Meta Quest 3: Should you Upgrade from Meta Quest 2?

October 5, 2023

Quest 3: Meta's Vision for the Next Frontier in Mixed Reality Tech

The Meta Quest 3 ships on October 10th, 2023 which means now is the perfect time to check whether you should upgrade or wait. Touted is the first mainstream mixed reality (MR) headset the device has a lot of promise to deliver. 

Meta Quest (previously known as Oculus Quest) is a staple and most popular virtual reality headset. Its affordable price, support and documentation, and integration with SDKs and game engines (i.e Unreal and Unity)  makes it the perfect choice for recreational users as well as developers.

XR VR AR MR Meta Quest 3 comes with touch plus controllers and 2 AA Batteries

According to International Data Corporation - IDC, the Quest 2 has sold over 14.8 million devices, making it the best selling VR device by a landslide. This bumps the Quest family (Quest, Quest 2, and Quest Pro) to over 20 million units sold.

Needles to say… When Meta announced the new Quest 3, people got excited. 

The new Quest doesn’t come just with few marginal performance  upgrades, but it does unlock a completely new field. Oh no, it’s going to be a substantial shift!

In this article, we’ll check what are the differences between Quest 2, and answer the question whether you should upgrade or stay with the current Quest (or buy yourself a Q2 in case you don’t have it since the price of it is going to drop).

Quest 2 vs Quest 3 - Spec Overview and Comparison

The Quest 3 is not just an iteration of a previous model. It’s a significant upgrade (and a bump in the price as well) from Quest 2.  It is better in every way possible: performance, comfort, and features. 

Here’s a quick summary in what way Quest 3 dominates the previous model:

  • Processing power - The new Snapdragon XR2+ chip is said to provide up to 50% more power for improved graphics, simulations, and mixed reality capabilities.
  • Displays - Higher resolution screens with 10 times more pixels than Quest 2 provide sharpers, clearer images. Pancake optics allow a thinner design and possibly wider field of view.
  • Controllers - Touch Pro-inspired controllers promise more ergonomic grip, higher quality haptics, and improved finger/hand tracking.
  • Cameras - Additional cameras enable mixed reality features like depth sensing and full-color/high-res passthrough views.
  • Battery life - New chip architecture is optimized for heat/power management, potentially extending battery life for untethered use.
  • Connectivity - WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 provide faster, more reliable wireless for virtual/mixed reality experiences.
  • Audio - Updated speakers and mics allow for higher quality spatial audio and noise cancellation features.
  • Performance headroom - Developers can optimize graphics/physics with headroom to spare, improving immersion and long lifespan.
  • IPD adjustment - Sliding wheel allows more precise lens distance adjustment for user comfort.
  • Sensors - Proximity/light sensors optimize display brightness based on surroundings.

But if we’re to pick the biggest difference? It’s the fact that Meta Quest 3 has become a mixed reality device which puts it into a different category than the previous Quest(s).

Feature Comparison

With a depth perception sensor, Quest 3 becomes a device for mixed reality experiences. 

As it was revealed on 27th of September at Meta Connect 2023, the part of the show was dedicated to Meta Quest 3, and the Presence Platform. 

In short, here’s what we’re getting.

Pancake Lenses

Meta Quest Pro was announced last year with pancake lenses, which Quest 3 has now adopted to increase resolution by almost 30% while also slimming down the headset design.

Why is this such a big deal? Apart from thinner and lighter design (which allows for longer sessions), the package lenses have wider field of view (FOV) and better optics and image quality.

Room Automapping

Quest 3 automatically maps your space and understands elements like walls and furniture using new color and depth cameras/sensors. Games can blend virtual and physical worlds.

This is similar to Apple’s Vision Pro since Quest 3 will recognize the physical objects in your space automatically. The process will eliminate the need of setting up your guardian manually. 

XR VR AR MR Get a front row seat with Quest 3


You'll be able to place virtual screens and objects anywhere using "Augments" - persistent digital objects anchored in space. 

This shows the possible signs of how mixed reality is going to influence our productive lives. We are kind of getting sick of the monitors that take a lot of our physical space, right?

With Augments, you’ll be able to anchor specific dynamic animations on physical objects around your space.

Gaming Experiences on XBox

Together with virtual desktop expansion, gamers will have a lot to look forward to. Xbox cloud gaming is coming to Quest in December, 2023 (just the time for Christmas!)  allowing hundreds of Xbox games to be played on a massive virtual screen anywhere.

More than 100 new Quest titles are coming from XBox to Quest 3 with at least half of them featuring mixed reality experiences. Popular franchises like Assassin's Creed and Ghostbusters are being adapted.

Mark Zuckerberg, also announced a subscription service called Meta Quest+ which will provide you with two free games per month. Sounds like a Netflix subscription or in Meta’s best case, perhaps even rivalry and competition to the Steam gaming platform but focused on XR titles. 

When it comes to gaming Meta bets on new games such as: Roblox, Assassin's Creed Nexus, and Stranger Things.

XR VR AR MR Meta Quest 3 lets you access the 'best titles' on the Quest


Enhancing Tracking

While Quest 3 does come with updated Touch controllers, the new Quest also enhances hand/finger tracking and adds direct touch interactions without controllers.

XR VR AR MR Meta Quest 3 Touch Plus Controllers

Source: RoadtoVR

Comparison of Features to Quest 2

The biggest upgrade compared to Quest 3 has before Quest 2 (and most of other VR headsets) are mixed reality capabilities. This is thanks to the before-mentioned depth sensor. 

Here are tons of features you will be able to do with Quest 3 - the first mainstream MR headset:

  • Improved color passthrough cameras - They provide a sharper, higher resolution view of the real world compared to Quest 2. Pixels per degree is quoted as 18PPD
  • Room mapping - Ability to automatically map the boundaries and surfaces of a room using the depth sensor, without external cameras or base stations. This allows for true full-color 1:1 passthrough AR.
  • Object occlusion - Virtual objects can occlude and interact with real objects in the room. For example, a virtual ball rolling under a real chair.
  • Ambient light sensing - Senses surrounding light conditions to blend virtual and real lighting more convincingly.
  • Surface projections - Ability to project and "pin" virtual interfaces, screens or objects onto real surfaces like walls and tables for both AR and shared/collaborative experiences.
  • Multi-user shared spaces - Leveraging shared spatial anchors and high-res passthrough, multiple Quest 3 users can collaboratively work or play together in a virtual space that maps to the same real room.
  • Portal-like windows - Create personal portals or windows into other virtual spaces by simply looking at tagged surfaces in the real world (e.g. posters, paintings)
  • Object launches - Throw physical objects like balls, frisbees or disks and have them continue their trajectory in virtual space.
  • Context-aware help - Provide contextual assistance or information about real objects by simply viewing them through the Quest lens.
  • Room decoration - Virtually try on and preview furniture, paintings or other room decor directly in your space before purchasing.
  • Industrial design - Collaborate remotely on and interact with virtual 3D models overlaid directly in the real work environment.
  • 512GB Storage model - Yup, the rumors appeared to be true. Quest 3 holds a beefy 512GB model which also comes with a 6 month free subscription to Meta Quest+ - Meta’s VR gaming platform. You can get it for $650 USD ($150 more than 128GB base model) 
Passthrough feature in Quest 3 lets you view your surroundings

How does Quest 3 compare against other VR headsets?

While Quest 3 isn’t the only headset on the market, the competition isn’t as saturated just yet. There aren’t that many competitors that can go head-to-head with Quest and that’s not just looking at the performance and features but also the affordability and integration and access to content. 

Meta has a huge advantage before other companies.

Let’s look at some of the comparisons.

Quest 3 vs Pico 4

Pico 4 uses the same Snapdragon XR2+ processor as Quest 3. Considered on par in terms of standalone VR performance. Pico 4 also lacks behind content since it has a lot smaller library and less mature platform.

Quest 3 vs Meta Quest Pro

Meta Quest Pro Uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1, which is less powerful than the XR2+ in Quest 3. So there is a performance upgrade on Quest 3, however Quest Pro is associated with business apps and connected with Presence Platform. 

Quest Pro aims to be a business-focused device while Quest 3 is going for a wider consumer appeal. 

In terms of pricing, Quest Pro at $999 is a bigger investment although there’s a smaller graphic resolution per eye. Most of the features are marginally similar - controllers, hand tracking, PC connectivity and wireless capabilities. 

Quest Pro does have facial expression traction and connection with business tools but we’re yet to hear more about it when Meta announces them.

The fact that Meta discontinued Quest Pro, signals the market that Quest 3 is the horse they are betting on. 

Quest 3 vs HTC Vive Focus 3

HTC Vive Focus 3 also uses the Snapdragon XR2, a step below the XR2+. Vive Focus 3, priced at $1,300 is also far bigger investment and although it was considered to be one of the more powerful devices at the time it came out (2021), right now it compares poorly with a Quest 3 especially on features such as full-color passthrough, content library, and other features. 

Quest 3 vs HTC Vive Focus 3

Valve Index connects to a high-end PC so has vastly more graphical processing power from a dedicated GPU. But the device itself which was released in 2019 is already seeing sign of age. While Quest 3 can't compete on PCVR graphics the features such as untethered access and connection to Oculus store brings the market. 

Valve Index can’t compete on mixed reality.

Quest 3 vs HP Reverb G2

HP Reverb G2 is the same as Index in relying on a powerful gaming PC for graphics. Outpaces Quest 3 for PCVR visuals.

At this point HP Reverb G2 is slightly more expensive than Quest 3 ($599 vs $499) but Quest 3 has higher refresh rate (120Hz after recent software update vs 90Hz at G2) and similar resolution. Even taking everything in consideration the features on Quest 3 (wi-fi streaming, MR capabilities, and content library) makes it a better choice. 

The potential winning feature of G2 is the eye tracking.

Quest 3 vs Playstation VR2

PlayStation VR2 uses a custom AMD chip comparable to a RTX 2070. Dedicated GPU is considerably more powerful than Quest 3's mobile chip but you’re locked to the PLaystation VR2 hardware which limits your access to great content that lies beyond PLaystation VR.

So in summary, among standalone xr goggles the Quest 3 is on par with Pico 4 and surprisingly a step above Quest Pro. 

For PC VR, PC-tethered headsets have significantly more graphics processing muscle from dedicated GPUs and Quest 3 (at this time) still represents a major upgrade in performance and access to a library of content that is far ahead of competition plus let’s not forget the native integration to all the social apps like Facebook and Instagram which are a part of integrations as well. 

However, as we have discovered at the start, Quest 3 brings the power of mixed reality which separates the device from a “VR headset” category and places it alongside Apple Vision Pro - the Apple’s version of mixed reality device.

However, Apple Vision Pro targets their own ecosystem of users and device family, leaving space for Meta Quest 3 to broaden their area of influence

Conclusion: Should You Get the New Quest 3?

The way Quest 3 is presented, the answer is yes - it’s more than just a fractional iteration and upgrade from the previous Quest 2 model - it’s as we found out in the start - a first mainstream mixed reality headset

The depth sensor, better performance, and standalone untethered experience opens up new possibilities to interact and blend physical and virtual worlds. 

This is exciting. Mixed reality is an easier way to bring adoption than virtual reality, where you were isolated from seeing the physical world. Now that the devices are getting smaller, lighter, and easier to use, we can look forward to more users. If you’re looking to transition and build a career in VR, the time is nigh. 

If you’re a gamer and tech enthusiast - that’s good news, but it’s even better for all the XR developers who will transition the skills they’ve acquired over the years and start building new experiences more people will use now and in the future. 

Quick FAQ

What is Meta Quest 3 release date?

October 10, 2023 but you can pre-order it already.

Is Meta Quest 3 a worthwhile investment? Should I upgrade?

For most cases - yes!

What makes the Meta Quest 3 different from its predecessors?

The Meta Quest 3 introduces groundbreaking mixed reality capabilities, distinguishing it from merely being a VR headset. It boasts improvements in processing power, display resolution, controllers, camera features, battery life, audio quality, and connectivity. Its defining feature, however, is its transformation into a mixed reality device, placing it in a unique category compared to previous Quest models.

How does the Meta Quest 3's processing and performance compare to the Quest 2?

The Quest 3 offers a significant performance upgrade. It features the Snapdragon XR2+ chip, which provides up to 50% more power, enabling enhanced graphics, simulations, and mixed reality experiences. This surpasses the capabilities of the Quest 2, making the Quest 3 superior in terms of processing power.

What are the mixed reality features introduced in the Quest 3?

The Quest 3's depth perception sensor facilitates mixed reality experiences, allowing the device to blend virtual and physical worlds. Features include room automapping, "Augments" for placing virtual screens and objects in physical space, and enhanced gaming experiences with Xbox cloud gaming and mixed reality game titles.

How does the storage capacity of the Meta Quest 3 compare to previous models?

The Quest 3 offers a substantial 512GB storage model, which is a considerable upgrade from previous models. Additionally, this model comes with a 6-month free subscription to Meta Quest+, Meta’s VR gaming platform.

How does Meta Quest 3's performance and features compare to other VR headsets on the market?

While there are other headsets available, few can match the Quest 3's combination of performance, features, affordability, and content access. It holds its ground against competitors like Pico 4 and surpasses the capabilities of many, including Quest Pro and HTC Vive Focus 3. Its unique mixed reality capabilities also set it apart from purely VR headsets like Valve Index and HP Reverb G2.

Given its features and advancements, is it recommended to upgrade to the Meta Quest 3?

Yes, the Meta Quest 3 represents more than just a minor iteration from the Quest 2. As the first mainstream mixed reality headset, it combines enhanced VR capabilities with groundbreaking MR features, offering users a chance to blend and interact with both physical and virtual worlds seamlessly.

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