The biggest bet in virtual reality is finally here. The Meta Quest Pro is an exceptionally expensive headset, priced at $1,500. Still, Quest Pro offers new advanced features to enhance the VR and mixed reality experience, particularly in remote work environments.
General details: release date and prices
Previously featured as “Project Cambria”, the Meta Quest Pro debuted during a Meta Connect live stream on October 11, 2022. Pre-orders opened immediately after the event, with orders arriving on October 25.
The Quest Pro is Meta’s most powerful VR headset to date; of course, it’s also the company’s most expensive VR headset. Meta Quest Pro is priced at a cool $1,500. That’s almost four times more expensive than the Quest 2 headphones.
Previous leaks suggested that Meta would be teasing two budget headsets after revealing the Meta Quest Pro. These leaks turned out to be inaccurate.
Design: Slim and lightweight for long-term use
As you probably already know, remote work plays a huge role in Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse. But when we tested Meta’s Horizon Workrooms, we found the Quest 2 headset to be too uncomfortable for a full day’s work.
Meta clearly understands this problem. That’s why the work-focused Quest Pro headset uses a new “balanced and ergonomic” design. The hallmark of this new design is a curved rear battery, which is located on the back of the Quest Pro head strap. It helps to evenly distribute the weight of the Quest Pro; Unfortunately, Meta has not yet revealed the weight of the device.
Quest Pro also uses a 40% thinner optical stack. That’s a fancy way of saying that their lenses are very compact, so the earpieces don’t stick out too far from the face.
Also, the Quest Pro does not completely Cover your eyes. There is a small gap around the headphone display area, so unlike a pair of goggles, it doesn’t press down on your face while you’re wearing them. (Meta Quest Pro includes two “light blockers” that you can use to remove this space.)
These improvements extend to the Quest Pro controllers, which have been redesigned for a more ergonomic grip. And of course, Meta includes a charging cradle with the Quest Pro. This charging cradle is compact enough to fit on a desk, ensuring the Quest Pro is always within reach.
Controllers: they track themselves!
While the Oculus Quest (or Meta Quest) controllers are pretty advanced, they’re also frustratingly primitive. And I’m not talking about AA batteries (which last longer than rechargeable ones, by the way). It is the tracking method that is behind.
Oculus Touch controllers, as they’re called, use two IR rings to communicate with your headset. But your headset needs to “see” these rings to know where its drivers are located. If you put the controls behind your back, for example, they “disappear”.
The Quest Pro solves this problem with automatic tracking controllers. According to Zuckerberg, these controllers are “basically their own computers,” as each contains a Snapdragon 662 chipset. Thanks to these advancements, the controllers offer a 360-degree range of motion, as well as improved haptic and touch sensors. .
But the biggest change in drivers is stylus support. Typing in VR should feel closer to typing in real life: connect a stylus to your controllers to write on any surface, like a desk or wall (you can also write in mid-air). Everything you type will appear in your virtual reality environment.
Of course, Quest Pro can track your hands when you’re not using controllers. But Meta hasn’t specified how the Quest Pro hardware improves hand tracking.
Optimized for work: Full color transfer and more
Given the $1,500 price tag, it’s no surprise that Meta Quest Pro offers improved image quality. We don’t know the exact resolution of this headset, but it offers 37% higher pixel density than the Quest 2. It also uses local dimming for 75% more contrast, which is pretty exciting.
The Quest Pro’s improved pixel density accomplishes two things. First, it gives you prettier graphics. But as Zuckerberg points out, it also improves the readability of text in VR. This is especially important when using transfer to view real-world objects in virtual reality.
And the step gets a enormous upgrade with Quest Pro. Thanks to a suite of high-resolution cameras, Quest Pro can provide full-color walk-through video with greater depth and quality. In other words, you don’t need to block out the real world when using Quest Pro.
We’re not sure how Quest Pro’s full-color pass-through feature will be used by app developers. It might allow you to see your desktop while working in VR, though it might also provide an AR-like experience in some games. (Meta showed how beat saber use the function; Basically, it allows you to replace beat saberstandard background with a live view of your room).
These new features are enabled by a Snapdragon XR2+ processor, which includes 12GB of RAM. According to Meta, the new chipset is 50% more powerful than the Quest 2’s Snapdragon XR2 setup and runs at a much higher (though unspecified) efficiency.
But the most interesting work-centric feature may be facial expression tracking. Quest Pro uses four cameras to track your eyes and mouth. When you make a face in the real world, it translates to your virtual avatar, offering another layer of communication that seems more useful when socializing or collaborating with others. (I’d like to see how game companies use this feature. Imagine a game character getting mad at you for making a funny face.)
Odds and Ends: New Apps from Microsoft and Adobe
Working in virtual reality should be much more “enjoyable” in the Quest Pro. But fancy hardware doesn’t matter if there are no apps. And that’s why Meta used the release of Quest Pro to announce some partnerships.
To our surprise, Meta is working with Microsoft (a rival in this market) to strengthen Quest Pro’s usability in a corporate environment. The companies will offer the Microsoft 365 suite of apps on Quest Pro, in addition to Microsoft Teams, Windows 365 (a cloud desktop platform), and Xbox Cloud Gaming (displayed in 2D on a large virtual screen).
Adobe is also working on a Quest Pro app: Substance 3D Modeler. It is a professional level application that allows you to design 3D models while in VR. However, details are scant.
And to expand the capabilities of Horizon Workspace, Meta is developing a new collaborative environment called Magic Rooms. These virtual rooms allow you to share tools and work with others on a single project. Participants don’t need to be in VR, so in theory Magic Rooms should suit a variety of use cases.
Now, we’re still not sold on the idea of working in virtual reality. The experience is simply too clunky. But these advances, along with all the new features in Quest Pro, will allow more companies to experiment with the metaverse. We will wait to see if the idea is a success.
Again, pre-orders for the Meta Quest Pro opened shortly after the Meta Connect event on October 11, 2022. The device starts arriving in stores and on customers’ doors on October 25. But it costs $1,500.
We’ll update this article as we learn more about Meta Quest Pro. We plan to review the device soon, so be sure to join our free newsletter for future updates, news, and reviews!