The Meta 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 isn’t working on the next big thing.
While we expected Meta to reveal the Quest 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.
At last year’s 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.
What will the new Meta headset be called?
There are a few names being thrown around when it comes to the next Meta headset. Some are calling it the Quest 3, others refer to it as the Quest 2 Pro while some prefer the internal codename, Project Cambria. To be clear, these are all one and the same headset, expected to offer a more ‘pro’ VR experience than the standard Quest.
In fact, the most recent branding rumblings suggest Meta is on track for something even simpler; the Meta Quest Pro.
As spotted by developer Steve Moser, there’s a single line of code in the Oculus mobile app referring to a ‘Meta Quest Pro’. Considering there is no current headset with that branding, and considering the confirmed high-end tech available on Project Cambria, it’s likely referring to the top-end headset due for release next month.
When will the Meta Quest Pro headset be released?
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 back in 2021, teasing the idea that Meta was 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 Quest Pro, suggesting a release could be on the cards for 2022.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo initially predicted 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 2022 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.
Interestingly, Meta recently pushed out a public test version of its upcoming v43 update that also hints at the new Quest’s imminent arrival.
Reddit users noticed that, after installing the v43 beta update, they were prompted to give permission for the headset to track their eyes and facial expression. These are features that are irrelevant on the Quest 2, but they are wholly relevant – and a huge focus – of the rumoured Quest Pro, suggesting Meta is pretty far along in the development process and just about ready to launch.
Following on from this, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed on the Joe Rogan podcast in late August that a headset is due to launch in October. Discussing VR at the beginning of the podcast, Zuck told Rogan that “For the next device that’s coming out in October, there’s a few big features”.
He went on to describe eye and facial tracking, two features confirmed to be available as part of the new high-end Quest.
Days after the podcast aired, Meta confirmed that this year’s Meta Connect is due to take place on 11 October 2022, and while not confirmed, it’s almost certain that we’ll be seeing the Quest Pro in the flesh for the first time. After all, Meta’s not going to host two events in one month!
How much will the Quest Pro 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 Quest Pro 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 game-changer 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”.
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 toward a new controller, an Oculus Touch controller redesign is looking more and more likely – though the usual grain of salt should be applied.
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.
What’s more exciting is a video that popped up online in September 2022 allegedly showcasing an engineering sample of the Meta Quest Pro along with its redesigned controllers. The video appeared first on Facebook, claiming that the sample was simply left behind in a hotel.
Per the leaked video, shared on Twitter above, the headset will feature three colour cameras on the front for colour passthrough, which should massively improve the basic AR experiences available on the standard Quest 2. The head-mounted display (HMD) also looks thinner than the Quest 2, suggesting it could use improved optics that require less space.
The big change with the alleged new controllers looks to be the removal of the tracking ring. That makes the new controllers much more compact than the Quest 2 controllers, though size aside, the functionality looks to be the same – just as rumoured.
What would you like to see from the Meta Quest Pro? 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.