The Meta Quest 3 is on its way – although not until later 2023, based on what the company has said so far.
While Meta announced the high-end Meta Quest Pro at Meta Connect 2022, there was no sign of the successor to the hugely popular Meta Quest 2.
So, when should we expect to see the Quest 3 and, more importantly, what can we expect from the next-gen virtual reality headset?
While it’s early days, there are already whispers and leaks that give us a rough idea of what to expect from the Quest 3, including early release date rumours and feature leaks.
When will the Meta Quest 3 go on sale?
When Meta first began teasing the Meta Quest Pro in 2021, many assumed it’d be the successor to the Quest 2. Of course, now we know that it’s an entirely different headset with a focus beyond gaming.
The good news is, we don’t have too long to wait for a true successor – a release in 2023 looks increasingly likely for the Meta Quest 3.
A 2023 release was promised in Meta’s Q4 2022 earnings call – which took place on 1 February 2023 – when CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid it out pretty clearly: “Later this year, we’re going to launch our next generation consumer headset.”
While Zuckerberg doesn’t mention the Quest 3 explicitly, the reference to a ‘consumer headset’ is telling – Meta considers the current Quest 2 to be a consumer-focused headset, unlike the professional/creative focus for the Quest Pro.
A 2023 release is backed up by analyst Brad Lynch, who suggests that the upgraded Meta Quest 3 will be revealed at Meta’s Connect 2023 event and released soon after. If the company sticks to the same schedule as recent years, that could mean an October 2023 reveal for the Quest 3.
How much will the Meta Quest 3 cost?
While it’s likely far too early for Meta to have priced up the upcoming headset – especially if it’s not due until the end of 2023 – Mark Zuckerberg has calmed the nerves of VR fans that were scared by the high $1500/£1500 price tag for the Meta Quest Pro.
While some were worried that the high price of the Quest Pro could point towards a higher price for the entry-level VR headset, Zuckerberg confirmed in an October 2022 interview with Stratechery that the Quest 3 will be in the “price range of $300, $400, or $500, that zone.”.
With that in mind, we expect the Quest 3 to cost a similar amount to the $399/£399 Meta Quest 2, but we’ll update this section if we hear anything different.
What will the Quest 3 specs and features be?
While it’s not due out for a while yet, the Quest 3 has already been the subject of a number of leaks, giving us a good idea about what to expect from the upcoming VR headset.
The Meta Quest 2 sports Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR 2 platform, offering the impressive standalone performance we’re all familiar with.
It’d be safe to assume that Meta and Qualcomm would continue that relationship with the Quest 3 and the next-gen Snapdragon mobile platform, which should be available by the time the Quest 3 goes into production.
VR analyst Brad Lynch initially suggested that Meta could take a different route, instead developing its own chipset for the upcoming headset. The analyst claimed the company was rumoured to be working on a chip with a “focus on a GPU that is better designed for VR loads,” as to “not rely on an SoC that all smaller XR players will use”.
However, in a follow-up YouTube video in late September 2021, Lynch now suggests that the Quest 3 will indeed sport the next-generation Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset alongside a boosted 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage.
While that doesn’t give us much to go on, it seems to confirm that the Quest 3 will have better graphics performance, which should translate to better, more immersive games and apps available on the standalone platform.
Updated LCD displays
Another prediction from Lynch suggests that the Quest 3 will offer quite the upgrade in the display department. While Lynch initially suggested a switch to OLED was on the cards, more recent leaks suggest that Meta has decided instead on a higher-res, faster LCD panel than that of the Quest 2.
According to Lynch, the Quest 3 will sport an LCD display with a resolution of 2064×2208 per eye and an increased 120Hz refresh rate – that’s both higher resolution and faster than the top-end Quest Pro, which bodes well for consumers.
While the Quest 2 has offered an experimental 120Hz mode for the past few months, it’s exclusive to apps and games that support it, with Meta Home and other OS elements still rendered at 90Hz. The jump to 120Hz will bring a notable jump in smoothness no matter where you’re using the headset.
Not much else is known about the display tech, including field of view, but it’s exciting nonetheless.
Our best look at the Meta Quest 3 also comes from Lynch, who showcased leaked CAD renders of the upcoming headset in late September 2022, giving us a good idea of what to expect from the next-gen headset – including specs that confirm Meta is planning to shift focus towards mixed reality.
The video provides meaningful insights into what to expect from the next-generation VR headset, codenamed Project Stinson internally, which essentially looks to be a combination of the Quest 2 and Quest Pro.
The leaked CAD renders seem to suggest the headset will be more focused on mixed reality than simply virtual reality with more cameras, likely with colour passthrough capabilities like the Quest Pro.
That makes sense in the light of the company’s Q4 2022 earnings call, when Zuckerberg promised that the Quest 3 “will feature Meta Reality” – the company’s name for its tech to combined virtual reality and augmented reality features in the same hardware.
It’s also said to have the same pancake lenses as the Pro headset, which allows for a more compact form factor, and it looks like there will be a manually adjustable IPD wheel on the bottom of the headset too. That’ll make it much easier to adjust the IDP than the Quest 2, which requires you to take the headset off.
The big difference between the Quest 3 and Quest Pro? Lynch claims that the Quest 3 won’t include eye or face tracking, two crucial features of the Pro headset. It’s likely a cost-saving measure more than anything, allowing Meta to keep the price of the Quest 3 down and more affordable for customers – especially with inflation levels rising rapidly in many regions around the world.
The video goes into granular detail about elements like cooling and audio, so sit down and prepare for an 18-minute unofficial deep dive into the Quest 3.