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Quest Pro Review: Meta Misses the Mark

Rating: 4/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $1,500

A front view of the Meta Quest Pro headset
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

Meta’s new Quest Pro promises to cram the best tech currently available into an AR/VR headset that can be used for gaming and revolutionize the way we work. The premium product comes with a premium price tag, but the retail price may be the least of the Quest Pro’s problems.

Despite the clear success of the Quest and Quest 2 VR platforms, Meta’s VR department is tanking. Meta is losing billions, the company’s valuation is in free fall, and shareholders are beyond anxiety at this point, so it may be the wrong time to release a “work-focused headset” priced at $1,499. Especially when said headset gets so much wrong.

Rather than beg Meta to send out a review unit, I put my money where my mouth is and bought one on release. I could also return the headset before January and get that money back, but we’ll get to that later. For now, let’s focus on what the Quest Pro does well and where it lets itself down.

Here's What We Like

  • Visually Sharp
  • One of the more comfortable headsets
  • Great controllers

And What We Don't

  • Steep price
  • VR gamers are getting shafted
  • Key features are missing
  • Everything seems unpolished

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The View Is Noticeably Clearer

The Quest Pro's Pancake Lenses
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

Specs as Reviewed

  • Resolution 1,920 by 1,800 x 2
  • Refresh Rate 90 Hz
  • Processor: Snapdragon XR2+
  • Memory: 256 GB
  • RAM: 12 GB
  • FOV: 106ºH × 96ºV
  • Lenses: Pancake non-Fresnel
  • IPD range: 55–75mm
  • Connectors: USB-C
  • Motion Tracking: 6DoF
  • Controller tracking: Inside out with three cameras
  • Battery Life: Up to two hours

When I first put on the Quest Pro, the visual improvement was plain to see. While the LCD panels used in the device have a slightly lower resolution than the ones used in the Quest 2, the pixel density is greater. And when you’re essentially staring at them through a magnifying glass, that makes a difference.

With eye tracking enabled, the Pro is also capable of something called “foveated rendering,” which is where the headset focuses its efforts on making the part of the screen you’re looking at sharper while toning down everything else. This allows better performance and sharper visuals, though it’s up to developers to implement it into their apps. Not many apps use it, but it is one of the headset’s better features and one of several signs that the Pro will be a better buy six months to a year from now.

It Is More Comfortable, But Not That Much

Quest Pro back padding
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

How comfortable the device is is a major selling point for the Quest Pro. I have seen other people saying they could wear it all day. Either I’ve had my headset adjusted wrong, or their foreheads are more durable than mine because I still had to take the occasional soreness break when the headset started wearing on me. There was a noticeable red mark on my forehead after a couple of sessions.

Is it more comfortable than the Quest 2? Definitely. The balance is better, the padding is good, and you’re better off having a couple of pounds resting on your forehead instead of your nose and cheekbones.

There are a few fit issues, which may be due to my hair, or I could have an oddly shaped head. As with many “halo straps,” the headset will slip a bit if your hair is beyond crew-cut territory. I still managed to get a secure fit. Even more secure than the strap on my Quest One used to manage. But there was always a sense it could come flying off. Either way, it’s better than the rubber band that shipped with the Quest 2. The headset didn’t even fly off when I was bobbing and weaving my way through Thrill of the Fight, though my nose did hit a lens every time I threw a particularly violent hook.

Weirdly Enough, the Battery Wasn’t an Issue

Quest Pro back of headset
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

Before its release, the Quest Pro’s battery life was a cause for concern. With features like face tracking enabled, the battery could be dead in well under two hours, making all-day working or gaming sessions seem impractical. However, in reality, I’ve probably had fewer battery issues than I have with my other headsets. When I tried working an entire shift in the “metaverse,” I just plugged the headset in when the battery warning hit and things were fine.

Face tracking currently has limited applications, and I find hand tracking to be more trouble than it’s worth at this moment in time, so I spend most of the time with eye tracking enabled and nothing else. I also have a small battery bank I could use to extend the Quest Pro’s playtime by a few hours. I haven’t needed to use it yet, but I’ve done the same thing on a Quest and Quest 2, so the option is there if I end up getting into Fallout 4 VR again.

On two different occasions a Quest 2 user’s headset ran out of juice while mine had around 40% remaining, and I think I know why. Meta claims that the Pro’s battery will rival or even beat a Quest 2’s battery life with most of the new features turned off. But the key difference maker is the charging dock. Every time I pick this headset up, it’s fully charged because it lives on the dock. My old headset would go back in the box after a play session and I’d either end up picking it up with a half-drained battery, or having to charge it again before I used it.

The Controllers Are Superb

Meta Quest Pro controllers on the charging dock
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

The star of the show with the Quest Pro is its controllers. They’re a bit heavier than the original Quest and Quest 2’s controllers, but that weight is welcome. When coupled with the lightly textured coating, it gives a quality feel. I have fairly large hands, and the Quest Pro controllers fit in them perfectly, so it gets a 10/10 in terms of ergonomics from me.

As with the headset, people expressed concern about the Quest Pro controllers’ battery lives. After using them for the best part of a week, I can confirm that battery isn’t an issue. As with the headset, they live on the charging pad. Similarly, if I’m working and my hands are on the keyboard, my controllers are charging.

During gaming sessions, I tended to need a break before the controllers did. The one very niche issue I have only exists because the infrared ring has disappeared. I’m a big fan of iB Cricket , and that ring was pretty important if you wanted to strap the controller to an actual bat. I’m sure alternatives will hit the market, but for now, my batting average is suffering.

I’m Starting to Think Meta Hates Its Core Audience

image of the Quest Pro's store page
Meta

Gamers have really gotten the short end of the stick on this one. From the price to the fact you need to stump up another $50 for a silicone light-blocking accessory that isn’t even out yet, Meta has gone out of its way to alienate its core audience. To be fair to Meta, the company has said this isn’t a “gaming-focused headset” from day one, instead angling it towards “businesses and creatives.”

But on the flip side, it isn’t Microsoft’s Hololens either. It has access to the Quest’s games library, and some of its features make it objectively better at handling those games than the Quest 2. The company is saying this “isn’t for you” while actively assaulting the wallets of the few gamers who stump up for the new headset. The lack of a full light blocker is insulting to the one group of people actively making Meta’s vision somewhat feasible.

I don’t believe any of this headset’s features were added with gamers in mind, even if some of them are useful in that medium. The headset’s refresh rate is lower than the Quest 2’s, which could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Hopefully, the company’s next dedicated gaming headset includes some way to get cloud streaming working seamlessly on the platform or at least increases the field of view.

The AR Side Isn’t up to Standard

A picture of the Quest Pro's passthrough feature taken through the headset's lens
This picture taken through the lens makes passthrough look a lot better than it is. Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

Looking at several of the trailers and previews, you might think that the Quest Pro’s color passthrough is a solid flagship feature. Most, if not all, of the previews and leaks suggested that it is a full-color, HD, 3D view of the room you’re currently in. This made passthrough more relevant and secured the Pro’s place as a mixed-reality headset instead of just a VR one.

Unfortunately, that isn’t what you get. The passthrough on the Quest Pro is a slightly sharper version of the one on the Quest 2 that someone has colored in. It still doesn’t look natural, and you have better background options. Zuckerberg originally suggested that the headset would include a depth sensor, which would make the whole AR experience better.

Unfortunately, the sensor didn’t make the cut. This could be for cost reasons or, as the internet rumor mill suggests, because the sensor could somehow turn you into a pervy version of Superman. Whatever the reason, the sensor isn’t there, the color passthrough is less than expected, and the AR side of this mixed-reality headset is undoubtedly lacking.

Despite the shortcomings, the passthrough is better than it was on the Quest 2. I can navigate my apartment without walking into anything. So I don’t have to remove the headset before getting something from another room. So yes, it’s more practical. I just don’t want to use it for any AR experiences, as my VR apartment looks a lot better than a low-grade rendering of the hellscape I usually inhabit.

Working In “The Metaverse” Is Still Awkward

image showing Workrooms does not support face tracking
Meta

This isn’t the hardware’s fault, but Meta has put all this effort into creating a device for an unfinished concept. The sales pitch behind the headset promises it will help improve workflow and productivity. As things stand, shifting your office to the Metaverse will lead to you getting much less done.

Meta’s in-house platform, Horizon Workrooms, is so bad its own staff won’t even use it. It took me and Review Geek’s editor, Josh Hendrickson, an unreasonable amount of time to get a meeting in workrooms going. There’s a very valid argument that Workrooms are a waste of time, and you may as well just use Zoom. Meta may think the same thing deep down, as we could have gotten the Horizon meeting going around 45 minutes earlier if we’d just used laptops and webcams.

Eventually, we both got our avatars into Horizon, and neither of us could see the point. The reason we went to so much effort was to test out the headset’s face and eye tracking feature. Unfortunately, Meta’s own platform doesn’t support face tracking yet. This is despite face tracking being one of the main features of its new flagship headset. In hindsight, we should have had a meeting in the PokerStars app instead.

In terms of working alone, again, Workrooms is just bad. An app called Immersed is a lot better, though you will end up battling glitches and connection issues that kill your flow, and if you want more than two monitors, you’ll have to fork out $10.

As for the headset itself, you will experience comfort issues as time goes on, but reading and writing text is very easy on the Quest Pro. I actually typed a large portion of this review in Immersed. The virtual two-monitor setup is also easier than lugging around an extra monitor and then wiring it up yourself. I could see myself working in the headset from time to time, but working at a regular desk is still more comfortable.

There Was Another Notable Miss That May Be Fixed

Quest Pro near Wifi 6 router
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

There are a few glaring omissions from the device, some of which I’m sure will be fixed, while others take the shine off. The elephant in the room is a lack of Wi-Fi 6E support. Wi-Fi 6E seems ideal for VR. It’s a highly advanced connection, capable of handling multiple demanding devices. It’s also very new, so the band is unlikely to be crowded if your router is 6E capable.

The headset is 6E capable in terms of hardware, and an update that enables the feature is coming next year. But I can’t work out why a $1,499 “premium” headset didn’t ship with it. While some of the features that will make the Pro a better buy now require developers to factor them into their products, this one is just an example of Meta pushing something out when it may not have been ready.

Where Are the Premium Features?

A Meta Quest Pro in the box
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

The Box Contains:

  • Two Meta Quest Touch Pro Controllers
  • Charging dock
  • 45W USB-C power adapter
  • Controller charge cable
  • Charging cable (headset)
  • Two stylus tips
  • Two partial light blockers (left and right)
  • Cable clip
  • Protective cover
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Two wrist straps

The headset’s standout features, like color passthrough, eye tracking, and face tracking, will likely be included on the much cheaper “Quest 3” when it launches next year. That headset will allegedly cost $500 maximum. Even if it doesn’t ship with the Quest Pro’s advanced controllers, those are a $300 add-on. You don’t even get a new chip underneath the hood. It’s just an overclocked version of the one in the Quest 2. Even the IPD tracking isn’t automatic. You have to enter certain apps before the adjustment menu pops up and suggests a setting for you, and then you have to reach in and manually move the lenses with your thumbs.

So the question is: what is justifying the additional $700 that I, and a bunch of other people, are paying for this headset? The best things about the Quest Pro is that they are so far ahead of their time that they don’t work correctly yet. When those features become common, a significantly cheaper headset will be available, which leads us to the conclusion…

This Probably Isn’t the Headset for You

A view of the Quest Pro on the charging dock from above.
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

This headset isn’t for you if you’re a gamer. It isn’t for you if you’re a small business owner. And, despite what Meta has pitched, it probably isn’t for you if you’re a creative arty type. The whole thing strikes me as a product without a real audience.

It seems like a product that will only appeal to companies that want to look advanced and have a large budget they need to get rid of. What it isn’t is the VR/AR version of a laptop Zuckerberg repeatedly mentioned when talking about the price point. You’re better off waiting for the Quest 3, or at least waiting a few months for the Pro to get a bit more polished and probably drop in price.

I’m not returning this one because mine will eventually pay for itself. I’m overdue a headset upgrade, and I write a lot of stuff based on VR. Between this and a VR-based earbud review that I’m currently working on, I’ve made a reasonable amount of my initial outlay back. I’m pretty confident I can make a profit by the time the Quest 3 rolls around. So, if you can somehow make money from the Quest Pro, get one. If not, give it a miss.

Rating: 4/10
Price: $1,500

Here’s What We Like

  • Visually Sharp
  • One of the more comfortable headsets
  • Great controllers

And What We Don't

  • Steep price
  • VR gamers are getting shafted
  • Key features are missing
  • Everything seems unpolished

Dave McQuilling Dave McQuilling
Dave McQuilling has spent over 10 years writing about almost everything, but technology has always been one of his main interests. He has previously worked for newspapers, magazines, radio stations, websites, and television stations in both the US and Europe. Read Full Bio »