I can’t put Meta Quest Pro down. Ever since I first put the headset on to test it, I’ve been blown away by its performance, and my Quest 2 – once the best gadget I’ve owned – now collects dust as I ignore it in favor of this new VR hero. However, even as I sit here, impatient and longing for Quest Pro on the charging station, I know the real situation: I’m not in love with Meta Quest Pro. I am in love with the Oculus Quest 3 device hidden in it.
Meta Quest Pro is the ultra-premium upgrade to Oculus Quest 2 from Meta. The old white plastic covered heavy front has been replaced with a sleek black shell with better weight distribution and padding for extra comfort. Internally, the Quest Pro also has upgraded specs with the all-new Snapdragon XR2 Plus chip, which offers a 50% increase in constant power over the regular XR2 Quest 2, and a pair of Mini-LED display panels. Each screen offers 1800 x 1920 pixels per eye and provides 37% more pixels per inch and 10% more pixels per degree than the panels found in Quest 2.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Quest Pro has improved rechargeable controllers that use cameras for more accurate tracking, as well as all-new capabilities like color blending, hand tracking, and eye tracking.
The end result is a package that blows Quest 2 out of the water. But there’s a catch: Pro costs a lot more than Quest 2, and it doesn’t offer enough money.
Too much of a good thing
The beefed-up Meta headset will set you back $1500 / £1500 / AU$2450 – almost four times what the base Quest 2 was for $400 / £400 / AU$630. Even if you compare the Pro to the more expensive 256GB Quest 2 model, which costs $500 / £500 / AU$790, the price discrepancy is no less impossible to ignore.
The price jump is to be expected given the plethora of upgrades the Quest Pro has over its predecessor, but what makes the price hard to swallow is that the headset’s most unique features now feel like a gimmick .
Face tracking is interesting, but unless you spend a lot of time in Horizon Worlds or other Horizon apps, it’s not that useful. Moreover, while the eye tracking really impressed me, all it can do now is help make sure I’m wearing the headset correctly and guide me in adjusting it. Color rendering also suffers from a lack of meaningful mixed reality experiences – most apps that use it offer perfectly good VR-only options.
I expect Meta and its collaborators to build a case in the coming year as to why users should care about face tracking and color passing, but right now the only real benefits it offers are a better layout and display. And while the improvements are noticeable, they’re not worth paying the extra $1,000 / £1,000 / AU$1,820 or more for Quest 2.
And that’s where Quest 3 comes in.
Quest 3 is VR goggles for me
The meta (and the leaked project) hinted that Quest 3 would be an upgrade of the existing Quest 2, but it wouldn’t be as feature-rich as Quest Pro – most likely lacking face/eye tracking and offering more basic transition functionality. Instead, we will most likely see it contain only a powerful chip and a better display than its predecessor.
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Moreover, Quest 3 is likely to be sold at a more affordable price. Meta previously made it clear that the regular Quest line is aimed at more casual VR fans, while its Quest Pro models will cater to prosumers and professionals after a higher-level experience (and willing to pay the higher cost of entry it requires).
But I’m not looking for a next-level experience with tracking and mixed reality. I just want a device that will make the best Oculus Quest 2 games run better. So if the Quest 3 can match the Quest Pro in the way that matters most to me – i.e. the Meta Quest Pro with no eye and face tracking – and it retails for $500 or less (around £500 / AU$790), then it’s definitely you will need to buy a VR headset when it launches.
We won’t know what Meta has up its sleeve until later this year when it unveils Quest 3 at Meta Connect 2023 (which is expected around October), but I’m already counting down the days. If you’re looking forward to it, the Quest 2 Meta will certainly serve you well – as will Quest Pro if you can afford it – but given how close we are to an announcement for Quest 3, I’d strongly suggest holding off unless you see an amazing deal Quest 2, such as the one from Black Friday 2022. If Pro performance is anything noteworthy, Quest 3 looks like the successor to Quest 2, which I really want.