Meta Quest 3: Everything we know so far

The Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro on a table with a Christmas tree in the background
The Quest 3 will fuse features between the Quest 2 (left) and Quest Pro (right) (Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed longstanding rumors that the Meta Quest 3 will arrive in 2023, most likely around the three-year anniversary of the Oculus Quest 2 launch. Three years isn't an especially long wait for a new gaming console, but many VR gamers are already beyond excited to see how the Quest 3 will improve on the most popular VR device in history.

Arriving a year later than the $1,500 Meta Quest Pro, the Quest 3 will cost closer to the Quest 2, which means it'll have some of the same shortcomings or budget compromises. But leaks do suggest the Quest 3 will bridge the gap between the two, adding a few "Pro" upgrades to the consumer headset.

Many people hoped that the Oculus Quest 3 would arrive last year, but we think Meta was smart to avoid releasing the Quest 3 too soon. The Quest 2 just had its two-year anniversary, and its recent sales popularity has attracted a bevy of game developers and new casual VR fans. Making them upgrade too soon could frustrate both groups.

On the other hand, because of Meta's recent layoffs and Reality Labs losses, other VR prototypes have been cancelled. So Meta will be counting on the Quest 3 to be a major success in the face of its financial woes.

We've already learned a surprising amount about the headset thanks to a massive leak from VR analyst Brad Lynch, as well as hints from Zuckerberg himself. Time to strap on our virtual thinking caps and talk about everything we know (or hope to see) concerning the Meta Quest 3.

Meta Quest 3: Release date

During Meta's first 2023 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg discussed the Meta Quest Pro, its first mixed-reality headset, saying that MR lets you "experience the immersion and presence of VR while still being grounded in the physical world around you."

He went on to say that, "Later this year, we're going to launch our next-generation consumer headset, which will feature Meta Reality as well, and I expect that this is going to establish this technology as the baseline for all headsets going forward."

We'll discuss Meta Reality further below, but this statement confirms that the Meta Quest 3 will arrive in 2023 with support for both virtual and mixed-reality experiences. He just didn't specify a release date or month.

The most obvious candidate would be late October, with a Meta Connect 2023 reveal earlier in the month — the same as the Oculus Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro. Older Oculus headsets like the Quest 1 and Go launched in spring, so it's technically possible Meta could aim for an earlier launch in the year. But we recommend you don't get your hopes up.

Meta Quest 3: Price

Stratechery (opens in new tab) conducted an interview with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella around the Quest Pro's launch, focused on their new Quest-Microsoft partnership. During this discussion, Zuckerberg confirmed the Quest 3 wouldn't arrive in 2022 but did confirm it was in production, saying, "there will be a Quest 3, and that's in the price range of $300, $400, or $500, that zone."

This tracks with the current pricing of the Meta Quest 2, which originally cost $300 or $400 for the 128GB or 256GB models, respectively, until a recent $100 price increase to $400–$500.

We think an identical price of $400 for the base Meta Quest 3 would make sense. Based on the Lynch leak we'll discuss below, Meta will likely sell a "Tier Up" model with increased RAM and storage, so it's possible that version would cost an extra $100-$200 more, similar to what you'd pay for a phone upgrade.

Meta Quest 3: Design

Render of the Meta Quest 3

(Image credit: Alvin Suen (via @Lunayian))

The Meta Quest 3 design, based on video leaks (opens in new tab) by VR analyst and YouTuber Bradley Lynch, will be a "love-child of Quest Pro/ Quest 2 hardware." The above Sketchfab CAD render, courtesy of Alvin Suen (opens in new tab), shows what the Quest 3 should look like based on everything we've heard.

According to Lynch's source, the Quest 3 will not have the built-in Elite Strap and rear battery pack of the Quest Pro, instead returning with the same soft strap and front-stored battery as the Quest 2. Once again, this cost-saving measure will force consumers to pay for an upgrade since the default strap is less supportive and comfortable than we would like.

Thankfully, one of the Quest Pro's most important features — pancake lenses — allegedly will come to the Quest 3. Specifically, it has "exact same lenses" as the Quest Pro, claims Lynch. This will make the headset much less front-heavy than before, which should alleviate some of the design imbalance of its predecessor. YUR CEO Dilan Shah showed off a size comparison of the Quest 2 vs. Quest 3 on Twitter (opens in new tab), as seen below.

Render of the Oculus Quest 2 (left) and Meta Quest 3 (right), showing how much smaller the Quest 3 headset is thanks to the pancake lenses.

(Image credit: @dilan_shah)

You won't be able to use your old Quest 2 strap alternatives because the new model places the USB-C charging and data port directly inside the front-left strap, according to Lynch. Its former spot is taken up with side-angled 6DoF tracking cameras. You also have two more 6DoF cameras on the front, as well as a depth sensor. 

Because Meta favors a white headset design for its new Quest headsets — rather than the black aesthetic of older Oculus headsets — the front cameras will stand out. Considering the Quest 3 will have a greater emphasis on mixed reality than the Quest 2, it stands to reason that Meta would make it more obvious that the person inside the headset can (potentially) see you through those cameras.

Renders of the Meta Quest 3

(Image credit: SadlyItsBradley)

In a follow-up video (opens in new tab) to his initial leaks, Lynch says that if the Quest 3 has the same depth sensor and depth projector as the Quest Pro, it will enable far better high-fidelity hand tracking than on the Quest 2, which relies on less reliable camera tracking to work. 

Otherwise, the Quest 3 cameras will be used to create a full-color recreation of your environment, which Meta calls "Meta Reality." If it uses the same cameras as the Quest Pro, this passthrough should be quite clear for everyday objects, but likely won't be clear enough to, say, read text on your phone. 

The single right-side 3.5mm headphone jack will return, unlike the dual ports of the Quest Pro. This will make more headphones work with the device but also lead to dangling cords unless you strap them on properly.

Renders of the Meta Quest 3

(Image credit: SadlyItsBradley)

While the Quest 3 adopted Quest Pro mixed-reality improvements and pancake lenses, Lynch's sources say it won't have eye or face tracking. The Quest Pro has five internal cameras for these features, which would drive up the cost of the Quest 3 far more than these other improvements. 

Lynch also speculates that the headset will have a single cooling fan, identical to the Quest 2 and one fewer than the dual-fan setup of the Quest Pro. We'll discuss the Quest 3's new Snapdragon chip and why that could be an issue below.

Meta Quest 3: Specs

Just because the Quest 3 will take the Quest Pro's pancake lenses doesn't mean it'll have the same display as the Quest Pro, which used QLED panels with 500 dimming zones. Instead, Lynch's sources say it'll have LCD displays, same as the Quest 2, and we have no word on whether the resolution will improve on the Quest 2's 1832x1920 per eye. 

That's in contrast to a previous leak from Lynch that the Quest 3 would use uOLED displays produced by Changxin Technology — a good reminder that some of this leaked data could prove false if Meta changes its plans in the next year.

The display should, however, support 120Hz gaming by default, something the Quest 2 will also offer in the future

Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2+ announcement image

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

One very significant Quest 3 specs upgrade, however, will be the chip. Brad Lynch has confirmed information from "XR industry sources" that Meta will use a new Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip codenamed Project Halliday — a reference to the OASIS creator in Ready Player One. 

Just as Qualcomm designed the Quest 2's XR2 Gen 1 chip from the flagship Snapdragon 865 chip of that year, the XR2 Gen 2 allegedly uses a redesigned variant of the 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 found in 2023 flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Simply compare benchmarks between 2020 and 2023 phones, and you'll get a glimpse at how much faster the Quest 3 may run compared to the Quest 2. In theory, it'll be significantly faster.

Along with faster and more efficient CPU cores, the XR2 Gen 2 will employ the Adreno 740 GPU, which supports hardware-accelerated ray tracing and has faster performance than the industry-leading Apple A16 GPU in the iPhone 14 Pro. Plus, the Quest 3 will have LPDDR5 storage, faster than the Quest 2's LPDDR4X storage.

Playing games on a Meta Quest Pro

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

We've discussed how the Quest Pro beats the Quest 2 in performance thanks to a boosted 12GB of RAM compared to the 6GB in the Quest 2, but much of this extra memory goes towards the extra face/eye camera tracking. The Quest 3 could have much better gaming performance than the Quest Pro thanks to the XR2 Gen 2 as a result. In fact, Lynch says that Meta will likely sell a 12GB/512GB Quest 3 for a higher price, matching the Pro's RAM and beating its storage space for games. If these leaks prove true, that makes it the more attractive headset for gamers.

The possible downside, which we referenced above, is that the Quest 3 may only have one cooling fan, which could limit its ability to clock up to the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2's full potential. And the default Quest 3 memory will likely fall closer to 6–8GB, similar to the Quest 2.

As for other Quest 3 specs, we don't know yet what the size of the battery will be to compensate for the performance increase, but Meta seems to target 2-3 hours for its headsets. The device should weigh less than the Quest 2 due to the pancake lenses and will once again have integrated stereo speaker vents. 

We don't know yet whether Quest 3 controllers will look like Quest Pro controllers with built-in tracking cameras or if they'll bring back the halo tracking ring. Considering those controllers cost a whopping $300, we highly suspect that the Quest 3 controllers will use a more basic design, but that you'll be able to pair the Quest Pro controllers to the Quest 3 if you can afford them.

Meta Quest 3 features and games

Meta Quest 2 with hands

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The Quest 1 could play Oculus Go titles, while the Quest 2 could play Quest 1 titles but not Go titles — and eventually had exclusive games the Quest 1 couldn't play. We're pretty confident that the full Quest gaming library will come to the Quest 3, but it's possible that some older titles will need a graphical update in order to qualify for the store, which means some will get left behind.

Thanks to the possible depth projector upgrade, hand tracking should be improved on the Quest 3, so developers may make more games that don't rely on Touch controllers. 

Similarly, thanks to the mixed-reality upgrade of full-color passthrough, we suspect that the passthrough mechanic will be incorporated into more Quest Store games. That means incorporating your surroundings into the graphics of your environment, like adding a Beat Saber filter to your furniture so you can see it, but it doesn't distract you. 

We've seen several Quest 2 live-service games cancelled, and we suspect this is because Meta is pushing its Oculus Studios teams to pivot to new Quest 3 experiences, whether virtual or mixed. 

Plutosphere dashboard

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

Perhaps the biggest new Quest 3 gaming feature would be Project Razor, which Lynch calls "a partnership between Meta and US-based ISP/MNOs, i.e., Verizon, AT&T, etc., to help build connectivity improvements and get the internet "metaverse ready." 

Basically, Meta is gearing up to make cloud VR gaming happen right now using cellular data instead of unreliable wireless networks, and is encouraging partnered developers to make "cloud-first content" that might launch alongside the Quest 3. But we don't know if this plan will come to fruition.

Having tested Plutosphere, a sideloaded Quest 2 cloud gaming app, and had difficulties maintaining a proper connection long enough to enjoy Half-Life: Alyx, I'm curious how well this will work and how much consumers would have to pay for network access. But if this can make PC VR-quality games freely and painlessly available on the Quest 3 without needing Link cables or even your own PC, that would be a major development.

Our Meta Quest 3 wishlist

According to tech journalist Alex Heath (via Mixed News (opens in new tab)), Meta has canceled several future VR prototypes ("Cardiff" and Hermosa"); industry analysts had suggested Cardiff might be a Quest 3 "Plus" or "Lite," so now the Quest 3 will stand alone.

With the future of Meta's Reality Labs division in doubt, we don't know when the next Meta Quest headset will arrive. So with a lot riding on this release, this is our Quest 3 features wishlist based on our time with the Quest 2, Quest Pro, PS VR2, and other VR headsets.

Let the leakers be wrong about eye tracking

The PlayStation VR2 uses eye tracking for a feature called foveated rendering, which prioritizes graphical fidelity wherever you're looking for a huge graphical boost beyond what the hardware can normally do — because it can cut corners graphically wherever you aren't looking.

Plus, eye tracking has more niche benefits. For example, it lets you do an effortless IPD adjustment by using cameras to check if your eyes are dead center, and some games even incorporate blinking or closing your eyes into the mechanics of the game, like jump-scaring you in a horror game.

In other words, Sony has made eye tracking look incredibly useful on the PS VR2, a big point in its favor over the Quest 2. So it's disappointing to see leaks suggest that Meta will keep it restricted to the Quest Pro, likely to keep the cost of the headset down. We hope Meta sees the success of this rival headset and changes its mind, or that the leak was wrong to begin with.

Better battery life

Out of the box, the Quest 2 lasts maybe 2-2.5 hours while gaming and that capacity can dip over time unless you counterbalance it with a battery pack. It'd be nice if Meta could both improve the Quest 3's graphics while also managing to add an extra hour of battery life. 

Give us expandable storage

We appreciate that the Quest 3 might jump to 512GB and that cloud saves have made it less of a big deal to delete and redownload old games from your library. But frugal VR gamers should have the option to increase their capacity if they want to store years' worth of games or movies downloaded for streaming. We think the latter will be especially more pleasant now that color passthrough will make you less isolated from reality, but movies take up a ton of space, and a microSD card slot could really help.

Revamped visuals (somehow)

If Meta decides to go with LCD lenses instead of OLED to save money, we can accept it (even if it means the Quest 3 will struggle to display deep blacks like its predecessor). But there should be some way to differentiate the visual experience since the 2020 release, aside from 120Hz out of the box. Perhaps we can get a wider FOV, for instance. 

The Quest Pro has a 1.3x-larger color gamut and 37% more pixels-per-inch than the Quest 2, according to Meta; and the PS VR2 has a 110º field-of-view, compared to just 90º on the Quest 2. The Quest 3 has room for improvement!

Improved Air Link

We'll see if the whole cloud VR / Project Razor thing pans out. In the meantime, the Quest 3 should have official Air Link out of the box with proper, consistent connectivity with your PC and no need for the new D-Link dongle. Considering the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can support Wi-Fi 7 connectivity, that gives us hope that the Quest 3 will better prioritize VR traffic and have shorter latency.

Offer a Quest 2 trade-in system

With over ten million Quest 2 units sold, these devices will produce a ridiculous amount of e-waste if Quest 3 buyers don't have any convenient way to resell or trade them. And forcing new Quest 2 buyers to pay another $500 so soon will just alienate them. Meta will generate a ton of goodwill if it learns from Samsung's example and offers Quest 2 owners a decent discount on the Quest 3 if they trade in their headsets. 

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.