Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the final details behind the Meta Quest 3 virtual reality headset, which will ship on October 10.
I tried out this latest onramp to the metaverse, and I think it has made a lot of leaps forward in a short time with cool VR technology. But, yeah, the metaverse still isn’t quite here yet. But this headset should be a platform for better and better consumer and enterprise applications.
The VR headset starts at $500 for a 128GB storage model, far cheaper than the Apple Vision Pro coming next year for $3,500. A 512GB version costs $649. It has double the graphics capability of the prior generation Meta Quest 2, which came out in 2020. And the 4K+ Infinite Display brings a nearly 30% leap in resolution compared to Meta Quest 2.
“I’m really excited to get this in your hands,” said Zuckerberg at the event. “It’s a game changer.”
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If you purchase the 128GB version, you will get Asgard’s Wrath 2, a $60 value, included with your purchase. If you buy the 512GB version, you get the game as well as a six-month Meta Quest+ subscription, a $108 value. Preorders start today. The game has 60 hours of gameplay and free roaming through its virtual environment, said Palwasha Khatri, product marketing manager at Meta, in a press briefing. The sequel runs natively on Meta Quest 3, Zuckerberg said.
“It wasn’t that long ago that you needed an expensive PC and sensors to try these experiences,” said Khatri. “It’s come a really long way. The devices are portable, and you can take them anywhere. And they’re much more accessible in price.”
She noted more than $2 billion has been spent so far on apps and games to date.
“And now it’s time for the next leap forward with mixed reality,” she said.
The headset will be available for purchase in the Meta Store and select retailers in 23 countries. One of the biggest improvements in the Meta Quest 3 — something that Meta showed last year with its more expensive Meta Quest Pro — is color passthrough that turns the VR headset into a mixed reality headset.
With the color passthrough, you can see the physical world around you in color, and you can see 3D-animated overlays on top of the real world. Virtual elements blend with your physical surroundings while the real world stays in clear sight. That leads to all kinds of new applications where you can stay present in the physical environment around you while wearing the headset.
With mixed reality, you can play a virtual piano on your coffee table, work out alongside a virtual trainer or open a portal to a new dimension right from the comfort of your living room. All while high-fidelity, full-color passthrough keeps your room in sight with over 10 times more pixels compared to Quest 2 and three more pixels compared to Quest Pro.
But the Meta Quest 3 is a cheaper version, and so it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the enterprise-oriented Meta Quest Pro. For instance, the Meta Quest Pro has 10 cameras and sensors, while the Meta Quest 3 has six. Yet Meta Quest 3 is half the price of the $1,000 pro version.
Redesigned from the inside out, Meta said the Meta Quest 3 features Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 technology, so even the most demanding games feature crisp details.
The VR is more realistic than ever, thanks to a new pancake lens design and increased display resolution for dazzling graphics. Yet the lenses are 40% thinner than previous models.
The entire Quest library will run on the Meta Quest 3, so it will debut with a library of more than 500 immersive apps. Over 100 new and upgraded titles are coming to Meta Quest 3 through the end of the year. Over half of these apps are brand new titles, and upgrades and my MR features are coming to another 50 titles currently on the Meta Quest Store.
New Touch Plus controllers
The new ring-free Touch Plus controllers enhance haptics for more sensations, bringing you closer to the games or apps you’re using. The thinner and lighter headset has a more customizable fit, which means you can experience more comfortable play for longer.
Meta said your hands move more naturally whether you’re working out or traveling to new realms. I didn’t get a feel for this, but Meta said you will feel sensations when holding a bow, scrambling up skyscrapers or blasting through space. You can even explore without controllers, thanks to Direct Touch that follows your gestures, letting you use just your hands.
Each controller has a double A battery.
The 2X graphics capability means load times are faster and images are more crisp. Two displays (2064 x 2208 resolution per eye) combined with Meta’s Infinite Display optical stack.
It’s also much faster to set up than prior models, which required you to calibrate the headset to your room whenever you signed in. With this one, configuration for your room is easily set. The updated boundary feature automatically scans your space using computer vision to determine your playspace boundary, so you don’t have to define it manually.
Customizable features let you find a better fit, whether you’re wearing over glasses or adjusting for different hairstyles and face shapes. You can get prescription lenses, so you don’t have to wear your glasses while you’re getting sweaty.
Surrounded by sound Feel like you’re surrounded by the action with a new level of spatial sound. Enjoy enhanced sound clarity and bass performance — plus a 40% louder audio range than Quest 2.
It has integrated stereo speakers and microphone. 3D spatial audio places you in your space with improved volume output (40% louder audio range than Quest 2), increased bass range and optimal L/R matching capabilities. Also compatible with 3.5mm headphones via a single headphone jack.
Applications and games
Meta said it’s like a home theater in your headset. You can watch streaming shows and documentaries, which appear larger than life in your room for a cinema-level experience. Feel even more immersed with an increased field of view, or like you’re right alongside friends with co-watching—wherever they are in the world.
Meta is touting fitness applications, which are already being used by millions of people exercise. There will be titles across cardio, strength training, martial arts and more. Dance, play sports or jump into action games to get your heart and adrenaline pumping.
Next month, Meta Quest for Business is coming. Microsoft Teams is entering public preview, and Adobe has a VR version of its tools. You can access Windows 365 with Excel, Powerpoint and Word.
And Xbox Cloud Stream is coming to the Meta Quest 3 in December. On fitness, we’ll see games like Les Mills Body Combat, Supernatural ($9.99 a month subscription), and FitXR will bring Zumba classes to the Quest platform. Xtadium will stream NBA games. You can see iHeart Radio Live concerts like Red Rock Live.
I played a cute VR tabletop game called Bam where you take cute characters and maneuver them around a toy-like battlefield. You can bounce and jump to get to a high platform, and then you punch your rivals and try to knock them out of the playspace. The games coming to the platform include Roblox, Assassin’s Creed Nexus, Stranger Things, Super Rumble and Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord.
I played Sega’s VR version of Samba de Amigo and some of the Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord title, where you head into a mansion and play detective, looking for signs of ghosts. I also played the Assassin’s Creed title, where I had to physically reach out and grab with my arms in order the climb walls. And putting an arrow into a crossbow was pretty complicated. I got pretty sweaty in that game.
“The Quest 3 is poised to be another breakthrough device for the VR industry – a true successor to the Quest 2. It represents another critical milestone in the development of VR and AR,” said Inga Petryaevskaya, CEO of ShapesXR, in a statement. “Over the past few years, the industry has gained unprecedented momentum. Thanks to a boom in new creation and collaboration platforms it’s much faster, cheaper and easier to design VR and AR. Now, new advanced devices are coming onto the market – like Quest 3 – which have a real chance of quickly becoming mainstream. In a few years, we may look at the launch of the Quest 3 as a device that is a marked step forward, leading to the transformation of VR and how people interact with the world.”
Weight, memory and more
The product weighs 515 grams, including the headset, soft strap and facial interface. It is a slimmer design that balances weigh better on your head. It measures 184 millimeters x 160 millimeters x 98 millimeters.
The Meta Quest 3 has six advanced camera sensors to power high-resolution color mixed reality and wireless inside-out SLAM tracking with six degrees of freedom.
The 8GB of RAM adds 33% more memory compared with Meta Quest 2, giving you more support to play your favorite apps with optimal performance. The mixed reality is captured via two RGB cameras with 18 ppd delivering full-color, high-fidelity views of your surroundings while you see virtual objects appear in your physical space. It provides over 10 times more pixels in passthrough compared to Quest 2 and three times more pixels compared to Quest Pro.
Accurate depth projection and room mapping gives you freedom to move throughout your space and interact with virtual characters or objects in the room around you.
The display refresh rate is 72Hz, 80Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz (experimental). and it has a field of view of 110 degrees horizontal and 96 degrees vertical – nearly 15% wider than Quest 2. This extends your peripheral vision to let you see more of virtual worlds, all at once, for the most immersive experiences yet.
The pancake lens optical profile is 40% slimmer than the Quest 2 and it is sharper by 25%. There’s a lens distance adjustment wheel that lets you more easily position the lens for better viewing and comfort. I had no problem wearing my glasses while wearing the headset.
Battery life is about 2.2 hours (2.9 hours with media, 2.4 hours with games, 2.2 hours with social) the same as Quest 2, depending on your device settings and usage. As with most battery powered devices, battery life is dependent on various factors such as device settings, usage, age of battery, Bluetooth usage, and wireless conditions. Productivity apps yield about 1.5 hours of battery life.
The headset is Wi-Fi 6E enabled with full 6 Ghz spectrum support with wider 160 Mhz channels. It uses Bluetooth 5.2. And it supports roomscale, which 6.5 feet x 6.5 feet of obstruction-free floor space. You can link to your PC using Link ($80) and Air Link.
You can get a Meta Quest 3 Elite Strap for $70, which takes pressure off your face. there are a variety of other accessories. You can also get an Elite Strap with battery for $130 for two more hours of usage. The Meta Quest 3 charging dock costs $130 for wireless charging. It’s targeted for people 13 and up, and those with Meta parent-managed accounts will be available for children 10 to 12 years old.
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