We tested Meta Quest 3's improved passthrough with the Quest v64 update

A Meta Quest 3 headset on the arm of a grey couch
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Quest v64 update began rolling out on Monday, April 8.
  • Meta promises that Quest 3 passthrough will have "higher resolution" with better "color, exposure, contrast, and dynamic range."
  • Other Quest 3 improvements include external mic support, a lying-down mode, and an improvement to casting.

One of the main Quest 3 perks over other headsets is its full-color passthrough. While we liked how it worked out of the box, we've noticed an immediate improvement since updating our headsets to the Quest v64 update — and we'll show you footage.

Announced on Monday, the Quest v64 update was designed to "improve the perceived resolution for passthrough by optimizing the passthrough pipeline," according to Meta. In practice, it's meant to make it easier to read "phone notifications and other small text," so you can check your messages without removing the headset. 

At the same time, the Quest v64 update changed the "camera processing pipeline" to "improve color, exposure, contrast and dynamic range in passthrough." Meta says this makes color fidelity closer to real life and reduces "graininess in lower light conditions."

My colleague and fellow VR nerd Nick Sutrich donned his Quest 3 and recorded passthrough footage after downloading the update, which you can see in the embedded video below.

Overall, the quality looks great, and it's easier to see text on phone or TV screens than before. That said, we did notice some obvious object warping when it moves. Your hand doesn't warp as you move it, but the room around the edges of your hand does warp slightly. 

The Quest v64 notes don't mention any improvements related to warping, something we've noticed in the past. Clearly, this is something you'll have to get used to, at least for now! 

With the Quest 3 and Apple Vision Pro competing for VR fans' love, this update is clearly designed to make the cheaper headset closer to the high-res Vision Pro in passthrough quality. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg roasted the Vision Pro earlier this year, criticising (in part) the Apple headset's passthrough for its "motion blur."

Beyond passthrough, the v64 update supports external mics connected via the USB-C port if you enable it in Experimental Settings. Unlike other accessories like keyboards or mice, you won't be able to connect one over Bluetooth. This change came after Meta fixed Quest 3's internal mic issues in a previous update. 

The Experimental Features menu on the Quest 3, showing options for external microphones or playing while lying down.

(Image credit: Meta)

While the Quest v63 update added support for playing the Quest 2 or Quest Pro while lying down, the Quest 3 was left behind. Now, with v64, Quest 3 owners can enable "Use Apps While Lying Down" in Experimental Settings, then lie down and hold the Oculus button to change their perspective. 

We recommend looking into Pillow, a Quest app designed before Meta's lying-down update with cute experiences like stargazing, meditation, and bedtime stories. Ironically, the developer Lucas Rizzotto complained on Twitter/X that the v63 update broke his app, but he appears to have fixed it prior to v64.

The last major feature update ensures that if you remove your Meta Quest headset while casting to a TV, the headset will "keep the stream alive" instead of going black. Now you can take a break or pass the headset to someone else without having to reset the casting settings — especially useful for those unfamiliar with VR!

Considering Meta temporarily removed casting from Quest before bringing casting back this January, it's nice to see that Meta is continuing to improve the feature, rather than letting it languish.

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.