Meta Quest 3 is here, but is the Quest 2 still worth buying?


Meta’s Quest 3 is the latest and greatest VR headset for standalone gaming, but Meta still sells two other models, the budget Quest 2 and the premium Quest Pro. Quest 2 is the cheapest VR gaming device, but is it good enough? And is the third-gen Quest really worth the extra cost?

Let’s compare the Meta Quest 2 to the Quest 3, evaluating performance, screen and lens quality, mixed reality capabilities and more. Being better isn’t always good enough — you need the difference to be noticeable and worth the significant price increase. Before you get started, be sure to pull up our full Meta Quest 3 review if you want all the details.

What’s new in Quest 3?

Meta continues to push affordable VR technology forward with Quest 3. Everything Quest 2 does, Quest 3 does better. That has a higher price. The Quest 3 starts at $500, 67% more than the $300 Quest 2, but half the price of the Quest Pro.

Meta’s Quest 3 headphones aren’t meant to compete with Meta’s work-oriented headphones, but Quest Pro lens technology inspired the design of the Quest 3. Image clarity is vastly improved, with a distinct point of greatest sharpness thanks to the Quest 3’s pancake lens.

Meta Quest 3 is shown in exploded view.Target

HTC Vive XR Elite and Pico 4, competing all-in-one VR headsets, also use pancake lenses. This is a trend that will continue, as the lenses are thinner, lighter, and eliminate the blur seen at the edges of the Fresnel lenses found in the Quest 2.

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Quest 3 also borrows a page from Quest Pro to include color gradation for better mixed reality. In fact, Quest 3 has less distortion and higher resolution when using mixed reality. You’ll feel more immersed in the blend of your real environment and virtual elements in games that take advantage of this feature. In comparison, Quest 2 only has a grayscale passage.

Meta’s latest headset has a resolution of 2064 x 2208 pixels per eye, which exceeds the density of all other Meta Quest headsets. That equates to 30% more pixels than the Quest 2. That only matters if the processor can handle that big of an image, and the Quest 3 can.

Alan Truly holds a screen model of Qualcomm's Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip.Display model of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip. Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

The Quest 3 uses Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2. Its GPU is twice as fast as the XR2 Gen 1 in the Quest 2, so a few pixels won’t be a problem anymore. Additional performance can go towards adding more detail to graphics without reducing the frame rate. Quest 3’s power should result in better gameplay.

VR gaming is not only visual – sound is also important. Meta says the Quest 3 has 40% louder sound, with better clarity and richer bass.

The Quest 3’s depth sensor maps the room creating a guardian, reducing the time required to set up before starting games.

The Quest 2 controllers have large rings on the front that help the headset track location. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get carried away and knock over the two controller rings when you’re frantically battling zombies in a Quest game like Resident Evil 4 VR. This breaks the immersion and sometimes damages the controller.

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Product image of the Meta Quest 3 Touch Plus Game Controller over a gradient background.Touch Plus controllers for Meta Quest 3 do not require tracking rings. Target

The Quest Pro comes with Touch Pro controllers with vastly improved tracking, a more compact design that ditches the rings, and advanced tactility. The Quest 3’s Touch Plus controllers aren’t as advanced in tracking capabilities, but Meta has included better touch capability.

How Quest 2 and 3 are similar

A person wearing and using an Oculus Quest 2 VR headset in front of a gray background.Target / Target

Meta’s Quest 3 is shaping up to be one of the best VR headsets available, and one of the cheapest. It’s a powerful combination. The only way to beat it is to offer many of the same features for significantly less.

That’s where the Quest 2 comes in. For $300, the Quest 2 lets you play the same games and run the same apps that the Quest 3 can. Meta designed these models for VR gaming, and they have a large and growing library of fun and immersive titles.

They’re lightweight and inexpensive compared to other VR headsets, yet pack a punch with a 120Hz refresh rate, headset depth-of-field tracking, wide field of view, and more.

Oculus Quest 2 with controls.Digital trends

Although the Quest 2 is an older model, Meta has updated it almost every month with improvements that have helped it maintain its position as the best budget option for an all-in-one gaming system that can be connected to a PC for more intense Steam VR gameplay.

The Quest 3 will also receive regular updates and connect to your PC for Steam VR games, but at a higher resolution and faster Wi-Fi capability.

The Quest 2 is still a versatile and valuable VR headset, while the Quest 3 boasts stronger specs at a higher price.

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Quest 3 or Quest 2: What’s Right for You?

Product shot of Meta Quest 3 shown in dramatic lighting over a gradient background.Target

If you can afford the Quest 3’s higher $500 price tag, it’s absolutely worth the money and is more future-proof. Quest 3 has sharper and clearer graphics and a much faster processor to process clear, detailed images while maintaining lag-free gameplay.

Every Meta Quest 2 game runs on Quest 3, so you won’t have to wait for titles. Meta’s latest headset has great mixed reality features and any game that supports passthrough will automatically look much better in color on Quest 3, compared to the low-res, grayscale environment that Quest 2 displays for passthrough.

If $500 is too much, or if you need to buy multiple VR headsets, the Quest 2 is a bargain at $300. If price is the only consideration, the Quest 2 is the best VR headset you can buy for $300. Other independent manufacturers of VR headsets cannot compete with this price category.

Meta Quest 2 comes with two touch controllers.Target

It’s hard to go wrong with either. The low prices of the Quest 2 and 3 headsets are a testament to Meta’s commitment to VR and the future of the metaverse.

As incredible as virtual worlds sounded a few years ago, Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro headset validates Meta’s efforts. Nvidia has also invested in its own version of the metaverse.

If you’ve been interested in VR but haven’t committed to a headset, now might be the perfect time to start exploring what it’s all about, with the Meta Quest 3 and Quest 2 taking the risk out of a big hardware investment.

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