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Apple is on the verge of releasing its own high-end mixed-reality headset, but the current leader in the space is still betting on the mass market.
The Meta Quest 3 is nearly here, and while it’s pricier than the previous model—thanks to a bevy of upgrades—it’ll still sell for a fraction of the price of the Apple Vision Pro.
Meta has fully unveiled the details of its upgraded headset, which enhances its augmented reality (AR) capabilities to match its existing virtual reality (VR) skills, and the standalone headset packs some significant upgrades. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the Meta Quest 3?
The Meta Quest 3 is the Facebook parent company’s fourth standalone headset, following the Quest, Quest 2, and the pricier Quest Pro. But while it’s technically a successor to the Quest 2, the final design looks like a hybrid between that and the Quest Pro.
Like the Quest 2, the Meta Quest 3 is billed as a device for consuming media—whether it’s games, apps, or streaming video—and the price point is comparable to a video game console. But it packs in Quest Pro-like advanced mixed reality capabilities and improved motion controllers, albeit at one-third of the original asking price of the Pro model.
When will the Meta Quest 3 come out?
The Meta Quest 3 will be released on October 10 in two renditions—with 128GB or 512GB storage. Since it’s a standalone device that loads its games and apps from internal storage, you’ll want to ensure you have enough space to keep an array of experiences on hand.
How much does the Meta Quest 3 cost?
The 128GB base model of the Meta Quest 3 will sell for $500, while the 512GB edition bumps the price up to $650. This is considerably more expensive than the Meta Quest 2, which starts at $300 and will remain on the market after the new headset is released. That will give buyers a range of options based on the power and features they’re looking for—and how much they want to pay.
What’s new with the Meta Quest 3?
Launching three years after the Quest 2, the Meta Quest 3 keeps the same basic approach while instituting various enhancements across the device. Like the previous Quest models, it’s a completely self-contained, standalone headset that doesn’t require a computer, game console, or smartphone to operate and play games.
A new 4K resolution “Infinite Display” offers a 30% crisper screen than before, with Meta saying that it packs in 1,218 pixels per inch for smoother images than on previous models.
Meanwhile, new “pancake lenses” are said to make the visor 40% slimmer than before while providing the same kind of visual immersion. In addition to improved weight distribution, Meta claims the Quest 3 should also be more customizable to fit all sorts of faces thanks to a lens distance adjustment wheel and a depth adjustment feature.
The biggest shift with the Quest 3 is arguably from a mostly VR-centric device to one that appears to be a more capable mixed-reality headset. That’s thanks to an array of outward-facing cameras that are said to deliver vastly higher-fidelity views of your surroundings, in full color now, too, enabling games and apps that interact with the world around you.
With that approach, the Quest 3 can also automatically scan your surroundings to create an obstacle-free space for you to play within, with barriers that warn when you're getting too close to walls or furniture. You have to set your own play area on the Quest 2 manually.
The motion controllers are said to be improved, too, with a more streamlined design that Meta claims is more ergonomic and provides new haptic feedback sensations. But you can also ditch the controllers, thanks to hand tracking via those headset cameras.
How powerful is the Meta Quest 3?
Meta says that the Quest 3 has twice the graphics power of its predecessor thanks to the new Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip.
While essentially a souped-up smartphone chip, there’s a very clear difference in output quality from the Quest 2, as this side-by-side comparison of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners shows. Expect significantly more detail and, quite likely, smoother-running performance from games, making them more immersive to play and experience.
Which games and apps will the Meta Quest 3 have?
Thanks to backwards compatibility with all existing Quest apps, you’ll be able to play over 500 games and experiences on the Meta Quest 3 on day one. And over 100 games and apps by the end of 2023 will be either new or specifically enhanced for the hardware, says Meta.
The Quest platform includes celebrated VR hits like Beat Saber, Superhot VR, Pistol Whip, and Moss, and VR-enhanced ports of popular games like Roblox and Resident Evil 4. The Quest also has fitness apps, immersive versions of streaming apps like Netflix and YouTube, and plenty more to explore.
And in December, Meta will add support for Xbox Cloud Gaming, letting players stream huge AAA games like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5 to a sizable screen within the VR world.