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Quest 3S: Here’s what we know about Meta’s next VR headset

An enhanced version of the Quest 3S leaked image reveals a possible design.
An enhanced version of a Quest 3S leaked image reveals a possible design. LuffySanKira via Luna / Reddit via X

Meta is expected to launch a new low-cost VR headset this year to replace the Meta Quest 2, the world’s most popular VR headset. In what’s becoming a tradition for many electronic devices, we already have a good idea of what this new mixed reality headset will look like, its specifications, and more ahead of Meta’s official announcement.

Here’s what we know and suspect about the upcoming “Lite” version of the Quest 3 that Meta will reportedly call the Quest 3S.

Quest 3S confirmation

The Quest 3S appeared in a Meta app store listing.
The Quest 3S appeared in a Meta app store listing. Meta

We received confirmation of the name of the Quest 3S near the end of May, which came from Meta itself. The info came from a seemingly accidental Meta app store page for the VR yoga app Alo Moves XR.

Meta lists supported devices below the order button of all Quest VR games and apps. For a brief period of time, the Alo Moves XR page indicated support for the Meta Quest 3, Quest Pro, and Quest 2, as expected. However, the list started with a VR headset we’ve never heard mentioned by Meta, the Quest 3S. I managed to grab a screenshot with my phone before Meta removed that mention above. Note the underlines under all of the headsets except the Quest 3S.

Quest 3S price and release date

The most likely release date for the Quest 3S is at Meta Connect on September 25, 2024, or shortly thereafter. However, that’s still three months away.

With the Quest 2 running out of stock at Meta and low everywhere else, there’s a good reason to launch the Quest 3S sooner. However, we don’t expect that to happen since there’s no competition at that price. Meta might also take this opportunity to gain insight into how the Quest 3 will sell as the lowest cost option.

Meta’s Quest 2 is the only reasonable choice for fast, fun VR gaming in the $300 range. That’s why it’s a top-rated device, for the next few months, on our list of the best VR headsets.

Pricing hasn’t been confirmed, but we can make some deductions based on the price of the Quest 2. Meta began selling the 128GB Quest 2 for $300 in 2020. In 2022, the price climbed to $400, in advance of the $500 Quest 3 launch in 2023.

Meta recently dropped the price of the Quest 2 to $250, then continued to cut it down to $200. If the price goes up before launching a higher-priced product, it makes sense that slashing the price signals a new low-cost headset is coming. It makes sense to clear old inventory to make way for new products.

Based on Quest 2’s starting price and leaked Quest 3S specifications, we expect Meta to sell the Quest 3S for $300. That would make Meta’s most affordable headsets competitive with the best cheap gaming consoles.

Quest 2 out of stock

Meta's Quest 2 is out of stock.
Meta’s Quest 2 is out of stock on Meta’s website. Meta

Since all signs point to the Quest 3S being a low-cost version of Meta’s powerful Quest 3 VR headset, it seems likely that it will replace the aging Meta Quest 2.

Quest 2 stock levels began falling near the beginning of 2024 with 256GB models running out on Meta’s web store. More recently, Meta shows all configurations out of stock.

A few Quest 2 units remain at Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers, but most show low-stock alerts. Since the Quest 3 sells for $500, that leaves a gap at the low end that Meta needs to fill soon.

Quest 3S leak

A leaked image shows a possible Quest 3S design.
A leaked image shows a possible Quest 3S design. LuffySanKira via Luna / Reddit via X

We’ve only seen one major Quest 3S leak, but it revealed so many details that we already have a good picture of its likely capabilities and how it could compare to the Quest 2 it replaces and Meta’s best headset, the Quest 3.

Meta enthusiast Luna shared images on X (formerly Twitter) from Redditor LuffySanKira, reportedly captured during a Meta user research call. The Reddit post is no longer available. The images look like marketing material for a Meta Quest 3S, complete with images and specifications.

A leaked image compares Quest 3S and Quest 3.
A leaked image compares Quest 3S and Quest 3. LuffySanKira via Luna / Reddit via X

This leak implies the Meta Quest 3S will use the same high-performance chip as the Quest 3, the same Touch Plus controllers, color passthrough cameras for mixed reality, and up to 120Hz refresh rate. Two configurations are common for Quest headsets, and the Quest 3S could have 128GB and 256GB storage options.

To match the Quest 2’s price, the Quest 3S must have some tradeoffs. The leaked images suggest the Quest 3S will have the same display resolution as the Quest 2 on a single panel, with three positions to shift the lenses to match your eye spacing, and the older Fresnel lenses. The Quest 3 has continuous IPD lens adjustment, dual displays, and clearer pancake lenses.

Quest 3S without controllers?

There’s some speculation that Meta might sell the Quest 3S without controllers, lowering the price even further. Meta could offer a $200 or $250 Quest 3S as a media consumption device to replace an iPad or even a TV. A VR headset’s virtual screens can fill the room, creating a cinema experience anywhere.

Since VR is primarily associated with gaming, controllers are needed for most games. Even if the Quest 3S ships without controllers, it’s almost certain that Meta will offer a bundle that includes controllers and sell them separately. Even the work-centric Quest Pro came with controllers and can play the same VR games as a Quest 2.

Upgrading Quest 2 owners

The Meta Quest 2 comes with two Touch Controllers.
Meta

While Meta clears way for a new device, there are millions of Quest 2 owners that haven’t upgraded to the Quest 3. The Quest 2 is the best-selling VR headset on the market by a large margin.

That’s why Meta keeps updating this popular gaming headset with new system software, new features, and performance boosts.

However, performance tweaks can only help so much, and supporting a device that’s four years old holds back game developers that want to take advantage of the latest and best technology.

Batman Arkham Shadow will only support the Meta Quest 3.
Batman Arkham Shadow will only support the Meta Quest 3. Meta

Meta needs Quest 2 owners to upgrade to a newer, more powerful headset to inspire developers to create longer VR games with larger, richer environments, higher-resolution graphics, and colorful mixed reality scenes.

That’s already happening with a few upcoming VR games like Batman: Arkham Shadow that require a Meta Quest 3. It won’t even work on the 2022 Quest Pro. If the Quest 3S has good mixed reality capabilities and the same processor as the Quest 3, it should work with games that would otherwise be exclusive to the Quest 3.

Alan Truly
Alan is a Computing Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is…
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