Meta has officially taken the wraps off the highly anticipated next iteration of its popular VR headset lineup – introducing the all-new Meta Quest 3. Available for pre-order now starting at $499, the Quest 3 builds upon the advances of the Meta Quest 2 with meaningful enhancements like mixed reality capabilities and redesigned ergonomics.
While pricier than the $299 Quest 2, the Quest 3 packs upgraded components and new features that could cement its status as the outright best VR headset for most consumers.
Let’s dive deep into what’s new.
Meta Quest 3 Specs
Meta Quest 3 Release Date, Pre-Order Details
The Meta Quest 3 has officially launched and is available for pre-order as of September 27, 2022. The headset will begin shipping on October 10 to those who pre-ordered.
Pre-orders are open now via Meta’s website in 23 countries globally. Select retailers like Best Buy and Amazon will also carry the Quest 3.
Those who pre-order the 128GB model (priced at $499) will receive a free copy of Asgard’s Wrath 2. Upgrading to the 512GB model for $649 also nets buyers a 6-month subscription to Meta’s Quest Plus service. However, this pre-order bundle expires on January 27, 2024.
Pricing and Storage Options
The Meta Quest 3 launches with two storage configuration options:
- 128GB model – $499
- 512GB model – $649
Note there is no 256GB model offered. The pricing represents a $100 increase for both storage tiers versus the Quest 2’s $299 starting price and $399 256GB version.
In the UK, the Quest 3 starts at £479 for 128GB and £619 for 512GB. Official Euro pricing pegs it at €549 and €699 respectively.
Unfortunately the Meta Quest 3 does not appear to be officially launching in Africa yet. But based on the US pricing, Kenyan pricing would likely land around Ksh 70,000+ before taxes.
Major Internal Hardware Improvements
Inside, the Meta Quest 3 is powered by Qualcomm’s brand new Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset. Meta claims this next-gen processor enables double the graphical processing performance compared to the Quest 2.
RAM has also been upgraded to 8GB, up from 6GB in the Quest 2. However, the premium Meta Quest Pro still tops it with 12GB RAM.
The displays see a notable resolution boost as well. Meta dubs the new LCD panels “Infinite Visual Quality.” Combined resolution is 2,064 x 2,208 pixels per eye – nearly 30% greater than Quest 2 according to Meta.
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Other enhanced display specs include 25 pixels per degree (PPD) in VR mode. When using video pass-through mixed reality, resolution drops slightly to 18 PPD. But Meta says this still provides 10x more passthrough pixels versus Quest 2.
Refresh rate remains 90Hz native, with an experimental 120Hz mode also available. Maximum refresh could potentially reach 144Hz eventually with future software updates.
No Improvements to Battery Life
One area not seeing an upgrade is battery life. Meta lists the same typical battery runtime as the Quest 2 – around 2.2 hours, potentially stretching to 2.9 hours for media viewing.
Recharging 0-100% takes 2 hours with the included 18W charger. So those marathon VR sessions will still require an external battery pack.
Redesigned Body for Comfort and Mixed Reality
Externally, the Meta Quest 3 adopts a completely renewed design optimized for ergonomics and mixed reality functionality. It retains a similar overall profile to the Quest 2, but pancake lens optics contribute to a 40% slimmer overall visor. The redesigned body should sit more comfortably on most head shapes.
On the front, an array of cameras and sensors facilitates immersive mixed reality experiences. Dual LCDs with improved clarity and field of view complete the upgrades.
A new lens distance adjustment wheel also enables more granular interpupillary distance (IPD) tuning for optimal clarity. Meta supports a range of 53 to 75 mm IPD.
Integrated eyeglass spacer removal and software depth adjustment aim to accommodate glasses wearers better as well.
Audio Hardware Improvements for Louder, Spatial Sound
The integrated speakers have been re-engineered to pump out more detailed, immersive audio. Meta claims the Quest 3 produces sound with 40% greater loudness and range versus the Quest 2.
It also generates more convincing spatial 3D audio with enhanced clarity and bass response. For private listening, a 3.5mm headphone jack is still provided.
Redesigned Touch Controllers and New Haptics
Meta has refreshed the Quest 3’s Touch controllers for better ergonomics and new haptic feedback. The company says the Touch Plus controllers are now more naturally contoured.
They also incorporate Meta’s TruTouch haptic system for more realistic vibration and textures. Hand tracking for gesture input sees upgrades as well.
Unfortunately, the Touch Plus controllers still rely on disposable AA batteries rather than integrating rechargeable cells. But a new optional charging dock with AA battery rechargers helps alleviate this annoyance.
Backward Compatibility With Entire Quest 2 Library
A major advantage of the Quest 3 is its backward compatibility with the huge library of Quest 2 games and apps. So all existing Quest 2 content will work seamlessly on the new headset.
Meta promises over 100 new Quest 3 optimized games and apps are slated for release by end of 2022. Existing Quest 2 apps will also receive upgrades tailored for Quest 3 capabilities.
PC VR titles remain accessible as well through Meta’s Link and Air Link connectivity with gaming PCs. And the Meta Quest Plus game subscription service also carries over with curated titles every month.
New Mixed Reality and Automated Room Scanning
One of the Quest 3’s premier features is the ability to fluidly blend immersive VR with augmented reality overlays using real-world passthrough video.
The headset’s array of advanced optics facilitates moving seamlessly back and forth between virtual and mixed reality. This grants more flexibility when integrating digital elements with physical environments.
Meta has also upgraded the Quest boundary system with automated room scanning. Using its onboard sensors, the Quest 3 can scan the full playspace in 3D to intelligently detect surfaces.
This mapping allows properly configuring boundaries automatically for mixed reality experiences instead of manual tracing.
No Eye Tracking or Face/Expression Detection
Two capabilities not included in the Quest 3 are eye tracking or face tracking. Without eye tracking sensors, foveated rendering to enhance detail in the user’s gaze direction is not possible.
And the omission of face tracking means the Quest 3 cannot detect facial expressions or mimic users’ likenesses in real-time like the premium Meta Quest Pro.
Justifying $200 More Than the Quest 2
Considering the $200 premium over the base Quest 2, Meta will need to demonstrate tangible improvements in visuals, comfort, and mixed reality functionality on the Quest 3.
If the headset delivers markedly smoother performance, sharper displays, and compelling mixed reality gameplay, it could compel Quest 2 owners to upgrade.
But for VR newcomers, Meta seems likely to keep the $299 Quest 2 around as an entry-level gateway into virtual reality. The Quest 3 aims higher as the premium, top-tier experience.
Meta Quest 3 vs Meta Quest 2 – How They Compare
Since the Quest 2 will stick around as Meta’s value-focused option, how exactly does the Quest 3 compare versus its still capable predecessor? Let’s break it down.
- Quest 3 – 2K LCD per eye, 25 PPD VR / 18 PPD MR
- Quest 2 – 1,832 x 1,920 LCD per eye
The Quest 3 bumps resolution by 30% with crisper, brighter LCDs and improved optics.
- Quest 3 – Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2
- Quest 2 – Snapdragon XR2
Upgraded processor enables 2x graphical processing power according to Meta.
- Quest 3 – 8GB
- Quest 2 – 6GB
Extra memory headroom provides multitasking benefits.
- Quest 3 – 128GB / 512GB
- Quest 2 – 128GB / 256GB
Very similar storage tiers, but Quest 3 skips 256GB option.
- Quest 3 – 503g
- Quest 2 – 503g
Nearly identical weight despite Quest 3’s upgrades.
- Quest 3 – 2-3 hours
- Quest 2 – 2-3 hours
No improvements to battery runtime – external packs still required for longer sessions.
As the comparison shows, displays and processing power see the most substantial overhauls. Design and ergonomics tweaks plus added mixed reality perks round it out.
Meta Quest 3 vs Apple Vision Pro – How Rivals Compare
Meta isn’t the only major tech firm breaking into advanced mixed reality headsets. Apple recently unveiled its first headset, the ultra-premium Apple Vision Pro priced from $1599.
But beyond just much higher pricing, the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3 take notably different approaches to mixed reality experiences. Let’s compare the rivals.
Meta Quest 3
- $499 starting price
- Leaner design
- Focus on seamless VR/AR blending
- Controller-based input
- Oculus content ecosystem
Apple Vision Pro
- $1599 starting price
- Bulky, industrial design
- Primarily AR focused
- Hand tracking input
- New xrOS operating system
While the Quest 3 offers a more unified hybrid experience, Apple Vision leans into advanced augmented reality capabilities. From form factor to software ecosystems, significant differences separate the still nascent headsets.
Each has respective strengths that will appeal to certain consumer and business audiences. But Apple’s ultra-luxury pricing puts it in an entirely separate bracket from Meta’s mainstream-friendly Quest 3.
Meta Quest 3 Outlook and Expectations
The Meta Quest 2 earned immense popularity by bringing powerful, immersive VR experiences to the mass market at an affordable price. It achieved wild success far beyond Meta’s projected sales.
Now the Quest 3 looks well positioned to expand VR adoption even further. While $200 pricier than its predecessor, meaningful upgrades across the board make it compelling for Quest 2 owners eyeing an upgrade.
And the continued availability of the entry-level Quest 2 at just $299 gives new adopters an easy starting point. This two-tier strategy gives Meta options tailored both for causal and advanced users.
To live up to its potential, the Quest 3 will need to deliver tangible improvements in comfort, display visuals, real-world mixed reality functionality, and processing power.
If Meta can stick the landing with enhanced hardware paired with compelling new software experiences, the Quest 3 could cement itself as the definitive modern VR headset.
But with the market still maturing quickly, rivals like Apple Vision heating up competition, and a recession looming, Meta faces challenges in realizing the Quest 3’s full sales potential.
For now, the company seems well positioned to leverage its first mover advantage and Oculus ecosystem. If the Quest 3 impresses, it could dominate wish lists this holiday season and beyond.