Meta Quest 3 review: a slick, stylish headset that does everything better

Mixed reality with the new Meta Quest 3 (Meta)
Mixed reality with the new Meta Quest 3 (Meta)

Ambition has never been a shortcoming of Meta’s. Think the Metaverse: hailed by Mark Zuckerberg as the “logical evolution” of the Internet. Think Instagram Threads. And now, think the Meta Quest 3: the latest evolution of its VR headsets.

Slimmer, more stylish and more powerful than ever before (or so we’ve been promised), the Quest 3 has been billed as the future of both VR and ‘mixed reality’: something that can be used and enjoyed both by trendy young things and by parents wanting a moment of peace and quiet, that offers hundreds of potential uses (from gaming to exercise) and that looks great to boot.

But how good is it really? We find out.

How does it compare to the Quest 2?


Make no mistake, this is a seriously slick bit of kit. The Quest 3 is definitely a lot slimmer than its predecessor – next-gen pancake lenses mean that the headset is less front-heavy than it used to be. And of course, those cameras and depth sensors on the front give the wearer more of a bug-eyed alien appearance, as compared to the Quest 2, which looked like the world’s most expensive eyemask. The controllers have also changed, with the Quest 2’s bulkier models giving way to sleeker versions crafted to fit neatly into the hand.

It’s behind the scenes where things get exciting, though: the Quest 3’s display resolution clocks in at a whopping 2064 x 2208 pixels per eye, significantly better than its predecessor, which only mustered 1832 x 1920. And given the new headset’s improved processing capabilities (double the processing power, in fact), things do load faster, though some of the apps still took quite a while to boot up.

Design and display

As mentioned previously, this headset is surprisingly slim. Though it doesn’t weigh all that much less than the Quest 2 – both clock in at around half a kilo in weight – the way it fits around the head makes it feel a lot lighter, while the mesh around the eyes make it surprisingly comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

That goes the same for the Y-shaped head-strap, which distributes weight more evenly around the head – while a selection of discreetly located dials under the headset lets you adjust the width of the lenses, as well as the volume. All very intuitive, all very well thought out – and that goes for the controllers, too, which have also been given an upgrade.

These models look more like the sleeker Touch Pro controllers than the Quest 2 versions, and while the tracking rings have gone, other things have made an appearance instead: haptic feedback for instance, which means the controllers vibrate according to what you’re seeing on-screen.

Touch Plus controllers for the new Meta Quest 3 (Meta)
Touch Plus controllers for the new Meta Quest 3 (Meta)

New features

One of the biggest selling points of the new headset is its ability to switch between VR (the Quest’s bread and butter) and AR, or augmented reality.

This is impressive stuff: booting up the headset immediately presents you with a Passthrough digital rending of the outside world, fed back to your screen by the cameras on the headset’s outside. Though once you’re actually in mixed reality, there’s not really a lot to do beyond a few games and the ability to accessorise your personal space with virtual accessories. Will this change in future? Here’s hoping; currently, it’s just a fun preamble before you boot up your VR game.

From there, desktop display of sorts appears that can be interacted with either by hand or with the two controllers. Is the hand tracking any good? It varies – sometimes my hands failed to register onscreen altogether, forcing me to dive for my controllers; other times, they proved surprisingly intuitive, letting me scroll through the home display easily.

Another trumpeted new addition is the Quest 3’s active scanning capabilities, which lets you scan your ‘active space’ in real time to create a place in which to play games or exercise. The headset’s new depth sensor (which operates via infra-red) promises to scan surfaces with more accuracy than ever before, creating a space that veers around furniture, up walls and across the floor surprisingly quickly, and yes – accurately. In about a minute, I had a playable space set up; the only annoying thing was that any app I was using stopped automatically once I left that space, forcing me to take it off.

This was especially frustrating thanks to the nifty feature Meta have included to help with gaming (and pretty much anything, actually). This is the new pause feature: a two-tap motion on the headset’s right side that pauses whatever is currently playing in VR and reverts back to AR, thus removing the need to yank the headset off any time the real world intrudes.

Gaming and other uses


Good news for gaming fans: the Quest 3 is backwards compatible with all Quest 2 games, which should help kick things off with a bang (plus, the launch of Xbox Cloud Gaming in December should bring a host of beloved Xbox titles along for the ride). For review, we were given access to several titles, including Samba de Amigo and Dungeons of Eternity – and they held up well. The controllers are surprisingly versatile – in Samba de Amigo they become a pair of maracas; in Dungeons of Eternity they become a selection of weaponry that hit enemies with surprising precision. During our headset preview, we were also shown an upgraded version of Red Matter 2, which did in all fairness seem light years better than its Quest 2 iteration, with shading, better resolution and surfaces that reflected light and cast shadows. All great stuff – but beware the motion-sickness. I found myself having to take frequent breaks as the dissonance between moving around on-screen and standing still in real-life got too much, but perhaps that will fade with time.

But this isn’t just a gaming headset. Meta have been at pains to underline how this is the future for socialising, for watching TV, even for exercising. And yes, this holds up: watching an immersive video about a New Zealand creation myth while watching the sun rise on the mountains of the South Island was gorgeous enough to bring a tear to my eye (although in this sense, the graphics don’t quite hold up to, say, a Planet Earth episode) was mesmerising.

As for exercise, that was also a win. Though it’s probably not best used for something like yoga, the boxing routines I did with the controllers (after scanning my workout space) were genuinely fun, and left my arms and legs hurting the day after – plus, it made the most of a very small amount of space, which is a plus for anybody living (like me) in a poky flat.


Battery life and specs

We already knew that the battery wouldn’t be a significant improvement on the Quest 2, and so it proves here: the headset is billed as lasting around 2-3 hours, but of course certain things will sap it faster than others. After around two hours of playing Dungeons of Eternity, the low battery sign started flashing: not great, but on the other hand, at least it encourages players to take breaks.


£479.99 for 128GB; £619.99 for 512GB

Battery life

Up to 3 hours

Backwards compatible


Display resolution

2064 x 2208 pixels per eye





Internal storage

128GB/ 512GB


The Quest 3 really does feel like a big step forward for Meta: thinner, sleeker, more powerful and capable of fantastic graphics. The only issue, of course, is price point. This is not a cheap bit of kit, but you get what you pay for, and the novelty of mixed reality makes everything feel fresh and fun.

Putting on the headset feels like entering a whole new world – and Meta’s dedication to creating something to suit not just gamers, but people from all walks of life, makes it feel more versatile and accessible than ever before. Is it groundbreaking? Maybe not, but it’s certainly exciting, improving on everything that’s gone before it: a win in anybody’s books.

Available on Meta, John Lewis, Currys and Amazon