Metaverse Pro Headset: After the failure of smartphone-based VR headsets like Samsung’s Gear VR & Google’s Daydream, the market for VR goggles has mostly consolidated into two categories: inexpensive standalone systems like the Quest 2 & high-end PC-based solutions like the Vive Pro 2 & Valve Index.
Meta’s new Quest Pro aims to bridge the gap between the two types of headsets by combining their greatest features into a single, powerful & yet still incredibly comfortable, standalone device. Meta is so confident in its upcoming headset, the Quest Pro (Metaverse Pro Headset), that the company’s lead product manager, Rupa Rao, called it the “beginning of an evolution in VR” before a demo session with the press.
It will be the first fully featured immersive computer platform, making the metaverse possible. Now that I’ve had a chance to try it out for myself, I can see where they’re coming from with their assurance. After using it for a couple of hours, I found that more than any consumer VR headset I’ve tried, it reminded me of Microsoft’s high-end HoloLens 2.
And while it may seem out of reach at first, the pricing is actually rather comparable to other commercial AR & VR goggles. The Quest Pro is the offspring of a hypothetical union between the HoloLens 2 & the Quest 2. The Quest Pro, like the Quest 2, is a stand-alone virtual reality headset.
But it can also scan the actual environment with cameras & depth sensors, allowing you to superimpose virtual items on top of the real ones. Rather than using see-through optics with projected spectral 3D pictures on top, as in the Magic Leap & HoloLens augmented reality experiences, it shows colour footage of the world around you on its display, while adding VR into the mix.
The new controllers have their own cameras & are more compact, with improved haptics promising more consistent tracking. Let’s take a look at the most significant events of Metaverse Pro Headset.
As all the hardware is located at the front of the prior Quest, with a strap running along the back & over the top, it can get quite hot & uncomfortable for your face. The Quest Pro’s battery is now placed on the back of the head, making it more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It has built-in cameras that help you get a custom fit.
While the Quest Pro’s improved stability is welcome, the device’s overall weight has grown by nearly half from the Quest 2’s 500 grammes to the Quest Pro’s 720 grammes. Two hours in, I already had a headache & fine wrinkle across my forehead from using it.
Display: It’s Like Looking Out a Window
The Quest Pro’s redesigned, smaller pancake optics lenses & larger display make it feel like a visor & make it easy to draw down over my face. Like the PlayStation VR 2 & Meta’s Elite strap for the Quest 2, this headset’s rear crank adjusts snugness.
Like the Quest 2, the front lenses may be adjusted forward & backward & support a wider eye distance range. Quantum dot LED-backlit LCD panels with better local dimming outperform the Quest 2’s screen. The display looks better up close & far away with higher pixel density & a wider colour range.
Because I can see things in my peripheral vision, the headset’s passthrough colour camera display almost feels like the real world. Due of this capability, the Quest Pro VR headset seems like an AR headset. Use the silicone light-blockers or $50 full-immersion attachment for a more immersive virtual reality experience.
The Snapdragon 662 CPU-powered Quest Pro has five cameras & infrared sensors inside the headset, five outside & two on the controllers. I tried most Quest Pro demos that used pass-through camera footage & VR visualisations. Meta claims that the pass-through camera is four times better than the Quest 2, although it is still far from clear.
The Quest Pro Me user bends to pick up a virtual object. I could picture it like it happened in the tangible world. The Quest Pro’s infrared depth mapping works like AR headsets & lidar to give a sense of depth up to five metres & the VR effects sometimes blend well, so I can get by.
Designers layering 3D products into real surroundings or performers using headsets may find mixed-reality functions beneficial. Tribe XR, a DJ app, put me in front of a mixing board & turntables while letting me watch the room & talk to people. I liked the idea of this happening in a club or theatre.
The Controllers: Better, Smaller & Quest 2 Compatible
The plastic ring found on the Quest Touch controllers has been omitted from the Metaverse Pro Headset controllers, resulting in a noticeably smaller overall product. More like a remote control or a miniature Magic Leap controller, these devices have a more traditional feel than virtual reality gear.
They’re very much like the Magic Leap 2 controller I tried earlier this year, with the addition of their own built-in cameras. Strange as it may sound, this allows for motion tracking to be performed independently of the headset’s cameras. Over my shoulders & behind my back, they performed admirably.
This new generation of controllers features superior, nuanced haptic feedback. Some demonstrations with exploding pistols & other toys demonstrated controller feedback in a manner comparable to that of the PlayStation VR 2.
Painting VR’s paint-filled brushes rippled under my fingers & the whiteboard’s scratchy friction was far more palpable. During one demonstration, I almost forgot about a hidden bonus: a pressure-sensitive pinching control. The controllers include a slanted edge that, when gripped alongside the triggers, allows for a wide range of pressure settings.
Also Read: 5 Technology Needed to Operate Metaverse?
Is This the Future of VR or a Steppingstone?
When you put on the Metaverse Pro Headset, you’ll get the impression that you’re wearing a high-end virtual reality headset. However, it has the look & feel of an augmented reality headgear. While several of the demonstrations were fantastic, I found myself wondering how Quest 3 would stack up & whether it would be prudent to upgrade to Pro VR.
It’s unclear if the Quest Pro represents the pinnacle of current AR goggles or the precursor to the next generation, given Meta’s plans for future AR glasses & the arrival of other competing businesses in the coming year.