What just happened? Meta has launched its Quest 3 mixed reality headset with a number of upgrades over its predecessor, the Quest 2. One of the biggest changes in the new device is the full-color 'Passthrough' mode that seamlessly blends the real world with the virtual.
According to Meta, the new feature can overlay virtual elements onto real-life surroundings for a seamless mixed reality experience. To use the passthrough mode, users will simply have to double-tap on any part of the headset to transition between a full virtual reality experience and a blended mixed reality environment. The feature enables users to play a virtual piano on their real coffee table or even open a portal to another dimension right in their living room.
The Quest 3 is powered by the new Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 platform that Meta claims will offer double the graphic processing power of the Quest 2. The display also gets a massive upgrade, thanks to the 4K+ Infinite Display that Meta says offers 30 percent higher resolution compared to the Quest 2. With the two displays offering a 2064 × 2208 resolution per eye, users get 25 pixels per degree and 1,218 pixels per inch. The device also features a pancake lens optical stack that Meta claims gives it a 40 percent slimmer optic profile compared to Quest 2.
The Quest 3 engineers also spent time fine-tuning the headset's design to ensure a customizable fit and balanced weight distribution that Meta says makes the device comfortable to wear for long periods of time. To make the Quest 3 fit all face shapes and sizes, it comes with a soft adjustable strap design that Meta claims will help ensure a perfect fit even if the user is wearing it over their glasses.
While the video aspects of the Meta Quest 3 seem impressive, Meta also spent some time on the audio output of the device. It comes with spatial audio that is said to offer enhanced sound clarity and improved bass performance. Overall, the device offers a 40 percent louder audio range than Quest 2 for a fully immersive experience.
The Meta Quest 3 comes in two versions - a base model with 128GB of storage and a more premium variant with 512GB. The former is priced at $499.99, while the latter has an MSRP of $649.99. Both models are available for pre-order on the official Meta Quest website, as well as Best Buy and Amazon. All pre-orders ship with a free copy of Asgard's Wrath 2 (MSRP $59.99), while the 512GB model also comes with 2 free games a month with a 6-month Meta Quest+ trial.