Apple Vision Pro has a starting price of nearly $4,000, and yet, some of its best selling points can be found on the $500 Meta Quest 3 headset.
Of course, according to journalists who have reviewed the Vision Pro, its cutting-edge internals deliver crisp and clear visuals that the Quest 3 can’t compete with — as well as top-of-the-line eye tracking.
However, for just a fraction of the price, the Quest 3 has a slew of similarities that it shares with the Vision Pro that may surprise the average Joe.
1. You can use your MacBook inside the headset
One feature Apple pushes with the Vision Pro is its ability to mirror your MacBook display. Would you believe me if I told you that the Quest 3 can do the same?
When I tried Horizon Workrooms in 2021, a VR app that attempts to bring the office into the “metaverse” (yes, I know, I’m sick of that word, too), I was blown away when the developers behind the project showcased how they brought their MacBooks inside the Quest 2 headset. (It also, as you might have guessed, works with the Quest 3.)
Inside the app, one could see what’s displayed on their MacBook screen.
However, the process of making this happen is a little more convoluted, involving a screen-mirroring Mac app, a prompt that guides you to track your MacBook’s keyboard, and an onboarding process that invites you to map your real-world desk.
With the Apple Vision Pro, however, it appears that you simply need to look at a MacBook, and voila, its screen will appear inside the headset.
2. Hand tracking
You may not be aware, but the Quest 3 does, indeed, support hand tracking. By pinching your fingers together, you can drag virtual windows inside the headset, moving them wherever you want in your simulated environment.
For example, with the hovering main menu inside the Quest 3, you can pinch-and-hold a corner and place it wherever you please. You can also scroll through virtual windows, like Mashable.com via the Meta Quest Browser, by pinching and dragging the UI.
However, as someone who owns a Quest 3, hand tracking is admittedly buggy. The headset isn’t the best at “sensing” whether I’ve grasped a virtual artifact, but scrolling and making selections typically work seamlessly.
Unlike the Quest 3, the Apple Vision Pro exclusively relies on eye and hand tracking (the Quest 3 comes with controllers). TechCrunch said Vision Pro’s ability to track users eyes and hands are “near perfect.” ZDNet said it was “smooth” and “easy to learn.”
3. 3D spatial video support
Thanks to a new software update Meta rolled on Feb. 1, Quest 3, like Vision Pro, now officially supports 3D spatial video.
Users can now upload captured spatial 3D footage through Quest’s mobile app. Consequently, Meta will auto-convert your content and send it to your headset.
Interestingly, these spatial videos will feature a similar “cloudy border effect” that the Vision Pro delivers.
As a bonus, it’s also worth noting that both headsets share AR capabilities.
When Meta unleashed the Quest 3 last fall, it boasted about its new augmented reality (AR) support. In other words, the Quest 3 can blend your real-world environment with virtual artifacts. This is a step up from the Quest 2 which, for the most part, is just a virtual reality (VR) headset.
The Quest 3 can do both. It allows the user to dive into immersive experiences (e.g., VR) where the user is completely surrounded by a simulated environment. On the other hand, it also lets you invite your own surroundings to the headset, thanks to four cameras that work together for spatial tracking and full-color rendering.
The Apple Vision Pro also supports AR and VR. But unlike the Quest 3, it has a whopping 12-camera system.
Thanks to a reality dial on the headset, you can increase the immersion until you’re experiencing full VR. You can also dial it back, allowing more of your real-world surroundings to seep into the headset.
Both the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3 can stream movies and TV shows, play AR games like Demeo (a turn-based table-top game), and juggle multiple windows for productivity inside a simulated environment.