Meta Quest 4: Everything we expect from the Quest 3 successor

The new pancake lenses on the Meta Quest 3
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

We likely won't see a Meta Quest 4 until 2026, based on the three-year gap between the Oculus Quest 2 and Meta Quest 3. Still, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has already hinted at Quest 4 features, and the Quest 1 and 2 were only 17 months apart — which means it's never too early to speculate.

Based on leaks and official announcements, Meta will likely launch a Quest 3 Lite for budget gamers in 2024, followed by a Quest Pro 2 for XR power users in 2025. In light of that, we can expect the Quest 4 to thread the needle as the mainstream option for VR fans in late 2026. 

Whenever it arrives, the Meta Quest 4 will have the challenge of fixing its predecessors' flaws without ballooning too high in price.

The Meta Quest 3, despite all its upgrades, retained some questionable design elements from the Quest 2. Not because Meta wasn't aware of them, but because the Quest 3 costs $430 to make, and Meta couldn't upgrade it further without making it too expensive. 

Below is a speculative list of what we'd love the Meta Quest 4 to deliver, from likely upgrades (based on hints from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg) to pie-in-the-sky requests — while acknowledging that the Quest 4 may not be able to fit in every upgrade we want.

Eye tracking

Nicholas Sutrich using a Meta Quest Pro at the hands-on event at Meta HQ in NYC

(Image credit: Brittainy Newman)

After the Apple Vision Pro launch, Mark Zuckerberg jumped on Instagram to criticize Apple's headset and say what the Quest 3 does better. In that video, he acknowledged that Apple's eye tracking is "really nice," but quickly explains that the Quest Pro had eye-tracking sensors first and that they intend to "bring them back in the future."

We're certain eye tracking will return to the Quest Pro 2, but less certain about the Quest 4, given the cost restraints. We'll simply hope the Quest 4 gets it because it was one of the most disappointing omissions from the Quest 3. 

Apple uses it to see what you're looking at and improve your hand-tracking controls. The Quest Pro and PSVR 2 use it for foveated rendering, a graphical trick that concentrates the most graphical detail on where you're looking for faster GPU performance and better detail. And Sony uses its cameras to check if the PSVR 2's interpupillary distance (IPD) matches your eyes — whereas the Quest 3 makes you measure your IPD with a ruler and can't warn you if your view is off.

Given Meta's newfound rivalry with Apple — which will launch its next headset in 2026 — we suspect it'll find a way to squeeze eye-tracking cameras into the Quest 4 budget.

Neural interface band

Screenshot of Meta Connect 2022 showing Meta's neural interface wristband concept, specifically how it registers brainwaves based on minute finger and hand gestures.

(Image credit: Meta)

During his Apple Vision Pro roast, Zuckerberg claimed that eye and hand tracking are "not a perfect control system" and that you need a keyboard or "neural interface" for better accuracy. Later that month, he went on a podcast and elaborated that the company's wearable electromyography (EMG) band can interpret the "nervous system signals" from your brain to your hand for better gesture controls. 

"You'll essentially be able to type and control something by thinking about how you want to move your hand," Zuckerberg explained, for a "private and discreet interface." And he claims the technology is "close to product-ready" and will be in a Meta product "in the next few years."

The Quest 4's late-2026 release date would ideally qualify as within the next few years! Imagine if the headset shipped with a subtle EMG band that would interpret your gesture controls for easier typing and navigation, that could certainly make the Quest 4 feel like a "next-gen" upgrade!

The alternative would be a Meta-branded fitness tracker with heart rate and accelerometer data, since the Quest 3 and 2 already have a ton of exercise games. Including that in the box would make the Quest 4 look especially appealing.

Built-in Elite Strap

Meta Holocake 2 VR prototype from the side

A Meta prototype (Holocake 2) with ultra-thin lenses and built-in Elite Strap (Image credit: Meta)

One of the key Quest 3 vs. Quest 2 differences is a redesigned cloth strap that better balances the side-to-side weight; unfortunately, it also presses a bit against your ears, and it still doesn't do enough to keep it secure for fast-paced exercise apps. We wish it had shipped with a built-in Elite Strap, but it's another area where the Quest 3 design team cut corners to keep the cost low.

We'll hope, perhaps in vain, that the Quest 4 will adapt to a new, non-cloth design. Most of the best VR headsets out there use a secure frame with soft, water-resistant lining and a back knob to secure it to your head, along with a top strap to offset the weight on the sides of your head. 

Meta itself sells an $80 Elite Strap you can install yourself, and third-party Quest 3 accessories offer alternatives. But we'd love it if Meta could make the Quest 4 built for better comfort and security from the start. 

A display upgrade

The new pancake lenses on the Meta Quest 3

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The Quest 3 displays received a 30% resolution boost over the Quest 2, giving you an impressive 2064 x 2208 pixels per eye, or 1,218 pixels per inch. That's 445 more PPI than the Quest 2 and 418 PPI more than the PSVR 2. That said, the Vision Pro hits 3,386 PPI, so we can assume the Quest 4 will close that resolution gap. 

One unchanged Quest 3 aspect is its LCD display, even though the Quest Pro used QLED and rival headsets use OLED or Micro LED. This is another area where we'd like to see an improvement, if it doesn't run up the Quest 4 price too much. 

LCD is more affordable, helping Meta keep the price low, but it also has high power demands and poor contrast compared to other standards. OLED gives you richer colors and deeper blacks, whereas LCDs can struggle with darker games, making them appear gray. And since OLEDs don't have a backlight, they could give the Quest 4 better battery life. 

OLED displays have their downsides, too, from a grainy Mura effect to potential PWM issues that could make a subset of users sick. They're more likely to get burn-in over time, and they cost more to manufacture. So we'll have to wait and see what choice Meta makes for the Quest 4.

Cloud gaming

Official screenshots of Assassin's Creed Nexus running on a Meta Quest 3

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

We don't necessarily want this next feature, but it's something we know from leaks that Meta is working on.

Before the Quest 3 launch, VR analyst Brad Lynch claimed that a source had told him about Project Razor, "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.'"

We also saw from Quest 3 FCC filings that Meta might have tested the current-gen headset's 5G capabilities, which makes sense given its Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip could easily support 5G. Meta hasn't said anything about Quest 3 5G support, so we can assume Meta either has work left to do or decided not to implement it (yet).

Cloud gaming's upside is that the Meta Quest 3 or 4 could play PC VR-quality games without needing to rely on mobile hardware; this, in turn, could allow Meta to keep future Quest headsets lighter without as much robust hardware. 

The worrying downside is that cloud gaming has latency issues, which could trigger nausea or frustration in VR games when your game movements don't match your own. We also don't know if Meta will charge for this service — perhaps it would be a part of Meta Quest Plus — and not every area has reliable 5G connectivity.

Varifocal or holocake lenses

An eye chart showing visual clarity of Meta Quest VR headsets

(Image credit: Meta)

We'll round out our list with something we know Meta is working on but is highly unlikely to be ready for consumer-priced VR headsets anytime soon.

At the SIGGRAPH 2023 conference, Meta showed off its Butterscotch Varifocal prototype, the "first prototype headset to achieve varifocal with a retinal resolution display of roughly 60 pixels per degree (PPD), which is sufficient for 20/20 visual acuity." For context, the ultra-expensive Vision Pro hits just 34 PPD. 

Currently, VR lenses have a fixed focal point where text and objects are in the clearest focus, so developers have to plan around this. With varifocal lenses, the Quest prototype can focus electronically on objects that are close to or far away from the user in the virtual world.

If Meta can offer varifocal lenses on the Quest 4 (or another future Quest headset), it would dynamically change how game developers design the best Quest games, removing the visual restrictions that make VR text and general surroundings blurry.

VR lens types

(Image credit: Meta)

This prototype only had a minuscule 50-degree field of view, less than half the Quest 3's 110º FoV, and it'd be both bulky and expensive. Still, this is the kind of thing Reality Labs is spending billions of dollars on, so we can hope the Quest 4 will iterate closer to this ideal VR tech, while keeping it affordable.

The other Meta VR prototype we saw, pictured above, is the Holocake 2. Holocake lenses are the next step after the Quest 3's pancake lenses, adding a holographic layer that removes the need for convex or concave lenses. With it, the Quest 4 could be skinnier in front than ever, offering some real weight loss to the already-comfortable Quest 3.

The Meta Quest 4 will be all about balance

Ever since the Quest 3 launched, people have continued to buy the Quest 2, simply because they like how affordable it is. With the Meta Quest 4, we want upgrades, but not for it to be so advanced that only VR power users can afford it. 

No doubt it'll get a performance upgrade with a hypothetical Snapdragon XR2 Gen 3. Meta will probably unveil new Meta Horizon OS features for the Quest 4 that'll then pass on to other headsets, now that Meta has made its VR software open-source. Perhaps competition from partner brands will help inspire Meta to make the Quest 4 better than ever. 

At the same time, we wonder if certain compromises like a cloth headstrap, LCD visuals, and short battery life are something we'll have to live with, in order for the Quest 4 to stay at a consumer-friendly price.

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.

  • Junkie XL
    Assuming there will even by a Quest 4. IIRC Meta operated at a loss to even deploy Quest 3 while massively scaling back VR operations to stop the financial hemorrhaging in that dept. Unless Quest 3 breaks some kind of sales record or there is some magical resurgence in VR/AR popularity, I don't see Meta wasting another X millions in developing a Q4.
  • Junkie XL
    AC News said:
    Yes, the Quest 3 just came out. No, it's not too early to think about how the next Quest 4, Quest Lite, or Quest Pro can top the current-gen headset.

    Meta Quest 4: Everything we want from the Quest 3 successor : Read more
    As massive of a flop Quest Pro was, I am 99.9% sure there will not be another one. As slim as the chances are for a Quest 4 at this point, the chances are next to nothing for a Pro 2.
    How about an ecosystem worth spending any money towards. VR 'AAA' Games are barely 'AA' Games in respect to regular games.

    They need to either massively lower game rates or start releasing better games. Or make a PC VR only version of the hardware itself for a lower price.

    I don't see the value at its current pricing.