Unlike most gaming setups, the Oculus Quest doesn’t really need to be inside to be played. As long as there is sufficient surrounding light, you can play with it anywhere! Unfortunately, not all locations are equally suitable. You probably know not to play with your headset in the pouring rain since it could damage the electronics. You might be surprised to hear that bright sunlight can be bad for your device.
What Do I Need to Lookout For?
In addition to the reasonably obvious risks of overheating in excessive sunlight, two parts of your headset are particularly vulnerable to the sun. The cameras on the outside used to orient you in the play-space and track your controllers are one. The actual lenses on the inside of the headset are the other.
Both are prone to damage via sunlight, much faster than you might think. Reports from users have shown that just a few minutes of daylight can be enough to do permanent damage to your headset. This damage takes the form of burns on the screen, dead spots, and discoloration.
Particularly the lenses you look at the screen through pose a considerable risk. They essentially function as a magnifying glass when you set the headset in the sun. This literally focuses the damage on one part of the screen, amplifying the damage done by quite a lot. As the sun moves in the sky, this can lead to a burned streak on your headset screens. The cameras on the outside are similarly (though less so) vulnerable. They can be affected by a combination of heat and sunlight damage.
Even when inside, it’s possible for the sunlight to affect your lenses. A window could easily let the sunshine directly into your headset if you don’t store it correctly. Unfortunately, filtering through a window won’t mitigate the possible damage of sunlight. So always keep your lenses away from windows, ideally in a suitable carry case.
Can I Not Use My Headset Outside?
You can – however, you need to be aware of where the sun is and stay in the shade where possible. When taking your headset off or putting it on – even if you don’t have the device turned on yet – you need to be particularly careful of sunlight shining into the lenses. There are various lens guards available that are usually small fabric inserts that cover the lenses when not in use. If you often find yourself playing outside, you’ll definitely want to invest in one of them.
Be aware that the sun might move and that clouds could do too – so just because you start in the shade doesn’t mean you’ll stay there. As such, always be very careful when taking your headset off in the sun, and keep the lenses turned as much as possible. Ideally, store the headset in a carry case to eliminate any risk of sun damage to any part of the device.
What Happens If It Does Get Damaged?
Unfortunately, there is no way to make a warranty claim on your headset if you experience screen burn, as the manufacturer explicitly warns of this type of damage. That’s why it’s essential to ensure you don’t accidentally expose the lenses to sunlight. Screen damage of this type can’t be fixed – you would have to replace your headset entirely as replacing only the screen inside won’t be possible.
If the damage is minor – such as only a tiny dead patch – you can still continue to use it. It will affect the quality of what you’re seeing. Still, unless the damage is excessive, it won’t affect the performance directly.
Tips to Keep Your Headset Safe:
- When outside, keep your lenses covered as much as possible when not wearing the headset
- When inside, beware of windows with direct sunlight – that can also cause damage
- Keep an eye out for your device overheating in the sun
- Use a lens guard or cover when possible to protect from sunlight as well as dust and scratches
- Keep your headset in a carry case when not in use
The Oculus Quest 2 is an excellent piece of tech. If you’re not careful to protect it, it can be easily damaged. By following the tips in this guide and being aware of the risks, you can keep your headset in top form and enjoy VR at its best. Leave your comments below.
As a library tech with at least five of these Oculus headsets we’ve decided to not lend them out for outdoor events on campus.