Tue. May 21st, 2024


Apple released the Vision Pro headset back in February, putting pressure on Meta and other companies making virtual reality and augmented reality devices to step up their game. Now, an update is rolling out to Meta Quest headsets with some helpful improvements.



Meta, the company that owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, is rolling out the Meta Quest v64 software update to its lineup of virtual reality headsets. The main change is an improved passthrough mode for the Meta Quest 3 headset, which allows you to see your surroundings without taking off the headset. The Apple Vision Pro operates almost entirely in a mixed reality passthrough mode (though Apple likes to call it “spatial computing”), so it’s great to see the Quest 3 catching up a bit more.


Meta said in a blog post, “With v64, we’ve made a number of improvements to Passthrough on Meta Quest 3. Passthrough is now higher-fidelity than before, and better at adjusting color, exposure, contrast, and dynamic range to match your real-world surroundings. Taken together, these improvements should make it easier to, for instance, see fine details (i.e. phone notifications and other small text) without removing your headset. Passthrough is also less grainy in low-light conditions, which should be helpful for late-night gaming.”

The passthrough improvements still won’t be directly comparable to the spatial computing surroundings of the Apple Vision Pro, since that headset has a much higher resolution display. Still, the Meta Quest 3 is a fraction of the Vision Pro’s price ($499 vs. $3,499) and already had a decent passthrough experience. The cheaper Quest 2 is much worse off, with lower-resolution external cameras and a monochrome video feed, and there aren’t any changes there for now.


The update also adds experimental support for external microphones on the Quest 3. The built-in microphone on that headset works well enough for most social apps and multiplayer games, but now you have the option of connecting an audio input to the USB Type-C port instead. You still can’t connect a microphone to the 3.5mm audio jack—that port is reserved for wired headphones.

Screenshot of external mic setting in Quest virtual environment.
Meta

Meta is also improving the mobile casting feature on Quest headsets: the stream won’t shut down when the headset is taken off temporarily. The Lying Down mode is also coming to the Quest 3 after previously showing up on the Quest 2, and Meta is adding a new Horizon Worlds button to profiles in the People app.

The update started rolling out on April 8th, and it should be available on all Quest headsets soon.

Source: Meta Blog



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By John P.

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