I write this review little late after receiving it and during this short amount of time we’ve just heard the news that Oculus has announced the ability to use its own bundled Quest USB 2.0 charging cable with Oculus Link for PCVR gaming.
Oculus Link has really blown up the appeal of the Quest and Oculus is really running with it. The appeal of having a standalone that can also be used with a capable desktop computer is a big selling point of the Quest and its Oculus Link support. Where before you were limited to just the titles on Oculus Quest store, with Oculus Link and a capable PCVR machine, your VR library of tiles vastly increases in size, thanks to so many great PCVR titles that are now available to you.
Now, to achieve this, you have two options. The first is going all out wireless with Virtual Desktop, and the second is to use a compatible Oculus Link cable. The KIWI design Oculus Quest Link USB-C Cable is one such cable that allows Oculus Link to your Quest over a much more stable, wired cable connection.
In the box comes the USB cable itself. Its length is a generous 16ft (5M) and it comes with a straight USB type-A to USB type-C elbow connectors at either end. Its length is one of this cable’s main selling points, mainly because there are so many USB-C cables that work with Oculus Link on the Quest, but not many offer the length, and it’s the length as well as performance that really makes one cable better than another. The 5-metre length means you can almost play your Quest in a totally different room, one that’s bigger than the smaller office your PC desktop might be located in.
Another feature of the KIWI design Link Cable is the USB-C connector elbow joint. Many cables you can use with Oculus Link are not really made for this purpose. The ones that do, feature such an elbow joint for the USB-C connection. The elbow joint is important if you wish to reduce left-side weight on the headset that a non-elbow jointed cable would give you. Also, being able to root the cable around the centre portion of the headset and have it more discreetly enter into the side of the Quest makes it look so much better.
With the KIWI design Link Cable connected to either my front or rear USB 3.0 and 3.1 ports, I fired up the Oculus cable test to check on its speed. The KIWI design Link Cable gave a 334 to 339 Mbps speed test result, which is a USB 2 cable speed (up to a maximum 480 Mbps). This is likely due to a bug with the current Oculus PC software where I should be getting a result of at least 2 Gbps to a maximum 5 Gbps, as I do with some other Oculus Link USB 3.0 cables. To compare with the stock Oculus Quest cable, this cable gave a similar result of around 318 Mbps in its speed test result. Now, it is worth pointing out that the Quest can only decode its stream from the PCVR machine at 150 Mbps, so the stock cable alone is more than capable, however, having the extra bandwidth may help if there are any bottlenecks that occur during the stream to your Quest or if Oculus can ever improve this performance later down the line.
Unlike the official Oculus Link fibre optic cable, most USB-C 3.0+ cables will not have the ability to also charge your Quest whilst you play. The KIWI design cable is no different in this regard. With a fairly low battery level on my Quest, I started playing and the cable didn’t offer enough power to my Quest to keep it charged and playing at the same time. Within a few minutes of play my Quest soon shut itself down with a flat battery warning showing up in the headset. So with any USB-C 3.0+ cable, you will need at least a charged headset before you can play for any length of time.
With so many cables around, including Oculus’ $80 fibre optic cable, with very little visual quality difference between them all, it really comes down to build quality, connection performance with your PC’s USB ports, the elbow joint (if you think that’s important), and most of all, cable length. The $29.99 KIWI design Oculus Link Cable from Amazon ticks all the boxes as a decent cable for playing over Oculus Link, its length is generous without the need to daisy-chain many shorter lengths together, however, it really depends on your play space and distance from your PCVR machine. For the ultimate experience. Personally, I find playing wirelessly using Virtual Desktop the best, but I am aware you need a perfect 5Ghz Wi-Fi + Ethernet environment for this, so when Oculus Link is your only option, the KIWI design Oculus Link Cable has many advantages over some other USB cables that are out there.