7)|
|Samsung Odyssey+||103° (+- 0.5)|
|Valve Index||108° (+- 3.3)|
|Pimax 8K||159° (+- 0.5)|