Meta official revealed the Meta Quest 3 with a $499 starting price and a launch coming this fall.
The Meta Quest 3 is official after a surprise announcement by Mark Zuckerberg hours before the Meta Quest gaming showcase. Laptop Mag's own Kimberly Gedeon can take a victory lap for predicting the Meta Quest 3 launch this week, despite claims from Mark Gurman and others that it would remain under wraps until this fall.
Gurman was half right, the next-gen affordable mixed-reality headset won't actually be available until this fall, Meta is merely announcing the Quest 3 today with a sign-up form for those that are interested in picking the $499 headset up once it's available later this year. While there's every indication that the Apple AR/VR headset that we expect to arrive at WWDC 2023 on Monday is going to be in a wildly different price bracket, the Quest 3 could steal Apple's thunder and have a chilling effect on the sales of Apple's fledgling headset.
With all that aside, let's dig in as we finally have all of the official details on the Quest 3 release date, pricing, specs, and more.
Meta Quest 3 release date
Meta didn't give us an official release date, it merely says that the Meta Quest 3 is "Coming fall 2023." However, it did specify that there will be more information coming on the headset at Meta Connect on September 27, 2023.
Meta may open up pre-orders prior to that time, but safe bet the Quest 3 will be shipping by the end of October at the latest.
Meta Quest 3 price
The Meta Quest 3 starts at $499 for the 128GB version, a $100 price hike from the current pricing for the Quest 2, although it's worth noting that the Quest 2 got a mid-life price bump itself from $299 to $399.
It's about the best-case scenario for the pricing on the Quest 3 and should keep it extremely price competitive in the VR and mixed-reality headset market. The Quest 2 is a nice piece of hardware and Meta did a solid job of building out the software library, but the price is certainly a massive piece of its success and a $499 starting price for this upgraded hardware was a shot to keep that rolling.
Speaking of the Quest 2, starting on June 4 it will drop back to its original $299 price for the base model, while the 256GB version will drop to $349.
Meta Quest 3 specs
The full Meta Quest 3 specs list is one of those details that Meta is keeping under wraps for now. The announcement post merely refers to a "next-gen Snapdragon chip" powering the device that will offer "twice the graphical performance" as the chipset in the Quest 2. We can reasonably assume that's the Qualcomm second-gen Snapdragon XR2 SoC that Brad Lynch and Mark Gurman both claimed would be powering the headset, but it's not official just yet.
Precise details on the display resolution, camera resolution, battery size, and more all remain a mystery for now.
Meta Quest 3 features
The Meta Quest 3 reveal does show us plenty of the design of the new headset and it matches up perfectly with the leaks that we have seen previously, so no real surprises.
The Quest 3 will break from its predecessor to become a mixed reality AR/VR headset, similar to the Quest Pro and Apple's headset. Given the importance and attention being placed on AR in the tech realm, this shouldn’t come as a massive surprise. Meta owns the VR market for the most part and will look to do the same with the AR market if it can.
The Quest 3 is far thinner and lighter than the Quest 2, 40% slimmer according to Meta's announcement trailer. The new fabric strap does look quite a bit more robust than its predecessor, so here's hoping an Elite Strap won't basically be a required purchase as it was with the Quest 2.
The front now features "three vertical pill-shaped sensor areas," think of a larger version of the pill-shaped camera and sensor on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. The left and right sensor arrays include color video pass-through, a massive upgrade from the non-color cameras on the Quest 2, while the 3rd is a standard camera that also includes a depth sensor the first time.
The bottom of the Quest 3 includes a volume rocker and a wheel that allows you to adjust the interpupillary distance (IPD) — the space between your pupils — something that required removing the headset on the Quest 2.
On the side of the headset are the power button and the USB-C port.
The biggest feature difference for the Quest 3 is the potential for mixed-reality usage with those color cameras and the depth sensor. Assuming the hardware works well the real challenge for Meta will be finding the killer app for mixed-reality as no one has cracked that particular nut at a consumer level. Microsoft's HoloLens is a pure play at business and developers and it appears that Apple's mixed-reality headset could be the same, at least for Gen 1.
Meta Quest 3 controllers
The Quest 3 Touch Plus controllers now resemble those of the Quest Pro, although the headset and controllers are white rather than black. Unlike the Pro controllers, the Quest 3 controllers won't have cameras, so tracking will be dependent on their communication with the headset itself.
The announcement trailer mentions TruTouch haptics, but we'll of course have to get our hands on them to see how exactly it compares to the Quest 2 and Quest Pro.
For Quest 2 owners the biggest change is that the controllers now simply have an angled circular surface with buttons and a thumbstick, eliminating the hoop at the top.
That’s everything we know so far about Meta Quest 3. Following the announcement we filled in a few of the more intriguing details like the pricing, but there is still plenty that could leak out or that we will find out on September 27 when Meta Connect kicks off and we get the rest of the details.
That sub-$500 price point is crucial for Meta as there is plenty of competition coming, but it doesn't seem like anyone can or will be competing with them on price just yet, particularly when you factor in the Quest 2 sticking around back at its old $299 price.
The Quest 2 remains our top choice for the best VR headset, so if you are looking for something to buy today that would still be our recommendation. However, if you haven't taken the plunge into VR just yet, between the new mixed-reality features, the thinner and lighter design, and the processor upgrade the Quest 3 looks like it may be worth the wait.
Make sure to check out the Meta Quest Gaming Showcase if you want to see all of the new games that will be coming to the Quest platform over the next several months and bookmark this page to stay up-to-date on all of the latest Quest 3 news and rumors.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.