The world of VR can be a tricky thing to get into, and the Meta Quest headsets — formerly known as Oculus Quest headsets, prior to Facebook buying the company — generally represent one of the easiest ways for new players to get involved with virtual reality.
This year, we've seen the arrival of the Meta Quest 3, the latest in this impressive range of headsets.
Like its predecessor, the perennially popular Meta Quest 2, it does not require a PC to run a number of high-profile games. Heck, you don't even need to be plugged into a power source!
But with the Meta Quest 3 being priced at £479 by retailers like Currys, it's not exactly a small investment.
We've been lucky enough to test out the headset for the last couple of weeks, and our primary goal here is to answer that one big question: Is the Meta Quest 3 worth it? Read on to find out with our full review!
Is the Meta Quest 3 worth it? Our review at a glance
Yes, we'd say that the Meta Quest 3 is worth it, especially if you're planning to be involved in VR gaming for the next five years or so. If that sounds like you, head over to Amazon or your retailer of choice once you've got the money saved!
The Meta Quest 3 is a vast improvement on the Meta Quest 2 in all sorts of areas. For now, games will continue to come out on that older headset too, but we assume that developers will gradually begin to prioritise the Quest 3 over the next few years.
Think of it like the difference between buying a PS4 and buying a PS5 at the moment. Sure, there are loads of games on the older system, but you'll get better graphics and a more future-proofed purchase if you opt for the most recent edition.
Meta Quest 3 review: Why do we we recommend it?
First things first, setting the Meta Quest 3 up is really simple, and the lack of wires continues to be a really nice touch. That's something that you can't say about the PSVR 2, this year's other big hardware launch in this space, which doesn't work unless it's plugged in. (Note: although the Meta Quest 3 runs loads of games wirelessly on its own, you can also connect it to a PC if you really want to!)
Wearing the Quest 3 is pretty comfy, as well, even if you're a glasses wearer like me. The strap is maybe a little bit basic, and it did leave a red line on my head after one particularly intense session, but you won't be thinking about that while you're wearing the thing!
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In fact, speaking as a glasses user, I'd say that the Meta Quest 3 is the best headset I've tried in terms of truly achieving a nice clear image, even though the game is going through two sets of lenses (those on the headset and those on your glasses) before actually reaching your eyes.
The view was crystal clear in every game I tried, helped along by the Quest 3's fish-eye lenses and its improved resolution.
Those are just the basics, though. What about the major upgrades and new features? The best of these, undeniably, is the vastly improved 'pass-through' cameras.
While the previous Quest headset could take a rudimentary scan of your surroundings to save you from bumping into things, this new version can take a properly detailed image of your real-life gaming room and blend that seamlessly with your gaming experience.
The possibilities here for augmented reality gaming experiences are really exciting, and Meta has even started making experiences that play up to this.
There's a proof of concept demo called First Encounters, for example, where the pass-through cameras are used to make it look like aliens are bursting into your room. Blasting them is really fun, the stitching between realities is seamless, and although this is only a short experience, it really sells the concept and makes us want to see more developers embracing AR in their VR games.
Of course, the Meta Quest 3 is a very new piece of tech, and there aren't too many games out there yet which really make the most of this feature. That's why we'd say that buying the Meta Quest 3 is really an investment in the next few years of VR. Being an early adopter now will really pay off later if developers embrace this tech.
In the meantime, while we wait to find out what kinds of games will be made exclusively for the Quest 3, it's worth noting that there are loads of pre-existing VR games playable on this headset.
In fact, the vast majority of the best VR games ever — titles like Beat Saber, Superhot, Vader Immortal, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners and Walkabout Golf — are available on the Quest 3, and every game we tried ran very smoothly.
We had a particularly good time with Eleven Table Tennis, which we'd never tried before. It was a good test for the controllers, which are just as light and easy to use as we've come to expect.
One word of warning, though: if you're susceptible to motion sickness, we wouldn't say that the Meta Quest 3 has cured that problem, and perhaps there will never be a VR headset that fully does away with it.
When I was playing Jurassic World Aftermath, a fun tie-in to the films, my stomach did turn a couple of times while running about. Most games will allow you to fiddle your movement settings, though, which should help you overcome that.
The operating system on the Quest 3 could use a bit of work, as well, as it does get a bit fiddly and frustrating at times. But when you're in a game, everything works wonderfully. And we'd hope that the OS will be tweaked and improved over time, as more games come to the headset and it becomes an even better proposition.
Here at launch, let's just say that we're very impressed!