The Oculus Quest 2 is a great VR headset, offering impressive standalone performance and a suite of apps and games ready to download and play, but that doesn’t mean Meta-owned Oculus isn’t working on the next big thing.
While we expected Meta to reveal the Quest 2 Pro at the Connect 2021 event, what we got instead was a teaser for “the next Quest” – a premium VR headset codenamed ‘Project Cambria’, due sometime this year.
We at Tech Advisor are confident that the leaks we’ve been seeing about a more powerful version of the Quest 2, unofficially dubbed the Oculus Quest 2 Pro, are in fact Project Cambria.
At the event, Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that ‘Project Cambria’ is a premium product. While he called it “the next Quest” and said that it would be compatible with Quest, he emphasized that it was a “completely new, advanced, and high-end product” that will be at “the higher end of the price spectrum”.
That said, the Zuck did say that Meta plans on building out the product line and releasing the most advanced VR developments through the proposed top-end gear before those advancements can eventually trickle to entry-level Quest prices.
Here’s everything there is to know about the upcoming Quest Pro headset right now, including release date and pricing rumours, and what to expect.
When will the Project Cambria headset be released?
Given the fact the Oculus Quest 2 is still selling well, some suggest that we won’t see the Pro model anytime soon – especially given how popular the standard model is – and vague comments from Meta seem to confirm this.
Andrew Bosworth, the VP of Augmented and Virtual Reality at Meta, said “Quest Pro, huh? Interesting” and winked when replying to a question about a more powerful model of the Quest 2 in an
Instagram AMA, teasing the idea that Meta is working on something behind closed doors.
That was confirmed at Facebook Connect 2021 when
Mark Zuckerberg revealed Project Cambria, the high-end headset that many unofficially dubbed the Oculus Quest Pro, suggesting a release could be on the cards for 2022.
While analyst Ben Lynch suggested we could see the Pro-level headset released sometime in Q2 2022, which ran from April to June 2022, we now know that wasn’t the case.
Fellow analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is more cautious on the timeline, predicting a “new Oculus Quest” in 2H2022 – i.e. the second half of the year, from July onwards. That claim was reiterated in a late June tweet, with claims that the high-end headset will begin mass production in Q3 2022 ahead of a launch sometime in the second half of 2022, with the aim of shipping around 2 million headsets this year.
The most specific claim comes from The Information, which suggests that the high-end headset is due to be released in September 2022, citing an internal Project Cambria roadmap.
How much will the high-end Oculus Quest headset cost?
This one’s a little harder to predict right now. The
Oculus Quest 2 comes in at £299/$299, which is an impressive price for any VR headset, let alone one that doesn’t need a gaming PC to work.
The Pro version, quite obviously, would cost more than that, but there’s no word on how much it might cost. Mark Zuckerberg himself described the upcoming headset as “advanced and high-end” at Facebook Connect 2021 with features including real-time face tracking, suggesting a much higher price point than the entry-level Quest.
We’d expect something close to the £699/$699 mark if Meta is aiming for mass-market adoption, and rumours back up our prediction.
The Information has leaked an internal roadmap that suggests Project Cambria will retail at $799 in the US, which we’d assume translates to £799 in the UK looking at the Quest 2’s identical $299/£299 price tag. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also believes that the headset will retail at $799, as stated in a late June 2022 tweet.
Though much more expensive than the Quest 2, comparisons between Project Cambria and a Chromebook suggest Meta is looking at this more as a ‘laptop for your face’ than a standard VR headset.
What to expect from the high-end Oculus Quest headset
More processing power
Redesigned form factor
Face- and eye-tracking
Improved lens system
Mark Zuckerberg gave us our first look at the high-end VR headset, dubbed Project Cambria internally, at Facebook Connect 2021. With a focus on blending the real and virtual worlds with mixed reality, face and eye-tracking and a high-end VR experience, it’s set to be an exciting one.
While not much was given away during the brief teaser, Zuckerberg confirmed that the headset will be focused on mixed reality applications, with a variety of sensors and algorithms to reconstruct and augment the world around you, and it’ll be in colour too – a big upgrade from the black-and-white passthrough of the standard Oculus Quest 2. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests there will be up to 16 cameras on the new headset – 10 on the headset, and three on each of the new controllers – to aid in this.
Project Cambia sports redesigned optics that make it notably slimmer than existing standalone headsets despite the added sensors that track your eyes and facial expression in real-time. While it may seem odd on the surface, it’ll be a gamechanger for social VR apps.
While Project Cambria sounds like a great successor to the Quest 2 for gaming, Mark Zuckerburg has stated in a
Q1 2022 earnings call that it’ll “be more focused on work use cases and eventually replacing your laptop or work setup,” rather than games.
A follow-up video posted to Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page in May 2022 gives us a better idea of what to expect – though the headset itself is still hidden from view. The short video showcases the headset’s high-res colour passthrough and the ability for the headset to drop virtual objects into the real world for next-level mixed reality experiences.
Meta also posted a two-and-a-half-minute video showcasing the Presence Platform that the augmented experience is based on, and in particular, showcasing the huge difference between the Quest 2 and Project Cambria headset.
That’s all we know officially, but what about leaks and rumours? There have been plenty of those…
Power and display
The Oculus Quest 2 isn’t lacking in the power department by any means, sporting Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 platform paired with 6GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage, but the ‘Pro’ moniker of the upcoming model suggests that the Pro model will be even more capable in the processing department.
The issue is that Qualcomm is yet to release a successor to the Snapdragon XR2, which means Meta may need to design its own chipset if it wants more processing power from the upcoming headset.
The Information claims that the upcoming headset will be about as powerful as a Chromebook, and that it’ll run Meta’s own Android-based operating system, though it doesn’t detail the internals on offer.
It likely still won’t be able to stand up to PC-powered VR experiences, but it’ll go a way towards bridging the gap.
The upgraded processor could be used to increase the resolution of the displays, and there could be a bump from the current ‘experimental’ 120Hz refresh rate to a more stable 120Hz refresh rate.
However, Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the headset will utilise the same Snapdragon XR2 as the Quest 2, so a Meta-developed chipset is far from confirmed right now.
The analyst also predicts that the Project Cambria headset will see an upgrade from LCD displays to mini-LED tech, predicting we’ll see 2.48in displays with a higher resolution of 2160×2160 per eye for “marked visual improvements”.
Twitter user Bastian (crediting Samulia) posted a thread of what looks like official tutorials for the upcoming Pro headset, and the renders look quite different to the standard Oculus Quest 2.
In place of the white shell of the standard model, the Quest 2 Pro renders seem to depict a black VR headset that looks more a lot like a pair of ski goggles with a fitted headband.
This is, again, closer to the glimpse Meta gave us of Project Cambria.
New lens system
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, famed for his Apple product announcements, suggested in a June 2021 note to investors that Meta and Sony have both ordered large quantities of new VR lenses for 2022. Though no detail was given on what the new lenses could offer, it could bring benefits to the FOV.
At the Facebook Connect 2021 event, Facebook’s Head of VR Devices Angela Chang said the new Project Cambria headset would use “pancake optics” to fold lights multiple times over into the lens. The process would help with create compact lenses, helping keep the headset lean.
Kuo gets more specific, claiming that the new headset will utilise a “2P Pancake” vs the 1P Fresnel lens currently used in the Quest 2.
The Quest 2 does a great job at hand tracking, but the upcoming headset looks to take that to another level. Meta has already confirmed that hand tracking will be available, but rumours suggest there will be a plethora of new trackers dedicated to tracking various parts of your body.
Rumours suggest that the Project Cambria headset will be able to track your eyes and facial expressions for a more realistic avatar experience, with leg and torso tracking also said to be on the way.
There will likely be improvements to the controllers too. While the current controllers are well designed and offer decent vibrational feedback, enhanced haptics like those available on the PS5’s DualSense controllers would vastly improve the overall experience.
However, leaks suggest a more dramatic change could be in the works. Reddit user Samulia posted a series of low-res images of what was claimed to be new Oculus Touch controllers in late September 2021.
While an Oculus moderator downplayed the rumour at the time, a real-world leaked image of what could be redesigned Oculus Quest controllers appeared on Imgur days later, showcasing the same design as the Reddit leak.
The leaked image appears to be a screenshot taken within Workplace, Meta’s Slack competitor, suggesting that the leak might’ve originated within Meta itself – though it could just be another company using Workplace as their remote work communication hub.
The controller in question looks to ditch the infrared LED ring present on all Oculus Touch controllers to date, instead featuring three cameras (one on the front and two on the sides) for inside-out tracking, giving the controllers a much cleaner look overall.
We were also treated to another early look at the controllers via a series of leaked videos that appeared on Twitter in October 2021. Like with previous rumours, the leaked videos seem to showcase controllers that don’t feature tracking rings, and it looks like they could come with some kind of wireless charging station too.
Given there are several separate leaks that all point towards a new controller, an Oculus Touch controller redesign is looking more and more likely – though the usual grain of salt should be applied.
What would you like to see from Meta’s Project Cambria? Let us know on Twitter.
Lewis Painter is a Senior Staff Writer at Tech Advisor. Our resident Apple expert, Lewis covers everything from iPhone to AirPods, plus a range of smartphones, tablets, laptops and gaming hardware. You'll also find him on the Tech Advisor YouTube channel.