Oculus Airlink Vs Virtual Desktop

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There are now several options to allow you to play PC VR content completely wirelessly. Air Link is the official option from Meta that has at present been implemented for all Quest 2 users, and Virtual Desktop is a third-political party application that allows yous to do the same matter, with some additional functionality. This article is going to look at all the pros and cons of Airlink vs Virtual Desktop, to find out which is the all-time option for wireless PC VR on your Meta Quest two, and other standalone headsets.

Air Link is elementary to apply, free, and works well on Quest two if you lot have the right setup. Virtual Desktop has more than features and slightly better performance but is a paid product. Most people should endeavor Air Link first, and move to Virtual Desktop if better performance or specific features are needed.

Air Link Vs Virtual Desktop For PC VR

Both Air Link and Virtual Desktop are options that allow y’all to experience PC VR content without beingness physically tethered to a VR-ready PC with a cable. They both accept a number of pros and cons, and your pick will depend on your individual setup and priorities.

  • Air Link is a costless feature on the Meta Quest 2 that allows you to play PC VR content wirelessly.
  • Virtual Desktop is a paid-for app that allows you to bask wireless PC VR on the original Quest as well as Quest 2.
    Information technology volition also have support for other standalone VR headsets in the future. Virtual Desktop was adult past Guy Godin and initially released in 2016, well before Air Link.

Both these options mean that you don’t need to worry almost getting tangled up while using a physical cable to connect your headset to a PC. Information technology’due south got to the indicate where I nearly never apply the Link cable because the quality of wireless PC VR has become sufficiently good, and any drawbacks are outweighed past the pleasure of beingness able to play without having a cable getting in the way.

In fact, wireless PC VR solutions have become so good that the Quest two is now my preferred PC VR headset, and I prefer using it over my wired Reverb G2, simply because I accept the freedom of having no wires. Now that Meta has their own wireless PC VR functionality and is offering it for costless, it does raise the question of whether information technology is still worth paying for Virtual Desktop.

Air Link and Virtual Desktop are ii of the best options for enjoying wireless PC VR content.

Pros And Cons Of Air Link

Pros of Air Link Cons Of Air Link
Integrated into Quest ii software Tied into the Oculus ecosystem
Really easy to use No access to the headset options or interface while in use
Free Fewer options to adjust performance
Works for all PC VR games, not simply Oculus store content Harder to have screenshots and videos
Easy to adjust settings to residual latency and motion-picture show quality Lacks some features that Virtual Desktop has

Pros And Cons Of Virtual Desktop

Pros Of Virtual Desktop Cons Of Virtual Desktop
Can launch all VR games from one dashboard Costs Money
Great User Interface and highly customizable Breaks controllers support for some games
Slightly amend performance for some people Tin can crusade performance issues in some games
Active Discord for technical support and news More than hard to setup
Retains admission to Quest ii headset settings while in utilise You need to beginning the streamer app every time on your figurer

Should Y’all Employ Air Link Or Virtual Desktop?

Whilst both options really are excellent, there are big differences in the experiences of using Air Link and Virtual Desktop, also as differences in how they actually work.

The Case For Air Link

Air Link essentially gives you lot the same experience and all of the functionality that yous would have if you
connected your Quest 2 to your computer with the Link cable, and a similar feel to using a Rift headset.

At present that Air Link has been officially launched and is fully integrated into the Oculus software, I would highly recommend trying this selection first.
My experience of using Air Link has been very positive, and I have always enjoyed fantabulous operation and depression latency.

However, my opinion is influenced by the fact that I take an ideal hardware setup and have non had any technical issues with using Air Link. There are plenty of people who have tried Air Link and found the functioning to exist poor, either every bit a result of their hardware setup, or other software issues that are unique to their situation.

Equally someone who is heavily involved in the VR scene, I play a wide variety of VR games and experiences, and I’ve been consistently impressed past Air Link and how it has improved over time. The great affair about Air Link is that information technology is costless, and so gives anybody a chance to test out wireless PC VR without any boosted cost.

If you experience poor functioning, and you have tried unproblematic things similar adjusting the position of your router, and double checking your Wi-Fi connection and your hardware, then Virtual Desktop is an option that has a realistic chance of providing a better experience.

Air Link setup and utilize is really uncomplicated on Quest 2

The Case For Virtual Desktop

Virtual Desktop offers proficient value for the price, and it is a fantastic slice of software.
It runs equally an app on your headset, meaning that you can still admission all of the features on your headset while using it. Y’all merely press the Oculus button, as you would when playing any other game, and yous can access settings and other areas of your headset.

The Virtual Desktop dashboard is actually well designed and tin can be accessed by pressing the menu button on your left controller. This card slides in from the right and allows you to change a wide diversity of settings, as well as launch all of your VR games from one place. This is really helpful, as you don’t need to search through the Oculus app or Steam to detect what you are looking to play.

It’s hard to be sure whether Air Link or Virtual desktop provides ameliorate functioning overall, and I suspect that performance volition vary depending on your individual hardware and software setup.
The average latency I encountered using Air Link was 55ms, vs 47ms for Virtual Desktop, and so it looks like Virtual Desktop is performing slightly better for me.
All the same, I could not perceive any difference in the gameplay and was not enlightened of any noticeable lag when playing whatever games.

Aside from a few minor issues with 1 or two games non loading properly from the Virtual Desktop menu, I’ve been really impressed with it. If information technology wasn’t for Air Link being gratuitous, Virtual Desktop would be the option that I would recommend. The UI is slick, and at that place are loads of options to customize the bitrate, graphics, refresh rate, etc to ensure that you get a good remainder betwixt the visuals and latency.

Another large advantage of Virtual Desktop is that it works for the original Quest headset, and for Pico headsets, and will likely back up other wireless PC VR headsets in the future. I like the idea of supporting a platform-agnostic solution, and it should brand information technology easier when moving to different headsets in the futurity.

The Games tab in Virtual Desktop lets you launch whatsoever VR title regardless of source.

The Setup Process: Air Link Vs Virtual Desktop

The hardware requirements for both Virtual desktop and Air Link are essentially the same, but they are actually important to get right before y’all get further. You need to accept a suitable PC, router, Wi-Fi connection, and net connection to go achieve a low latency connexion that will provide smooth gameplay. After this, the process for using Air Link and Virtual Desktop differs quite a lot, so allow’s look at each in turn.

Air Link Setup

You will need the post-obit hardware to ensure that your experience using Air Link is as skillful as possible.

  • You will need a Meta Quest 2 headset. Quest ane is non supported.
  • You need a Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 (Air-conditioning or AX) router, that should ideally be in the same room when using your VR headset.
  • Your router should be placed in direct line of sight to your headset, ideally at least 1m off the footing.
  • Your PC should be continued to your router via a wired ethernet connection.
  • The headset should exist connected to Wi-Fi via the 5GHz band
  • The
    PC hardware requirements for Air Link
    are the same as for Quest Link.

Whilst it may be difficult to have your main router in such a perfect position, some people purchase a 2nd router and put it in the room yous use your Quest 2 in. This is how I accomplished a good setup for Air Link, and I at present have a Wi-Fi 6 router in the room I utilize for VR in direct line of sight of me when I am playing.

Another option is to purchase a
D-Link VR Air Bridge, which is a USB dongle for Quest 2 wireless PC VR that y’all plug into your VR-set PC directly. This has been developed in partnership with Meta, ensuring that the Wi-Fi connection to your headset is optimized as much as possible.

Steps To Utilize Air Link

  • Make sure that the Oculus software is installed on your computer. You lot can
    download this here.
  • Once the Oculus software is installed on your computer, turn on your Quest 2 and navigate to the
    Settings menu, so
    Arrangement settings, and so Select
    Quest Link.
    Toggle Quest Link on.
  • Yous can now connect to your computer by clicking the button beside
    Launch Quest Link, or you can also open the
    Quick Settings menu
    from the left side of the Oculus taskbar.
  • The first time yous try to connect, y’all will see a pairing code on the screen of your Quest 2.
    You must make sure this matches the code that appears on your desktop Oculus app and click ostend.
    After this, y’all volition load into the Rift Habitation menu and you can play all your PC VR games and apps.

Virtual Desktop Setup

Here is what y’all’ll need to get started with Virtual Desktop:

  • A VR-set up PC. If y’all aren’t sure if your PC is suitable for VR, y’all can download the SteamVR Functioning Exam app to cheque.
  • Windows x or 11 64-scrap or macOS Mojave (ten.xiv+)
  • Your reckoner should have a wired connection to a 5 GHz Air-conditioning or AX Wi-Fi router
  • Your router should ideally be in direct line of sight of you when you are using your VR headset.
  • Y’all’ll need a Quest two, Quest, or some other compatible standalone VR headset.

Once you’ve confirmed that you’ve got all the right hardware, here are the steps to get Virtual Desktop and starting time using it.

  • Make sure the
    Oculus software
    is installed on your computer. You can download and install this from the Meta website.
  • Buy Virtual Desktop from the Meta Quest 2 shop.
    Turn on your Quest 2 and get to the store page and search for Virtual Desktop. It normally costs $20/£15. Install this on your device one time you take purchased it.
  • You lot must buy the version of Virtual Desktop from the Meta Quest 2 shop for PCVR streaming to piece of work on your Quest 2 properly.
    Do not buy the Steam version
    or whatsoever other version of Virtual Desktop for this purpose.
  • Download and install the free Streamer App
    from the
    Virtual desktop website. This step is essential for PC VR streaming on Quest 2 equally information technology creates a virtual server on your PC and makes your Quest 2 call up information technology is connected to your PC via Link Cable.
  • Once you have downloaded the Streamer App, open information technology and enter your Oculus/Meta username.
    If you can’t recollect your username, you can open up the Oculus app on your computer and click the “Follow List” push at the bottom of the left carte to see it.
  • Put your Quest 2 on and load the Virtual Desktop App.
    After a brief pause, your computer desktop should appear.

One time you are using Virtual Desktop, you should see your calculator screen in front of yous. You lot can printing the menu button on your left controller to bring up the Virtual Desktop menu at any fourth dimension.

Y’all tin can launch whatever VR games from the Games tab, without having to go into your Steam or Oculus apps separately.

There are lots of options and settings that tin be adjusted in the Settings and Streaming tabs of the menu. You tin adjust the refresh rate of your headset, the bitrate of the stream, the graphics quality, and sound settings, and you can also monitor performance to find only the right balance betwixt quality and latency

You can also change the surround that you lot experience inside Virtual Desktop, to make it feel like you lot are sitting in a cinema, an flat, floating in infinite, sitting in front of a gaming figurer, or several other environments.

Air Link Vs Virtual Desktop: Which Is Ameliorate?

There are many factors to consider when choosing one of these two wireless PC VR solutions, then allow’s look at a few of the things that may exist important to you.


Virtual Desktop has slightly less latency for my setup when tested across a range of Oculus and Steam games. I averaged 47ms latency when using Virtual Desktop and 55ms latency when using Air Link. Despite this, I could not detect whatever discernable difference in the experience, and I was able to play all of my PC VR games without any deterioration in the experience compared to a wired connection.

The largest impact on the latency you will feel with a wireless PC VR setup is with the positioning of your router and your hardware setup.

Picture Quality

Although both wireless VR solutions produced clear pictures, I experience that Air Link has slightly fewer visual artifacts at the aforementioned bitrate level. Although both solutions use significant pinch of the images, I feel the picture quality stands upwardly actually well compared to wired VR. Both Air Link and Virtual Desktop at present back up 120Hz mode.


Air Link is free while Virtual Desktop costs $twenty/£15. For this reason, most people should endeavour Air Link showtime, and but motility to Virtual Desktop if they need the additional functionality that it offers, or have problems with functioning with Air Link.

Ease Of Apply

Air Link is incredibly easy to utilize, and you can get-go using it in merely a few seconds. The setup procedure is very simple and there is no technical knowledge required, other than ensuring that your hardware is suitable. Virtual Desktop is besides quite user-friendly, but most people will need some guidance to set up it up. Once it is installed, yous just demand to remember to have the Streamer app running on your calculator. After that, you just launch the app and it loads in a few seconds.

The UI of both Air Link and Virtual Desktop are like shooting fish in a barrel to utilize and very intuitive. Virtual Desktop has more options and is a more than powerful slice of software, but it has been well designed to cater to anybody.

Bottom Line: Should You Use Air Link Or Virtual Desktop?

Overall, I experience that Virtual Desktop is a improve solution, but it is a close call. If they were both the aforementioned price, I would recommend Virtual Desktop over Air Link. However, Air Link is free and it also does a fantastic job. The actual operation for almost people is very similar betwixt the two apps, so most people should attempt Air Link first.

Is Air Link The Same As Oculus Link?

Air Link is the official Meta wireless solution for PC VR with the Quest ii, while Oculus Link (Quest Link) is the wired version that allows you to connect your Quest 2 to a VR-ready PC by USB-C cable to employ your headset every bit a fully-functional PC VR headset.

Is Air Link Practiced On Quest 2?

Air Link is an excellent option for wireless PC VR on the Meta Quest two. It is a free feature that is integrated into the Quest 2 software, and as long as you have a PC and router setup that meets or exceeds the recommended requirements, you should take a dandy experience. The average latency I encountered when using Airlink was 55ms, vs 47ms for Virtual Desktop. I could not perceive any difference in this and was not enlightened of whatsoever noticeable lag when playing any games. Your feel may differ.

Do You Demand A Expert PC For Air Link?

Your PC should run into the same recommended specifications as Quest Link. You’ll demand an Intel i5-4590/AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater, viii GB+ RAM, 1x USB port, and
ane of the GPUs in this list. It is highly likely that if your PC is less than v years onetime that you should be able to use Air Link.

Do Y’all Need Virtual Desktop For Air Link?

Virtual Desktop and Air Link are separate solutions for wireless PC VR. You simply need to have one of these to enjoy wireless PC VR.

Source: https://vrlowdown.com/air-link-vs-virtual-desktop/