Meta Quest 3s: Rumors, specs, and what we want to see

A February 2024 mockup of what the Meta Quest 3 Lite could look like
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Meta released the follow-up to the Meta Quest 2 in 2023 after three years of VR domination. The Meta Quest 3 was just about everything we had hoped for, with a few exceptions, one of which was the $200 price hike over the Quest 2's $299 price tag.

But, as rumor has it, the Meta Quest 3s — potentially also known as the Meta Quest 3 Lite — is likely to launch at either $199 or $299 sometime in 2024. From what we know, the Meta Quest 3s looks to sport the same powerful Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset as the Meta Quest 3 but will cut the cost by stripping away several other features.

So, what exactly can we expect from this headset? Essentially, a more affordable Meta Quest 3 designed to accelerate mass-market adoption.

Meta Quest 3s: Price and availability

A man holds the Quest 3 and Quest 2 in separate hands

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

Rumor has it that the Meta Quest 3s will launch sometime in 2024 for an incredible $199. That would make it the cheapest Meta Quest headset ever released, even under-cutting the Quest 2's $299 launch price.

But more credible rumors suggest that the headset will launch closer to the $299 mark so that Meta doesn't have to make too many hardware concessions. That would include a better mixed reality experience than the Quest 2 offers without raising the price.

While we initially expected the Meta Quest 3s to make an appearance at the annual Meta Connect conference in September or October 2024, some rumors point to a release in the first half of 2024. At that time, it was said that Meta would cease sales of the Meta Quest 2 and use the Quest 3s as a replacement for the lower-cost Meta Quest option.

We're also not sure about the name just yet, either. The Meta Quest Pro was originally thought to be called the Meta Quest 2 Pro, but Meta launched it without that product number, signifying that it's part of its own product line.

It's possible Meta could do this with a potential Meta Quest Lite or, since it's rumored to have the same chipset as the Quest 3, it's also just as likely that they'll call it the Meta Quest 3 Lite. A March leak says Meta will call it the Meta Quest 3s, so we'll just have to wait and see until the official announcement occurs to find out what it's called.

Meta Quest 3 Lite: Design

A leaked presentation of a potential Meta Quest 3s headset

(Image credit: u/LuffySanKira on Reddit)

Older renders from XRCarlos on X made the Meta Quest Lite look a bit like an Oculus Go spinoff, and the most recent leaks also corroborate a similar design language.

The Meta Quest 3 Lite would likely retain the interchangeable headset straps from the Quest 2 and Quest 3 and also ship with simple cloth straps. The headset size would be closer to a Quest 2 since it's reportedly using the same types of lenses — known as Fresnel (pronounced fruh-nel) lenses — as the Quest 2.

Quest 3 Lite is expected to use the same lenses as the Quest 2 but feature full-color passthrough cameras.

Despite using older lenses, rumors suggest that the Meta Quest 3 Lite will actually weigh 40% less than a Quest 2. We're not sure if we believe that but it would be a good thing since the Quest 3 is heavier than the Quest 2.

There's no word yet on how Meta plans to allow users to adjust the IPD lens spacing or if the face pads are interchangeable. The March leak shows only a volume rocker and power button on the headset, suggesting that the lenses will retain the Quest 2-style adjustment system.

How the cameras are arranged is anyone's best guess. Previous leaks suggest that the cameras on the front of the headset will look identical to a Meta Quest 3 sans the middle camera module, which houses the depth sensor on the Quest 3. The latest leak shows a triangular camera array with six cameras on the front of the headset, shown in the picture above.

Either way, the Meta Quest 3 Lite will likely not have a depth sensor in order to reduce manufacturing costs. Despite that, we expect the Meta Quest 3 Lite to use full-color passthrough cameras, as UploadVR also pointed out.

Paul Furgale, director of engineering for XR tech at Meta Reality Labs, expressed his thoughts on this in a recent blog post. "After Quest 3," Furgale said, "I’m convinced that Passthrough and MR will be a standard feature on all future headsets."

Andrew Bosworth, Meta's CTO, held a March AMA on Instagram saying that "mixed reality...platform capabilities will be the same" for "several generations of headsets to come."

Both comments do more than suggest that color passthrough is a regular feature going forward, regardless of headset cost.

Meta Quest 3 Lite: Controls

Using hand tracking on a Meta Quest Pro headset

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

While we believe that Meta is largely working toward a full replacement of the Quest 2 at a similar price — meaning the headset will ship with motion-tracked Quest Touch controllers and focus on gaming as its main function — some rumors say that Meta is shifting focus with this headset.

Those rumors claim that Meta will ship the Meta Quest 3s without any controllers at all, matching Apple's method of controlling mixed-reality content with just your hands. Meta Quest hand tracking is extremely good and the company has been working toward making hand tracking as effortless as Apple's unique implementation.

It would be surprising to see Meta pushing hand-tracking as a main input method, though, because there aren't very many good hand-tracking games on the Quest just yet. Plus, there's likely no eye tracking or other assistive technologies in the Quest 3s as there are in Apple Vision Pro, potentially making a hands-only option a bit frustrating.

If this pans out, it's entirely likely the Meta Quest 3s will work with existing Quest controllers, though, so there's always the possibility that you could purchase controllers separately.

Meta Quest 3 Lite: Specs

A placard for the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 SoC

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

It's said that the Meta Quest 3s is using the same Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset as the Meta Quest 3, just with a few changes. Namely, the Meta Quest 3s will purportedly use binned versions of the XR2 Gen 2 chipset that didn't meet performance expectations during the manufacturing process.

This would give both Meta and Qualcomm a good way to offload "failed" chipsets and still give consumers more power over the XR2 Gen 1 from the Quest 2.

There's no word yet on other specs like display type or camera resolution. We expect it to use an LCD with Fresnel lenses and certainly have less RAM and storage than the Meta Quest 3 if the headset retails for a reduced price.

Meta Quest 3 Lite: Wishlist

The Meta Quest 3's silicone face pads

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Because Meta has yet to launch a product in this price category, it's difficult to know what we can or should expect. There are some things we definitely don't want to see Meta cut, however, so we'll start there.

Proper IPD adjustment

One of the Meta Quest 2's biggest issues was its limited range of IPD presets. With Meta Quest 3s, we've like to see Meta stick with an IPD slider like the original Oculus Quest had or a wheel like the Quest 3 has. IPD adjustments are super important for user comfort and we hope Meta doesn't mess this part up.

A comfortable head strap

One of Meta's biggest problems with most Quest generations so far is the inclusion of a simple cloth head strap. While these are great for easy cleaning and keeping costs down, they are uncomfortable. Especially when wearing the headset for a long time.

We're hoping the rumors of a built-in halo-style head strap are true, and Meta uses that to keep weight off users' faces, making it more comfortable to wear long term.

Color passthrough

While we don't expect the passthrough quality of the Meta Quest 3s to match that of the Quest 3, it would be nice to see it in color, at least. The black-and-white passthrough of the Quest 2 is terrible and would be a big setback for a potential Meta Quest 3s's efforts to be a mixed-reality headset.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu