Meta is introducing the first in a new line of high-end VR and mixed reality headsets starting with the Meta Quest Pro (which was previously demoed under its code name, Project Cambria). “Pro” tends to overused in the tech world, but Meta actually sees the Quest Pro being used by professionals, while the Quest 2 will stick around for casual gaming.
The Quest Pro is powered by the Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 1, which Qualcomm unveiled today. It promises 50% higher sustained performance than the XR2 inside the Quest 2 as well as a 30% improvement to thermals. The new chip is paired with double the RAM, 12GB, and more storage too, 256GB (up from 6/128GB for the Quest 2).
The Pro replaces the Fresnel lens with “pancake” optics, which reduce the depth of the device by 40% while keeping the visuals tack sharp. According to Meta, the Pro improves sharpness by 25% in the center view and by 50% in the peripheral vision. Speaking of, the headset is designed to leave part of your peripheral vision uncovered so that you remain aware of your surroundings. For an immersive VR experience, there are partial light blocks included in the package.
The Quest Pro uses new displays too – two LCDs with quantum dot tech and local dimming. Custom hardware controls the 500 backlight LEDs and combined with clever software it boosts contrast by 75%. The new displays have 37% more pixels per inch and 10% more pixels per degree, they also have a 30% wider color gamut.
The Pro is designed for mixed reality use from the ground up. It has 10 cameras – 5 looking out and 5 looking in, each of them a color camera with 4x the resolution of the Quest 2 (which used monochrome cams). This enables more accurate scanning of your surroundings but also full-color passthrough and eye and expression tracking (more on that in a bit).
With passthrough you can set up virtual monitors all around you while having a clear view of your real-world keyboard and mouse. Another example use case is allowing architecture designers to create 3D models and place them around the room for a virtual preview of a redesign.
As for the cameras looking in, they track your eyes and face so that your virtual avatar can mimic your expression. This is turned off by default and the tracked data never leaves the headset.
The Meta Quest Pro brings new controllers, dubbed the Quest Touch Pro. They have internal sensors that let them do their own tracking (previously that was the headset’s job), so you can even use them behind your back. They have also been redesigned to be more ergonomic and with better haptic feedback.
The standard retail package includes a charging dock too (combined with a 45W USB-C adapter). This can charge the headset and controllers simultaneously (the controllers now have rechargeable batteries).
The Meta Quest Pro will be available from October 25 for $1,500, nearly four times the price of the Quest 2. You can pre-order it from the Meta Store in all countries where Quest products are sold. The headset will also be available from Amazon in the US, UK, Canada and France. If you prefer brick and mortar stores, you will be able to visit Best Buy in the US and Canada, Argos and Currys in the UK, FNAC and Boulanger in France and pick one up.
By the way, the Quest Touch Pro controllers are compatible with the Quest 2. They will be available as a separate purchase for $300 later this year.
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