Meta’s Quest 3 announced: 40 percent thinner than the Quest 2 and starting at $499

Just four days before the Apple WWDC conference, where the tech giant is expected to unveil its first mixed reality headset, Meta has announced their next VR headset: the Meta Quest 3. The device, they say, will be the “first mainstream headset with high-res color mixed reality” when it begins to ship to consumers in the fall. That is, unless Apple begins to ship their competing headset first.

The Quest 3 will start at $499 and will be 40% thinner than the Quest 2. Meta also noted it will house “next gen Qualcomm chipset with 2x the graphics performance,” but didn’t get more specific about specs. The entire Quest library of more than 500 titles will compatible with the Quest 3.

A side by side comparison of the Quest 2 and Quest 3, which is significantly thinner.

A side-by-side comparison of the Quest 2 (left) and Quest 3 (right).
Credit: Meta

The parts of the Quest 3 pulled apart and stacked so the viewer can see them individually.

A peek into the inner workings of the new Meta Quest 3.
Credit: Meta

Product stills of the Quest 3 show a redesigned device with three glass panels at the front housing at least two additional front-facing cameras, likely used to aid in full-color passthrough, for a total of four cameras. Unfortunately, it looks like the headset strap is still made out of cheap elastic, something I despised about the device before upgrading its parts to maximize comfort. But maybe the strap won’t be as much of an issue this time around thanks to that 40% reduction in size. A Y-shaped split at the back of the Quest 3 strap should also help ameliorate slipping and sliding during gameplay.

Product stills also include mocks of the Touch controllers, which look like a combo of the controllers for the Quest 2 and Quest Pro. The halo protectors we last saw on the Quest 2 have been removed for a sleeker look closer to that of the Quest Pro’s controllers, and a sloped thumb rest has been added.

The Quest 3 Touch controllers

The Meta Quest 3 Touch controllers.
Credit: Meta

Meta also announced some changes to the Quest 2. Beginning June 4, it will lower the price of the Quest 2 to $299.99 USD (128GB) and $349.99 USD (256GB SKU). If the price for the 128 GB SKU sounds oddly familiar, that’s because $299.99 USD was the original price of the Quest 2, before Meta bumped it up by $100 in June 2022.

A software update to Quest 2 and Quest Pro’s GPU and CPU is also around the corner. Both models will see up to 26 percent CPU performance increase, with GPU speeds increase up to 19 percent for the Quest 2 and 11 percent for the Quest Pro. Those updates will deliver smoother, more responsive gameplay. But will it still be enough to rival whatever Apple has in store? We’ll see.

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