Meta Quest 3 vs. Quest Pro: Which is right for you? 1

Meta recently announced the Quest 3, a mid-range VR headset that matches some features of the more expensive Quest Pro. If you’d like to explore virtual reality for games, entertainment, and work, there are several points to consider before making a decision.

The operating system and app library are virtually the same. We need to examine the price, performance, image quality, comfort, and special features to determine the best VR headset and which is right for you.

While we don’t have all the answers about the Meta Quest 3 yet, we know enough to make an informed recommendation. In many ways, the Quest 3 is a high-performance Quest 2 with better optical components. Most of the other details are the same.

Comfort

Comfort is sometimes overlooked in VR since there’s a tendency to think of the headset as technology, like a computer, tablet, or gaming console. In truth, it’s a wearable, so comfort is a critical factor in usability.

It might come as a surprise that the Meta Quest 3 will be about 200 grams lighter than a Quest Pro. Despite this fact, the Quest Pro will be more comfortable for most people, as you can read in our Meta Quest Pro review. With the battery at the back of the headset, the weight is more evenly distributed instead of pushing into your cheeks, nose, and forehead.

From a side view, you can see how glasses can be worn along with a Quest Pro.
Tracey Truly

VR face is a common effect of spending an hour or more wearing a Quest 2. A red ring in the shape of the headset remains for quite some time after removing the headset. It’s more noticeable for some people than others, and accessory headbands often help alleviate this problem.

The Quest 3 has the same design with a full light shield and battery in the front. The slimmer profile should ease face pressure somewhat, but VR face might still be noticeable.

The Quest Pro’s design results in the display hovering in front of your eyes without pressure on your nose or cheeks. The downside is that the weight, balanced as it is, rests upon your forehead. It’s a bony area that can bear more weight, but some users find it uncomfortable.

The Quest Pro’s more open facial interface helps when working out in VR or playing intense games that might cause sweating and steaminess in a Quest 3. Most consider the Quest Pro to be more comfortable overall.

Performance

Devices designated as the pro model are usually faster, but that’s not always true when comparing different generations. The Quest Pro launched in October 2022, while Meta’s Quest 3 is arriving a year later at Meta Connect 2023.

In technology, even a few months can bring big changes. The Qualcomm processor powering the Quest Pro was a step up from the Quest 2, but the Quest 3 could be significantly faster than the Quest Pro.

The Meta Quest 3 is shown in an exploded view.

Meta says the Quest 3 has twice the GPU performance of the Quest 2. The margin over the Quest Pro will be nearly as large. That said, game and app developers will target Quest 2 compatibility for at least another year, probably two.

The difference in performance might not be noticeable for some time. When developers begin targeting the Quest 3, the Quest Pro’s lower performance could lead to a more noticeable difference in graphics quality or frame rate.

Image quality

Meta gave the Quest Pro a big boost in clarity by using pancake optics instead of the older Fresnel lenses of the Quest 2. The Quest 3 will benefit from that research and also uses pancake lenses, which eliminate “god ray” artifacts and expand the sweet spot for better edge-to-edge clarity.

Word, Excel, and Pixlr are open in windows on a Quest Pro.
Word, Excel, and Pixlr are open in windows on a Quest Pro.

The Quest 3 will have Meta’s highest-resolution display yet. Meta hasn’t quantified that statement with an exact pixel count, but it will be sharper than the Quest Pro.

However, the Quest Pro features mini-LED backlighting for deeper blacks and a higher dynamic range.

Special features

One of the headline features of the Quest Pro, a color mixed-reality view that blends graphics into your physical environment, caught the attention of the media. Meta’s VR headset provided a convincing glimpse of what will be possible in AR glasses of the future.

While it’s interesting for demonstrations, few games and apps provide a compelling reason to use mixed reality. It’s fun to play a virtual board game on your table, but sometimes the experience is better in VR where your friends have faces, even if they look cartoonish.

AR might be a feature that works best as glasses when you’re moving around and looking for computer assistance in daily life. When using a VR headset, the greatest value of mixed reality is seeing your surroundings well enough to walk around and interact with people that aren’t wearing a headset.

Whether or not you have a strong interest in mixed reality, the Quest 3 will outperform the Quest Pro in this area. The Quest 3 also includes a depth sensor to automatically map your room while marking out a safe play area on the Quest Pro is a manual process.

The Meta Quest Pro has a color mixed-reality view.
The Meta Quest Pro has a color mixed-reality view.

The Quest Pro still has some exclusive features missing from the Quest 3. Eye- and face-tracking are only possible with hardware built into the more expensive Meta headset.

The Quest Pro comes with a convenient charging dock to top up the battery the moment you set it aside. Plugging in a cable isn’t a big hassle, and the dock is only significant because it simultaneously charges the controllers.

The Quest 3 uses AA batteries, so there could be times when your controllers die, and you’re out of batteries. The Quest 3 controllers look similar to the Touch Pro controllers or the Quest Pro but lack their precision tracking. The Quest 3’s cameras must see the controllers to track them, while the Touch Pro controllers are self-tracking.

Price

There are pros and cons for both headsets, but the Quest 3 is a newer device with better image quality and superior performance at a lower price. For $500, it’s hard to go wrong with a Meta Quest 3.

That said, the Quest Pro wins on comfort and ease of use. Professionals might choose the Quest Pro for those reasons alone. Add in eye- and face-tracking for VR chats and meetings and you can see where it could be worth the extra cost.

A person plays Demeo on the Meta Quest 3.
A person plays Demeo on the Meta Quest 3. Meta

The Meta Quest Pro currently sells for $1,000 with 256GB of storage. The Quest 3 is $500 with 128GB of storage. The price of the 256GB model is unknown but will probably be $50 to $100 higher.

Which is right for you?

For most people, the Quest 3 is an easy, automatic choice. If you want a low-cost VR headset for gaming, fitness, 360 movies, and generally exploring virtual and mixed reality, it’s an exciting new headset with a huge library and a long future ahead. Meta will keep selling the Quest 2, now at $300 for those on a tight budget.

The Quest Pro is great for people with sensitive skin who want to avoid irritation from pressure and a steamy headset. If you’re going to pop into VR throughout the day and can’t wait an hour for the effects of VR face to fade, Meta’s premium headset largely solves that problem.

Meta's new Quest Pro Touch Controllers are fast and accurate.
Meta’s new Quest Pro Touch Controllers are fast and accurate.

If you plan to use a VR headset for work and will be going in and out frequently, the dock and rechargeable controllers keep batteries full and ready to go at a moment’s notice. For virtual meetings, the Quest Pro can animate the face and eyes of your avatar for a more natural appearance and non-verbal communication.

Ultimately, if the Quest Pro costs too much, the Quest 3 will work well for most people. If you can afford either, take a moment to consider how you’ll use the device before making a decision. There’s a reason Meta will sell both.

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https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/meta-quest-3-vs-quest-pro/