I HAD a chance to try out Meta’s brand new “mixed reality” headset.
The Meta Quest 3 is Mark Zuckerberg’s latest attempt to have us all wearing his sci-fi goggles – and they’re actually very good.
They’ve got an improved design, upgraded hardware and some fancy new touch controllers.
It’s impressive that Meta was able to improve so much given how good the old Quest 2 already was.
If you want all of the specs, you can read our quick guide here.
But there were two experiences that really stood out to me when I donned Zuckerberg’s hi-tech specs.
By far the standout change is the new mixed reality potential of the Meta Quest 3.
Its predecessor was primarily a virtual reality headset – fully immersing you in a CGI space.
But Quest 3 promises true mixed reality experiences thanks to full-colour camera capture.
You can now see the real world around you in real-time in a game, or be fully immersed – and even switch between the two.
A great example of this that I was able to try was a new experience called First Encounters.
You start off in the real-world room that you’re standing in, which is stunningly visualised by the Meta Quest 3.
An alien spaceship lands and creatures appear that you need to shoot with some kind of sci-fi pistol.
As you begin shooting, you notice that you can shoot away the real walls around you.
And as you do this, the pieces crack revealing a virtual world behind them – some kind of alien planet.
This blending of the real and imaginary is amazing, and represents the sort of computing we’ll probably end up using daily in the decades to come.
The size of the headset still needs to come down significantly for that dream to be fully realised.
But this is an early glimpse at a future that we all might one day be living.
The second thing that really impressed me was the visual fidelity of the headset in general.
It’s often hard to notice improvements in graphics.
In a way it’s like the famed myth that if you put a frog in water and slowly but surely increase the temperature, it won’t jump out and will ultimately boil.
When I think of old Nintendo 64 games in my head, they’re imagined in perfect quality.
But if I look at videos of those old games, the visuals are awful. Obviously.
The Meta Quest 3 has a game called Red Matter 2 that lets you flit back and forth to Quest 2 visuals.
And the difference is astonishing.
There is so much more pixel density in the Meta Quest 3 – about 30% more per eye versus the Quest 2.
It really shows, and allows you to feel far more immersed in the world.
I’d forgotten that in the Quest 2, the quality could sometimes be a distraction.
But Meta Quest 3 visuals are pin-sharp.
Meta still has a long way to go before there are good enough reasons for everyone to own one of its headsets.
But the Meta Quest 3 is clearly a brilliant gadget that stands on the shoulders of a giant.
Want to glimpse the future? Then give the Quest 3 a go.
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I tried Mark Zuckerberg’s new ‘mixed reality’ headset – I loved two moments