The dynamic evolution of Virtual Reality (VR) technology has been given a fresh surge of interest with the recent launch of Apple’s Vision Pro, hot on the heels of Meta’s unveiling of the Quest 3. While these two industry titans enter into a vigorous competition in the burgeoning metaverse, it’s time to take a closer look at two VR headsets, assessing them on key parameters such as display, processing power, sensor capacity, user interface, and overall user experience.
Primacy of Perception
The efficacy of any VR headset heavily depends on its screen quality. The Meta Quest 2 boasted an LCD screen with a resolution of 1832 x 1920 per eye, operating at 90Hz. Quest 3 promises a marginal enhancement in resolution while retaining the same screen technology. Apple’s Vision Pro, however, advances with two micro-OLED displays, offering 4k resolution for each eye.
The OLED technology provides superior contrast and color accuracy, and the pixel density makes distinguishing individual pixels a challenge. Though the refresh rate remains unannounced, the display quality hands Apple an apparent victory in this domain.
The Meta Quest 3 employs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 platform, specifically designed for VR headsets, supporting up to 8K video, in-built AI processing units, low-latency video passthrough, and enhanced thermals over its predecessor. Apple, though, brings its silicon innovation to the fore.
Not only does it incorporate an M2 chip but also introduces a new R1 chip, specifically designed for real-time sensor processing. The M2 chip can handle desktop-level workloads, suggesting a competitive edge over the XR2’s mobile-grade performance.
VR and AR technologies necessitate high-quality sensors for tracking and enabling advanced features. The Meta Quest 2 supports 6 degrees of freedom via its inbuilt accelerometer, gyroscope, and 4 front-facing cameras. The Quest 3 is expected to enhance these features, but the sheer scale of Apple’s offerings seems overwhelming in comparison. The Vision Pro sports 12 cameras, a LiDAR scanner, and 2 TrueDepth sensors, processed by the R1 chip with only a 12 ms latency.
Mastering the Metaverse Interface
Both Apple and Meta have invested heavily in developing bespoke operating systems for their VR headsets. However, while Meta continues to utilize Android for its headsets, Apple’s VisionOS, based on shared elements with MacOS, iOS, and iPadOS, offers a distinctly Apple-like experience in VR. The immersive viewing capabilities of Vision Pro, combined with VisionOS, offer a metaverse experience that surpasses Meta’s efforts.
The feature comparison clearly places Apple’s Vision Pro ahead of Meta’s Quest 3. Yet, it’s worth noting that the comparison may be slightly skewed due to the vast price difference. With Vision Pro’s announcement, a renaissance of the metaverse is looming, potentially disrupting Meta’s ambitions in the domain. However, with Meta’s strategic direction fixed, the quest for metaverse dominance is far from over.