Meta’s Smartglasses and Virtual Reality Headset now serves up a bigger dose of reality

The Quest 3: Predictions for a Holographic Augmented Reality (Hamiltonian) Compilation and a Gamer’s Guide

Since summer, Meta has been teasing the Quest 3 in a bid to build hype. The base model with 128 gigabytes of internal storage will cost $500 when it starts shipping on October 10. The price of the 512-GB model is $650.

How well it does outside a highly curated demo space remains to be seen, of course, and we’ll let you know after we’ve fully tested the Quest 3. You can check out the initial impressions and place a pre-order for the headset in the meantime.

The official announcement does fill out the device’s spec sheet in a big way. The software company Meta thinks the results will be better than the Quest Pro, which is powered by a last-gen XR2 chip, because of the power of the processor and the 8GB of ram it has. You get 512Gig of storage with the cheapest Quest 3, but it only comes with 128Gig. Meta says the battery life is “about the same as Quest 2,” which means somewhere between 90 minutes and three hours, depending on what you’re doing.

The cameras on the front of the headset give vastly improved passthrough video, the most important hardware difference. (Qualcomm says the XR2 Gen 2 has average passthrough latency of just 12 milliseconds, on par with Apple’s Vision Pro, but hedged that it depends on the image resolution its partners are trying to pass through.) You can use the Quest 3 in either a fullyImmersive Virtual Reality mode or a blend of the two, which makes it possible to see both your real world surroundings and any game or content you are looking at.

This isn’t full holographic augmented reality yet, but it’s a step in the right direction. To switch between modes, you can use the controller or just tap two of your fingers together twice; this double-tap gesture is also core to the Vision Pro and seems to be the agreed-upon way to operate a headset.

Updated Mixed Reality Headsets and Smart Glasses for the Future of Head-Mounted Computing: The Quest 3 and Ray-Ban

The headset is a little heavier than the previous model, but that is mostly because it is smaller. Meta says it’s been redesigned to be more comfortable to wear, but we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

The Quest 3’s Touch Plus controllers, as expected, do away with the large tracking ring in favor of infrared sensors that track your position. They also have improved haptics, so you should be able to get more visceral vibrations as you play games — and, of course, the Quest 3 supports hand tracking, so you can ditch the controllers entirely if you so desire.

Today Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg revealed full details about two new hardware products: an updated virtual reality Quest headset and a new set of Meta-powered smart glasses made by Ray-Ban. The announcements came at the start of the company’s annual Meta Connect developer conference.

Meta’s latest VR headset is the Quest 3. Like its predecessors, the Quest 3 covers the wearer’s eyes and sides of their face like a pair of ski goggles. This has been one of its biggest barriers to widespread adoption, because most of us would rather bury our faces in the glass slabs in our hands than limit our vision in a full-fledged face computer. But this newest Quest—a tech device borne from Meta’s acquisition of Oculus nearly a decade ago—relies more on mixed reality, suggesting that the future of head-mounted computers might actually involve seeing the real world a little bit more.

The physical world around us is great. Being able to explore and go outside is one of life’s greatest joys. Our industry has been involved in building this digital world. The real world is made up of both the physical world we’re in and the digital world we’re building.

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