Meta has unveiled its latest generation of wearable immersive technology products, intensifying the competition in the market. The company announced the Meta Quest 3, the successor to the Quest series, and an updated version of its Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses. The Quest 3 is claimed to be 40% slimmer than its predecessor and features improved graphics hardware. However, the focus this year is on “mixed reality,” which combines virtual and real-life environments. I had the opportunity to test the new model before its release and see if it can keep up with its rivals in the competitive market.
The new headstrap made the device feel lighter than the previous model, and I didn’t experience the fogging issue that plagued the Quest 2. The Quest 3 automatically scanned the room’s walls, floors, and objects, eliminating the need for manual calibration. Meta demonstrated various apps and games that showcased the mixed reality experience, blurring the line between reality and the virtual world.
The Quest 3 incorporates technology from Meta’s premium Pro model, but at a more affordable price. Starting at £499.99, the Quest 3 offers an enhanced display and the ability to navigate menu options with finger gestures. However, eye-tracking and rechargeable batteries for the controllers are not included due to manufacturing costs. Meta prioritized accessibility and user-friendliness in the Quest 3, introducing hand-tracking for menu navigation when controllers are not available.
The price of the Quest 3 is competitive compared to its rivals such as the HTC Vive Pro 2 (£1,399) and the PSVR2 (£529.99). However, the purpose of the “Metaverse” itself, Meta’s VR project, remains a question mark. Meta has invested over $36 billion in research and development for the Metaverse, but its benefits are yet to be realized. Meta’s spokesperson defended the investment, stating that the company also spends a significant amount on AI research.
Alongside the Quest 3, Meta has updated its Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses. These glasses do not project images but instead capture them. Equipped with two tiny cameras, the glasses record the wearer’s surroundings without the need for a phone. The previous generation of smart glasses did not perform well in the market, with many customers ceasing to use them shortly after purchase. The new version offers improved cameras, microphones, and built-in speakers, targeting content creators.
In conclusion, Meta’s latest products inject competition into the market and drive progress, despite the unclear concept of the Metaverse. The company aims to combine the display technology of the Quest with the camera capabilities of the Stories, but that vision is still several generations away.