Meta Quest Pro analysis: What Meta's latest headset is and isn't
Meta Quest Pro raises more questions than it answers. What can the headset do and why does it exist?
Meta Quest Pro has been on sale for more than two weeks. The dust has settled and allows for a sober look at the headset. In these two weeks, I have heard, read and seen a lot about the device. In numerous tests, on Twitter and Youtube and from acquaintances who have bought and tried the headset.
The following article is an evaluation of the Meta Quest Pro based on everything I could find out and refers to the state of the device at launch. The MIXED review will follow at a later date from our hardware tester Ben, who is currently putting the device through its paces.
Let's start with the misconceptions and work our way to the heart of the matter.
What Meta Quest Pro is not
A device for professionals and businesses
Meta Quest Pro is not for end users. The headset costs $1,500. What is more surprising is that Meta Quest Pro only offers little of substance for professionals and companies and lacks important basics.
That starts with the only gradually improved hardware and ends with the non-existent services and apps for business customers. Meta Quest for Business and Windows apps? Those are coming sometime next year. That's amazingly inconsistent for a device aimed at business users. HTC and Pico do it better with their B2B devices.
An advanced mixed reality headset
Meta has only half done its homework here as well. Yes, Meta Quest Pro supports stereoscopic mixed reality and color passthrough, but otherwise the technology completely fails.
The passthrough mode resolves so low in Meta Quest 2 despite cameras that supposedly resolve four times as high. You can neither see sharply into the distance nor can you recognize what a smartphone display shows. And, thanks to the stripped-down depth sensor, you have to draw in rooms and objects in the surroundings by hand - which is awkward and impractical. Even a newer iPhone or Android smartphone is capable of better mixed reality than Meta Quest Pro.
There are also trade-offs in terms of virtual reality. Full light blockers sell separately for $50 and aren't compatible with the charging station. This shows that Meta did not put much emphasis on the VR implementation.
A usable work computer
Neither hardware nor software is mature for everyday productivity. On the hardware side, there is a lack of resolution, battery life (1-2 hours!), performance, varifocal functionality, and a smooth interface. On the software side, the necessary productive apps are simply missing. Furthermore, the operating system is not yet designed for real multitasking or fast access to work functions.
What Meta Quest Pro really is
A developer kit
Meta Quest Pro exists primarily to prepare developers for new VR technologies so that they can develop apps for them. Ecosystems rise and fall on software offerings, and Meta can't wait until the launch of the Quest 3 to do that, which according to leaked blueprints has a focus on mixed reality.
An experimental platform for hardware and software
Meta Quest Pro gives the impression of an experimental and unfinished headset. Why? Because it is an experimental and deeply unfinished headset. Meta Quest Pro is a developer kit for developers, but also for Meta itself. With this, the company explores and lays the foundation for new hardware and interfaces that it itself doesn't yet know. This is not a nice way to advertise, but it is the truth.
A subsidy help
We don't know how expensive Meta Quest Pro is to produce, but at this high price Meta should almost certainly drive good margins. The extra revenue should make up for the slowed sales of Meta Quest 2, and more importantly, go into the subsidy of Meta Quest 3, which will once again hit stores at a fighting price. So you could say that Meta is letting corporations, professionals, developers, and well-heeled VR enthusiasts help fund Meta Quest 3 here.
A supply chain catalyst
Last but not least, Meta Quest Pro has the task of establishing supply chains for upcoming headsets, especially Meta Quest 3. Once these are in place, Meta can scale better and produce more cheaply.
Conclusion and outlook
Meta Quest Pro is a hard headset to define. Because it is unfinished and an experiment that is still in the alpha phase. Meta Quest Pro expresses a distant goal and an ambitious claim rather than an actual achievement.
The reason is easy to find: We're just experiencing the dawn of the mixed reality era and productivity. Meta knows this. In an interview, Mark Zuckerberg said that Meta Quest Pro is just the first version of a VR workhorse that won't be fully mature until version 4 or 5. If a new Meta Quest Pro is released every two years, that would be in eight to ten years.
With Meta Quest 2, the company proved what you can get out of a headset with software. The device has received a ton of improvements and new features since its release, and Meta Quest Pro could be similar. It's quite possible that the headset will be calling this article lies in a year's time.
However, one should not be under any illusions. The first version of Meta Quest Pro exists largely because of Meta Quest 3. It's a bridging technology that lays the foundation for subsequent generations of hardware, and it's likely to be out of date by the end of 2023.