Meta Quest 3: Unboxing and Comparing to the Meta Quest Pro

Howdy everyone, I'm Amanda Robinson! If you didn't know already, I'm the proud Founder & CEO of The Digital Gal Inc. I've built my reputation as a Facebook ads expert and Meta Certified Lead Trainer, but let me tell you, diving headfirst into the world of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is a whole new world of adventure for me and I’m loving it! I have started my journey training as an XR Designer, though I’m still in the foundation stage. I am the proud owner of a Meta Quest Pro headset, which launched in October of 2022. And this year in Oct 2023, I scooped up the brand shiny new Meta Quest 3 that just dropped and I’m here to give you my first impression.

I am not a tech blogger. I am not a VR guru. I am a normal consumer just like you with a flair for tech and just enough dangerous curiosity to go full-send on embracing it for business. So let’s get started, shall we?

Here is my hands-on, face-first encounter with the Meta Quest 3 VR system with all the bells, whistles, and extra add-ons.

Meta Quest 3 Packaging and Unboxing

I just returned from a two month cross-country road trip. I pre-ordered the Meta Quest 3 while on the trip and the day before I got home, the headset and all of the accessories arrived on my doorstep in a batch of 4 glorious boxes:

1. Meta Quest 3 Headset
2. Meta Quest 3 Elite Strap with Battery
3. Meta Quest 3 Charging Dock
4. Meta Quest 3 Travel Case

It’s like Christmas came early, each box a new surprise! Unwrapping the whole thing on live-stream had me pretty excited, and hey, why not share the experience, right?

Design and Aesthetics

Ok, so the first look at Meta Quest 3… The headset is lightweight and smaller than what I am used to with the predecessor, the Meta Quest Pro. Shaking hands with the new controllers felt cozy, a good solid grip, with subtle tweaks in the texture and design. They look nearly the same, but, I've got to confess, the Quest Pro controllers feel like satin while the Meta Quest 3 controllers feel like plastic. Not a big deal. Just a small difference.

As I took my first hands-on tour of the Meta Quest 3 itself, I couldn't help but notice a cutback in quality compared to my trusty Meta Quest Pro. The device appeared to have veered towards lower-grade materials, presumably a maneuver to reduce the cost and appeal to a wider consumer base. Then there’s the foam face cushion factor, which wasn’t as makeup-friendly as I'd hoped. As someone who usually wears makeup, it seemed primed to soak up foundation and sweat quicker than a sponge. By comparison, the Meta Quest Pro, which was unleashed to the world in October 2022, featured a non-porous face cushion that was super simple to wipe off — no mess, no stress.

Before we continue on the features, let’s compare costs just so we’re all on the same page and not focusing negatively on the more cost effective Meta Quest 3.

My Meta Quest 3 and all the ‘fixins set me back $1,500 CAD

Whereas my Meta Quest Pro a year ago set me back a whopping $2,300 CAD!! They have since dropped the price to about $1,400 CAD which really stings. (I have regrets) After you read this review you’ll see I’m still partial to the Pro, but I always recommend upgrading to the latest technology and following along where the company is investing most of their resources. On with the Meta Quest 3 Review!

Notably, the new 'kid' outperformed its predecessor when it came to focus. With the old Pro, I always had to tilt it up a bit, kind of like sporting oversized sunglasses to hit that perfect focus. It was a tip that made a world of difference for pretty much everyone who gave the Pro a whirl. The Meta Quest 3, on the other hand, landed perfectly focused right off the bat.

But for me, on initial impression, the Meta Quest Pro wins the aesthetic battle by virtue of its premium materials and a hardware feel that can only be described as upscale. Comparatively, the Meta Quest 3 still has a bit of growth and refinement to go through.

Meta Quest 3 Accessories

Now scope this out--this new rig requires accessories sold separately, unlike the Pro that came with everything you need except the travel case.

Let’s talk about the Meta Quest 3 Elite strap with battery pack. It replaces the flimsy fabric strap and gives you a rigid strap with counter balance on the back of the device where the battery sits so you’re not all face-heavy. It essentially converts it into being very similar to the Meta Quest Pro.

The Meta Quest 3 has a head strap that goes over the top of your noggin. The Meta Quest Pro relied on a robustly rigid strap system — no strap over the top and a built-in battery pack creating a confident counterbalance. The Meta Quest 3, on the other hand, which started shipping in October 2023, opted for a fabric strap that was kind of flimsy. That was, at least until I upgraded to the separately sold "Elite Strap" complete with its own battery pack. Maneuvering the velcro strap through the device for a swap between the basic fabric one and the 'Elite' practically required a master's degree in patience!

However, it wasn't all storms and squalls! Once the Elite Strap was set up, the device nestled on the head comfortably and showed a fair deal of balance — a consolation, to say the least.

Do you need it? In my opinion, YES. It will extend your play time and give you the counter balance for a more comfortable user experience in the long run. It’s like the difference between having a race car with a perpetually half tank of gas vs a full tank and balanced tires. You get the idea.

Next let’s look at the Meta Quest 3 Charging Dock. Compared to the Meta Quest Pro's more sleek, compact and aesthetically pleasing dock, the charging dock of the Quest 3 is more spread out, takes up a bit more space, and at first was like playing Tetris to properly holster the controllers in the way they are intended to sit. I think it has the potential to serve up dead batteries on the hand controllers if you don’t holster it right. Whereas the Meta Quest Pro controllers also come with a bit of Tetris’ing, but it’s clear when they are properly docked and charging. Realistically, these are minute points because once you figure it out the first time, you’re set - for both models.

Another no-brainer feature, the charging dock comes with rechargeable batteries for the hand controllers that you swap out with the standard AA batteries that the controllers come with. Again, you need some concentration and focus to figure out where the “eject” button is on the controllers to open up the battery compartment, but I figured it out and it was an easy swap.

Do you need the charging dock? For the rechargeable batteries and wireless charging, ummm, 100% YES in my opinion. Where’s the fun in having a VR headset with controller batteries you’ll get around to changing and forget? No fun. Do yourself a service and just pay the extra for the docking station. Thank me later.

Now onto the Meta Quest 3 Travel Case, the sleek travel case, designed for the on-the-go peeps out there, (like yours truly!). Flowing in and out of airports is no joke, and packing up that Quest Pro took up half of my carry on! No joke! But now, thanks to this compact travel case, it just goes snug and neat right into a more compact design that can more easily fit into my backpack. A dream come true for those of us racking up frequent flyer miles while trying to balance our VR experiences. My only gripe, I wish it wasn’t a felt material that will be a dog hair magnet and the light colour will show any stains like when I drip my coffee on it. Inevitable. Just sayin.

Meta Quest 3 Initial Comparison with the Meta Quest Pro

My mind was thoroughly excited with the potential of the upgrades that Meta Quest 3 promises – improved graphics, heightened performance, everything had me buzzing. But, jumping into the Quest 3 zone came with its particular quirks. The price is much more comfortable compared to the Pro, even with all the add-on costs. This review is much more focused on the unboxing and initial impression. I’ll be doing a more thorough review and comparison once I’ve had the chance to experience using it for an extended period of time.

To Wrap It Up

Alrighty then, there you have it, my first-hand account-- unboxing the exciting, yet somewhat puzzle-box like, Meta Quest 3 VR system. And you know what, even though I preferred the all-in-one Meta Quest Pro initially, the quest of exploring Meta Quest 3 kept me hooked every step of the way. So, stay tuned folks, 'cause I’m just getting started! I’ll be sharing more of my impressions, adventures, and perhaps even switching allegiances (from the Pro to the 3 maybe, who knows?). If things go swimmingly well with my Meta Quest 3, I’ll be looking to sell off my Meta Quest Pro. Interested? Let’s talk. And Let's keep our VR adventures rolling together, every step of the way!

About The Author

Amanda Robinson is a Meta Certified Lead Trainer and the Founder and CEO of The Digital Gal Inc., a globally recognized brand specializing in paid digital advertising. Amanda is an international speaker, consultant, and educator known for her expertise in Facebook advertising, AR/VR, and the Metaverse. Amanda is a Certified XR designer. She is a published author of the Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing through Entrepreneur Press and is regularly featured as a guest on media-related podcasts. She has taught over 1,000 business owners and entrepreneurs how to manage their own Facebook Advertising. Amanda is a Member of Agroapulse’s Social Media Advisory Board, composed of the top industry influencers and agency owners around the world. Have questions about Facebook advertising? Don’t hesitate to reach out!

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