Meta’s latest VR headset, the Meta Quest Pro, is finally in users’ hands, and it looks like many aren’t impressed with the next-gen device.
Following its October 25 launch, pre-orders for the Meta Quest Pro — a more powerful and feature-rich device than Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 — are hitting doors, and users are sharing their thoughts on social media.
Unfortunately for Meta, some of the posts we’ve seen on platforms like Reddit are far from positive, with titles like “Quest Pro sucks (opens in new tab)” and”Back to Quest Pro (opens in new tab)” came out just a day after the device was released. Reading the posts, it’s clear that users shared some major frustrations related to passthrough and the Quest Pro’s VR capabilities.
One of the big upgrades on the Meta Quest Pro is its color pass-through, which means you can see full-color video of the outside world while wearing the headset. In theory, this should facilitate mixed reality experiences better than the Quest 2’s black-and-white pass-through. When we demoed the headset before its launch, we thought the feature had a lot of potential — the mixed reality games we played were some of the best experiences we’ve had while wearing the Meta headset — but in the real world unwelcome.
Users have complained that unless you’re in a very bright space, the image is too rough, especially when you consider paying $1,500/£1,500/AU$2,450 for the privilege.
Also, as we suspected, the Quest Pro isn’t the most immersive headset for playing VR games like the best Oculus Quest 2 games. We didn’t play any VR games during our brief hands-on time, but we were concerned that they wouldn’t be as immersive as with the Quest 2 due to the design of the Quest Pro.
Unlike typical VR headsets, which form seals around your eyes, the Meta Quest Pro has a large gap between the screen and your face, so you can see the real world at all times. With mixed reality, we see this as a benefit, but – as users have discovered – being able to see the real world can be very distasteful when you’re trying to escape into virtual reality. You can get an eye cup for the Pro earphones to alleviate this problem, but when you’re already paying so much for the device, paying more for an add-on that feels like a must-have is hard to swallow.
It’s worth noting that other users had a more positive experience, and the complaints we mentioned above may have come from a minority rather than a majority. Still, they’re worth watching. Given the high cost of the Meta Quest Pro, you want to be absolutely sure it’s the best headset for you. By reading people’s reviews, you can better determine if it’s actually something you want to buy, or if you use one of the other options.
Analysis: The best VR headset for you
Meta Quest Pro does have some advantages. When we tried the headset, we found its mixed reality experience to be incredibly immersive – thanks to its more open design and color pass-through – and the face tracking really made it easier to interact with other users. Interaction feels more real.
However, it’s quite pricey, and its focus on mixed reality comes at the expense of its VR experience (unless you buy add-ons that block the real world).
So even though it’s Meta’s latest headset, you might find that the Meta Quest Pro isn’t the best choice for you.
If you want a more affordable VR headset, right now, you’ll want to choose the Oculus Quest 2 or Pico 4. Based on our experience with both devices, the Quest 2 has a slight edge. Despite the worse specs, its software is generally more polished, it has a better selection of games and apps, and it’s more widely available (Pico 4 is only available in the UK, Europe and Asia).
However, if you’re in the UK, you might consider the Pico 4. It’s slightly cheaper than the Quest 2 (though Pico 4 doesn’t have free games like Beat Saber), and as I mentioned, it’s slightly more powerful. The software does disappoint, but Pico has improved the device quite a bit. With exclusive games like Just Dance for VR coming to the Pico platform, we could see Pico 4 compete and even surpass Quest 2 in the coming year.
While it’s not as talked about as the Quest 2, you might also want to consider the best VR headset in terms of raw performance: the Valve Index. It’s expensive ($999 / £919 / ~AU$1,425), and you’ll need a solid PC to run many of its best VR games (at least $500 / £500 / AU$750), but as In return, you get great headphones. Image quality and its knuckle controllers help make your VR titles more interactive. This headset offers the best way to play some of VR’s greatest games like Half-Life: Alyx.
The only downside is that the Valve Index is wired and requires quite a bit of setup and space thanks to its base station. But the performance of the index more than compensates for these shortcomings.
Another device to consider is the Oculus Quest 3. Of course, it’s not available today, but it’s coming next year (according to Meta). Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said it will cost $300 to $500, which is about the price of the current Quest 2. We’re also hoping to see a PlayStation VR 2 in 2023, though you’ll need a PS5 to use it. So if none of the headsets above meet your needs, it doesn’t hurt to wait a few months and see if the next-gen VR gear fits your needs (and your budget) better than it does now.