Meta has dipped its toe into the more premium end of virtual reality with the new Quest Pro headset. It takes what they did so well with the Quest 2 and amped it up a lot combining VR with MR (mixed reality) to make this a headset you could use every day not just for fun but to get your work done as well.
Of course, you can expect the price tag to match it, the Meta Quest Pro costs £1,500 in the UK and $1,500 in the US which is more than three times the price of the Quest 2, which will only set you back £400 / $400. That in itself will filter out a lot of potential buyers, but if you are willing to splash the cash, is it worth the upgrade?
The short answer is: it depends on what you plan to do with it. What’s so good about the Meta Quest Pro is that it’s so versatile and can be used for more than just playing a game or two, whereas the Quest 2 is pretty much all about gaming.
The design of the Quest Pro headset immediately alludes to that - instead of the full box shape completely covering your eyes, it’s more in the style of glasses with a gap towards the bottom that keeps you grounded in the real world.
On top of that, new outward-facing cameras deliver high-resolution mixed reality passthrough which means you can combine the virtual and physical worlds in the most effective and realistic way we’ve seen so far. Spatial audio also makes sounds appear more lifelike, as though they're coming from certain directions in relation to you, whether that's people's voices or footsteps.
To add to that, you can socialise in a much more natural way inside the Metaverse thanks to face and eye tracking which imitates your real-life non-verbal communication to those around you so if you shrug and roll your eyes, your avatar will shrug and roll its eyes too. Something you didn't get at all on the Quest 2 headset.
Plus brand new controllers pack in haptic feedback which mimics how it feels to touch or hold objects as well as 360-degree tracking so you get a lot more range of movement than before - ultimately that makes everything you do with your hands much more precise.
Combined, all of these features help to make the Meta Quest Pro the best VR headset for work as well as play.
Horizon Workrooms in particular is where you’ll make use of how good it can be for productivity. You can visit other people in meeting rooms, breakout rooms or lecture theatres and feel as though you’re actually in the same space as them. You’ll also be able to create your own office where three monitors are displayed in front of you, and you can even have real-world items there as well so you can see your keyboard or water bottle on your actual desk. As well as that, this new technology allows you to get creative with the room around you or to take a look at objects in 3D. None of this will feel as realistic using Quest 2.
It's not all about MR, though. Visually, the quality of the Quest Pro is better thanks to new pancake lenses with increased pixel density, local dimming and quantum dot technology. But even so, if you plan to stick to gaming and don't see yourself making use of the productivity features, then the fully immersive nature of the Quest 2 will be good enough and it won’t be worth spending so much extra cash.
You may feel as though you’re missing out on the latest self-tracking controllers by sticking to the cheaper model, in which case, you can actually buy a pair of them to use with the Quest 2, which at £300 / $300 a pair will still be a lot cheaper than buying the latest headset.