As some of you might know I am big VR enthusiast. I’ve been following Oculus since the kickstarter days and owning every headset from the DK1 to the Oculus Quest 1. Yes you read that right I don’t own a Meta Quest 2, the improvement from Quest 1 to Quest 2 just didn’t convince me to spend a few hundred euros.
Enters the Meta Quest 3; the combination of better lenses, higher resolution and MR options sparked my interest. I’ve been playing around with the headset for a week now and thought I would post my first thoughts.
It’s so tiny! It’s much smaller than the previous headsets and has nice ergonomics, the weight distribution is much better and feels less like a brick hanging from your face. Wish we could say the same about the headstrap. This must be the worst strap yet. It’s floppy, painful, hard to adjust and just not comfortable at all. I know Meta makes up for the low costs of the headset by selling accessories, but this just leaves a terrible first impression and doesn’t sell headsets.
The lenses and resolution are a nice bump up but didn’t impress as much as I expected. Due to skipping the Quest 2 and hearing those amazing stories about the lenses, I expected the bump to be very impressive like going from SD to HD, but I didn’t even notice it that much (Should I get glasses?). I am more impressed by the step up in overall graphic performance. Games optimised for Quest 3 look so much better with more modern graphical features.
Battery life is decent. Due to having 2 kids I don’t have time for long play sessions anyway, but I can imagine that for people with a bit more time to spend on gaming the battery life is on the short side.
Last but not least the new controllers. They are pretty nice, the tracking rings on the old controllers did not bother me that much, but it’s easier now to bring the controllers closer to your face. The haptics and battery life are a nice improvement.
Oef, where to start. This is still one of the weak points in my opinion.
Booting up the device for the first time prompted me to open the app on my phone (I don’t want to use my phone when setting up a fancy new device!). After connecting the Quest to Wi-Fi using the app, the app got stuck in some weird loop that kept asking me how I wanted the Quest to connect to Wi-Fi. The Quest was already connected and working perfectly so no idea why the app insisted it wasn’t. Talking about app issues; I tried to claim Asgarts Wrath but after clicking ‘claim’ the app got stuck in a loading state, yikes.
After those annoyances the setup was smooth sailing. I set up my guardian and room using the new pass-through scan which felt mind-blowing.
First encounters the introduction app for MR was amazing. Seeing all those little creatures and being able to run around your own living room without being afraid of hitting something was great. A minor nitpick; when the game is over, a scoreboard and links to other “experiences” are loaded. This causes some frame drops. Frame drops in itself aren’t that bad if you are not in a VR experience, but in VR they feel bad and for such a small experience it shouldn’t happen. Again it’s one of the first things people try when opening the headset, everything should be buttery smooth!
The lack of pre-installed / launch software is insane. People that buy this device need to be able to jump into an experience right away to be amazed by the possibilities. Lucky’s tale was an excellent game to be included in the original Oculus Rift. It’s insane that the game that is included will launch 2 months after the headset! I was lucky that I already bought a few games for the Quest 1, so I had something to play. A new user should immediately be welcomed into some awesome experiences. I can imagine an onboarding where you watch a movie on a virtual screen, play a flat screen game, an FPS shooter, some wizardy handtracking game. Something that shows what VR and MR is capable of.
The OS itself still feels very bare bones. It’s just not intuitive to use, the screens focus on selling new content instead of providing quick access to your games and friends. Managing and resizing apps is much harder than it should and switching games still provides a laggy experience.
I really like the device, the ergonomics (except for the strap) are much better, the improved graphics are a nice bump, and it gives a nice taste of the possibilities of mixed reality. But man does Meta need to step up their game if they want to stay in the game once Apple releases their new Vision Pro. Apple is known for a buttery smooth user experience, ease of use for new users and a huge community of developers creating apps. All things in which Meta is lacking.