Meta Quest 3 Review

A superb VR headset that sets the standard.

It wasn’t long ago that VR gaming was largely seen as a gimmick, a fad that may well go the way of 3D TVs and fade into extinction. Instead it’s seemingly doing the opposite as virtual, augmented and mixed reality gaming continues to go from strength to strength with interest growing and the technology improving.

Meta has been a leader in that space for some time, the Quest 2 set the standard as a self contained VR gaming headset and now the Quest 3 is primed to push the bar even higher. With a smaller form factor housing beefed up powerful internals, a new lens type and full colour passthrough, the Meta Quest 3 is a tempting option for new and established VR gamers alike.

A new generation brings a higher price point though and £479.99/$499 suddenly looks far less accessible when sat alongside the now discounted Meta Quest 2. So, is the Meta Quest 3 the new gold standard of VR gaming?

simply put

The Meta Quest 3 is a headset capable of pushing VR gaming forward and fully into the mainstream spotlight. In nearly every way this is an improvement over the Quest 2 with a handful of standout new additions too.

the good bits

All-in-one VR gaming
Superb graphic quality and performance
Full colour passthrough and mixed-reality
Touch Plus controllers smaller and better tracked

the not so good bits

Short battery life
Included head strap is still poor

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Meta Quest 3 VR Headset


It’s not the most exciting place to start, but the first thing I noticed about the Meta Quest 3 is just how much smaller the packaging is this time around. The box is understated and considerably more compact than what the Quest 2 arrives in and it’s a trend that’s carried through into the headset itself – sort of.

Meta says the Quest 3 is 40% smaller than the Quest 2, which is technically true but also a little bit of creative maths that only tells half the story. That number measures just the front white portion of the headset and doesn’t include the black facial interface which extends further on the newer model. That said, the pair do still combine to create a smaller headset overall – just not quite as dramatically different as the headline suggests on paper. More importantly though, the Meta Quest 3 just feels less cumbersome on your head than its predecessor did, even if it is a couple of grams heavier. 

Style wise the Quest 3 certainly looks like it belongs in the family, the familiar white front shell sports a few new additions but is still unmistakably Quest. The three dark pills on the front make the Meta Quest 3 look like a radioactive fish from the Simpsons but also break up the face with a sci-fi vibe that I quite like. The power and headphone ports are now integrated into the head strap arms rather than on the visor body which is a neater solution and a great use of space. They’re also now on separate sides of the headset which again is just a more logical layout that spaces things out nicely.

Meta has made a token effort to improve the included head strap, slicing the top fabric strap in half in the name of improving customisation, but it needed to do more. I’ll concede it’s every so slightly better than the Quest 2 head strap (though that’s not saying a lot), but frankly it’s still rubbish and falls far behind the quality of the rest of the unit. Do yourself a favour and ditch it, immediately. There are a number of excellent third party straps available like the KIWI design Comfort Head Strap which deliver on what Meta should have done themselves. 

The Quest 3’s included facial interface is just as comfortable as the Quest 2 version but now comes permanently covered in cloth rather than with a removable silicon slipover. I’m not sure about this choice from Meta, yes the fabric is nicer than the raw foam was previously but it’s also a sweat sponge with no line of defence. If you’re a solo, lower energy player this might not be a big deal but as someone who often passes the headset between friends playing Beat Saber – it’s a little disgusting. Meta will sell you a silicon facial interface for an extra £40 but given the Quest 3’s increased base price it’s disappointing to see something previously included now relegated to a paid accessory.  

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The Touch Plus controllers included with the Meta Quest 3 are a hybrid between the Quest 2 controllers and the Touch Pro controllers that come bundled with the Meta Quest Pro. The bulky IR rings are gone and the result is a pair of controllers that are considerably sleeker and less intrusive to hold and use. I love the Touch Pro controllers so it’s great to see that form factor carried across, albeit in a less premium execution with hard moulded plastic and a reliance on AA batteries.


The Quest 2 was and still is a very impressive VR headset, a great option for the vast majority of gamers that just want to dive in and play. Meta has set itself a high benchmark and a tough act to follow as a result but impressively the Meta Quest 3 is an improvement in just about every way. 

The beefed up Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 onboard the Quest 3 offers double the GPU processing power of the previous gen and developers have been quick to release Quest 3 upgrades for existing titles to take advantage of this bump in performance. I’ll admit I don’t go particularly hardcore in my VR gaming so have never noticed a lack of power with the Quest 2, but booting up the Quest 3 for the first time there was an immediately noticeable improvement – graphic quality.

While overall quality and performance in VR is a clear improvement with the Quest 3, it’s augmented reality that Meta pitches as the big ticket item. Two new cameras offer full-colour passthrough at a resolution 10 times higher than the Quest 2 and double that of the Quest Pro. The feed had enough detail for me to be able to read notifications and reply to messages on my phone without taking off the headset, there is a little distortion in places as the two images merge but it’s a nice option to have. A double tap on the side of the headset toggles the passthrough on and off which is a handy feature, I often found myself quickly dipping out of a game to grab something from another room without needing to take the headset.

The Meta Quest 3 also now features a depth sensor that allows for room scanning and a better understanding of the space around you. I was hoping this would mean the end of tediously drawing a room boundary but in reality the Quest 3 was very super conservative with its suggestion so I always ended up overruling it to draw my own. 

What was impressive however and drew the most childlike joy from me in testing was playing First Encounters, Meta’s own half game, half tech demo mixed-reality experience. Watching part of my actual living room walls crumble away as an army of fuzzy little aliens charged at me prompted more giggling than I’d like to admit. It was surprisingly immersive and the effect is well executed though as it stands there’s not a huge amount of ‘game’ going on under the hood. You’ll also need to make sure you’re playing in a nice bright space as I found the passthrough cameras were quick to grain up without an excess of light.

Like the headset itself the Touch Plus controllers are a strong all round iterative improvement on those that came with the Quest 2. The form factor is more comfortable to hold and the lack of a tracking ring makes them feel more natural as well. The controllers now barely extend beyond your fists which does away with the issue I often used to have with the tracking ring smacking into the front of the Quest 2 in high movement situations. Tracking is improved too, big, fast gestures in Beat Sabre no longer cause the same twitches and oddities with how they were recreated in-game like the Quest 2 was prone to.

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The Touch Plus controllers may be great, but you won’t always need them. Hand tracking is my hidden gem of a feature on the Quest 3 and produced another wow moment during testing. It’s not perfect and there’s some jankiness around UI controls, but the experience of interacting with content without a controller was an exciting look into what could be on the way in the next couple of years.

‘Physically’ grabbing the side of a menu that’s floating in the middle of my living room and sliding it out of the way felt natural and responsive while demos like Maestro: The Masterclass show what’s possible with this tech. Holding a metal drinking straw as a baton and pretending to conduct a virtual orchestra with natural, detailed hand gestures was the most fun I’ve had in a new game for a long time.

As good as it is however, there are a couple of blemishes on the Quest 3’s scorecard. Battery life is poor, there’s no other way to describe it. On average you’ll only see about two hours of use from 100% to empty and will need around the same to charge it back up to full again. As smart as it looks perched on the KIWI design Vertical Charging Stand, I’d much rather the Quest 3 was perched on my head instead. I understand the difficult balance of size, weight and battery life but this is still a real area of concern. That’s too short a play time and too long a charge time all at once, a double whammy of disappointment. 

There are ways to extend this of course, you could go with a battery head strap (something I’d seriously recommend) or use an external power bank but two hours is hardly a long playtime, particularly in social situations with more than one person, Meta simply has to find a way to do better in future.

The other, slightly more surprisingly, shortcoming is the Meta Quest 3’s built-in microphone. What happened guys? While the on-board speakers do a great job of delivering impressively loud, immersive spatial audio the microphone has taken a remarkable step back in quality from the Quest 2. Given the push towards virtual conferencing and shared virtual gaming experiences it’s a massive fumble for such a simple thing to get right. I had multiple people comment on how poor I sounded in voice chats with scratchy, shallow audio like an old-school headset from the 2000s. Meanwhile others using a Quest 2 sounded clear and natural, it just makes no sense.

summed up

The Meta Quest 3 is a superb VR headset that takes a mixture of little steps and big strides beyond what the Quest 2 was capable of. In almost all areas this is improvement over its predecessor and new additions like mixed-reality and hand tracking take it to another level. As an all-in-one unit it’s an excellent, fuss-free choice that still delivers value at its higher $499/£479.99 starting point.

It’s not perfect however, battery life remains poor and the included head strap will want replacing almost immediately. Then there’s the question of where it sits in the market against its older brother. The Meta Quest 2 is still an excellent VR headset in 2024 and anyone new to virtual reality will take as just much enjoyment from that unit at a far lower price.

At the end of the day the Quest 3 is incredibly easy to recommend and is a wonderful experience overall. If you have the budget it’s a noticeable upgrade over the Quest 2 and well worth picking up. A high quality, all-in-one VR gaming package the Meta Quest 3 may well be a genre defining piece of hardware.

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