A month using the Meta Quest Pro daily
In the end of 2022, I bought myself a Meta Quest Pro as an early Christmas gift, with the main intentions of using it for:
- Casual VR gaming
- Some PCVR experiences
- XR development
- Work (mostly software development, as well as just using it as a wearable video conferencing machine)
This is a very informal review, where I am looking at the headset not from a technical perspective, but as a first-time owner of a VR/MR headset.
Unboxing and setup
The unboxing experience is roughly what I remember from unboxing a Quest 2 for the first time - a very premium-feeling box, that looks like something Apple would make. The kit comes loaded with multiple small accessories like the magnetic side covers, as well as Touch Controller stylus tips.
Setting up the headset was also surprisingly smooth - just follow the instruction in the headset, and pair it up with the Quest app. The automatic fit adjustment is where the face and eye tracking really shines - the headset guides you through adjusting your IPD and headset position, so that it sits perfectly on your face.
The Quest app that I love and hate
The Quest app has some very useful features. For example, you can remotely buy and install apps from the app, while the headset does the work while it is asleep on the dock. However, it is still quite imperfect - video and photo syncing can sometimes not show up in the app until a full restart, and overall the iPad version of the app feels very jank.
What it’s like using the Quest Pro daily
Arguably the best design decision of the Quest Pro is the charging dock. It requires no cables, no separate plugging in of the controllers or the headset - you can just drop everything on the dock and forget about it. While the headset is docked, it can still sync apps and screenshots to the cloud.
The magnetic side covers are very straightforward to use - I keep them on most of the time to stop excess light from coming in, and it really helps with immersion and focus.
I didn’t find myself using the stylus tips a lot, since I don’t really draw a lot, but I can imagine this being useful for white boarding once more apps support it.
The Quest Pro as a virtual monitor
The ecosystem of virtual monitor apps is a bit daunting at first. After spending some time trying out different solutions, I came out with 3 contenders:
Horizon Workrooms is the virtual desktop / remote collaboration app from Meta. It is unique in that it allows you to set up your own virtual desk in the same physical space where your real desk is. It also offers remote collaboration (even with users not using HMDs!). However, it does not come with its own drawbacks:
- It supports at most 3 virtual “displays”, which are not resizable
- The sharpness of the text is not that great
- You can’t reposition the virtual displays exactly how you want - you can only reorder them
- The default environments are a bit plain
Immersed has been around for a while, and is probably the most feature-full app for work in XR. It covers a lot of the drawbacks of Workrooms. For example, you can fully reposition the virtual displays however you want. You can also create a virtual camera in Immersed, and use it as a webcam in video conferencing with your Meta avatar (with all of the facial expressions!).
There is a pretty great video covering the app on YouTube.
Virtual Desktop is probably by far the best remote desktop app I have used. Not only is it very quick to connect - it works on every platform, has fantastic video quality, highly configurable streaming settings, and has nice support for quickly launching SteamVR when doing wireless PCVR. While AirLink was unusable for me, VD worked like a charm. It also isn’t very aggressive with its controller tracking when you just want to type stuff on your physical keyboard or use a mouse.
Sadly, it doesn’t support placing multiple monitors like Workrooms or Immersed does, or have support for passthrough yet. I also have issues with the virtual mic passthrough on Mac, which haven’t been resolved for me yet, so I am forced to use a different mic other than the headset’s one.
The best thing about the Quest Pro’s design is the lack of a face pad. It means that the front of the headset “floats” in front of your face, instead of fully pressing against it. This gives a ton of breathability for the face, and allow for quick glances downwards at your desk, phone or something else.
However, this also puts quite a bit of pressure on thee forehead, and if your head shape isn’t perfect, this results in a headache after a while. A solution was an overhead head strap like the one I got from Etsy - after that, the forehead pain problem was gone:
Like many other reviewers have already said, the touch controllers are the best part of the headset. They fully self-track inside-out, have very comfortable grips, and the buttons and joysticks feel quality. The haptics can definitely be felt with them, and the tracking accuracy is great, especially in games like Pavlov or Beat Saber. They also charge quite conveniently on the dock. The only drawback is the hand strap - it feels much cheaper, and is always awkward to get around your wrist and tighten it.
While the quality of the Mixed Reality passthrough isn’t as amazing as it was marketed to be, the best part about it is stereoscopic accuracy. The first time you turn it on and try to pick up something, it feels extremely natural. The way that your hands in the periphery reappear in the displays in the right place is done really well, and is definitely the Quest’s strength. It is the difference between just staring at a camera feed of your phone on a flat screen, and actually seeing a 3D world through cameras.
Would I recommend the Quest Pro to the average person at its original price? Probably not, but if you want the very best all-in-one headset without the need for external trackers, it’s your best bet. At the moment of this writing, there is no headset on the market that combines pancake optics, a back-mounted battery with halo design, eye and face tracking, and fully self-tracked controllers all in one.