Is Meta Quest Pro the Start of a New Era?

On October 11, in terms of Meta Connect 2022, Meta officially presented the Quest Pro – the next-generation headset. However, the new device received mixed reviews. Those lucky ones who already had an opportunity to try Meta Quest Pro debate whether the new headset is better than the Meta Quest 2. The topic is quite controversial indeed. Still, it’s far too early to jump to any conclusions and reach a verdict. We need to take a bit more time to test the Quest Pro before we can provide an estimate. In this blog post, we will outline what is known for now about the Meta Quest Pro along with its core benefits and drawbacks.

Is Meta Quest Pro the best of the old or the turning point for the VR world? Let’s figure it out together!

Is Meta Quest Pro a VR headset?

Not really. It’s fair to say that the Quest Pro is an immersive device, but it’s not an ultimate VR headset. We can point out that Quest Pro is far better at VR than AR yet it warrants being called a mixed-reality headset. The device is fully capable of VR, AR, or any combination of the two. We do think that such a combination makes up a top feature, and let us justify it. It offers an immersive experience of the virtual world and, at the same time, does not separate a user from the real world, blending both experiences. Below we will provide a wider explanation of this.

Now it’s high time we went down to business and covered the main pros and cons of the Meta Quest Pro

Comfortable yet secure fit. The new VR headset has a strap equipped with additional padding to make it comfortable to wear and uses a wheel for adjusting the fit, thus providing a secure yet not-too-tight fit. The strap also holds the Meta Quest Pro’s battery so the weight of the headset is spread out across your head providing for better weight distribution. In Quest 2 the battery is front-loaded making it less comfortable. As a result, even though the Pro is 219g heavier than the Quest 2 at 722g, it feels lighter.

Full-color passthrough. It’s finally not black and white and sharper so users get a more accurate representation of the world around them. However, some people comment on this upgraded feature a bit negatively saying it is still not as vivid as the real world, the passthrough is grainy and the colors are washed out. It’s difficult to read a smartphone display or see the letters on a keyboard.

Improved haptics. With the Quest Pro, the haptic feedback is way more precise. The hand tracking is also noticeably better as compared to the Meta Quest 2. Additionally, the controllers can now incorporate a stylus. Holding the device like a pen, you can ‘write’ on a surface or in mid-air with the help of a supporting app. Meta also pointed out that the internal haptics of the controllers has been upgraded, allowing for more realistic sensations.

Full-body tracking. Meta Quest 2 only tracks hand and head movements, but not hips, legs, and feet. With the new headset, this problem seems to be solved. Before the Quest Pro, users needed additional assets for tracking legs and now this is a built-in feature. The Quest Pro gives avatars legs enabling full-body tracking. The new Meta avatars make communication within the metaverse more realistic.

Face tracking and foveated rendering. The headset creates a model of your face—it’s not just your eyes and mouth moving, but whole expressions. And the range of expressions is wide enough. The eye-tracking supports dynamic foveated rendering. The headset detects what changes a user needs to make to the fit to ensure the correct wearing of the headset and having the lenses in the best spot for the eyes.

Even though some call the new face-tracking feature a bit uncanny (it doesn’t capture all the signals and some expressions may seem like terrifying grimaces), the avatar looks plausibly real and this is definitely a step forward.

Before we move on to the drawback, we would like to clarify why the Meta Quest Pro is rather a MR headset, not a VR one. 

The front padding of the Quest Pro is designed to give users a pretty good view out of the sides and bottom of the headset while wearing it. The view of the real world provides a context and a sense of continuity while wearing the headset. However, because the device doesn’t completely shut users off from the real world, purely VR experiences may feel less immersive. For mixed reality experiences, the Quest Pro is a perfect option. Whether it is a disadvantage or just a characteristic feature – is up to you to decide.

The Meta Quest Pro is undoubtedly a considerable contribution to the development of AR/VR technology. Still, it is not perfect. We hope it will be followed by upgraded VR devices soon, but now let’s outline the drawbacks the device has.

Pictures lack sharpness and quality. The passthrough in the Quest Pro uses cameras instead of the direct AR effect as in HoloLens 2. This results in lower image quality, and the world is rendered in a much lower resolution. Imagine you’re looking out the window through your phone’s camera – that is close enough. The picture is insufficiently realistic and depends on the conditions a user is in. It can freeze or a user can experience low fps rate thus distorting the entire VR experience. Additionally, a low fps rate can be the reason for motion sickness for some users.

Battery life issues. The headset is expected to last for just around one and a half to two hours between charges which is noticeably low. Recharge time is about two hours, and the battery in the back of the head mount cannot be replaced, which limits the flexibility of the device, especially for businesses. The battery life still needs to be tested in practice, but if you like spending a lot of time in VR, this device is probably not for you.

Price. The Meta Quest Pro is not a cheap device. Well, we cannot even say it’s affordable. Compared to the Oculus Quest 2 this is a hefty price increase – it’s around four times more expensive – but the price doesn’t seem quite as high next to other premium headsets. This cutting-edge headset is rather a sophisticated developer kit than a B2B device meeting specific needs.

The first generation needs improvements. If you’re on the fence about picking up the Meta Quest Pro we’d recommend waiting for software upgrades before buying the headset.

Summing up all the information provided above, we’ve got rather mixed feelings about the Meta Quest Pro. In general, the VR (or MR) headset is quite progressive and feature-rich yet it has a few downgrades, which hopefully will be eliminated in the next-generation devices. Nevertheless, we don’t think you should run at breakneck speed to the store to buy the expensive headset. The Quest Pro is unlikely to become a gadget popular among common users due to its high price. For those who already have Oculus Quest 2, we would strongly recommend waiting a bit before purchasing the new-generation headset.

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