Meta announces new Quest 3 mixed-reality headset for US$499.99
Note: This article was first published on 28 September 2023 and was updated on 4 November 2023 with local availability and pricing details.
Meta has just launched a new mixed-reality headset called the Quest 3. Previously announced in June, it is the company's 7th headset.
In terms of specs, it's a noticeable step up over the Quest 2. It's smaller, lighter, more powerful, and is better at allowing you to see your environment.
The Quest 3 will be powered by Qualcomm's second-gen Snapdragon XR2 processor, which Meta claims will deliver double the graphics performance of the Quest 2. It will be available with 128GB or 512GB of storage.
The dual displays have higher resolution – now 2,064 x 2,208 pixels – which is 30% more than the Quest 2 (1,832 x 1,920 pixels), and have high refresh rate of at least 90Hz. There's an "experimental" mode that boosts the refresh rate up to 120Hz.
To give these numbers some context, the Quest 2's dual displays will deliver over 9 million pixels. Apple's Vision Pro headset has dual 4K displays that consist of over 23 million pixels. It's a very different kettle of fish.
The displays also have a new pancake lens optical stack thatreduces the optic profile by 40%, which should make the Quest 3 look like clumsy and make it feel less top-heavy to wear.
But the big news is that the Quest 3 has better cameras to let you see what's going on around you. Like its predecessor, the Quest 3 has two colour cameras that show the world around you. But that's now aided by a depth sensor. It's hard to say right now how effective this setup is, but early reports from people who have demo-ed the unit seem to be promising.
The Quest 3 also has more compact controllers. It loses the big tracking rings of the Quest 2's controllers and also the cameras of last year's Quest Pro. However, more advanced algorithms will allow the Quest 3 to better track your hand position.
The built-in battery of the Quest 3 should give users around 2-3 hours of battery life depending on their usage.
While all these sound exciting, the problem with the Quest 3 – and VR/mixed reality headsets in general – is that it lacks a killer app or clear purpose. Zuckerberg's idea of a Metaverse is nowhere near fruition, and there's not much else to do outside of a handful of games.
And while the Quest 3 is unquestionably a lot more affordable than Apple's Vision Pro, it's still roughly the price of an Xbox or PlayStation. And if games were a priority for me, I don't see a good reason to pick it over a gaming console such as a PlayStation 5 and pair it with their excellent PS VR2 kit. Maybe it'll be good for watching videos or work? We'll have to wait and see.
Availability and pricing
The Quest 3 goes on 10th October in the US and will be priced at US$499.99 (~S$685.97) for the 128GB version and US$649.99 (~S$891.76) for the 512GB version.
No word yet on local availability and pricing.
The Quest 3 is yet to be officially available here, but Tec-Drome is offering the 128GB for S$999 and the 512GB version for S$1,299. You can check it out here.
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