There’s a lot to talk about after our time with Quest Pro. In our prior article we talked about the experience using Meta’s new MR headset. Here we’ll get into the nitty gritty of the headset’s capabilities and performance.

Update (October 25th, 2022): Quest Pro releases today—our review unit arrived quite late and we’re still in the process of giving it a full evaluation. In the meantime we’re revisiting our initial impressions of the headset from earlier this month. Stay tuned for our full Quest Pro review.

As often happens with hands-on demos, I wasn’t able to sit down and really test everything I would have liked to about headset (on account of being walked through several demos in row), but I soaked up as much as I could about how it looked and felt to use the Quest Pro.

Key Quest Pro Coverage:

Quest Pro Revealed – Full Specs, Price, & Release Date

Quest Pro Hands-on – The Dawn of the Mixed Reality Headset Era

Touch Pro Controllers Revealed – Also Compatible with Quest 2

One of my biggest surprises about the headset is that the resolving power isn’t actually much better than Quest 2. That made sense once Meta revealed that Quest Pro shares nearly the same resolution as Quest 2. Granted, the company claims the lenses have greater clarity at the center and periphery, but in any case it isn’t the kind of leap that’s going to make the headset great for reading or using it like a computer monitor.

Photo by Road to VR

I take it this decision might have been related to the resolution of the passthrough cameras (not to mention the extra processing power required to drive the headset’s 10 on-board cameras). After all, if you had a super high resolution display but lower resolution cameras, the outside world would look blurry by contrast against the sharper virtual objects.

Speaking of passthrough… while Quest Pro finally gets a full-color view, it’s not quite perfect. Because of all the adjustments the headset is doing to render a geometrically correct passthrough view, the implementation ends up with a few artifacts that manifest as color fringing around certain objects—like a faint outline of missing color.

Photo by Road to VR

My best guess is this happens because a mono RGB camera is employed for color information which is then projected over top of a stereo view… necessarily there’s some small angles where the color information is simply not present. This didn’t defeat the purpose of passthrough AR by any means (nor the appreciation for finally seeing in color), but it was something that would be nice to see fixed in future headsets.

As for the lenses, there’s no doubt that they’ve managed to compact the optical stack while retaining essentially the same kind performance as Quest 2… or potentially better; Meta says Quest Pro has up to 75% better contrast and a 30% larger color gamut thanks to 500 local dimming elements in the backlight, though I haven’t gotten to put this to test just yet.

Photo by Road to VR

Similarly, the remove of Fresnel lenses should eliminate glare and god rays in theory, but I wasn’t able to pull up the right content to see if they’ve been replaced with order kinds of artifacts. One thing I did notice though is that the lenses can reflect ambient light if angled toward direct light sources… luckily the headset comes with peripheral blinders if you want to cut this down and be more immersed.

Quest Pro with ‘full’ light blocker () | Photo by Road to VR

Quest Pro isn’t just a big upgrade to the headset; the accompanying Touch Pro controllers have some interesting capabilities that I didn’t expect.

With essentially the same handle as before, they still feel great in the hand, maybe even better than my favorite Touch controller (the original Touch v1) thanks to a closer center of gravity and a nice weight from an on-board rechargeable battery and improved haptic engines.

Photo by Road to VR

The single biggest improvement to the controllers is surely the addition of on-board inside-out tracking. Not only does this remove the ring to make the controllers more compact and less likely to bump into each other, but now they can track anywhere around you, rather than going haywire if they leave sight of the headset’s cameras for too long. It’s early to say (and Meta has made no mention of it) but this could even open up the controllers to functioning like extra body trackers.

I didn’t get to put the controller tracking to the test with something demanding like Beat Saber, but until I can, I’m hoping Meta was smart enough to make sure these could hold up to the Quest platform’s most popular game.

The new capabilities on the Touch Pro controller are hit or miss for me so far.

First is the pinch sensor that allows you to push down on the thumb rest to register an input. Combined with squeezing the index finger, this creates a pretty natural pinch gesture. It feels a little novel, but I could see this being used as an easy way to emulate pinch inputs in hand-tracking apps without any need for the developers to make changes. The gesture also provides a clearer single point of interaction compared to pulling a trigger or pressing a button, both if which are often abstracted from the actual position of your fingers.

Image courtesy Meta

As for the attachable stylus tip which goes on the bottom of your controller… I’m not really sold. Personally I find holding the controller upside down to use as a bulbous white-board marker to be fairly unergonomic. It’s a neat idea in theory—and I love that the stylus tip is pressure sensitive for added control—but I’m not sure the headset yet has the precision needed to really pull this off.

Photo by Road to VR

In the demos I saw that used the controller as a stylus, in both cases the virtual surface I was expected to draw on had drifted just far enough away from the physical surface it was supposed to represent that my stylus didn’t think it was close enough to start creating a mark… even though I was physically touching the controller to the physical surface.

That might be an implementation issue… after all, the pressure-sensitive tip should be able to clearly inform the system of when you are making contact and when you aren’t… but even so, once I recalibrated the surfaces and tried to draw again, I saw the surface drift fairly quickly (not by much, but even a centimeter of mismatch makes using a stylus feel weird). This might work fine for coarse annotations, like a shape here, or a few words there, but it’s far from something like a Wacom tablet.

Photo by Road to VR

As for the haptics… in my short time with them it seemed like there’s multiple haptic engines inside, making the controller capable of a broader range of haptic effects, but there wasn’t a moment where I felt particularly wowed by what I was feeling compared to what I’ve felt on Quest 2.

Granted, haptics are often one of the most underutilized forms of XR output, and often the last to be considered by developers given the difficultly of authoring haptic effects and the peculiarities of different haptic engines in different controllers. I hope this is something that will become a more obvious upgrade in the future as developers have more time to play with the system and find where to best employ its capabilities.

One last thing about the Touch Pro controllers… they’re also compatible with Quest 2 (unfortunately not Quest 1). Not only does this reduce the potential for fragmentation between different controller capabilities, but it means some of the new goodness of Quest Pro can come to Quest 2 users who don’t want to drop $1,500 on the complete package.

Image courtesy Meta

I definitely give credit to Meta here as a pro-customer move. Now if they really want my praise… it would be amazing if they made Touch Pro controllers compatible with any headset. In theory—because the controllers track their own position and don’t rely on unique LED patterns, or headset-based CV processing, etc—they should be able to simply report their own position to a host system which can integrate the information as needed. It’s a stretch, but it would be really great if Meta would offer all the great capabilities of the Touch Pro controllers to any headset out there that wanted to implement them, thus creating a larger ecosystem of users with matching controller capabilities.

Comfort

Photo by Road to VR

Quest Pro is no doubt more compact and balanced than any headset Meta has made previously, but it’s also heavier at 722 grams to Quest 2’s 503 grams.

Granted, this is another instance where Meta’s decision to put a cheap strap on Quest 2 comes back to bite them. Despite not being able to say that Quest Pro is lighter, it might in fact be the more comfortable headset.

While ergonomics are really hard to get a grasp on without hours inside the headset, what’s clear immediately is that Quest Pro is more adjustable which is great. The headset has both a continuous IPD adjustment (supporting 55–75mm) and a continuous eye-relief adjustment. Not to mention that the on-board eye-tracking will tell you when you’ve got the lenses into the ideal position for your eyes. Ultimately this means more people will be able to dial into the best position for both visuals and comfort, and that’s always a good thing.

SEE ALSO
Meta to Resume Quest Sales in Germany Following 2-year Antitrust Case

But, it has to be said, I have an issue with ‘halo’ headstraps generally. The forehead pad has a specific curve to it and thus wants to sit on your forehead in the spot that best matches that curve… but we all have somewhat different foreheads, which means that specific spot will be different from user to user. With no way to adjust the lenses up and down… you might have to pick between the ‘best looking’ and ‘most comfortable’ position for the headset.

I’ll have spend more time with Quest Pro to know how much this problem exists with the headset. And while I’d love to see other headstrap options as accessories, a halo-style headstrap might be a necessity for Quest Pro considering how much of the face the headset is attempting to track with internal cameras.

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  • kontis

    it would be amazing if they made Touch Pro controllers compatible with any headset. In theory …

    In theory these controllers have their own tracking volumes, so you need to synchronize them with the tracking volume of the headset (not sure how Meta does it). They aren’t 100% stand alone devices – some kind of integration is necessary, so I disagree that it would be technically easy to make them work with other headsets.

    BTW, before Oculus revealed Touch in 2015 I expected their tracking to work this way. It finally happened 7 years later…

    • Lulu Vi Britannia

      Seven years later there was no self-tracking device at all. It was unrealistic to expect it back then.
      Now when inside-out tracking headsets were released, THAT’S when we could have expected it for controllers ^^. So it does come a few years late, although there were technical challenges to overcome that may not be obvious to everyone.

      • VR5

        Lighthouse is fully inside-out, HMD and controllers. Yes, it uses base stations to provide markers and make the tracking less computationally expensive than having to recognize random surfaces with cameras, but in principle this was already available in 2016.

        • Lulu Vi Britannia

          Don’t play on words, you know what I meant. Lighthouse-based hardware doesn’t track themselves, that appeared only with Windows Mixed Reality. Before that, expecting self-tracked controllers was asking for too much.

          • VR5

            Using words according to their definition is not playing on them. I don’t know what kontis exactly had in mind so it would be better if he explained himself on that matter but you used both self tracking and inside-out.

            To be able to self-track, visual inside-out also needs a light source, it doesn’t work in the dark. Lighthouse tracking uses time based calculations, more like sonar or radar, but both the headset and the controllers do track themselves inside-out, using the markers created by light house.

            When HoloLense used visual inside-out tracking, its innovation was that it was markerless. AR on Vita and 3DS was the same inside-out but it used marker cards. Those consoles were self-tracking though, they just needed help from the marker cards, they weren’t tracked by them.

            So inside-out and self-tracking existed before Hololense and its offspring Windows MR, it just wasn’t markerless. Or rather, it uses random complex markers (surfaces), which it scans to complete a very complex reference anchor.

  • Kitr

    I haven’t seen any write up talk about the sound yet. Is this an upgrade vs. Quest 2? I’m currently using Quest 2 with the Vive strap for audio, so hoping this would at least be able to match that.

    • Ben Lang

      Sounded similar to me though I didn’t get to test it with content I’m particularly familiar with. They did say they reduced the outward noise to make it quieter to those outside the headset at the same volume.

  • Tommy

    How’s the battery life?

    • bad

    • Ben Lang

      1-2 hours according to Meta…

      • Tommy

        Holy crap! That would be a death sentence for most HMD manufacturers. I guess it’s good for people that only work one hour a day. Although, it would keep those boring company meetings short…silver linings.

        Are the batteries at least swappable?

        • dk

          u can slap bobovr b2 dock on the back ….but u will need something like that for the conteollers too :P

          • Tommy

            I wonder what the battery life is on those suckers with the added cameras.

        • VR5

          Most of your work time will be seated, no? You can plug in the USB cable during that time. With a magnetic connector that’s quite frictionless too.

          • Tommy

            That is true. I sure wouldn’t want to use it for gaming though.

          • VR5

            Depends. Some games can also be played seated and depending on how long your sessions are, battery life might actually be enough. Carmack also said that when used like a Quest 2 (without eye and face tracking), battery isn’t actually worse.

            Idk. Better to assume it is more limiting for gaming purposes though. And obviously excessively priced for that purpose.

        • Ben Lang

          Not swappable. An included dock hopefully means it’ll at least be charged most of the time. Meta says it takes about 2 hours for a full charge.

          • Tommy

            I guess there’s really no difference then compared to a laptop or PC since your device would be wired anyways. If I was buying one to replace my PC, this would be acceptable. Not really acceptable for gaming though

          • Andrew Jakobs

            But according to other news articles, you can use it while it charges through the cable, so you can put an extra battery at your belt and continue using it.

        • Mario Baldi

          In all honesty, the battery is the thing that doesn’t make much sense to me.
          As a standalone, this is meant to be used in short bursts of 1-2 hours, but for longer session you’re forced to plug it to a power outlet.
          And if you lose the “wireless” aspect of it, then why not add a digital video input, to be used as PCVR?
          At least you could have all the compute power you need for work purposes.

  • kraeuterbutter

    @benz145:disqus
    for the controllers: i like to use my quest2 outside (big play area)
    this is often a problem with the quest2-controllers…
    in my understanding, the selftracking through cameras should make the new controller be able, to handle sunlight, outside much better than the quest2-solution, because the quest2 has to track that tiny IR-LEDs on the controller via its cameras, which is hard to impossible in daylight outside
    so: any thoughts on this? are this maybe better (the best so far) outside-controllers in VR ?

    • Ben Lang

      I would wager it would be better, though it might not be perfect. As you say in direct sunlight there’s a lot of competing light that can wash out the IR LEDs. Controllers with their own inside-out tracking just need to have a wide enough dynamic range at a low enough exposure to be able to work well in direct sunlight. I would guess the Touch Pro tracking in direct sunlight would be similar to Quest 2 tracking in direct sunlight (which doesn’t always work too well). It’s possible the cameras on the controllers are lower quality than what’s on the headset though so we’ll have to wait and see.

      • kraeuterbutter

        thank for your reply
        for “direct sunlight”: i even dont mean direct sunlight, (so sun shines directly into cameras)
        but when playing behind my house, even indirect sunlight can be too much for the headset to see the IR-Lights
        the headset itselfs tracks perfectly in this situations
        the quest2 works best outside after sunset… its a small timewindows, because it also should not be too dark
        the Quest Pro is too expensive for me..
        but maybe i can sniff some Quest Pro-Air by ordering the controllers alone for my quest2
        as you said: time will tell, when we see some more complex, longtime-reviews

      • ViRGiN

        @benz145:disqus there is an imposter in various comment section named exactly like me, but it isn’t me. check the URL to see the difference. can you take care of it?

  • Thomas

    Thanks but no thanks.
    Pico 4 seems to be the reigning king of standalone headsets.

    • dk

      for some markets and until q3 is out

  • Langknow

    This headset is basically a cheaper and better hololens . Not really for gaming, and that’s ok.

    • dk

      sure and it’s also the equivalent of an iphone pro max 1tb ….and a similar price
      I wonder if it will have an enterprise edition like q2 and how much that will cost

    • ZeePee

      That’s the correct way to perceive this headset. It makes sense once you recognise this.

    • Octogod

      Which frames why Microsoft showed up to the party.

      They want to own the enterprise software space by bundling their business tools, but losing money on hardware is a mug’s game.

    • Lametoe

      It’s the best gaming headset out there, superior comfort for long sessions with magnificent lens clarity that doesn’t strain the eyes.

  • MosBen

    I would think that the resolving power of the Quest Pro isn’t significantly higher than the Quest 2 to ensure cross compatibility of software/games. They’ve already sold millions of Quest 2s to people so they don’t want to split their install base between the Pro and 2. Based on the rumors going around it seems like the Quest 3 might be a more significant jump forward, which makes sense from a business standpoint. You use your lower cost, consumer-friendly devices as ones that encourage people to upgrade to the next generation of hardware and then you offer the pro model a year or two later for the more hardcore crowd that want a slightly upgraded experience.

  • Great insights!

  • Marie

    I’ve been experiencing some weird things. J think my neighbor put a Vr sensor In my ear or in my bed. Now j hear them and their conversations every where I go. Is this possible??

    • Steve

      Absolutely. This happens all the time. Luckily a hat made of tin foil will block the transmissions. Good luck.

  • Marie

    I think my neighbor put a vr sensor in me somehow. I hear them nd their conversations wherever I go. I do believe they are spying on me. Is this possible. I hear them over my left ear!

    • Tommy

      They probably did. I would make a doctor’s appointment and get that checked out.

  • Ad

    Pinching was supposed to be a core function of the Index controllers but they dropped it after release. The updated Lab and Alyx didn’t use it.

  • Ad

    “I love that the stylus tip is pressure sensitive for added control”

    Are they? Tested said explicitly that they’re not.

  • metaphysician67

    overall to me, this reads as a transitional device. i watched a segment from SadlyItsBradley and he mentioned that Meta yanked a planned depth sensor at the last minute. this means the headset won’t be able to detect your surroundings and you’ll have to paint it in like the Quest 2. he was actually most excited on the quality of the controllers, since they can be used with Q2.

    obviously it’s marketed towards enterprise use, and the eye and face tracking are significant, but one would think that with such a low battery life they would at least have some way of swapping out batteries. so it’ll have to be a separate pack most likely, driving up the cost. overall it starts making the Focus3 look like a bargain, as long as you don’t need the standalone capability – with wireless PCVR dongles and Virtual Desktop, PCVR can still be in the picture in this price range(and as long as a GPU doesn’t have to be purchased). but the Quest Pro just strikes me as a sort of neither here nor there device.

    one thing for sure – it will make it much easier for Apple to price its headset above $2K as long as it delivers on improved passthrough resolution and battery life (and as long as the interaction and UX are as smooth). i’ll also be curious for the Pico4 Pro stacks up price and feature wise when it’s released.

    • Kevin Brook

      I’m not sure how this makes the Vive Focus 3 look like a bargain, that headset costs over £1500 once you’ve added the eye and face tracker modules. I’ve not used the Vive Focus 3, but I had the Vive Pro 2 which uses exactly the same displays and lenses, and comparatively speaking for its time, it’e by some margin the worst headset I’ve ever owned. In order to widen the horizontal FOV they slanted the lenses and moved them slightly further apart reducing the binocular overlap, which led to a terrible drop in clarity. Its sweet spot was worse than my Reverb G2, and despite having excellent displays the overall visual quality was a step down from my Quest 2 using USB-C link. It’s not just me who had this experience either, Mike from Virtual Reality Oasis said he found the Vive Focus unsuable, Sadly It’s Bradley did a whole explaining why the visuals were so bad and VoodooVE VR said it was the worst clarity headset he’d ever used.