What to know about Meta’s $1500 Quest Pro headset

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Will Meta, formerly known as Facebook, be the company that brings the average person into the metaverse? Since Mark Zuckerberg announced his company’s name change last year, he and his staff have repeatedly signaled that developing the Metaverse is their top priority. This week, the company got closer to its big ambitions by announcing its latest virtual reality (VR) headset: the Meta Quest Pro.

Meta hopes the Meta Quest Pro will be more comfortable to wear than the Quest 2, offer sharper graphics, and position the company as the leader of a metaverse working future. The company needs the headset to succeed: The company is losing billions a year on its investments in virtual reality, while recent reports have revealed unrest and disarray within the company, with its employees apparently showing a reluctance to use its flagship virtual reality app, Horizon Worlds.

While reviewers say the Quest Pro is vastly improved over its predecessor in many areas, it comes with a hefty $1,500 price tag that will likely put the layman off. Here’s what to know about Meta’s new device.

The new helmet is improved and expensive.

The Quest Pro will be available for $1,499.99 on October 25. It’s more than triple the price of the Quest 2.

Why is the Pro so expensive? There are a lot of updates for this new device. Its outward-facing cameras have 4 times more pixels than the Quest 2, for example, rendering surrounding environments with much higher clarity. His field of vision is wider; colors pop and blacks look much darker. The device’s new hand controllers have added functionality and can act as virtual pens, allowing you to write and draw with precision.

One of the Pro’s most advanced features is its eye tracking, which allows your avatars to mimic your facial expressions with stunning precision. Users can now wink, puff out their cheeks, or make eye contact with other users. Meta hopes this upgrade will make VR socializing much more connected and visceral, though many people are concerned about how all that biometric data will be used. (The company says the massive amount of data collected from these tracking features will be stored locally and then deleted after use.)

But amid all the improvements, the Pro’s price increase is steep and will likely deter anyone just curious about VR from ordering one on a whim. Rather, the price puts it more in line with other specialty VR headsets designed for gaming or tech enthusiasts. Meta hopes that architects, engineers, designers or others in creative fields will choose to invest in the new model for their work, and that owning one or more Pros will become essential for many small businesses in the future.

The ultimate goal is AR, not VR.

In his recent interview with Joe Rogan, Zuckerberg said that Meta’s current headsets are just stepping stones into an augmented reality (AR) future, where everyone wears smart glasses that let you overlay graphics or digital objects on the real world. (An AR map would draw an arrow down the street pointing to your destination, for example.) As a result, the Pro has several AR capabilities. The DJ Tribe XR app, for example, lets you operate a virtual mixer and turntables while still being able to watch the party you’re playing music for. Another app lets you paint on a virtual canvas and then see what your finished masterpiece looks like hanging on your bedroom wall.

Will Meta’s business orientation pay off?

Zuckerberg has often this year positioned the metaverse as the future of remote work. This week, it doubled down on that goal by announcing partnerships with Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other software solutions for work environments. Early demos showed a Pro user’s ability to sit at their desk, strap on their headset, and connect to three giant monitors, on which they can video conference, create slideshows, and more. . The Pro also allows the user to write and place virtual sticky notes around their workstation.

But one major problem remains: the Pro’s battery life is only 1-2 hours. The remotes would have lasted the same. You can plug into an outlet if you have a long enough power cable, but that would require your head to be tethered to an outlet for 8 hours a day. So while Meta aims for the headset to be your de facto workstation, the Pro just doesn’t have the firepower to let you do that yet.

Reviews are mixed.

Much of the early Pro discussion online stemmed from nonsensical memes about Meta avatars now having legs. However, a handful of journalists and vloggers wrote more substantial reactions after getting early access to the headset, and offered a mix of praise and skepticism.

“If you have the funding or a wealthy benefactor, I highly recommend getting your hands on the Meta Quest Pro,” Sherri L. Smith wrote in Laptop Mag. “The Quest Pro is a great showcase of what Meta can do today and a tech challenger before Apple claimed to have invented mixed reality…I don’t see this device replacing laptops,” Anshel wrote. Sag in Forbes.

In the washington Job, Geoffrey A. Fowler complained of “painfully slow” virtual screens and developing headaches after wearing the device for an extended period of time. “After trying out the headset in six creative and workplace demonstrations chosen by Meta, I still couldn’t identify a standout example of how Meta’s big hardware leap is unlocking the metaverse’s missing promise” , he wrote.

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