Thanks to leaks, we knew for some time that the Meta would launch the expensive Quest Pro this fall with a ton of new features that most people wouldn't be able to afford. But for VR gaming fans not in the loop, it had to be disappointing that the consumer-focused Meta Quest 3 wasn't announced instead.
Meta was smart to avoid releasing the Quest 3 too early because the Oculus Quest 2's recent sales popularity has attracted a bevy of game developers and new casual VR fans in the last year, and making them upgrade too early could frustrate both groups.
But we're still certain Meta will deliver a Quest 3 hardware upgrade in 2023, and 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 Mark Zuckerberg.
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
The Meta Quest 3 won't release in 2022, in case that isn't obvious at this point. The company has Meta Quest Pro headsets to sell. Instead, it'll arrive sometime in 2023, though we don't believe an official release date has been confirmed.
The most obvious candidate would be late October, with a Meta Connect 2023 reveal earlier in the month. But 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 given both the Oculus Quest 2 and Quest Pro arrived in October, we'd recommend not getting 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 for both.
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
Most of our current information concerning the Meta Quest 3 is fully courtesy of several leaked videos (opens in new tab) by YouTuber SadlyItsBradley, who showed off CAD renders of the headset (pictured above and below) and gave a detailed breakdown of every way the Quest 3 is a "love-child of Quest Pro/ Quest 2 hardware." Lynch successfully leaked most of the Quest Pro's features, so we trust his source here, as well.
As you can see, 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 put the burden on consumers to pay for an upgrade since the default strap can be uncomfortable and difficult to adjust.
Thankfully, one of the Quest Pro's most important features — pancake lenses — allegedly will come to the Quest 3. Specifically, the "exact same lenses" as the Quest Pro. This will make the headset much less front-heavy than before, which should alleviate some of the design imbalance of its predecessor.
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.
Lynch also says that the Quest Pro will enable full-color passthrough, which would help Meta bring some of the current mixed-reality experiences on the Pro to the Quest 3, now that developers won't be stuck with the ugly, laggy black-and-white passthrough you get on the Quest 2.
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 will enable far better high-fidelity hand tracking than on the Quest 2, which relies on less reliable camera tracking to work.
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.
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. Compared to the PS VR2, which will have eye tracking and foveated rendering, the Quest 3 could fall short in this area.
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 below about the Quest 3's new Snapdragon chip and why that could be an issue.
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 change at any point.
The display should, however, support 120Hz gaming by default, something the Quest 2 will also offer in the future.
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.
In Lynch's XR2 Gen 2 video, he explains that the chip will have an Adreno 740 GPU that is also rumored to bundle into the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. According to a Weibo leak earlier this year, the 8 Gen 2 will use a Cortex X3 (3.2GHz), two A720 cores (2.8GHz), two A710 cores (also 2.8GHz), and three A510 cores (2.0GHz).
Other leaks we've covered suggest that chip will appear in flagships like the OnePlus 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S23, and the leakers specifically suggested that its GPU performance will see huge gains to equal that of the iPhone 14 Pro.
Compared to the Quest 2, which has a 7nm XR2 Gen 1 and an Adreno 650 GPU found in the Snapdragon 865 chip in 2020 flagships, the 4nm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 with Adreno 740 and an upgrade to LPDDR5 storage could, according to Lynch's sources, provide a 2.5-3X graphical boost for the Quest 3.
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 that much of this 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, and Lynch says that Meta will likely sell a 12GB/512GB Quest 3 for a higher price, matching its 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 could instead be 6 or 8GB; we'll have to wait and see.
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. It 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.
Meta Quest 3 features and games
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 can't be certain that Quest 3 games will work on the Quest 2 by default.
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.
Perhaps the biggest new 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, is encouraging partnered developers to make "cloud-first content," and could make this a major push starting in 2023 alongside the Quest 3.
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 it. But it could bring even more powerful experiences to Quest 3 than even its revamped chip can offer.
Our Meta Quest 3 wishlist
While leaks have given us a clear skeleton of what the Quest 3 could look like and how it will perform, we still have plenty to learn. And we have several concerns based on our time with the Quest 2, as well as new features from competing headsets, that we hope to see resolved or at least addressed with the Quest 3.
Let the leakers be wrong about eye tracking
At GDC 2022, I attended a PS VR2 dev talk where they revealed all the ways VR games will change on Sony's upcoming headset. Foveated rendering with eye-tracking will lead to up to 3.6x GPU frame time improvements. The headset will use "gaze position and rotation, pupil diameter, and blink states," so developers can highlight or even aim assist based on wherever players are looking.
This new headset will arrive in 2023, months before the Quest 3, and it'll throw down a gauntlet that Meta will struggle to pick up without eye tracking. Sure, skip face tracking; it'd only really be useful in something like VR Chat, anyways. But eye tracking is the future of VR, and developers programming for PS VR2 will have to ditch these gameplay mechanics for a Quest port.
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 with 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; maybe we can see similar gains on the Quest 3?
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. Lynch speculated that the new chip could support Wi-Fi 7 connectivity, which sounds very next-gen and cool. Still, for people with regular routers and internet plans, we hope the new chip will support more reliable streaming, too.
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.
Thank you for signing up to Android Central. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.