Oct 25, 2022 - Technology

Hands-on: Meta Quest Pro is a big improvement, but not for the masses

Axios' Ina Fried wearing a Meta Quest Pro headset

Axios' Ina Fried wearing a Meta Quest Pro headset. Photo: Meta

Having spent some time with the new VR headset, I can say that the Meta Quest Pro is by far the most comfortable and practical headset I have tried.

Yes, but: It's far more an indicator of the direction things are headed than a signal that the future has arrived.

While others will be out with reviews today, I have only spent a few hours using the device at home, seizing the precious moments when all the people in my house who need caregiving were out so I could fully immerse myself.

  • And that gets to the challenge of VR: It doesn't lend itself well to a busy, multitasking life.
  • I will say, though, that this headset comes way closer to fitting in with my messy house and busy life. During my short time I did a mix of games, watching videos and trying out productivity apps.

Pros: Pass-through video (being able to see your real world as a backdrop) is a game changer, allowing some of the immersive benefits of VR without needing to totally shut off the real world or have a vast open space.

  • Improved optics mean that you can actually read the text of a web page or document. That's not alone sufficient to get real work done, but you certainly can't do so without this level of detail.

Cons:

  • Battery life is still pretty pitiful, meaning you have to either stay plugged in (if sitting at a desk), or recharge the Quest Pro to use it for more than an hour or two.
  • You are paying a lot ($1,499) to be at the leading edge. In a couple of years, the Quest Pro will seem ridiculously bulky and limited, even though it is the state of the art of what's possible in a commercial device today.

Between the lines: While many at Meta are pushing hard that this is a work device, the most likely early buyers are those who already spend time gaming in VR and want the best experience, as well as early adopters who want the latest and greatest.

The bottom line: I believe virtual and augmented reality will have a big place in the future of computing and the Meta Quest Pro is an important interim step.

  • But I also think the industry does itself a disservice when it positions devices as more ready for prime time than they are.
Go deeper