A hands-on look at Meta Quest 3 reveals a huge array of improvements to the Meta mixed reality headset, as detailed in Mark German Included newsletter for Bloomberg this morning. Gurman says the Quest 3, now codenamed Eureka, is “far lighter and thinner” than the original Quest 2, which bodes well for its comfort over extended use.
In February, Meta VR CEO Mark Rabkin told employees that Quest 3 would be more expensive than its predecessor, and that “We have to prove to people that all this power, all these new features, is worth it.” He said that Meta has sold 20 million Quest headsets to date.
He also previewed the lighter design, explaining that “The main north star for the team was from the moment you put these headsets on, mixed reality should make them feel better, easier, more natural.. .You can walk effortlessly through your house, knowing you can see perfectly. You can put anchors and stuff on your desktop. You can have your coffee. You can stay there much longer.”
The report confirms some of the other big improvements we’ve come to expect, like the second-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chip, with much better performance overall.
The report also talks about what Quest 3 is all about I will not have, namely eye tracking. This means games can’t use foveate rendering, a feature present in Sony’s PSVR 2 that adjusts based on where the player is looking and allows the system to concentrate processing power on graphics in those locations and pull back elsewhere .
Design upgrades from the Quest 2 include more sensors in three pill-shaped zones that house four cameras, two of which are color pass-through video cameras. It also has an improved system for adjusting the interpupillary distance of the lenses – the distance between your eyes – with a wheel that you can turn while wearing it, instead of taking off the headphones and moving the display manually.
A depth sensor in the middle of the device could improve AR performance compared to the Quest Pro’s camera-only approach. The redesigned controllers do away with the Quest 2’s rings, but the depth sensor can help keep costs down by tracking the controller’s position without requiring cameras like the Quest Pro controllers. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg actually said that the Quest Pro will get a depth sensor in a protocol interview, but the feature didn’t make the final cut.
Gurman called the passing video “almost lifelike,” a good sign after my colleague Addy Robertson called the AR mode “murky in low light, washed out or flickering in bright light, and sometimes eerily saturated in between” in his Quest Pro review.
It sounds like the improvements there mainly come down to how the handset’s cameras handle light and color, as Gurman doesn’t think it looks noticeably sharper, despite rumors of a higher-resolution display.