Oculus’s new Quest VR headset may be worth its $399 price tag solely for the exercise using it gives you. In fact, I bet you could get just as good a workout

Earlier VR headsets use external sensors located around a room to locate you in virtual space—or, like Oculus Go, didn’t try to track anything but your head movement, thereby making the VR less vivid and interactive. But the Quest uses built-in sensors to detect you as you roam around. When you start using the headset, a “Guardian” system lets you establish the limits of the space you can use in the real world. Later, when you’re playing a game and you get close to one of those borders, you see a green grid wall that tells you to stop moving in that direction. If you keep going, the camera on the outside of the headset comes on and you see a “passthrough” view of the real-world barrier that you’re about to run into.

The Guardian and passthrough features worked exactly as billed, saving me some bumps and bruises. They’re especially necessary on the Quest because a big part of the headset’s appeal is your ability to move around. The limits of that freedom are the hard objects in the room around you. So you have to know where those are. Oculus probably could have done this with just the Guardian walls, but the passthrough view gave me an increased sense of safety by verifying that the virtual wall I was seeing corresponded with a real barrier.

[Image: courtesy of Oculus]
There’s also a cool little training program that shows you various kinds of objects (balls, rockets, paper airplanes) and lets you practice grabbing, shooting, throwing, swinging, and other motions. This helped me understand the controller buttons and prepped me for game play later on.

VR tends to be a solitary experience, but the Quest can also “cast” your VR view to a smartphone screen or a TV monitor so others can see what’s happening in your virtual space. The headset uses Wi-Fi networks to cast, and the smartphone must be running the Oculus app. In some games, another person can play along on the smartphone.

The Quest comes preloaded with five demos, including the hand-eye coordination game Beat Saber, Creed, the fantasy fighting game Journey of the Gods, the droid-fighting game Space Pirate Trainer, and Sports Scramble. And Facebook announced that the new Star Wars game Vader Immortal will be available on the headset.

My only real complaint about the Quest isn’t about the headset itself–it’s about my apartment. I wish I’d had about 15 feet of space for side stepping and arm swinging in my favorite game so far, Sports Scramble. If you’ve got more room or can push some furniture out of the way you should have no problem, and other games, like Beat Saber, don’t require as much foot movement.