Meta released the follow-up to the Meta Quest 2 in 2023 after three years of VR domination. The Meta Quest 3 was just about everything we had hoped for, with a few exceptions, one of which was the $200 price hike over the Quest 2's $299 price tag.
But, as rumor has it, the Meta Quest Lite — potentially known as the Meta Quest 3 Lite — is likely to launch at just $199 sometime in 2024. From what we know so far, the Meta Quest Lite looks to sport the same powerful Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset as the Meta Quest 3 but will be cutting down the cost by stripping away several other features.
So, what exactly can we expect from this headset? Surprisingly, it may be a more direct Apple Vision Pro competitor than the Quest 3 for one big reason: it's reportedly not shipping with any controllers.
Meta Quest 3 Lite: Price and availability
Rumor has it that the Meta Quest Lite will launch sometime in 2024 for an incredible $199. That would make it the cheapest Meta Quest headset ever released, even under-cutting the Quest 2's $299 launch price.
One rumor suggests that the headset will actually launch closer to the $299 mark so that Meta doesn't have to make too many hardware concessions. That would include a better mixed reality experience than the Quest 2 offers without raising the price.
While we initially expected the Meta Quest Lite to make an appearance at the annual Meta Connect conference in September or October 2024, the latest rumors point to a release in the first half of 2024. At that time, it was said that Meta would cease sales of the Meta Quest 2 and use the Quest Lite as a replacement for the lower-cost Meta Quest option.
We're also not sure about the name just yet, either. The Meta Quest Pro was originally thought to be called the Meta Quest 2 Pro, but Meta launched it without that product number, signifying that it's part of its own product line.
It's possible Meta could do this with a potential Meta Quest Lite or, since it's rumored to have the same chipset as the Quest 3, it's also just as likely that they'll call it the Meta Quest 3 Lite.
Meta Quest 3 Lite: Design
Renders of the Meta Quest Lite from XRCarlos on X (seen above) make the headset look like a spinoff of the Meta Quest Pro because of the hard plastic head strap. While these renders are from 2021, we haven't seen any evidence that the design has changed since then.
If it turns out to be this way, it's likely the Quest Lite head strap will not be removable the way the Quest 2 and Quest 3's head straps are. In fact, the renders here were made from a leaked mockup that doesn't even allow for head size adjustment. We're not sure what to think about that, but it's likely something was missing from that leak.
Existing renders also show the cameras look more like pinhole cutouts in the headset rather than the large, higher-quality cameras of the Quest 3. Rumors say this model used black and white cameras just like the Quest 2, but the latest rumors suggest that Meta has changed those small cameras out for a more Quest 3-like color passthrough experience.
The Meta Quest Lite is said to use the same Fresnel lenses as the Meta Quest 2, which means the headset will be chunkier than the Quest 3. Fresnel lenses also have a very small "sweet spot," so users will need to adjust the headset so it fits just right on their head, similar to the Quest 2.
On the bright side, this design allows Meta to purportedly make the Quest Lite 40% lighter than the Meta Quest 3. That's good since the Quest 3 is heavier than the Quest 2.
There's no word yet on how Meta plans to allow users to adjust the IPD lens spacing or if the face pads are interchangeable.
Meta Quest 3 Lite: Controls
Meta is rumored to be shipping the Meta Quest Lite without any controllers at all, matching Apple's method of controlling mixed-reality content with just your hands. Meta Quest hand tracking is extremely good these days but still isn't quite as effortless as Apple's unique implementation.
It's a bit surprising to see Meta pushing hand-tracking as a main input method simply because there aren't very many good hand-tracking games on the Quest just yet. Plus, there's likely no eye tracking or other assistive technologies in the Quest Lite as there are in Apple Vision Pro, potentially making a hands-only option a bit frustrating.
It's possible we'll see a push for more games implementing hand tracking because of the new headset — especially if it ends up selling well — but it's also just as likely that Meta will push the Quest Lite as a media consumption and mixed reality work device instead of it being a gaming console like the Quest 2 and Quest 3 are.
It's entirely likely the Meta Quest Lite will work with existing Quest controllers, though, so there's always the possibility that you could purchase controllers separately.
Meta Quest 3 Lite: Specs
It's said that the Meta Quest Lite is using the same Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset as the Meta Quest 3, just with a few changes. Namely, the Meta Quest Lite will purportedly use binned versions of the XR2 Gen 2 chipset that didn't meet performance expectations during the manufacturing process.
This would give both Meta and Qualcomm a good way to offload "failed" chipsets and still give consumers more power over the XR2 Gen 1 from the Quest 2.
There's no word yet on other specs like display type or camera resolution. We expect it to use an LCD with Fresnel lenses and certainly have less RAM and storage than the Meta Quest 3 if the headset retails for a reduced price.
Meta Quest 3 Lite: Wishlist
Because Meta has yet to launch a product in this price category, it's difficult to know what we can or should expect. There are some things we definitely don't want to see Meta cut, however, so we'll start there.
Proper IPD adjustment
One of the Meta Quest 2's biggest issues was its limited range of IPD presets. With Meta Quest Lite, we've like to see Meta stick with an IPD slider like the original Oculus Quest had or a wheel like the Quest 3 has. IPD adjustments are super important for user comfort and we hope Meta doesn't mess this part up.
Our Meta Quest 4 wishlist might be asking for an OLED on Meta's next mid-range headset, but we'd like to see Meta stick with an LCD on the Meta Quest Lite for one big reason: no flickering. OLED displays all flicker to some degree, and that's problematic for folks with PWM sensitivity.
A good fast-switching LCD like those found on the Quest 2 or Quest 3 doesn't flicker and is far friendlier on the eyes. That would be especially good for a headset that weighs a lot less and could be worn for longer periods of time.
A comfortable head strap
One of Meta's biggest problems with most Quest generations so far is the inclusion of a simple cloth head strap. While these are great for easy cleaning and keeping costs down, they are uncomfortable. Especially when wearing the headset for a long time.
We're hoping the rumors of a built-in halo-style head strap are true, and Meta uses that to keep weight off users' faces, making it more comfortable to wear long term.
While we don't expect the passthrough quality of the Meta Quest Lite to match that of the Quest 3, it would be nice to see it in color, at least. The black-and-white passthrough of the Quest 2 is pretty terrible and would be a big setback for a potential Meta Quest Lite's efforts to be a mixed-reality headset.
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