The greatest gamble in virtual reality is finally here. Meta Quest Pro is an exceptionally expensive headset, clocking in at $1,500. Still, Quest Pro offers advanced new features to improve the VR and mixed reality experience, particularly in remote work environments.
Previously teased as “Project Cambria,” the Meta Quest Pro debuted during a Meta Connect livestream on October 11th, 2022. Pre-orders opened immediately after the event, with orders arriving October 25th.
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 comes in at a cool $1,500. That’s nearly four times more expensive than the Quest 2 headset.
Previous leaks suggested that Meta would tease two budget headsets after revealing Meta Quest Pro. These leaks turned out to be inaccurate.
As you probably know by now, remote work plays a huge part in Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse. But when we tested Meta’s Horizon Workrooms, we found that the Quest 2 headset is just too uncomfortable for a full workday.
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 battery back, which is located on the back of the Quest Pro head strap. It helps to evenly distribute the Quest Pro’s weight—the device’s weight is still undisclosed by Meta, unfortunately.
The Quest Pro also uses a 40% thinner optical stack. That’s a fancy way of saying that its lenses are very compact, so the headset doesn’t stick too far out from your face.
Additionally, the Quest Pro doesn’t completely cover your eyes. There’s a small gap around the headset’s viewing area, so unlike a pair of goggles, it doesn’t push against your face as you’re wearing it. (Meta Quest Pro includes two “light blockers” that you can use to remove this gap.)
These improvements extend to the Quest Pro controllers, which are redesigned for a more ergonomic grip. And, of course, Meta includes a charging dock with the Quest Pro. This charging dock is compact so it can fit on a desk, ensuring that Quest Pro is always within your reach.
While Oculus Quest (or Meta Quest) controllers are quite advanced, they’re also frustratingly primitive. And I’m not talking about the AA batteries (which last longer than rechargeables, by the way). It’s the tracking method that’s behind the times.
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 your controllers are located. If you stick the controllers behind your back, for example, they “disappear.”
The Quest Pro solves this problem with self-tracking controllers. According to Zuckerberg, these controllers are “basically their own computers,” as they each contain a Snapdragon 662 chipset. Thanks to these advancements, the controllers offer a 360-degree range of motion, plus improved haptics and touch sensors.
But the biggest change to the controllers is stylus support. Writing in VR should feel closer to writing in real life—attach a stylus to your controllers to write on any surface, such as a desk or a wall (you can also write in the air). Whatever you write will appear in your VR environment.
Of course, Quest Pro can track your hands when you aren’t using controllers. But Meta hasn’t specified how the Quest Pro hardware improves hand tracking.
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 a 37% greater pixel density than the Quest 2. It also uses local dimming for 75% more contrast, which is quite exciting.
The Quest Pro’s improved pixel density achieves two things. First, it gives you prettier graphics. But as Zuckerberg notes, it also improves the readability of text while in VR. This is especially important when using passthrough to see real-world objects in VR.
And passthrough gets a huge upgrade with the Quest Pro. Thanks to a set of high-resolution cameras, the Quest Pro can provide full-color passthrough video with increased depth and quality. In other words, you don’t need to block out the real world when using the Quest Pro.
We’re not sure how app developers will use the Quest Pro’s full-color passthrough feature. It could let you see your desk while working in VR, though it could also provide an AR-like experience in some games. (Meta showed off how Beat Saber utilizes the feature—basically, it lets you replace Beat Saber‘s standard background with a live view of your room.)
These new features are enabled by a Snapdragon XR2+ processor, which packs 12GB of RAM. According to Meta, the new chipset is 50% more powerful than the Quest 2’s Snapdragon XR2 setup, and it runs with a much higher (though unspecified) efficiency.
But the most interesting work-focused 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’s translated onto your virtual avatar, offering another layer of communication that seems most useful when socializing or collaborating with others. (I’d like to see how game companies use this feature. Imagine an in-game character getting mad at you for making a funny face.)
Working in VR should be a lot more “enjoyable” on the Quest Pro. But fancy hardware doesn’t matter if there aren’t any apps. And that’s why Meta used the Quest Pro launch to announce a few partnerships.
To our surprise, Meta is working with Microsoft (a rival in this market) to bolster the Quest Pro’s usability in a corporate environment. The companies will offer Microsoft’s 365 suite of apps on Quest Pro, plus Microsoft Teams, Windows 365 (a cloud desktop platform), and Xbox Cloud Gaming (shown in 2D on a big virtual screen).
Adobe is also working on a Quest Pro app—the Substance 3D Modeler. It’s a professional-grade app that lets you design 3D models while in VR. Details are slim, though.
And to expand the abilities of Horizon Workspace, Meta is developing a new collaborative environment called Magic Rooms. These virtual rooms let you share tools and work with others on a single project. Participants don’t need to be in VR, so in theory, Magic Rooms should accommodate a range of use cases.
Now, we’re still not sold on the idea of working in VR. The experience is simply too clunky. But these advancements, along with all of the Quest Pro’s new features, will allow more companies to experiment with the metaverse. We’ll wait and see if the idea is a success.
Meta Quest Pro
The Meta Quest Pro is an incredibly powerful VR headset with work-focused features like full-color passthrough video and facial expression tracking. It costs a fortune, but you can order it now.
Again, pre-orders for the Meta Quest Pro opened shortly after the Meta Connect event on October 11th of 2022. The device starts arriving in stores and at customers’ doorsteps on October 25th. But it costs $1,500.
We will update this article as we learn more about the Meta Quest Pro. We plan to review the device soon, so be sure to join our free newsletter for future updates, news, and reviews!