By | December 18, 2023
Iain Short

I’ve had a Meta Quest 3 for 30 days now and wanted to summarize my findings and feelings so far… both on the device and the software I’ve experimented with so far.

I put a lot of thought into this purchase as it was more than I would normally spend on a gaming/entertainment device (as a long time gamer but a casual one). Most of all, I was worried that I would use it for a few days and then have buyer’s remorse… and wished I hadn’t given in to temptation and beat myself up for having too high of an expectation.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how refined and polished the device and system experience has been… much more than I expected from the Meta. Privacy and data collection was a big concern for me but I think using a Meta account vs Facebook account helps separate issues (you don’t have to connect or allow this) and there are more options to control how much data is processed and kept in Meta’s data center than I had expected. It could be better, but it’s not as terrible as I first thought.

The overall mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) experience is actually very well executed. Yes, there may be more MR features at launch, but it works well and there is a set of additional features planned to roll out over the next few months that I am now eagerly awaiting. I think it’s the combination of the device’s refined operating system, buttery smooth controller tracking, detailed graphics, pancake lenses, high frame rate, and some impressive third-party apps that help Quest 3 deliver jaw-dropping moments and totally awe-inspiring a numerous times in recent weeks. Moments that have felt similar to the first time I stood at Glacier Point looking out over Yosemite Valley, or that first visit to New York when I stood at the bottom of the World Trade Center towers and looked up and tried to comprehend their magnitude. It could be that impressive at times.

Do I recommend it? Yes. Will I continue to use it? Yes. Does it feel like “a whole new world of entertainment and experience”? Yes. Does it give you eye strain? A little. Is the walkthrough like walking around without a headset? No.

Last thing on the device: The battery lasts about 2 hours which I’ve found to be about right / acceptable most days – I usually want a rest then. This is especially true when you stand up and play (I’m probably just lazy). It would be nice if it loaded faster than it does, but that has rarely been a problem. As the device ages, if the battery life decreases significantly, it could very well be a problem.

Readers can get a small discount on Quest 3 in the Meta Store.

Red Matter 2: 4.5/5

Love this for the graphics, the experience and the amazing moments like looking out over Saturn and her rings. Picking up an image, turning it over in your hand and seeing the smudges and dust on the glass up close is a testament to the attention to detail and makes certain moments in the game stand out to me. A good storyline and some interesting gameplay means it’s more than just a tech demo. Find out more and get 25% off.

Small towns: 4/5

I’ve always enjoyed city and empire building games and Little Cities illustrates that VR can bring something exciting and fresh to the genre. The hand tracking mode works really well and makes you feel like a god… standing on an island, looking down and orchestrating zoning and construction from above! The ability to zoom in and then sit on the floor among your city and its inhabitants is brilliant. And the little airplanes, hot air balloons and birds flying past your head add to the magic. Not something I’d play for an entire VR session, but I do find myself looking at my islands regularly to extend and refine them. I would recommend this for the experience alone, but the game is great in its own right. However, it would be nice to see more challenges along the way. Find out more and get 25% off.

Supernatural: 4.5/5

(Only available in US and Canada right now due to music licensing restrictions…expected to come to more countries in 2024 – VPN currently allows installation and subscription but not officially supported)

This is the best fitness app out of all the ones I tried (I think I tried ~75% of them). What I like about Supernatural is the smoothness of the experience, the real music (not covers) and how boxing and flow workouts are well orchestrated to the music. It makes you feel like you’re boxing or floating in a kind of dance mode that’s motivating and fun. Tip: buy a silicone interface protector because you WILL sweat a lot with these workouts. Also wear the straps… this title is energetic and fast and I almost dropped a controller a few times. Make sure you have room as the app asks you to swing left and right to face a number of “portals” in each music track. Think of it as a training saber. It’s subscription based but I think it’s worth the monthly fee… I’m using the monthly fee vs the annual fee so I can measure longevity/engagement first. If I stop using it in a few months I will update this review. Find out more.

Beat Saber: 4.5/5

A VR oldie but a great example of what VR gaming is all about… a new type of experience that is hard to replicate outside of VR. Comes with a set of included songs and you can buy more if you prefer other music genres or artists. It’s a regular one for me. Love it. Find out more and get 25% off.

Lego Bricktales: 4/5 (so far)

New to my library a few weeks ago. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how engaging this is… sitting at a table with a little Lego diorama on it and guiding a little Lego man around it is very cool… especially in MR mode. I had my doubts about the Lego construction element but this is surprisingly good. You get to build things for dioramas but with some challenges like a limited set of bricks, limited size and a requirement it will hold the weight required for the task… like a robot crossing a bridge. Too early for me to say it’s a winner but looks really good so far. Find out more and get 25% off.

Notable mentions

Anne Frank House VR: 4/5 Very interesting, humbling and takes me back to when I toured the house a few years ago. Never forget. Find out more (free).

Walkabout Mini Golf: 3.5/5 Good environments, challenging courses and surprisingly solid putting and physics. But mini golf isn’t as much fun as fun on your own as it is with friends (note that it supports multiplayer but I haven’t had a chance to try it). Find out more and get 25% off.

Les Mills BodyCombat: 3.5/5 A decent training experience that is a one-time cost compared to subscription. Good trainers and a lot of people prefer this to Supernatural and that IS fine… I just prefer the faster, more musical, on-the-beat style of Supernatural. Find out more and get 25% off.

I tried a number of other apps that I just haven’t spent enough time exploring, including Pistol Whip, FitXR, Asgard’s Wrath 2, Holofit, Moss, and Miminal. In general, I have found titles to be of good quality and reasonably priced. Use affiliate/referral links for discounts and/or keep an eye on the Meta Store for specials… Black Friday had significant discounts but individual apps have specials every few days.

I also asked the good people of the ir/OculusQuest subreddit about their wow moments and got a lot of great answers…

Have fun exploring!

#Experience #Childlike #Days #Meta #Quest

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