Meta’s next-gen VR headset is coming in October, and it’s almost certain to be called the Quest Pro, a new type of head-mounted display from the world’s most popular virtual reality hardware maker.
Several previews have been shared by Meta, so we pretty much know what to expect, but thanks to an active rumor mill and plenty of recent leaks, even more information has come out about the next big thing in VR.
Quest Pro release date and price
Mark Zuckerberg revealed on the Joe Rogan podcast that the Project Cambria headset was coming in October, which fits perfectly with the Meta Connect event scheduled for October 11th. That means there are only a few weeks left to decide if this is a helmet worth buying or if your money is better saved for what’s to come in 2023.
Meta hasn’t shared the exact price of the Quest Pro, but after rumors swirled about it costing just $799, an official statement was made at UploadVR to purify the air. The news broke that the Project Cambria VR headset will cost well over $800. The final price is still unknown, but some estimates might help narrow it down to a reasonably accurate range.
Meta Connect, October 11. Don’t sleep on this one https://t.co/jF1Z5tzhMU
—Boz (@boztank) September 6, 2022
The Quest 2’s bill of materials (BOM) has been estimated to be at least $300, the same as the price of the headset – meaning Meta probably made very little on the sales of this product. The price recently increased by $100, apparently to start recouping money from the huge investment it has made in VR hardware and software.
The price of the Meta Quest Pro will likely be subsidized as well, and chances are Meta hardware will continue to offer the best value even if you choose its most expensive VR headset.
Rumors suggest that the Quest Pro’s BOM is around $800, which might be why the $799 rumor started. Since Meta added $100 to the estimated cost of the Quest 2, it might be reasonable to expect $200 to be added to the cost of the Quest Pro, making it around $1,000. Other rumors suggest $1,500 or more. It’s safe to assume this will be an expensive device aimed at people who are serious about VR.
There’s very good reason to believe that Meta’s next-gen VR headset will be called Meta Quest Pro.
In April 2022, Ming-Chi Kuo, the famous Apple analyst who often leaks information about upcoming iPhones and Macs, shared information about a new version of Meta Quest. Kuo predicted that this more advanced VR headset would be called the Quest 2 Pro instead of a Quest 3.
At that time, it was unclear if the rumored Quest 2 Pro would be the Project Cambria headset that Meta was teasing or something else. More recently, a pre-release version of a Meta headset was found in a hotel room, and the packaging listed the name “Quest Pro”, almost guaranteeing that this is the product Meta will announce to Meta Connect.
Quest Pro photos leaked
Meta has shared teasers of Project Cambria and other advanced VR headsets every few months since last year’s Facebook Connect event. The latest leak goes a little further, showing the sleek Meta Quest Pro itself, its ringless controllers, and even the product packaging.
It’s quite a change from the bulky headsets we’ve grown accustomed to. If the Quest Pro Headband is comfortable and there is no reason to believe otherwise, the new design should allow for extended use.
Beyond a slimmer front screen design, the sides appear to be much more open, allowing for a more realistic mixed reality experience. Since this is a priority for productivity, it makes sense to build the headset this way. There might be concerns about light leakage and deteriorating VR immersion, but chances are a removable interface will be included to block out ambient light if desired.
The new controllers also look a lot less obtrusive, losing the ring that was needed for the original Quest VR headset and the Quest 2. Overall, it’s an impressive system. Unfortunately, the leak didn’t show the Quest Pro in use, just the contents of the product box.
Meta shared some details about the advanced features its Project Cambria headset will be capable of, such as eye and face tracking. This means that your Meta avatar could react when you do, in theory. Whether you are smiling, talking or looking at someone, other people in virtual reality, face tracking means you will be able to see similar reactions and movements from your avatar. This could be possible with the use of many more cameras and sensors which should be integrated into the Quest Pro headset.
Eye tracking also enables a new way to interact with an environment and the ability to look at a virtual object or control may one day surpass the reigning king of pointing, the computer mouse. Imagine being able to look at a text box and start typing inside it without moving the pointer or clicking.
The Quest Pro is also rumored to have a color passthrough camera with a higher resolution, allowing for a much improved mixed reality experience. Improved external cameras will provide a higher resolution color view of what is happening outside the headset, reducing physical isolation from your local environment.
VR Analyst Brad Lynch claims to have seen the Quest Pro and shared CAD renders and detailed device hardware predictions on Twitter. CAD renders match the preliminary version of Quest Pro that was recently found in a hotel room, suggesting that Lynch received inside information, as Lynch pointed out in a recent Tweeter.
— Brad Lynch (@SadlyItsBradley) September 12, 2022
Lynch suggests the Quest Pro will be based on a custom variant of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2, along with a generous 12GB of memory, Wi-Fi 6E and a large 5,000mAh battery capacity. The upgraded XR2 is expected to offer significantly improved performance thanks to greater thermal capacity that allows for increased clock frequency, as well as improved memory implementation. Qualcomm recently announced a multi-year partnership with Meta to design new XR chips, and it looks like the Quest Pro will be the first device to benefit from this collaboration.
Lynch’s predictions for the upgraded Quest Pro display include higher resolution at 2160 x 2160 pixels per eye, Quantum Dot technology for better color fidelity, and MiniLED backlighting for increased contrast and brightness. Meta has already described improved optics using so-called pancake lenses which are thinner and have a bigger sweet spot of maximum clarity.
Is the Quest Pro for work or play?
Meta has made it clear that the Quest Pro is designed with professionals and working life in mind. The Quest Pro is meant to be a work device that can be used as a laptop with a focus on joining VR meetings.
Meta’s chief technology officer, Brian Bosworth, recently hosted a ask me anything on Instagram and shared additional details on Meta’s next-gen VR headset. A theme running through every meta-teaser has been that Cambria is meant to be a productivity device, not just for content consumption.
With so much emphasis on professional use and business meetings, you might get the idea that the Quest Pro won’t be good for gaming; however, Meta said it would be compatible with Quest 2 games and apps.
Meta’s next VR headset is expected to feature a sharper, brighter display with a refresh rate at least as high as the Quest 2’s 120Hz. The Quest Pro is also expected to have a significantly faster processor.
All of the things that make a VR headset a better computer for metaverse activities also have benefits for gaming. That means the same Quest Pro you wear to work should be used for gaming after hours or on your break.
Is Quest Pro meant to replace a laptop?
Unfortunately, the Quest Pro probably won’t be able to fully replace your laptop. Meta CTO Brian Bosworth’s ask me any (AMA) explained that long-term comfort even while wearing the best VR headset varies from person to person.
Many people feel comfortable wearing a Quest 2 for several hours a day, even when writing code, which requires a large amount of typing with high precision while browsing through multiple virtual screens of text.
The Quest Pro is expected to have major improvements in terms of size, weight, battery life, rendering quality, as well as making it easier to type in mixed reality on a physical keyboard. This will certainly extend the time you can spend in VR, but probably won’t be enough to make the Quest Pro a perfect fit for everyone. You have to hang on to your laptop even if you buy a Quest Pro so you can take breaks from VR throughout the day.