Meta Connect 2023 was all about Quest 3 today. The company announced it’s shipping the mixed reality standalone October 10th, starting at $500 for the 128GB version. If you’re wondering whether it’s worth an upgrade, here’s a side-by-side breakdown between the company’s other consumer-focused headset, Quest 2.

Note: Make sure to check out our detailed hands-on with Quest 3, diving into everything from comfort to clarity.

Released in 2020, Quest 2 packs in a fair bit of tech that should keep it relevant for the next few years of VR gaming yet to come. It’s also a lot cheaper, starting at $300 for the 128GB variant. It’s all about standalone VR gaming, which is something that’s about to change with the introduction of Quest 3, the company’s first consumer mixed reality headset.

Quest 2 next to Quest 3 | Image courtesy Meta

There are more than a few new additions to Quest 3, namely its slimmer and better-balanced design, faster second-gen Snapdragon XR2 chipset, and full-color mixed reality passthrough function—all of which ought to raise an eyebrow or two as you can not only game with better clarity and comfort, but also dip your toes into the slowly filling pool of mixed reality games.

Quest 3 Finally Replaced Index as My Main PC VR Headset, and I Have Valve to Thank

Yeah, there hasn’t been much in that department, but it’s the most capable standalone headset in its class—for now. Check out the specs below to see just how three years of intergenerational hardware updates chalks up:

Quest 3 vs. Quest 2 Specs

Quest 3 Quest 2
Resolution 2,064 × 2,208 (4.5MP) per-eye, LCD (2x) 1,832 × 1,920 (3.5MP) per-eye, LCD (1x)
Refresh Rate 90Hz, 120Hz (experimental) 60Hz, 72Hz, 80Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz
Optics Pancake non-Fresnel Single element Fresnel
Field-of-view (claimed) 110ºH × 96ºV 96ºH × 96ºV
Optical Adjustments Continuous IPD, stepped eye-relief (built in) Stepped IPD, stepped eye-relief (via included spacer)
IPD Adjustment Range 53–75mm 58mm, 63mm, 68mm
Processor Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 Snapdragon XR2
Storage 128GB, 512GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Connectors USB-C, contact pads for optional dock charging USB-C
Weight 515g 503g
Battery Life 1.5-3 hours 2–3 hours
Headset Tracking Inside-out (no external beacons) Inside-out (no external beacons)
Controller Tracking Headset-tracked (headset line-of-sight needed) Headset-tracked (headset line-of-sight needed)
Expression Tracking none none
On-board cameras 6x external (18ppd RGB sensors 2x) 4x external
Input Touch Plus (AA battery 1x), hand-tracking, voice Touch v3 (AA battery 1x), hand-tracking, voice
Audio In-headstrap speakers, 3.5mm aux output In-headstrap speakers, 3.5mm aux output
Microphone Yes Yes
Pass-through view Yes (color) Yes (B&W)
MSRP $500 (128GB), $650 (512GB) $300 (128GB), $350 (256GB)

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Connect 2023 kicks off today, taking place September 27th and 28th at Meta’s Menlo Park headquarters. There’s been a ton of news already, so make sure to follow along by heading to our main page for all of the latest in Meta’s XR stuff.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Foreign Devil

    How to they compare for PCVR connectivity and performance?

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Wifi 6E support (also Wifi 7 according to Qualcomm), so expect same (taking higher resolution into account) or better wireless support. No word yet on DP over USB-C yet (don’t count on it).

  • GunnyNinja

    OK Meta, since you FINALLY remembered us large IPD users, I will come back into the fold.

  • VirtualRealityNation

    I ordered 4 immediately. With about 10 Quest 1s, 40 Quest 2s and 6 Quest Pros my team needs to see how this new device stacks up.

    • xyzs

      Ok ?

    • CrusaderCaracal

      Surely you chuck one my way if you’ve got all this cheddar mate

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    I seriously doubt that they dropped the 60Hz and esp. the 72Hz refresh rate. Every available headset usually offers refresh rates that are multiples of 24Hz, because movies are recorded at 24FPS. So if you want to use the HMD for virtual cinema without flickering, that’s pretty much a must.

    According to the specs listed above, the Quest 3 supports 120Hz, which would be 5*24Hz. But it seems rather wasteful to run the headset at the highest refresh rate for the one application that benefits the least from it, as this would only reduce battery life, which is something you want to conserve to allow watching even movies like the 3h+ Lord of the Rings extended cut episodes without having to recharge or stay plugged in.

    • Max

      Heyo, soon-to-be media app developer for Q3. Both headsets have no built-in adaptive refresh rate technology, and devs can set it in range between 60, 72, 90, 120 Hz. I’ve not gotten my hands on a Q3 yet, but dev docs mention there is no 60 Hz mode at all. Bummer.
      Quest dev team is really stubborn in that direction, especially now that we have macbooks and iphones that dynamically go down to 20 Hz on their own, without any dev intervention. Having a 24 Hz mode for movies only should conserve enough to give you like 5 more minutes, for scenes after credits maybe :)

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        A 24Hz mode would only work for pure video glasses without head tracking, where the “screen” follows the head movement without delay. In virtual cinema, where you can look away from the screen, the rest of the world is still just VR, and VR at 24Hz is a rather horrible experience due to the distribution of receptors on the retina.

        24Hz for cinema works, because the cones for color vision are more concentrated towards the center and detect about 16-20 values/second, so looking forward at a 24Hz display gives high color resolution with no flicker. The rods for b/w brightness detection are much faster, up to 100 values/sec and denser towards the peripheral, so you notice that approaching tiger and turn you head.

        72Hz is therefore a compromise, easy to sync with 24Hz, but high enough to not cause a lot of flicker and nauseating lag in the peripheral vision esp. during head movement. VR displays also use low persistence, for each frame they sort of flash for a few milliseconds and then turn dark for much longer to reduce the time where the image is in the wrong position. The eye just perceives this as a stable image, and reducing the refresh rate would require the flashing phase to be longer/more wrong.

        • Max

          Hey, thanks for such a detailed reply! Learned some biology today :)
          Yeah I totally get it w/ head tracking, that’s also one of the reasons for app’s rejection by the Quest Store – your app has to use (and be fast enough for) 72 Hz and up, or it has to have a very special use case (media players were allowed using 60 Hz iirc). I didn’t mention that the player I’m developing is just a player, not a virtual cinema per se. I can turn off Quest’s head tracking programmatically. It comes in handy when using the headset in stationary vehicles, like train, plane etc. It’s even endorsed, because the tracking gets greatly confused now and then, esp. on planes. And it isn’t as much nausea inducing as you might think at first (to my surprise as well). However, you are fundamentally correct. My main gripe is that for my niche use case, there is an artificial limitation in place, for no good reason.

          My point about adaptiveness still holds. There’s no good reason not to allow it, just some technical complexity associated with it. Oculus/Meta made the move to low persistence quite some time ago, yet they still haven’t fully addressed the dynamic aspect.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            It is hard to tell “artificial limitation” from “good reason”. I’ve created very unoptimized VR builds and know I won’t get nausea from 5FPS in a tumbling vehicle, though some unexpected movement (HL2 airboat even in 2D) makes my stomach revolt. My insensitivity has led to me causing serious motion sickness lasting hours in others, by letting them try apps/demos I considered harmless, and some can’t handle 3DoF at all.

            Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe felt sick for hours after a few minutes in DK1 Minecraft, so John Carmack only considered his Gear VR port usable once Iribe could play for half an hour. He had to suffer through numerous demos, but was well paid and interested in improving VR. I have more scruples making my more sensitive friends feel miserable (again) by having them try new apps. Different people also react differently, so I now take the Meta recommendations as tested guidelines, with too much safety margin for users like me, still not enough for some, but a good balance. Guidelines aren’t laws, and always playing it safe limits progress, it’s just important to properly warn users and have lots of people test the results first. VR developers basically need sensitive guinea pigs.

  • “Meta Connect 2023 was all about Quest 3 today.” Ehm, no, was all about AI…