Apple’s headset, the Apple Vision Pro, made its debut at WWDC 2023. However, Mark Zuckerberg outmaneuvered Tim Cook by revealing the Meta Quest 3 in a surprise announcement just days before the Meta Quest Gaming Showcase.
After their high-profile debuts in June, the stage is set for an Apple Vision Pro vs. Meta Quest 3 face-off once both headsets hit the market.
The two headsets are quite distinct from one another. Apple Vision Pro is a true mixed-reality headset developed for what Apple terms “spatial computing.” Its EyeSight feature allows it to interact with your physical surroundings and maintain your engagement. On the other hand, Meta Quest 3 targets the mainstream VR audience. Although it qualifies as a mixed reality device due to its full-color passthrough, its primary mode remains a VR headset with AR capabilities.
Now that we’ve had some hands-on experience with the Apple Vision Pro and gathered all the relevant Quest 3 details, let’s examine the Apple Vision Pro vs. Meta Quest 3 comparison.
Table of Contents
Apple Vision Pro
- Apple Vision Pro is a mixed-reality headset designed for spatial computing.
- The Vision Pro comes with a hefty price tag of $3,499.
- Apple Vision Pro is set to launch in early 2024.
Meta Quest 3
- Meta Quest 3 is primarily geared toward VR enthusiasts.
- The Quest 3 starts at a more affordable $499 for the 128 GB model.
- Meta Quest 3 is likely to launch on Meta Connect on September 27.
Apple Vision Pro vs. Meta Quest 3 Specifications:
|Header Cell – Column 0||Apple Vision Pro||Meta Quest 3|
|Release date||Early 2024||2023 (expected)|
|Chipset||1 x M2 chip, 1 x R1 chip||TBA next-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon|
|Display resolution||4K (per eye)||TBA|
|Storage||TBA||128GB, TBA larger size|
|Battery life||2 hours (with external battery)||TBA|
|Size and weight||About 1 pound||TBA (40% slimmer than Quest 2)|
|Mixed reality passthrough||Operates in mixed reality by default||Full-color passthrough|
Design and Comfort
Apple Vision Pro
At first glance, the Apple Vision Pro might be mistaken for the Meta Quest Pro when switched off. However, once activated, the results are truly astounding. The Apple Vision Pro features EyeSight functionality. It is a more natural conversation by allowing others to see your eyes. Your eyes are concealed beneath a curved sheet of 3D laminated glass that also serves as the lens for the headset’s camera array.
The Vision Pro is a unique, comfortable fit in mind. Although not custom-made, the modularly designed Light Seal and Head Band come in various sizes to ensure the curved custom aluminum alloy headset matches your face’s geometry. Once you’ve chosen the perfect size, the Head Band offers a knob for micro-adjustments.
The Vision Pro has 12 cameras, six microphones, and five sensors. They can track your eyes, hands, and voice, enabling control without external devices. By default, the Apple Vision Pro operates in mixed reality passthrough mode. But turning the digital crown immerses you in a virtual environment.
Meta Quest 3
In contrast, the Meta Quest 3 adopts a one-size-fits-all approach but is smaller than the Meta Quest 2. Owing to pancake optics, which stack optical material to allow for higher-resolution lenses in fewer spaces, the Quest 3 is 40% thinner than its predecessor. While the Quest 3’s cameras and sensors aren’t as powerful as the Vision Pro’s, Meta’s headset gains a new camera array on the front of its visor. This array consists of two 4MP RGB color cameras with a depth sensor in between, providing a more realistic representation of the environment in which the Quest 3 is used and a full-color video passthrough.
Unlike the Vision Pro, the Quest 3 lacks an EyeSight feature since Meta positioned their camera array where Apple placed the Vision Pro’s unique curved glass. Another missing element is the digital crown found on the top of the Apple headset, which controls your immersion level.
By default, the Apple Vision Pro operates in mixed reality passthrough mode, but turning that digital crown immerses you in a virtual environment. Conversely, the Quest 3 primarily exists in the virtual realm, with mixed reality passthrough controlled by the software you’re using. Aside from these design aspects, there are a few notable differences between the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3. The Vision Pro’s lenses don’t appear to require IPD adjustments, while the Quest 3 features an IPD adjustment wheel. This should result in a significant quality-of-life improvement over Quest 2. The Quest 3 uses a Y-shape instead of the Vision Pro’s proprietary modular Head Band, and the straps on both headsets connect near the speakers.
The Apple Vision Pro promises multi-dimensional audio through its “audio pods.” However, information about the Meta Quest 3 speakers remains scarce, although the Quest 2 speakers were good. So we hope the Quest 3 speakers will be an improvement.
Standalone vs. Tethered
The Meta Quest 3 is a fully standalone headset, whereas the Apple Vision Pro requires a connection to a power outlet or an additional battery pack that fits in your pocket. Unlike the Quest 2, the Quest 3 doesn’t compromise on the battery located within the headset visor.
On the other hand, the Meta Quest 3 is aimed at the average VR fan and offers a more affordable option with a standalone design. It has pancake optics, a new camera array, and an IPD adjustment wheel for improved comfort.
Because specifics about the Meta Quest 3 are still limited, comparing the Apple Vision Pro displays to the Meta Quest 3 displays is challenging. However, it would be a huge surprise if Meta outperformed Apple on paper or in practice.
Apple Vision Pro
The Vision Pro screens are simply outstanding. Besides the front display behind the laminated glass showcasing the EyeSight function, the headset has two 4K Micro OLED screens, one for each eye. Apple claims these panels have “wide color and high dynamic range,” although it’s unclear if the displays accept HDR video in formats such as HDR10 or Dolby Vision, or if they just have a specific amount of peak brightness and color gamut representation.
Pixel density is another significant selling point for Vision Pro screens. With 23 million pixels between the two screens, Apple claims that the Vision Pro has 64 times the pixel density of the iPhone, even though each panel is only the size of a postage stamp.
Meta Quest 3
As previously mentioned, information about the Meta Quest 3 display is scarce. Meta has only revealed that “Quest 3 combines our highest resolution display yet and pancake optics to ensure content looks better than ever.” So, while the ultimate display resolution is unknown, we are confident that it will be an improvement over the Quest 2 and Quest Pro.
Apple Vision Pro
This is where the Apple Vision Pro enters the game-changing territory. There are no controllers, period. Instead, the Apple headset uses a combination of cameras, sensors, and microphones to control the Vision Pro using only gestures and voice commands. Natural gestures are also intended, as the cameras can capture your actions with your hands in natural positions rather than right in front of the headset.
Some tasks don’t even require you to use your hands. The eye-tracking should be particularly impressive thanks to a ring of LED lights in the headgear. One example Apple demonstrated at the Vision Pro unveiling was the ability to simply glance at a search bar and start saying what you want to search for. The Vision Pro would then begin typing out the query without you having to lift a finger.
Meta Quest 3
Unfortunately, the Meta Quest 3 does not provide a controller-free experience, although it does have hand-tracking features to reduce your reliance on controllers. At the very least, the Touch Plus controllers for the Quest 3 are more streamlined, without the tracking ring found on the Quest 2 controllers. TruTouch haptics is also included, a technology borrowed from the Meta Quest Pro Touch Pro controllers.
This might give Quest 3 an advantage in gaming, but it’s too early to tell. We’re still waiting to see how native VR/XR games operate on the Vision Pro. We do know that Apple’s headset will work with popular Bluetooth controllers such as the PS5 DualSense for playing Apple Arcade games, as well as the Apple Magic Keyboard, Mouse, and Trackpad if you don’t want to rely on hand gestures or a virtual keyboard.
Performance and Features
Through detailed performance data for both headsets is currently unavailable, we can make some educated assumptions based on the known hardware and features powering each device.
Apple Vision Pro
The Apple Vision Pro is likely to be more powerful due to its M2 processor, which provides the mixed-reality headset with the power of an entry-level MacBook. Furthermore, a second processor, the R1, will handle sensor inputs and ensure that the display does not lag. Apple claims that the R1 processor keeps the input latency of the Vision Pro’s displays at roughly 12ms, comparable to many top TVs.
Meta Quest 3
Meta Quest 3, while not as powerful as the Apple Vision Pro, will still be impressive. It claims that the Quest 3 will be “our most powerful headset yet,” featuring a next-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC processor. According to Meta, this new CPU “delivers more than twice the graphical performance as the previous generation Snapdragon GPU in Quest 2.”
The Apple Vision Pro requires users to compromise on either mobility or battery life. The headset must be plugged in, either to a power outlet for all-day use or to an external battery with a 2-hour battery life. Meta has not provided any information about the Quest 3’s battery life, but if it matches or exceeds the Quest 2’s 2 to 3-hour battery life, it would have an advantage over the Apple headset.
Apps, Games, and OS
The Apple Vision Pro introduces a new operating system, visionOS, enabling developers to build 3D mixed reality apps natively. Additionally, iOS and iPad OS apps will be available on the Vision Pro App Store, along with over 100 Apple Arcade games. The Meta Quest 3 will be backward compatible with the entire Quest 2 library of games and apps, allowing users to play all 500+ Quest 2 games right away.
While the Apple Vision Pro is more focused on productivity, the Meta Quest 3 is geared toward VR gaming. If VR gaming is your primary interest, the Quest 3 may be a better choice. However, if you want a device that can handle a wide variety of apps, games, and experiences, Vision Pro and Visions are the better options.
Both devices offer mixed reality capabilities, but their approaches differ. The Apple Vision Pro focuses on superimposing apps and displays on top of the real world around you, whereas the Meta Quest 3 utilizes full-color video passthrough for games and apps to add displays and AR holographic overlays to your surroundings.
Apple Vision Pro vs. Meta Quest 3: WHICH HEADSET IS BEST FOR YOU?
As of now, neither the Apple Vision Pro nor the Meta Quest 3 are in the market. However, if you are referring to a hypothetical comparison between a future Apple VR/AR headset and the Oculus (now Meta) Quest series, it’s essential to consider several factors to determine which headset would be best for you.
Consider the primary use of the headset. If you’re interested in gaming, the Meta Quest series is known for its extensive game library and immersive experience. On the other hand, if you’re looking for productivity, communication, or creative applications, an Apple headset might excel in those areas due to Apple’s ecosystem and app support.
An Apple headset will likely integrate seamlessly with other Apple devices and services, while the Meta Quest series may have broader compatibility with various platforms. Choose the headset that works best with your existing devices and software.
Apple is known for its well-designed and tightly integrated ecosystem across its products. If you’re already using Apple devices and services, an Apple headset might offer a more consistent user experience. On the other hand, the Meta Quest series provides a robust VR ecosystem with a wide range of content and applications.
Vision Pro comes with a hefty price tag of $3,499. Quest 3 starts at a more affordable $499 for the 128 GB model. The Meta Quest series has been more affordable and accessible to a broader audience. Your budget will play a significant role in determining which headset is best for you.
Ultimately, the best headset for you will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Keep an eye on developments in the VR/AR industry and consider the factors mentioned above when making a decision.
In summary, choosing between the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3 will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. The Apple Vision Pro offers advanced features and performance. The Meta Quest 3 provides a more affordable option with a focus on VR gaming and mixed-reality experiences.