I have been using VR headsets for many years. Quest 3 has rekindled my fascination with the technology after a long hiatus.
The flow of VR news has been slow lately, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my first impressions of Meta Quest 3.
These are first impressions because I live in an unsupported country and the headset’s arrival was delayed for weeks for various reasons. I’ve been the proud owner of a Quest 3 for two weeks now. My VR experience goes back to 2014, although I’ve been using the Quest 2 mostly since 2020.
For a full review, please read Ben’s detailed assessment of the Quest 3.
Mixed reality exceeded my expectations
I wrote a three-part article leading up to Quest 3’s launch about the potential of mixed reality, and I’m happy to say that my expectations have been exceeded.
Meta’s mixed reality demo, First Encounters, blew me away and reignited my longstanding fascination with the medium. I felt a similar magic as I did in 2016, when I tried my HTC Vive for the first time.
With Quest 3, the potential of augmented reality becomes tangible for the first time, beyond smartphone AR and super expensive AR headsets with a tiny field of view. I can see a glimpse of the physical and digital merging in front of me in a believable way.
Of course, even with Quest 3, the technology is far from mature and important features like dynamic occlusion are still missing. But the technology can only get better from here. It will be exciting to see the leaps in development over the next few years!
Better-looking games and less friction
On the VR side, I am excited about the 30 percent higher default resolution that the new Snapdragon chipset brings to all existing VR games. This makes older titles look better, making the low-fi look of many Quest 2 games a thing of the past. The visual gap to PC VR and Playstation VR 2 is closing, although this is also because few titles take advantage of the performance of these platforms.
Quest 3’s much-lauded pancake lenses also contribute to the generally nicer look of VR games, although in my case there was no day-and-night wow effect. The VR bubble celebrates the new lenses. VR newcomers, on the other hand, will probably just shrug and wonder why the lenses weren’t this clear to begin with. A fact that reminds us that, even after ten years, VR technology is still very much in its infancy.
Two big game changers for me in terms of usability and retention are the default passthrough mode, and the charging dock (available separately). Passthrough makes it easier for me to get started in virtual reality and gives me a connection to the outside world and my smartphone, while the charging dock ensures that the headset is always ready for use. Both of these factors contribute to my more frequent and occasional use of Quest 3, which is ultimately important for a technology that demands a lot from the user.
Meta Quest 3 will grow in features over time
There is so much more to say about the device, but that would go beyond the scope of this article. My first impression is that Meta has improved the Meta Quest 2 in almost every way, while adding an exciting new feature with mixed reality for developers and users to explore down the line. Meta Quest 3 is not a “finished” product: like its predecessor, it will continue to grow with updates and new features.
Admittedly: I’m still in the honeymoon phase and will take another, more grounded snapshot after a few months. For now, I am thrilled, and after a long absence from VR (also due to illness), I once again see headsets as a magical box that opens up fascinating new worlds for me.
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