Meta Quest 3 first hands-on shows new headset is going all in on mixed reality

Renderings of the Meta Quest 3 based on leaked CAD images
(Image credit: SadlyItsBradley/Marcus Kane/Twitter)

The Meta Quest 3 looks set to launch this year and is rumored to have double the power and a revamped design compared to the critically acclaimed Meta Quest 2. Now we have a better idea about what to expect courtesy of Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who went hands-on with a prototype version of Meta's VR headset.

It's our first look at the Meta Quest 3's interface, video pass-through mode, software features and gaming chops — as well as how it may stack up against Apple's long-awaited AR/VR headset tipped to be announced at WWDC 2023

Far lighter and thinner

Gurman said the prototype, which is codenamed Eureka, "feels far lighter and thinner" than the Quest 2, which seems to confirm previous leaks about the Quest 3's smaller form factor. Gurman added the head strap "seems a bit stronger" too, and uses fabric on the sides instead of plastic like the Quest 2.

The visor itself has been redesigned for improved mixed-reality functionality. It now features three  “vertical pill-shaped sensor areas,” Gurman said, that house two color video pass-through cameras (which let users see their surroundings without removing the headset), two standard cameras and the Quest line's first depth sensor. Two tracking cameras can be found on the front lower sides of the headset.

The bottom portion of the Meta Quest 3 houses a volume rocker and a wheel to adjust the headset's IPD, or the distance between your pupils. That's super convenient considering that for the Quest 2, you have to take the headset off to tweak the IPD.  The power button and USB-C port are still in the same spot on the side of the headset.

Mixed reality, speedier performance 

"The actual clarity and VR displays within the Quest 3 feel similar to those in the Quest 2 — despite the resolution being rumored to be slightly higher," Gurman said. "But there are two areas where I saw major improvements: video pass-through for mixed reality and the device’s speedier performance." 

How the video pass-through stacks up to that of Apple's rumored headset remains to be seen, but the dual RGB cameras make the Quest 3's a "night-and-day improvement over the Quest 2." Gurman said he was even able to use his phone while wearing the headset. In terms of performance, the Quest 3 has been tipped to upgrade to the next-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset

The Quest 3's improved specs could come with a higher price tag, and previous rumors have indicated as much. Gurman points to this as well. 

“Meta hasn’t yet settled on pricing for the device, but people involved in its development believe it may come in higher than the Quest 2’s $400,” he notes, adding the company could keep the Quest 2 around “at a lower price.”  

Rumor has it Meta plans to launch the Quest 3 in late 2023, and Gurman said we may see an announcement in October. As for Apple, the company's likely to unveil its Apple VR/AR headset at WWDC 2023 on June 5.

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.