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Meta Quest 3: A Comprehensive Guide

Meta, the renowned tech company, is gearing up to release its highly anticipated virtual reality headset, the Meta Quest 3. With leaks, rumors, and previews from Meta itself, we already have an idea of what to expect from this next-generation device. In this article, we’ll delve into the details and improvements of the Meta Quest 3, along with its price, design, and specifications.

Quest 3 Price and Availability

A product shot of the Meta Quest 3 shown in dramatic lighting over a gradient background.
Image: Meta

Understanding the significance of pricing in a developing marketplace, Meta has kept the cost of its previous VR headsets surprisingly low. Despite being the most popular VR headset on the market, the Quest 2 remained affordable. The Quest Pro, aimed at businesses and enthusiasts, was an exception to this trend. However, the Quest 3 is expected to fill the gap by offering a low-to-middle price tier, providing shoppers with another option.

Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, hinted in a Stratechery interview that the Quest 3 would be priced between $300 and $500. Considering the Quest 2’s current price of $300 and its promised longevity, it’s unlikely that the Quest 3 would be priced below $400. In fact, Meta has confirmed that the starting price of the Quest 3 will be $500, likely for the base storage option. It’s worth noting that the Quest Pro’s price of $1,500 didn’t fare well in the market, leading Meta to discontinue its production.

The Meta Connect event, scheduled for September 27, 2023, will serve as the platform for the Quest 3 launch. As a leading metaverse company, Meta places great emphasis on this event, and the Quest 3 is expected to be the highlight. Coming three years after the Quest 2, the Quest 3 promises to be a significant upgrade.

Meta Quest 3 Design

The Meta Quest 3 is shown in an exploded view.
Image: Meta

One of the notable innovations introduced by Meta with the Quest Pro was the implementation of pancake lenses and a color passthrough camera, which significantly improved the user experience. Pancake lenses, capable of focusing on screens just an inch away from the eyes without distorting the image, are expected to replace the older Fresnel lenses in the Quest 3. This change will eliminate issues such as “god rays,” which can hinder the virtual world’s clarity and immersion. Additionally, pancake lenses are thinner and lighter, suggesting that the Quest 3 will be more comfortable and less cumbersome than its predecessor.

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Meta has emphasized the importance of mixed reality in its plans, and the grayscale passthrough view offered by the Quest 2 does not align with this vision. Consequently, it is highly likely that the Quest 3 will feature a color passthrough camera. Simulated images from Meta further support this assumption.

Leaked CAD images from late 2022 revealed a sleek design for a future Meta headset, combining elements from both the Quest 2 and Quest Pro. These images align with our current knowledge of the Quest 3. While the Quest Pro’s open sides provide safety while moving around, they might compromise the immersive gaming experience. To address this, Meta has incorporated partial light blockers in the Quest 3, with an additional full light shield available as an accessory. This design choice is expected to cater more effectively to productivity-related tasks rather than gaming.

The Quest 3 images depict a modernized version of the Quest 2, featuring rounded edges, a slimmer body, and a full facial interface that effectively blocks external light.

Quest 3 Specifications

The Quest 3’s specifications have been leaked by reliable sources. In addition to the improved lenses and color camera, the Quest 3 will boast significantly higher performance, surpassing even the Quest Pro.

The Quest Pro employed the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 1 processor, a slightly enhanced version of the Quest 2’s XR2 chip. As the name suggests, a Gen 2 upgrade is on the horizon, and it is widely believed that the Quest 3 will be powered by the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip. This next-generation chip, based on Qualcomm’s powerful smartphone chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 architecture, promises remarkable improvements.

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The Quest 3 is expected to deliver twice the performance of the Quest 2, making it Meta’s highest-resolution VR headset to date. While it may not match the display quality of Apple’s $3,500 Vision Pro, the Quest 3 is likely to unlock quality that was previously only achievable with a VR-ready computer or gaming console.

Meta’s gaming lineup for 2023 is also intriguing. The company claims that its upcoming AAA VR game, Asgard’s Wrath 2, will offer an impressive 60 hours of gameplay in a vast world. Other exciting titles, such as Arizona Sunshine 2, Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice, and Assassin’s Creed: Nexus VR, are also on the horizon.

The Quest 3 might introduce features such as automatic sensing of objects within a room to define safe game boundaries, eliminating the need for manually drawing a virtual guardian. While hand tracking is already well-developed, Meta constantly seeks improvement in this area. Furthermore, Meta hinted at the possibility of avatars finally having legs in 2022.

Qualcomm’s latest chips are more energy-efficient, which implies that the Quest 3 could offer a longer battery life. This is an essential improvement for gamers who wish to play for extended periods without the need for an external battery pack. Compared to the Quest 2, the Quest 3 is expected to last significantly longer on a single charge.

The Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip is likely to support Wi-Fi 6E and possibly even Wi-Fi 7, enabling better Air Link connections for high-quality PC VR gaming.

App downloads and syncing are expected to be faster with the Quest 3. While Meta is a prominent figure in AI research, it has yet to fully leverage that technology in VR. However, a high-performance AI processor might be integrated into the Quest 3, taking advantage of Qualcomm’s demonstrated speed with the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chip. Although the XR2 Gen 2 chip might not offer the same level of neural processing power, it could still provide notable improvements.

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Considering the Quest 3’s target audience and price range, it is unlikely that it will include costly features like eye and face tracking. These technologies, crucial for Meta’s realistic avatar plans in the long run, are better suited for premium VR headsets.

The Quest 3 will come with Touch Plus controllers, eliminating the need for the large ring found on many standalone VR headsets. While not as advanced as the Quest Pro’s Touch Pro controllers, the Touch Plus controllers are less prone to damage, reducing the likelihood of replacements. However, the Quest 3 will support the Touch Pro controllers, which can be purchased separately.

A recent rumor, based on a document from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), suggests that Meta will offer a charging dock for the Quest 3, similar to the one available for the Quest Pro. It is worth noting that the Touch Plus controllers use the same alkaline batteries as the Quest 2, so the charging dock will only be compatible with the headset itself.

While more advanced display technologies, such as mini-LED and OLED, are available, these upgrades might push the Quest 3 into the premium headset category. Consequently, it is safer to assume minimal changes in the Quest 3’s electronics. However, the inclusion of pancake lenses is expected to significantly enhance the picture quality.

Conclusion

The upcoming Meta Quest 3 is shaping up to be an impressive virtual reality headset. With its competitive pricing, sleek design, and powerful specifications, it promises to provide an immersive and enjoyable VR experience. As Meta’s flagship product, the Quest 3 is poised to continue the company’s legacy of delivering groundbreaking technology.

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