On Thursday, Meta unveiled the Quest 3, a new untethered VR/MR headset that combines all-in-one capabilities. The upgraded headset centers around an advanced Qualcomm SoC specifically designed for VR/MR applications. It boasts enhanced performance, a higher-resolution display, improved controllers, a brand-new 6-degree-of-freedom (6DoF) positional tracking system, and maintains compatibility with existing software developed for the previous Quest headset.
The Quest 3 by Meta introduces their most advanced display to date, accompanied by a streamlined optics assembly that contributes to a thinner device design. While Meta has not revealed the exact display resolution or refresh rate, it is anticipated to surpass the per-eye resolution of 1832×1920 and the 72-120 Hz refresh rate range found in the Quest 2. According to Meta, the Quest 3 boasts a 40% slimmer optics profile, enhancing overall comfort. However, it’s important to acknowledge that comfort can vary greatly based on individual ergonomic preferences, as it is a subjective experience.
To maintain satisfactory performance at an elevated resolution, Meta has stated that the Quest 3 utilizes an advanced Snapdragon system-on-chip (SoC) that offers more than double the graphical capabilities compared to the Quest 2, which is powered by the Snapdragon XR2. While Meta has not provided specific details regarding the exact SoC used, the current options in Qualcomm’s lineup include the Snapdragon XR2+ Gen1, found in the Quest Pro. However, considering Meta’s deliberate lack of precision, it is probable that the Quest 3 employs an even newer SoC or potentially a custom solution.
Apart from the advancements in display resolution and performance, Meta has made significant improvements to the sensor and tracking systems of the Quest 3. The front panel of the headset features three pill-shaped sensors. The left and right sensors are equipped with dual 4MP outward-facing RGB cameras that capture stereoscopic visuals, while the middle sensor serves as the depth sensor. Additionally, tracking cameras are positioned in the corners of the device, enabling hand tracking functionality right out of the box.
According to Meta, their new Meta Reality technology, made possible by the two RGB cameras and the depth sensor on the Quest 3, delivers a significantly more immersive mixed reality experience than both the Quest 3 and the Quest Pro.
Mark Rabkin, the VP of VR at Meta, expressed the company’s ultimate vision to provide users with an intuitive and enjoyable means of navigating through various realities. He emphasized the desire to transcend the rigid categorizations of “virtual reality” and “mixed reality” to offer next-generation experiences that seamlessly merge the physical and virtual realms. The concept of Meta Reality encompasses both the profound immersion of VR and the freedom and enjoyment of enhancing the real world with MR capabilities. Rabkin expressed excitement about the unlimited possibilities available to developers and creators on the Quest Platform, eager to witness the innovative creations that emerge from such boundless potential.
As a final noteworthy update, Meta has redesigned its Touch Plus controllers specifically for the Quest 3 headset. These new controllers have eliminated the external tracking rings and offer enhanced ergonomics for improved comfort and usability. Additionally, they incorporate TruTouch haptics, enhancing the tactile feedback during interactions. For users seeking an even more advanced experience, Meta offers the option to purchase the Meta Quest Touch Pro Controllers, which provide full self-tracking capabilities.
Meta has announced that it will disclose further information about the Quest 3 on September 27th. This timing raises speculation regarding whether the company intentionally unveiled its headset just ahead of Apple’s anticipated VR/MR headset announcement, possibly to divert attention from the latter. In terms of availability, Meta plans to begin selling the Quest 3 in the latter part of this year. The base model, featuring 128GB of internal storage, will be priced at $499. However, for those who require more storage space, Meta will offer a higher-priced model with increased internal storage capacity.