Is the Meta Quest 3 VR Headset Worth It?1 comment
The Meta Quest 3 is the latest virtual reality and mixed reality headset from Meta, the company behind Facebook. Starting at $500, it’s a big investment to get the latest VR technology. So let’s find out if it’s worth it.
What is the Meta Quest 3?
The Meta Quest 3 is the successor to the Quest 2, which launched back in 2020. It’s no surprise, then, that the Quest 3 is an improvement in almost every way.
The Meta Quest 3 uses the second-generation Snapdragon XR2 system-on-chip and has 8 GB of RAM, which give it a lot more power than the Quest 2. There are two versions, a 128 GB model that retails for $500 and a 512 GB version that retails for $650.
Crucially, Meta has upgraded the two LCD displays (one for each eye) and lens stack that allow for an immersive experience. Each eye now has a 2064 x 2208 pixel screen (Meta is calling it the 4K+ Infinite Display), which is enough to generate a 110-degree horizontal and 96-degree vertical field of view—a 15% improvement on the Quest 2. While you’ll still be able to discern the pixels if you really try to, everything will appear clearer, sharper and more vibrant than it did on the earlier headset. (Specs like these are hard to compare to things like TVs and computer monitors, because the screens are so much closer to your eyes, but for a more detailed dive, Meta has a full explainer on why this all adds up to an immersive VR experience.)
Perhaps best of all, the Quest 3 is significantly smaller than the Quest 2. Although they both weigh roughly 1.1 pounds, the Quest 3 should still be more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time.
And there are a whole host of other improvements. The integrated speakers have had an upgrade, so you can now adjust the exact position of the screens without taking the headset off. Plus, the fit is significantly more secure. Similarly, the touch controllers are smaller and lighter—even as they maintain the same basic control layout.
A move toward mixed reality
While all these hardware upgrades are great and will make the Quest 3 a much better VR headset for gamers, the biggest change is that the Quest 3 is really a mixed reality headset.
Mixed reality is where virtual elements are overlaid over the real world, like holographic displays in sci-fi movies. The Quest 3 is able to pull this off using a feature called pass-through and two external cameras. Now, just by double-tapping a button on the side of the headset, you can instantly go from a full virtual world to seeing the real world. If you want to grab a cup of coffee, check on the dog or see who is calling your phone, you don’t have to take off the headset. (The Quest 2 has pass-through, but it was rudimentary and only black and white.)
While this is impressive, it’s what developers will be able to do with mixed reality that makes it so exciting. Already with the Quest 3, you can call up a virtual keyboard that hovers in the air in front of you and type messages to your friends. If the metaverse takes off, or the Apple Vision Pro kickstarts a huge mixed reality revolution when it launches next year, you might soon be able to use the Quest 3 to make 3-D video calls or check your emails on a gigantic floating screen.
Is the Meta Quest 3 the best VR headset?
The Meta Quest 3 is one of the best VR and mixed reality headsets you can buy. Reviews from major tech sites have been universally positive, with Wired giving it an 8/10 and The Verge calling it “more comfortable, more powerful, easier to figure out, more pleasant to use for long stretches, and just flat-out better” than the Quest 2. If a VR headset for gaming is what you’re looking for, check out some of the best Meta Quest 3 games.
But, really, it’s those mixed reality features that make the Quest 3 such a leap forward. While we can’t yet work in a fully virtual home office surrounded by gigantic digital screens, the Quest 3 is a step closer to that reality. And when it comes, you’ll need not only a mixed reality headset, but a fast fiber broadband capable of handling all that data.
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