Meta Quest 3 is out. You’re tempted to buy but will it just gather dust on your shelf? I’ve been using VR since 2016 and have almost two dozen VR headsets (both desktop and mobile). In my experience, whether you’ll love the Quest 3 or it will sit unused depends on your reason for getting it. Here are 5 reasons for buying the Quest that you’ll later regret, and 6 good or even great reasons to go for it.
AMAZING TECHNOLOGY. Yes it is. The technology is very impressive. But if that’s your main reason for buying, I predict that after a month or two, your Quest 3 will just gather dust on your shelf.
WORK. Last year, Meta envisioned that people would use the Quest for work and even released the Quest Pro, which was designed enterprise use. This year, we’re seeing Meta trying to push the Quest 3 for work, with support for using apps such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, and eventually, enabling Windows. But Quest is not good for work. I already tried using the Quest 2 to work with. It’s not a comfortable substitute for a real monitor. If you are thinking of using a VR headset as a virtual monitor, you might be interested in Vision Pro instead, which was designed for that purpose.
COMMUNICATION. It’s tempting to imagine using the Quest 3 to feel like far away friends and family are standing right there with you! Meta is working on advanced avatars that look photorealistic, and they recently added legs, so the tech is headed that way. But right now, relatively few people have VR headsets, and even fewer take the time to set up virtual meetups. I gave headsets to my parents and sister’s family – we haven’t used them to communicate even once.
FOMO. Buying something just because others have it or you feel you “should” have it generally leads to buyer’s remorse down the line. Make sure VR fits your lifestyle and interests first.
METAVERSE. If you’re buying Quest 3 because you want to experience the metaverse and the possibilities of Ready Player One in real life, it doesn’t really exist yet. Sure there’s Horizon Worlds and I’m glad Meta is hiring real developers to create better experiences for it but it’s still very basic, and more importantly, doesn’t have a thriving population yet to resemble a virtual life. We’re still a long way from shopping on the Horizon Worlds, which might not even happen.
WATCHING MOVIES and SHOWS. Sure you can watch Netflix on a giant virtual movie screen in your home. Meta has also partnered with NBA to broadcast games on Meta Xtadium for free, providing viewers with a courtside view in VR180. There will also be support for streaming apps such as Peacock and YouTube VR (I assume including NFL Sunday Ticket).
The issue is that for many people, it might not be very comfortable to watch a movie or show on a VR headset for prolonged periods. And if you have family, watching on a VR headset is lonely. But if you can stand having a headset for the length of a movie, and you don’t mind the isolation, yes it is a viable way to enjoy TV. Quest 3 does indeed feel less front-heavy than Quest 2.
VIRTUAL ART. There are VR painting apps such as Vermillion, with virtual brushes of every kind. You can even upload a photo to paint over it, then export the result to print on canvas. There are also apps such as Tilt Brush for painting 3D shapes in the air, or ScuptVR for sculpting. You can export these as 3D objects for viewing on Sketchfab or 3D print them.
The downside is that there’s no physical feedback when creating your artwork, which is a dealbreaker for many artists. But if you don’t mind, VR can be a whole new medium for you to explore.
MORE SPACE. Quest 3 is the first VR headset I’ve tried that can be used outdoors even in bright sunlight. I can play in roomscale in my backyard anytime. Note: Meta doesn’t promote this as a feature and it is not yet known if doing this will damage your camera’s sensors. I’m testing this and will update my log.
DESKTOP VR. Are you looking for a desktop VR headset? Quest is an inexpensive and practical option. Moreover, being able to use VR wirelessly can be more immersive. That’s why the Quest 2 is the best-selling headset for desktop VR, with about a 42% market share. Quest 3 is an even better desktop VR headset because of its higher resolution and much better optics. The pancake lenses have a very large sweet spot and no god rays.
CASUAL GAMES. If you enjoy casual games, there’s a huge variety of them for the Quest. Besides a more powerful processor and higher resolution than Quest 2, Quest 3’s mixed reality capabilities can make games even more interesting. Instead of just fighting zombies, you’ll be defending your home as they smash through your windows! Here are mixed reality games for Quest 3.
3D, VR180 AND 360 CONTENT. If you love 3D, VR180, or 360 videos, the Quest 3 is the best consumer device for viewing them immersively with higher resolution than Quest 2 and improved ergonomics.
EXERCISE. Yes you really can get a very good cardio workout with the Quest. Thrill of the Fight, for example, can be intense enough to send my pulse rate to the maximum.
So in summary, think about your goals for buying a Quest 3. If you’re an active VR user, enjoy games, immersive video or want to use it as a desktop VR headset, it could be a worthwhile investment. But buying for vague hopes of futuristic communication and productivity will likely leave you disappointed. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions!