The KIWI Design Head Strap materials and design justify the extra investment over the more cheaper alternatives.
Out of the box, the Oculus Quest baseball cap-style of head strap is pretty decent. With just three velcro tabs to adjust it, setting up the headset is super simple and the head strap is very comfortable. The one key issue though, that many Quest owners experience, is the front-heavy nature of the headset.
It is unfortunate that just a few hundred grams of extra headset weight can force so many owners to pursue the goal of counterbalancing the front weight of the Quest. There are so many ways to achieve this, from adding weights of battery power banks to the rear of the strap to replacing the head strap entirely with the halo head strap solution of the HTC VIVE Deluxe Audio Strap.
The cheapest and simplest way to help reduce the front weight of the Oculus Quest is done by strapping a thick piece of velcro between both side arms of the Oculus Quest head strap and carry more of its weight on the top of your head. There are a ton of sellers overcharging these bands online, for what is basically a ~£3 strip of velcro elastic band. No one has really developed this solution any further other than KIWI Design, who has taken this baton and designed and developed a Head Strap that’s built specifically for the Oculus Quest.
Inside the KIWI Design Head Strap packaging, you’ll find just the strap itself and a small manual that explains how to attach it onto your Quest. First, this band is not your usual cheap elastic velcro band, it’s anything but. As I have said earlier, it has been explicitly developed for use on the Oculus Quest and to reduce its front weight, and as a result of this, the KIWI Design Head Strap feels more solid and it carries some nice touches to its construction and materials used.
The KIWI Design Head Strap comes in two pieces, with a small velcro tab that extrudes from an edge of the main strap. It attaches to the Oculus Quest Head Strap very easily. The main strap sits over the top Quest’s head strap, it then positions itself on the inside of the side straps, loops over them, and their hook velcro panels attach themselves back onto the on the loop material of the main strap.
The second smaller piece of the strap is removed from the main strap and attaches itself back onto it after sandwiching the Quest’s top head strap. Finally, the small tab on the main strap loops over the back split of the Quest head strap and attaches itself to the smaller strap piece that has velcro underneath it.
With all pieces attached and fastened the KIWI Design Head Strap sits firmly in place at the back of the Quest head strap and has no way of sliding forward. With the cheaper velcro band straps, I never really knew if the band should have been positioned nearer the front of the Oculus Quest headset, than at the back; but with the small tab on the KIWI, you are forced to locate it at the very back of the top strap.
This rear position creates a very rigid back portion of the Quest head strap, and on putting the Quest on my head I instantly noticed more firmness at the back of the headset than if I was using it without, and this did help reduce weight and pressure off my cheekbones, but at the sacrifice of added pressure to the very top of your head – this extra weight has to go somewhere.
So in short, this strap does the job of creating a more rigid head strap and reducing the front weight of the Quest headset. For the asking price of £17.99 from Amazon, the KIWI Design Head Strap does seem a little more costly when you compare against the alternative straps that each cost around £10 less. But the differences between the two solutions are night and day. The KIWI Design Head Strap is more than just a feeble elastic velcro band. Because of its firmer PU leather material, the band is less forgiving so it creates a more rigid feel. The sidearm tabs are much bigger and the band has a wide loop material to fix them on to, making for better adjustment for large and smaller heads. The PU material spans the inside of the strap and it is also capable of withstanding any sweat from an intensive Quest session.
If you use a VR Cover Rear Head Strap already on your Quest, you will have to place the top strap attachment part between your head and the KIWI Design Head Strap. This means the VR Cover will not be able to attach to the top strap any more. It doesn’t make it uncomfortable, if anything it is a perfect match for the KIWI Design Head Band, it adds to the comfort by having the extra padding from the VR Cover.
If you are looking for a cheap and easy way to help reduce the front weight of the Oculus Quest headset, then I would recommend giving the KIWI Design Head Strap a try. Its cost is a little higher than a regular elastic velcro band, but the thought, design and materials that have been used places it above and beyond any cheaper option and it is certainly worth the extra investment.