The Meta Quest Pro is $1,499 and ships October 25

Meta has finally announced the Meta Quest Pro: a $1,499 virtual reality headset it’s been teasing for the past year. The Quest Pro is a new branch of the Quest VR headset line, featuring a new processor and display, significantly redesigned body and controllers, inward-facing cameras for eye and face tracking, and a stream color video for mixed reality applications. Pre-orders open today in 22 countries, and the devices will ship on October 25.

The Quest Pro will sit next the quest 2 at $399, which Meta will also continue to sell. But where the Quest 2 user base prioritizes fitness, gaming, and other entertainment, the Quest Pro is aimed at businesses and professionals who can afford its higher price tag.

The Quest Pro is actually a heavily redesigned Quest 2 with added features. Its body uses a thinner lens stack, which Meta says reduces its depth by 40% compared to the Quest 2. It conforms to your head with a padded plastic ring (similar to the optional Elite strap of the Quest 2) instead of fabric straps, and its battery has been moved to the back of the helmet, rebalancing it. That helps offset the 722-gram weight, which is a little heavier than the Quest 2’s 503 grams, although the difference is less dramatic with the separate 173-gram Elite strap.

By default, the Quest Pro’s thinner lens system means you’ll see more peripheral vision and room under your helmet. Optional face masks can block these openings, giving you an experience closer to the previous quest.

Now your avatar can raise an eyebrow when you do

Meta is touting two major new features that you won’t find on its older headsets. The first is a set of inward-facing cameras that track your eyes and face. These have multiple uses, in addition to anything outside developers might do with them. They’re supposed to let the Quest Pro detect if it’s properly adjusted and enable foveal rendering, which reduces processing requirements by only rendering fine detail where your eyes are pointing. They also power the facial expressions of meta avatars, who will be able to smile, wink, and raise an eyebrow when you do.

The second feature is color video passthrough – an intermediate step between virtual reality and holographic augmented reality. The Quest Pro uses high-resolution outward-facing cameras to capture images of the world and output them inside the headset, which can then place virtual objects around the room with you. This means you can do something like pin a virtual image to your real wall or (since this is a business-focused headset) use a set of virtual displays and still see the world around you. surrounded.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has highlighted the importance of eye tracking for future VR headsets, and the Quest 2 already has black-and-white fuzzy mixed reality. So as these options drop in price, we might see them integrated into a cheaper consumer headset. But for now they put Meta’s a lot more expensive offering apart from its mid-range sibling.

An image of the Quest Pro accessories, including controllers, a charging station and optional face masks

The Quest Pro uses Qualcomm’s recently announced Snapdragon XR2 Plus, which Meta claims provides 50% more power than the Quest 2’s XR2, and it has 12GB of memory instead of 6GB. It comes with 256 GB of storage; unlike the Quest 2, there’s no option for a cheaper 128GB model. It uses two LCD panels that give you 1800 x 1920 pixels per eye. It’s much the same as the Quest 2 on paper, but Meta promises the panel design will give users 75% more contrast and 10% more pixels per degree of vision, among other benefits. (You are actually don’t see all those pixels on the Quest 2, although it’s not yet clear how different the Quest Pro’s design is.)

Quest motion controllers have also received an overhaul. Where Meta’s old headset tracked its controllers with LED rings around the top, the new controllers are dotted with cameras that track movement like a headset. This makes them smaller and a little less weird. Meta replaced the controllers’ AA batteries with built-in batteries that charge on a docking station with the headset.

Say goodbye to controller tracking rings

The Quest Pro is an upgrade from Quest 2 overall, but it gets a major downgrade: a battery that lasts one to two hours instead of the two to three that Quest 2 offers. The rechargeable controllers are supposed to last a bit longer than the headset, but you won’t get the weeks of use you could get from the Quest 2’s AA batteries.

Despite all the changes, the button layout remains the same, so the controllers (and the entire Quest Pro headset system) are compatible with existing Quest 2 games and apps. You can even get a set of new controllers to use with a Quest 2, although at $299 they cost almost as much as the Quest 2 itself. The Quest 2 and the Quest Pro will share a game and app store, although some apps will be exclusive to the Quest Pro.

The Quest Pro will be available online through the Meta Store. It will also be sold through retail partners in four countries: Best Buy and Amazon in the US; Amazon, Argos and Currys in the UK; Best Buy and Amazon in Canada; and Amazon, Fnac and Boulanger in France.

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