Meta Quest 3 vs. Quest 2: Should you wait?

The Meta Quest 3 is finally official, but as it won’t be arriving until this fall we wanted to help anyone on the fence between the Quest 3 vs. Quest 2 decide if the former is worth the wait.

Meta still hasn’t released all of the details on the Quest 3, but we have enough of the picture to help you make a decision, particularly factoring in the volume of credible leaks we have to fill in the missing details. 

Meta’s affordable VR headset line could be in for even more attention this year with Apple expected to release its mixed-reality headset at a price of around $3,000. A sub-$500 headset will sound like a steal by comparison.

Without further ado here’s a look at the Quest 3 vs. Quest 2.

Swipe to scroll horizontallyMeta Quest 3 vs. Meta Quest 2Row 0 – Cell 0 Meta Quest 3Meta Quest 2Starting price$499$299Chipset”Next-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon”Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2Storage128GB, TBA128GB, 256GBRAMTBA6GBDisplay resolutionTBA (“Higher resolution”)1,832 x 1920 pixels per eyeLensesTBASingle LCDTrackingTBAInside-out tracking via 4 camerasBatteryTBA3,640 mAhMeta Quest 3 vs. Quest 2: Price and availability

The Quest 2 price has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride over the last couple of years. Meta launched it starting at $299 back in 2020 but raised that price to $399 last summer, however, alongside the Quest 3 announcement Meta also revealed that the Quest 2 was dropping back to its original $299.

So that will be the comparison point against the Quest 3 when it arrives this fall starting at $499. The base model for each features 128GB of storage, and while the upgraded 256GB Quest 2 is now just $349, we don’t know yet how much storage will be available in the upper tier for the Quest 3, or how much that will cost.

Meta will be announcing more about the Quest 3 at its Connect event on September 27, but it isn’t clear yet if the Quest 3 will be shipping immediately following that event or if buyers will need to wait slightly longer.

While some of the final details may move the needle, for now, the Quest 2 back at its lower price and available to purchase immediately takes this round.

Winner: Meta Quest 2

Meta Quest 3 vs. Quest 2: Design

(Image credit: Meta)

While Quest 3 and Quest 2 are unmistakably related even at a glance, there are some notable changes for the new version.

Both feature the same all-white aesthetic with a matte plastic body. While the Quest 3 has slimmed down considerably (40% slimmer than the Quest 2), it retains the same basic lines of its predecessor.

The Quest 2 features four indented areas, one at each corner, that include the trackers for positioning. On the top of the headset, there’s a volume rocker. On the right side, you’ll find its power button. A fabric strap extends from a set of plastic arms on the sides of the Quest 2 to secure it in place, although we recommend that anyone purchasing the Quest 2 also pick up the $59.99 Elite Strap which improves comfort and fit considerably.

Meta Quest 2 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

A black foam lining surrounds the portion of the Quest 2 that presses up against your face. Meta now includes a silicon cover that goes over this foam as many were experiencing issues with this foam as playing VR for extended periods can get a little sweaty, and the silicon is far easier to clean.

The Quest 2’s inner goggles have three IPD (inter-pupillary distance) adjustment levels. This is crucial for getting the best possible image and you need to remove the headset to make this adjustment, so it’s a bit of trial and error.

Meta Quest 2 with Elite Strap on (Image credit: Future)

The Quest 3 adds 3 sensors to the front of the headset, which may trigger some with a particular phobia, and does give the headset a slightly more odd appearance overall compared to the fairly minimalist look of the Quest 2. 

The fabric band of the Quest 3 is more robust according to Meta, but that is a claim that we’ll have to experience to weigh in on properly. It’s possible that due to the considerably lighter weight something like the Elite Strap is no longer necessary, but again we’ll believe that when we’ve experienced it for ourselves.

Meta Quest Pro (Image credit: Meta)

The Quest 3 moves the volume to the bottom of the headset and thankfully takes a page from the Quest Pro playbook and adds a wheel to find your preferred IPD setting on the bottom of the goggles as well. Not only does this give you a greater range of options, but it lets you set it without removing the goggles.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint I think the Quest 2 is probably the winner, but factoring in the dramatically thinner profile and presumably much lighter weight I have to give this to the Quest 3 as that could be game-changing.

Winner: Quest 3

Meta Quest 3 vs. Quest 2: Ports

Both the Meta Quest Pro and Quest 2 feature a USB-C port for charging and transferring data. 

The Quest 2 has a 3.5mm headset jack for connecting your favorite headphones, but from what we can see, the Quest 3 does not have one.

Winner: Quest 2

Meta Quest 3 vs. Quest 2: Controllers

Similar to the changes to the headset design, the Quest 3 takes some cues from the Quest Pro in cutting away extraneous bits from the Quest 2’s third-generation Oculus Touch controllers. The main difference is the removal of the loop at the top of the Quest 2 controller. The rest remains largely the same with middle-finger and index-finger triggers as well as a capacitive joystick, touchpad, and face buttons.

Meta Quest Pro (Image credit: Meta)

Inside the haptics should be vastly improved and we did find the Quest Pro controllers more comfortable than the original Quest 2 controllers, so it seems likely that should carry over to the Quest 3 controllers as well.

Winner: Quest 3

Meta Quest 3 vs. Quest 2: Experience

This is without question the biggest break between the Quest 3 and the Quest 2, while the latter is a VR headset and nothing more, the former is a mixed-reality AR/VR headset. Similar to what we are expecting to get from Apple’s AR/VR headset, this means that it can offer app and gaming experiences that blend in with the actual environment around you. 

Meta Quest Pro (Image credit: Meta)

This is thanks to the new full-color passthrough mode enabled by those new sensors on the front of the Quest 3, by comparison, the Quest 2 can only offer a fuzzy grayscale look at reality that is only helpful for not running into things. 

Meta Quest Pro (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

This opens up a literal world of new possibilities for the Quest 3, similar to what we saw with the Quest Pro. You could potentially use the Quest 3 for productivity tasks, using your actual laptop while augmenting it with additional virtual displays appearing alongside it. 

Games will also be able to overlay on reality, with a virtual tabletop gaming environment shown in the trailer for Quest 3, letting players roll their dice and watch the results of their actions playout on a virtual board placed on their table thanks to the depth sensor in the Quest 3.

Quest 2 (Image credit: Meta)

There’s a lot that could be done with the addition of AR to the Meta Quest 3, so it unquestionably takes the win in this category, but it is far less proven than VR. While some argue that the “killer app” for VR still hasn’t arrived, that is even more true for AR right now.

With Apple assumed to be joining the mixed-reality market this year, there is every reason to believe it has the potential to explode over the next couple of years, but we’ll be very interested to see what developers have ready in the way of mixed-reality content for the Quest 3 when it arrives this fall.

Winner: Quest 3


(Image credit: Meta)

It should come as no shock that the Quest 3 is better than the Quest 2, but the question is whether it is $200 better and worth waiting for a few more months if you are looking for a new headset now.

The mixed-reality component is the easiest differentiator, if that sounds intriguing to you then you have to wait for the Quest 3 as the Quest 2 has no ability to offer anything comparable. 

However, that’s hardly all that gives Quest 3 the edge. The 40% size reduction is a game-changer as well. While the Quest 2 combined with the Elite Strap is solid and comfortable, you will never begin to forget that you have a large headset strapped to your face. Add to this the higher resolution lenses, the more powerful new Snapdragon chipset, and the redesigned controllers with improved haptics and it’s an incredibly enticing package.

So who should still go for Quest 2? If the mixed-reality doesn’t sound like anything you would use and you will mostly stick to relatively short (20-30 minute) VR sessions where the weight difference won’t mean much to you, then saving $200 for more VR apps and games is probably the right choice.

If you are a hardcore Quest 2 user now then Quest 3 is also going to be hard to pass up as it is better in every regard. At least you can sell your Quest 2 to help offset some of the cost.

We won’t be able to settle this completely until we get the Quest 3 in for review this fall, but we’re impressed with what Meta has shown us so far and for most people it is probably going to be worth the wait.

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