Meta has unveiled Quest 3, the highly-anticipated follow-up to the best-selling VR headset in history, with a starting price of $499.

On Wednesday, Meta finally announced its Quest 3 headset, the successor to the all-time best-selling VR headset, the Meta Quest 2.

At a starting price of $499, the device commands a $200 higher cost than its forerunner. Yet, it offers notable upgrades, including an advanced Qualcomm chip, superior screens, and the much-anticipated “passthrough” functionality, which is set to rival Apple’s Vision Pro headset as a key feature.

Quest 3 Headset Announced
Quest 3 Headset Announced

Starting this Wednesday, you can place your preorders for the Quest 3 headset, and the product is set to ship on October 10.

The standout feature of the Quest 3 headset is its capacity to provide rapid access to the real world outside which will make the headset less isolating thus enhancing comfort for prolonged usage. While using an application on the Quest 3, a simple double-tap on any part of the headset seamlessly transitions you from the virtual reality world into “passthrough” mode.

Additional enhancements in the headset include the integration of “pancake lenses,” an optical innovation initially introduced on Meta’s $1,499 Quest Pro. These lenses contribute to crisper images and support higher resolution capabilities.

Meta’s most recent VR headset launch coincides with an impending clash in the virtual reality arena as Apple prepares to enter the fray. Numerous experts within the technology sector anticipate that Apple’s foray could potentially expand the overall market and usher in fresh victors, much like the iPhone catalyzed the growth of the smartphone industry.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, currently holds a significant lead in this market segment. The Quest 2 headset, their flagship product, remains the top-selling VR headset, with approximately 10 million units sold in the past year, only slightly down from its peak during the pandemic, as per industry estimates. In contrast, Apple’s Vision Pro headset won’t be available for purchase until the following year and carries a substantially higher price tag, starting at $3,499, compared to Meta’s offerings.

However, even with Meta’s current market success, the frequency of daily or weekly usage among Quest 2 owners remains uncertain, and the elusive “killer app” or essential use case for VR is yet to materialize. Meta’s investment in its Reality Labs division, responsible for headset and VR software development, has surpassed $21 billion to date.

Passthrough Mode

CNBC had the opportunity to experience the Quest 3 during a one-hour demonstration session conducted before its Wednesday launch. The demo encompassed gaming sessions and guided exploration of several programs designed to showcase the company’s hardware capabilities.

The hardware has undergone substantial improvements, featuring a redesigned headband strap and a sleeker headset profile. The headband now divides the top strap into two sections, enhancing weight distribution. However, the overall headset is marginally heavier than its predecessor, weighing in at 515 grams. Furthermore, the device’s speakers have been enhanced to deliver a high-quality audio experience.

Meta has further refined the two essential controllers to offer enhanced haptic feedback. Additionally, the device is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip, which utilizes an Arm-based architecture and closely resembles the performance and energy efficiency of a mobile processor rather than a PC processor.

The increased processing power of the chip fuels displays with a remarkable resolution of 2,064 x 2,208 per eye, a notable improvement over the Quest 2’s 1,832 x 1,920 per eye resolution. These additional pixels significantly enhance text readability within the headset. According to Meta, users can anticipate approximately two hours and twelve minutes of battery life.

The Quest 3’s most notable enhancement in usability lies in its prioritization of “passthrough” functionality. This feature enables the external cameras to project live video onto the displays within the headset, creating an effect akin to transparent glasses that can also display computer windows and other graphics. Furthermore, the Quest 3 can perform room scanning, allowing apps to provide alerts when you are approaching potential obstacles in your surroundings.

Passthrough, although a crucial element of mixed-reality experiences that blend computer-generated graphics with reality, currently serves as a valuable convenience feature. In practical terms, it allows users to pause their game or experience within the Quest 3 without needing to remove the headset. CNBC tried out a demonstration of the headset where it was able to engage in conversations with Meta representatives while wearing the headset, signifying a substantial improvement over the previous version.

Meta’s launch of the Quest 3 headset is bound to draw comparisons with Apple’s Vision Pro headset, which comes with a higher price tag. However, while Apple has incorporated expensive technology to enable its “spatial computing” passthrough mode, Meta is aiming to offer similar features, or at least close approximations, at a significantly lower cost. Notably, Meta’s Quest Pro, priced at $1,499, serves as a lower-volume product in their lineup.

However, a prominent distinction between Meta and Apple currently lies in their respective visions for their devices. Meta predominantly positions the Quest as a gaming device, whereas Apple frames its device as a computer. Meta has curated a collection of 500 games and apps for the headset, featuring titles like Ghostbusters, an Assassin’s Creed game, and a Stranger Things experience created in collaboration with Netflix. GrantBusinessMeta has unveiled Quest 3, the highly-anticipated follow-up to the best-selling VR headset in history, with a starting price of $499. On Wednesday, Meta finally announced its Quest 3 headset, the successor to the all-time best-selling VR headset, the Meta Quest 2. At a starting price of $499, the device commands...VR, Oculus Rift, and Metaverse News - Cryptocurrency, Adult, Sex, Porn, XXX