There are three Quest headsets to choose from this Christmas. But for some it might be worth waiting a little longer.
Meta Quest 3 launched in October 2023 and the cheaper Meta Quest 2 is still being sold alongside.
For the 2023 holiday season, there are three Quest headsets to choose from:
- Meta Quest 2 starting at $300
- Meta Quest 3 starting at $500
- Meta Quest Pro for $1000
At this price point, the partially outdated Meta Quest Pro is not recommended for consumers. Therefore, only Meta Quest 2 and 3 should be considered.
Meta Quest 3: The best standalone VR headset
In short, Meta Quest 3 is a major technical upgrade over Meta Quest 2 in almost every way, and is the best standalone VR headset on the market today, as Ben writes in his in-depth review of the Quest 3.
Improvements range from more than doubled processing power and much sharper images thanks to new pancake lenses and higher-resolution displays, to richer sound and ringless controllers with improved haptic effects, to a slimmer form factor and convenience enhancements such as the continuous IPD adjustment. Quest 3 also features color passthrough and experimental mixed reality. The latter, however, will take a year or two to reach its potential.
Nothing has changed in terms of battery life, which is still a meager 2-3 hours. Also, Meta still ships the device with a soft strap, which some users may find inadequate for long sessions or workouts.
Meta Quest 2 may be replaced soon
The aforementioned improvements are reflected in the price: At $500, Meta Quest 3 is no longer an impulse buy. Those who find this too expensive will consider buying Meta Quest 2, but there are some important things to note.
The Meta Quest 2 has been on the market for three years and may be nearing the end of its life cycle. Rumors have been circulating since the spring that the aging device will be replaced by a more modern, but similarly priced headset sometime next year. The technical specifications of the device are not known, but according to a recent report, it could launch as early as the first half of 2024 and use the same chipset as Meta Quest 3.
If these rumors are true, then Meta Quest 2 can no longer be considered future-proof. Exclusive games for Meta Quest 3 have not been announced, but at some point Meta has to phase out the older hardware to take advantage of the processing power of the new chipset and to take standalone VR to the next level.
If you want to try out Meta’s VR platform as soon as possible and use it casually without spending a lot of money, then it might make sense to buy a Meta Quest 2. However, if you want to get more serious about the technology and don’t want to be left behind in the next three years, then you should either get a Meta Quest 3 or wait another six months. Meta’s plans should be more concrete by then.
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