The Meta Quest Pro Isn't As Bad As It Is Made Out To Be

The Meta Quest Pro Isn't As Bad As It Is Made Out To Be
03
Jan-2023

Meta is at a crossroads.

Critics argue that the company's all-in pivot to virtual reality and the metaverse was misguided, resulting in a $10 billion loss in 2021, a drop in stock price, significant layoffs, and public ridicule. Despite this, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided to take the risk. That investment may be paying off with the enterprise-focused Meta Quest Pro headset, which was unveiled at this year's Meta Connect conference. The Quest Pro is an aesthetically pleasing and technically impressive feather in Meta's VR cap, which is in desperate need of adornment. However, the Quest Pro operating system still needs a lot of work under the hood.

It should be noted (then underlined and highlighted) that the Meta Quest Pro is primarily intended for use in work environments, and it includes a combination of 10 internal and external cameras for enhanced eye and face tracking. Because the headset was not designed to provide the immersive gaming experiences that many people associate with VR, thrill seekers will be better served by its predecessor, the Quest 2. However, for creative professionals and businesses willing to pay the hefty $1,499 starting price, the Meta Quest Pro is a stunning device that delivers on the promise of mixed and virtual reality.

Initial impressions
The Quest Pro and a half-dozen black accessories, including a charging dock, removable magnetic gaskets, a protective headset cover, and a microfiber square, are included for the high entry price. But don't be so quick to toss that box into the recycling bin that you miss the two teeny stylus tips nestled between the headset's wall charger and cords.

The Quest Pro is sleek and solid right out of the box, bound in glass and matte black plastic and padded with lush foam cushions that far outperform the Quest 2's thrifty plastics, cheap foam, and flimsy elastic strap. And, unlike the Quest 2's Touch controllers, which have the structural integrity of a McDonald's Happy Meal toy, the Quest Pro's refined Touch controllers feel delightfully substantial in your palm and are much less likely to fly across the room with a single errant wave of your hand.

During the initial device setup process, I had some issues pairing the Touch controllers to the headset, which each house a Snapdragon 662 processor and three sensors for 360-degree motion tracking. Despite physically holding both controllers in my hands, the headset continued to show one of them as being on the ground near my foot. I had to bend down and "pick up" the virtual controller for my physical controller to start working.

Aside from that minor hiccup, the Pro setup proceeded with the required WiFi and Bluetooth pairing stages. Following that, I was asked to select a "home experience" that would appear every time I turned on the device. By default, The Quest Pro provides users with fourteen options, including a pink and purple ombre bubble room, a Japanese Ryokan at dusk, and an underground cavern themed after The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.I started with a more immersive option: a peaceful, warm-wooded yoga studio in the middle of a forest. But once I switched to passthrough — a feature that allows you to see the real world while still wearing your headset — I was hooked. It was much more entertaining to see menus appear above my bed or on the wall of my living room. Finally, I made my Quest Pro home environment my permanent residence.

The fundamentals of batteries
Meta claims that a two-hour charge of the Quest Pro will give you one to two hours of use, which I found to be true. Though Meta has not officially stated the size of the Pro's battery, insiders estimate it to be around 4,500 mAh, as opposed to the Quest 2's 3,640mAh. However, it appears that there is a way to extend that usage. Consulting CTO John Carmack mentioned at Meta Connect 2022 that if you use the Quest Pro like the Quest 2 — that is, without turning on Pro-specific features like colour passthrough and facial tracking — the battery life should last a little longer.

It's worth noting that charging the Quest Pro and its controllers on the included dock can be difficult. To charge, the headset and controllers must be properly positioned on small pins in the dock. However, the process of accurately positioning the devices on the pins is so time-consuming that I frequently find myself moving my face within inches of the setup to ensure everything is properly aligned. Even then, I'm not always sure if everything is charging properly.

However, the main issue I had with charging was not with the headset, but with the controllers. After a single use on a full charge, one controller had depleted its battery to around 15%, while the other hovered around the 80% mark. I have no explanation for this other than the controllers not being properly docked in the charger. And, at this price, proper docking should be no problem.

A wearable that actually...wears
The Quest Pro's biggest improvement over the Quest 2 is in comfort and fit, though it's still far from comfortable for longer sessions than 20 minutes. To make my Quest 2 wearable for that long and properly fit my face, I had to add $130 in accessories. The Quest Pro, on the other hand, is ready to wear right out of the box, as it should be given its price.

The premium materials used in the Meta Quest Pro, combined with its "halo" band design, help to balance the weight of the facial interface on the forehead with the device's battery pack at the back. The band's brim rests just below my hairline and is the only part of the device that comes into contact with my face. The Quest 2, on the other hand, adheres to the skin like a suction cup.

The fit of the Quest Pro is also much more customizable than that of the Quest 2, which adds to its wearability. The lenses on the Quest Pro move smoothly towards and away from each other to compensate for the distance between your eyes, also known as interpupillary distance or IPD. A new depth wheel at the top of the headset moves the lenses closer and further away from your face, a feature not available on the Quest 2 but native to the PlayStation VR headset.The Quest Pro's halo band also stays more securely in place than the Quest 2, which frequently slides around during wear. Furthermore, I was able to slip the Pro on over my glasses, which required the insertion of an additional gasket and was quite uncomfortable in the Quest 2.

Except for the forehead band, the Quest Pro solves all of my main comfort issues with the Quest 2: poor fit, expensive accessory upgrades, sweaty sliding, and face marks. It gave me a terrible tension headache within minutes of using it for the first time and always left a red spot on my skin. The intensity of the pain varied throughout wear, but I suspect I'll need to add more padding to that area to make it truly comfortable.

The display on the Quest Pro is also a noteworthy improvement. It achieves greater clarity thanks to its 1800 x 1920 resolution display and pancake lenses that are thinner and lighter than the Quest 2's — it's the equivalent of switching from Coke-bottle glasses to contact lenses. Putting on the Quest Pro feels like finally finding the right prescription at the optometrist; the display is crisp and clear. In comparison, no matter how many adjustments I make, I always get minor doubling or distortion around the edges of the lenses, as well as subtle blurring as the device slips around my face.

Because of its customizable design and upgraded technology, the Pro eliminates display distortion and the distraction and eye fatigue that it causes.

 

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