Meta Quest 3 brings physical and virtual together for cheaper

Meta Quest 3 mixed reality headset

Get ready, because the headset wars are heating up again following the official launch of the Meta Quest 3. Announced at Meta’s Connect 2023 event, the device continues the company’s mission of bridging the physical and digital worlds together.

Right out of the gate, Meta took a big swing at its competition, labelling the Quest 3 the “world’s first mass-market mixed reality headset”. Mixed reality, a combination of virtual reality and augmented reality, isn’t a new concept. But, as Meta rightly suggests, it’s not necessarily a mass-market technology.

Data from IDC suggests that 2023 has been a slow year for VR and AR headsets. During this time, Meta has been one of the few companies routinely moving units. When you consider that the HTC Vive XR Elite, for example, costs more than $2,000 at retail, and the US$3,499 Apple Vision Pro will only launch overseas at first, the “mass-market” claims of Meta make sense.

So, what does the Meta Quest 3 do differently at a $799.99 starting point? For starters, it’s the first device to use the new Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip, doubling the graphics processing power of the Quest 2 headset. This should help reduce loading times and improve performance while accessing interactive experiences like the upcoming Stranger Things game.

Meta Quest 3 details

Beyond the new and improved processor, two RGB cameras power the headset’s passthrough capabilities. By double-tapping the side of the unit, you transition between a closed-off VR experience, to a mode that combines the outside world with virtual overlayed elements.

Each eye benefits from a 2064 x 2208 resolution, a nearly 30% increase over the Quest 2. Included in the box are two Touch Plus controllers that include haptic technology that responds to virtual environments. There’s also hand-tracking, meaning you can also use various gestures to control the device. Eye-tracking is not included, however.

Also slimmer in build, the Meta Quest 3 comes with a soft adjustable strap designed for comfort. Even if you have long hair (or a large head), you can adjust the headset to fit you snugly.

More than just a way to engage with mixed reality media, the Meta Quest 3 doubles as a personal cinema-like display. Here, you can watch movies or play games as if you were using a massive TV. This extends to cloud-compatible Xbox games, too, including Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, meaning you can enjoy console-quality games on the Quest 3.

Release date and price

Pre-orders for the Meta Quest 3 are live now, with shipping starting on 10 October. The base 128GB model costs $799.99, while the larger capacity 512GB version costs $1,049.99. Regardless of the storage capacity, you can also purchase additional accessories including extra straps, battery packs, and charging docks.

Meta Quest 3 accessories

Meta also announced its latest generation of stylish Ray-Ban smart glasses that start at $449. These specs feature more bass and louder audio than its preceding generation, let you snap photos directly from your point-of-view, and will wield Meta’s new AI technologies – albeit only in a beta format in the US at first.

Meta spoke at length about its new AI-powered experiences, including virtual assistants, avatars, image editing, and more. A lot of these features will be part of the Meta Quest 3 experience as it rolls out.

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