Tuesday is the shipping date for Meta Quest 3, and tech publications like Engadget and The Verge have already published their reviews of the Quest 2 successor. Mashable also released a review of the latest VR headset, but we thought it would be a wonderful idea to read other reviews in order to get a general picture of what people really think of the Quest 3.
It turns out that everyone agrees. The Quest 3 is generally regarded as the greatest standalone VR headset available, so Meta may exhale with relief. Reviews generally concur that the improvements outweigh the additional $100 cost, notwithstanding some dissatisfaction with the price increase (it starts at $499 compared to $399 for the Quest 2).
The Quest 3’s improved 3D speakers, easier setup, crisper and more colorful dual displays, and—most importantly—color passthrough are the main features that reviewers are praising. What is passthrough for color?
This function allows you to see your surroundings in real life even while you’re wearing a headset. Passthrough is available in The Quest 2, although it’s a monochrome nightmare. Conversely, the Quest 3 boasts two dual RGB cameras that enable color passthrough and, thus, mixed-reality experiences.
Though the Quest 3 received a lot of positive feedback, I couldn’t help but see a pattern. Reviewers took issue with three distinct Quest 3 features.
What Reviewers Disliked About the Quest 3
Color passthrough provided a significant improvement from generation to generation. After all, you may fully explore the joys of augmented reality (AR) by integrating your real-world surroundings into your virtual experience, something that the Quest 2 could not allow.
Though several reviewers were grateful for the color passthrough, they couldn’t help but draw attention to one annoying problem.
1. The Color Passthrough is Not Detailed Enough
Reviewers from The Verge, Wired, and Digital Trends said that while color passthrough is a nice improvement, the image isn’t as sharp as they would like it to be. Regarding his experience in mixed reality, David Pierce of The Verge said:
“It struggles badly in low light, turning everything grainy and low-res,”
Pierce also noted some warping; at times, the floor and his hands appeared twisted. Pierce did note that in well-lit areas, color passthrough is “largely accurate.” I can vouch for Pierce’s encounter. With the Quest 3, I also saw some warping; at times, my hands and arms seemed to bend at strange angles.
Color passthrough is still “noticeably blurry,” according to Wired. The Quest 3’s color passthrough is sufficiently clear to allow users to use their phones while wearing the headset, according to DigitalTrends, although they also added:
“the resolution isn’t so good that I would use my phone for an extended period that way.”
I agree while I can make out the apps on my phone, I am unable to use Quest 3’s passthrough mode to initiate text messages with anyone.
The Verge concurs:
“[Color passthrough] good enough that you can see your cup of coffee; not good enough to see if it’s coffee or tea. Good enough to see the time on your watch; not good enough to read the text of your notification.”
2. No Battery Life Improvement
The Quest 3’s battery life was less than two hours for Mashable, and other reviewers reported comparable results.
- “A hair over two hours” — The Verge
- 2.2 hours — Tom’s Guide
- 2.2 hours — Venture Beat
- “Just under two hours for wireless play” — PCGamer
- 1.5 to 3 hours — Reviewed
- 2 hours and 12 minutes — TechRadar
Thankfully, the Quest 3 features a new charging dock that allows you to charge both your controllers and headset at the same time in between sessions. If you equip your Quest 3 with the Elite Strap, an attachment with an integrated battery that can replace the stock straps and improve comfort (because of its fit wheel), you can also extend the battery life of the device.
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3. Where Are All the Mixed Reality Apps and Games?
First Encounters, a free game on The Quest 3, captures the augmented reality features of the headset. It is about a group of vibrant, hostile extraterrestrial creatures breaking into your house and wreaking mayhem. And with only a weak weapon in your possession, it’s up to you to take back control.
It seamlessly combines simulated extraterrestrial life with your surroundings. It was as if my dining room was under siege when I played it. But as a lot of other critics have pointed out, First Encounters raised the standard.
The level of AR immersion you get from the extraterrestrial game is hard to match or surpass on the Quest Store when it comes to mixed reality games. Says The Verge:
“First Encounters is the most enjoyable mixed reality experience I’ve had so far, but there isn’t really anything exciting to do on Quest 3.”
“I’m excited to see what comes in the future, but at present, it’s fair to say that there aren’t a lot of games utilising mixed reality,”
I would still heartily suggest the Quest 3 despite a few minor issues. Although it is by no means high-fidelity, the display quality is a major improvement over its predecessor.
Although there aren’t many mixed-reality experiences, it won’t be long until a ton of augmented-reality games appear on the Quest Store. After all, Meta has assured us that we will soon be receiving over 100 updated and new titles.
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