Meta Quest 3: Everything we know so far

The Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro on a table with a Christmas tree in the background
The Quest 3 will fuse features between the Quest 2 (left) and Quest Pro (right) (Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

If the rumors are true, the Meta Quest 3 will launch around the three-year anniversary of the Oculus Quest 2. Arriving a year later than the extravagant Meta Quest Pro, the Quest 3 will likely meld the two headsets in its design, with a few vital improvements but returning several of the Quest 2's shortcomings. 

Many people hoped that the Quest 3 would arrive in 2022, but we think Meta was smart to avoid releasing the Quest 3 too soon. The Quest 2 just had its two-year anniversary, and its recent sales popularity has attracted a bevy of game developers and new casual VR fans. Making them upgrade too soon could frustrate both groups.

We're certain Meta will deliver the Quest 3 hardware upgrade in 2023, and we've already learned a surprising amount about the headset thanks to a massive leak from VR analyst Brad Lynch, as well as hints from Mark Zuckerberg.

Time to strap on our virtual thinking caps and talk about everything we know (or hope to see) concerning the Meta Quest 3.

Meta Quest 3: Release date

The Meta Quest 3 won't release in 2022, in case that isn't obvious at this point. The company has Meta Quest Pro headsets to sell. Instead, it'll arrive sometime in 2023, though we don't believe an official release date has been confirmed. 

The most obvious candidate would be late October, with a Meta Connect 2023 reveal earlier in the month. Older Oculus headsets like the Quest 1 and Go launched in spring, so it's technically possible Meta could aim for an earlier launch in the year. Given both the Oculus Quest 2 and Quest Pro arrived in October, we'd recommend settling in for a longer wait.

Meta Quest 3: Price

Stratechery (opens in new tab) conducted an interview with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella around the Quest Pro's launch, focused on their new Quest-Microsoft partnership. During this discussion, Zuckerberg confirmed the Quest 3 wouldn't arrive in 2022 but did confirm it was in production, saying, "there will be a Quest 3, and that's in the price range of $300, $400, or $500, that zone."

This tracks with the current pricing of the Meta Quest 2, which originally cost $300 or $400 for the 128GB or 256GB models, respectively, until a recent $100 price increase to $400–$500.

We think an identical price of $400 for the base Meta Quest 3 would make sense. Based on the Lynch leak we'll discuss below, Meta will likely sell a "Tier Up" model with increased RAM and storage, so it's possible that version would cost an extra $100-$200 more, similar to what you'd pay for a phone upgrade.

Meta Quest 3: Design

Renders of the Meta Quest 3

(Image credit: SadlyItsBradley)

Most of our current information concerning the Meta Quest 3 is fully courtesy of several leaked videos (opens in new tab) by YouTuber SadlyItsBradley, who showed off CAD renders of the headset (pictured above and below) and gave a detailed breakdown of every way the Quest 3 is a "love-child of Quest Pro/ Quest 2 hardware." Lynch successfully leaked most of the Quest Pro's features, so we trust his source here, as well.

As you can see from the renders above, the Quest 3 will not have the built-in Elite Strap and rear battery pack of the Quest Pro, instead returning with the same soft strap and front-stored battery as the Quest 2. Once again, this cost-saving measure will put the burden on consumers to pay for an upgrade since the default strap can be uncomfortable and difficult to adjust.

Thankfully, one of the Quest Pro's most important features — pancake lenses — allegedly will come to the Quest 3. Specifically, the "exact same lenses" as the Quest Pro, claims Lynch. This will make the headset much less front-heavy than before, which should alleviate some of the design imbalance of its predecessor.

You won't be able to use your old Quest 2 strap alternatives because the new model places the USB-C charging and data port directly inside the front-left strap, according to Lynch. Its former spot is taken up with side-angled 6DoF tracking cameras. You also have two more 6DoF cameras on the front, as well as a depth sensor. 

Lynch also says that the Quest Pro will enable full-color passthrough, which would help Meta bring some of the current mixed-reality experiences on the Pro to the Quest 3. Compared to the ugly, laggy black-and-white passthrough you get on the Quest 2, this would mean a substantial improvement in quality.

In a follow-up video (opens in new tab) to his initial leaks, Lynch says that if the Quest 3 has the same depth sensor and depth projector as the Quest Pro, it will enable far better high-fidelity hand tracking than on the Quest 2, which relies on less reliable camera tracking to work. 

The single right-side 3.5mm headphone jack will return, unlike the dual ports of the Quest Pro. This will make more headphones work with the device but also lead to dangling cords unless you strap them on properly.

Renders of the Meta Quest 3

(Image credit: SadlyItsBradley)

While the Quest 3 adopted Quest Pro mixed-reality improvements and pancake lenses, Lynch's sources say it won't have eye or face tracking. The Quest Pro has five internal cameras for these features, which would drive up the cost of the Quest 3 far more than these other improvements. Compared to the PS VR2, which will have eye tracking and foveated rendering, the Quest 3 could fall short in this area. 

Lynch also speculates that the headset will have a single cooling fan, identical to the Quest 2 and one fewer than the dual-fan setup of the Quest Pro. We'll discuss below about the Quest 3's new Snapdragon chip and why that could be an issue.

Meta Quest 3: Specs

Just because the Quest 3 will take the Quest Pro's pancake lenses doesn't mean it'll have the same display as the Quest Pro, which used QLED panels with 500 dimming zones. Instead, Lynch's sources say it'll have LCD displays, same as the Quest 2, and we have no word on whether the resolution will improve on the Quest 2's 1832x1920 per eye. 

That's in contrast to a previous leak from Lynch that the Quest 3 would use uOLED displays produced by Changxin Technology — a good reminder that some of this leaked data could prove false if Meta changes its plans in the next year.

The display should, however, support 120Hz gaming by default, something the Quest 2 will also offer in the future

Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2+ announcement image

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

One very significant Quest 3 specs upgrade, however, will be the chip. Brad Lynch has confirmed information from "XR industry sources" that Meta will use a new Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip codenamed Project Halliday — a reference to the OASIS creator in Ready Player One. 

Just as Qualcomm designed the Quest 2's XR2 Gen 1 chip from the flagship Snapdragon 865 chip of that year, the XR2 Gen 2 allegedly uses a redesigned variant of the 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 destined for 2023 flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S23. Simply compare benchmarks between 2020 and 2023 phones, and you'll get a glimpse at how much faster the Quest 3 may run compared to the Quest 2.

Along with faster and more efficient CPU cores, the XR2 Gen 2 will employ the Adreno 740 GPU, which supports hardware-accelerated ray tracing and has faster performance than the industry-leading Apple A16 GPU in the iPhone 14 Pro. Plus, the Quest 3 will have LPDDR5 storage, faster than the Quest 2's LPDDR4X storage.

Lynch's leakers suggested that the Quest 3 should see graphical performance on par with leading smartphones, or a 2.5x or 3x graphical boost compared to the last generation. 

We've discussed how the Quest Pro beats the Quest 2 in performance thanks to a boosted 12GB of RAM compared to the 6GB in the Quest 2, but much of this extra memory goes towards the extra face/eye camera tracking. The Quest 3 could have much better gaming performance than the Quest Pro thanks to the XR2 Gen 2 as a result. In fact, Lynch says that Meta will likely sell a 12GB/512GB Quest 3 for a higher price, matching the Pro's RAM and beating its storage space for games. If these leaks prove true, that makes it the more attractive headset for gamers.

The possible downside, which we referenced above, is that the Quest 3 may only have one cooling fan, which could limit its ability to clock up to the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2's full potential. And the default Quest 3 memory could instead be 6 or 8GB; we'll have to wait and see.

As for other Quest 3 specs, we don't know yet what the size of the battery will be to compensate for the performance increase, but Meta seems to target 2-3 hours for its headsets. The device should weigh less than the Quest 2 due to the pancake lenses and will once again have integrated stereo speaker vents. 

We don't know yet whether Quest 3 controllers will look like Quest Pro controllers with built-in tracking cameras or if they'll bring back the halo tracking ring. Considering those controllers cost a whopping $300, we highly suspect that the Quest 3 controllers will use a more basic design, but that you'll be able to pair the Quest Pro controllers to the Quest 3 if you can afford them.

Meta Quest 3 features and games

Meta Quest 2 with hands

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The Quest 1 could play Oculus Go titles, while the Quest 2 could play Quest 1 titles but not Go titles — and eventually had exclusive games the Quest 1 couldn't play. We're pretty confident that the full Quest gaming library will come to the Quest 3, but it's possible that some older titles will need a graphical update in order to qualify for the store, which means some will get left behind.

Thanks to the possible depth projector upgrade, hand tracking should be improved on the Quest 3, so developers may make more games that don't rely on Touch controllers. Similarly, thanks to the mixed-reality upgrade of full-color passthrough, we suspect that the passthrough mechanic will be incorporated into more Quest Store games.

Perhaps the biggest new feature would be Project Razor, which Lynch calls "a partnership between Meta and US-based ISP/MNOs, i.e., Verizon, AT&T, etc., to help build connectivity improvements and get the internet "metaverse ready." 

Basically, Meta is gearing up to make cloud VR gaming happen right now using cellular data instead of unreliable wireless networks, and is encouraging partnered developers to make "cloud-first content" that might launch alongside the Quest 3 in 2023. 

Plutosphere dashboard

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

Having tested Plutosphere, a sideloaded Quest 2 cloud gaming app, and had difficulties maintaining a proper connection long enough to enjoy Half-Life: Alyx, I'm curious how well this will work and how much consumers would have to pay for network access. But if this can make PC VR-quality games freely and painlessly available on the Quest 3 without needing Link cables or even your own PC, that would be a major development.

Our Meta Quest 3 wishlist

While leaks have given us a clear skeleton of what the Quest 3 could look like and how it will perform, we still have plenty to learn. And we have several concerns based on our time with the Quest 2, as well as new features from competing headsets, that we hope to see resolved or at least addressed with the Quest 3.

Let the leakers be wrong about eye tracking

At GDC 2022, I attended a PS VR2 dev talk where they revealed all the ways VR games will change on Sony's upcoming headset. Foveated rendering with eye-tracking will lead to up to 3.6x GPU frame time improvements. The headset will use "gaze position and rotation, pupil diameter, and blink states," so developers can highlight or even aim assist based on wherever players are looking.

This new headset will arrive in 2023, months before the Quest 3, and it'll throw down a gauntlet that Meta will struggle to pick up without eye tracking. Sure, skip face tracking; it'd only really be useful in something like VR Chat, anyways. But eye tracking is the future of VR, and developers programming for PS VR2 will have to ditch these gameplay mechanics for a Quest port.

Better battery life

Out of the box, the Quest 2 lasts maybe 2-2.5 hours while gaming and that capacity can dip over time unless you counterbalance it with a battery pack. It'd be nice if Meta could both improve the Quest 3's graphics while also managing to add an extra hour of battery life. 

Give us expandable storage

We appreciate that the Quest 3 might jump to 512GB and that cloud saves have made it less of a big deal to delete and redownload old games from your library. But frugal VR gamers should have the option to increase their capacity if they want to store years' worth of games or movies downloaded for streaming. We think the latter will be especially more pleasant now that color passthrough will make you less isolated from reality, but movies take up a ton of space, and a microSD card slot could really help.

Revamped visuals (somehow)

If Meta decides to go with LCD lenses instead of OLED to save money, we can accept it (even if it means the Quest 3 will struggle to display deep blacks like its predecessor). But there should be some way to differentiate the visual experience since the 2020 release, aside from 120Hz out of the box. Perhaps we can get a wider FOV, for instance. The Quest Pro has a 1.3x-larger color gamut and 37% more pixels-per-inch than the Quest 2, according to Meta; maybe we can see similar gains on the Quest 3?

Improved Air Link

We'll see if the whole cloud VR / Project Razor thing pans out. In the meantime, the Quest 3 should have official Air Link out of the box with proper, consistent connectivity with your PC and no need for the new D-Link dongle. Considering the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can support Wi-Fi 7 connectivity, that gives us hope that the Quest 3 will better prioritize VR traffic and have shorter latency.

Offer a Quest 2 trade-in system

With over ten million Quest 2 units sold, these devices will produce a ridiculous amount of e-waste if Quest 3 buyers don't have any convenient way to resell or trade them. And forcing new Quest 2 buyers to pay another $500 so soon will just alienate them. Meta will generate a ton of goodwill if it learns from Samsung's example and offers Quest 2 owners a decent discount on the Quest 3 if they trade in their headsets. 

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.