Meta announces new Quest 3 VR headset as competition from Apple approaches

meta The Quest 3, the sequel to the best-selling VR headset of all time, was announced on Wednesday.

Starting at $499, the device is $200 more expensive than its predecessor, but includes Qualcomm’s more powerful chip, a better screen, and the ability to call “passthrough,” which is expected to be one of the key features of Apple’s competing Vision Pro. hopefully. headset.

Pre-orders open on Wednesday and will ship on October 10.

The defining feature of the Quest 3 headset is the ability to instantly see the world outside the headset, which will make the device less isolating and thus more comfortable to use for long periods of time. When in an app on the Quest 3, double-tapping any part of the headset takes you out of the virtual world and into “passthrough” mode.

Other improvements include a “pancake lens,” a type of optic first used on Meta’s $1,499 Quest Pro that makes images sharper and allows higher resolution.

The release of Meta’s latest VR headset turns out to be a battle Apple In virtual reality. Many in the technology industry believe that Apple’s entry could expand the total market and create new winners, just as the iPhone leapfrogged the smartphone market.

So far, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has taken the lead. Its Quest 2 is the best-selling VR headset ever, according to an industry estimate, with about 10 million units sold last year, slightly less than at the peak of the pandemic. Apple’s Vision Pro headset won’t go on sale until next year, and it costs significantly more than Meta’s headset, which starts at $3,499.

But despite the Meta’s current success in sales, it’s unclear how many Quest 2 owners use it on a daily or weekly basis, and the killer app or must-have scenario for VR remains elusive. Meta has so far invested more than $21 billion in its Reality Labs division, which develops headsets and VR software.


CNBC was able to try out the Quest 3 ahead of its launch on Wednesday for about an hour-long demo that included playing games and going through some programs showing off the company’s hardware.

The hardware has been significantly updated with a new headband strap and a slimmer headset shape. The headband splits the top strap into two parts to better distribute the weight. However, the entire headset is heavier than its predecessor at 515 grams. The speaker of the device has also been improved and offers a quality audio experience.

Meta has also updated the two essential controllers with better haptic feedback. it uses QualcommThe Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip, which is Arm-based and closer to the power and energy drain of a mobile processor than a PC processor.

The extra power on the chip is used to power the display at a 2,064 x 2,208 resolution per eye, which is higher than the Quest 2’s 1,832 x 1,920 resolution per eye. The extra pixels will make text inside the headset easier to read. Meta says users can expect about two hours and 12 minutes of battery life.

During the demo, I tried out Samba de Amigo, a $30 game from Sega that’s like Dance Dance Revolution or Rock Band with maracas (in real life, Quest 3 controllers). I enjoyed it and even sweated a little.

The biggest improvement in usability is that the Quest 3 emphasizes passthrough, meaning cameras outside the device can show live video on the display inside the headset, working somewhat like the transparent glasses that cover a computer window. And can also show other graphics. The Quest 3 can also scan the room around you so apps can warn you when your surroundings are about to collide.

Passthrough, while a core component of mixed-reality experiences that integrate computer graphics with the real world, is a nice-to-have usability feature for now. In practice, this means users can pause their game or experience inside the Quest 3 without removing the headset. During the demo, I was able to chat with Meta executives while wearing a headset, which was a huge improvement over the previous version.

The launch of Meta’s Quest 3 will draw comparisons to Apple’s more expensive Vision Pro headset. But while Apple has incorporated as much expensive technology as possible into its headsets to enable its own passthrough mode, called “spatial computing,” the Meta offers many of its features, or at least their Trying to match a guess. , Meta’s $1,499 Quest Pro is a low-volume product.

But if there’s one big difference between Meta and Apple at this point, it’s that Meta sees the Quest primarily as a gaming device, while Apple sees its device as a computer. Meta says it has created 500 games and apps for the headset, including a Ghostbusters title, an Assassin’s Creed game, and a Stranger Things experience developed in collaboration with Netflix.

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