What just happened? Apple's imminent entry into the mixed reality headset space is sure to make an impact on the industry but they aren't the only player in town that'll be watched closely this year. Market leader Meta is prepping its next Quest headset, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman recently got some hands-on time with a prototype.
Meta's Quest 3, codenamed Eureka, is said to be significantly lighter and thinner than its predecessor. Gurman noted the strap that holds it to your head feels a bit sturdier than before and uses fabric on the sides rather than plastic like on the Quest 2.
Up front, everything is new. Gone is the plain Jane grey face of the Quest 2, which has been replaced with a trio of vertically-aligned pill-shaped sensor regions housing a pair of color pass-through cameras and a depth sensor. A volume rocker and a wheel to dial in the headset's IPD (interpupillary distance, or the distance between your pupils) are located on the bottom edge of the visor. A power button and a USB-C port can be found on the side.
Gurman said the display quality and image clarity is about on par with that of the Quest 2 despite the headset reportedly offering a slightly higher resolution. He did note, however, that the device felt faster overall thanks to Qualcomm's Snapdragon XR2 chip and exhibited better video pass-through for mixed reality. Gurman described the pass-through effect as offering an almost lifelike rendering of the real world, and he was even able to use his phone with the headset on.
Two things Quest 3 doesn't have are face and eye tracking and consequently, no eye-tracked foveated rendering.
As for the hand controllers, they've been remodeled to look and feel more like the ones that come with the Quest Pro. They don't include the Pro's integrated cameras, however, so tracking them in space won't be as accurate as on the higher-end model.
Meta told Gurman they haven't decided on a price point yet but insiders suggest it could arrive north of the $400 mark the Quest 2 launched at. Expect an official announcement sometime in October.
Image credit: Eren Li