Apple Vision Pro vs. Meta Quest 3 – Which Offers Better User Experience?

Apple Vision Pro vs. Meta Quest 3 – Which Offers Better User Experience?

Published: 30-04-2024
Updated: 30-04-2024

Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3 are vastly different devices, but bring unique strengths to the forefront of virtual and mixed reality experiences. This article brings a comparison of the two, with the user experience as the primary criterion to determine which of them ultimately offers better interaction with the digital worlds. The goal is to help readers decide which headset best suits their needs.

In this article :

Display and Visual Experience

When comparing the display and visual experiences offered by the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3, the distinctions are rooted in the specifications and the resultant user experience. The Apple Vision Pro employs Micro-OLED display technology, with an impressive 23 million pixels, and offers exceptionally clear imagery and vibrant color palette. This is a very high pixel density that plays a major role in mimicking natural vision. The Apple Vision Pro supports multiple refresh rates – 90 Hz, 96 Hz, and 100 Hz. These settings let the headset adjust its refresh rate based on different usage scenarios to optimize visual quality and performance.

The Quest 3 utilizes an LCD display with 2064 x 2208 pixels per eye, complemented by a 120Hz refresh rate. This setup does bring smooth and sharp images, and a decent visual comfort and reduced motion blur in fast-paced applications or games. The higher refresh rate of the Quest 3 is beneficial for a good flow of the dynamic content within the VR environment.

The difference in display technology translates to a noticeable variance in visual fidelity. The Micro-OLED of the Apple Vision Pro provides deeper blacks and more contrasted colors. The Quest 3 is less vibrant in comparison, but somewhat compensates with smoothness and clarity, particularly in motion.

Regarding the quality of passthrough – the ability to see the real world through the headset’s cameras – the two also present different strengths. The Apple Vision Pro is focused on high-resolution and color accuracy, which benefits more lifelike passthrough experience in mixed reality applications. The quality of the passthrough on the Meta Quest 3 has improved compared to Quest 2 (which offered a grayscale passthrough) and  has a color-accurate passthrough of decent quality, but lower resolution.

Visual latency – the delay between real-world actions and their display in the headset – is another critical factor affecting user experience. Both headsets are engineered to offer low latency experiences, but without specific latency measurements or direct user comparisons under identical conditions, it’s difficult to declare a definitive winner.

Overall, this category is topped by the Apple Visions Pro – the visual quality is not comparable with the Quest 3, or currently any other headset for that matter, as the Apple Vision Pro currently offers visual experience of the highest quality out of all headset available on the market. But it is worth mentioning Quest’s smoothness and responsiveness given the display parameters.

Processor, Performance and Chip Technology

Both headsets feature impressive hardware, each optimized for the demands of XR applications. The Apple Vision Pro leverages Apple’s M2 chip, featuring an 8-core CPU, a 10-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine, complemented by the R1 chip, which is specifically designed to reduce latency to as low as 12 milliseconds and offers a substantial 256GB/s memory bandwidth. Because of this, the Apple Vision Pro is able to handle the highest quality visual rendering and very complex computational tasks with ease, which is well-suited for applications that require real-time processing of large datasets.

This kind of processing power is required in medical simulations or high-complexity technical use cases that require high fidelity and real-world physics. An example would be realistic rendering of human anatomy, where the R1 chip’s low latency ensures that interactive elements, such as surgical instruments, respond to the user’s movements with high precision and no delay.

The Quest 3 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2, a chipset that is definitely powerful, even for rendering complex visuals and executing advanced physics calculations in real-time. Quest 3 manages realistic lightning effects or texture rendering well, and it does respond to actions realistically, but more in a sense of immersive gameplay.

For users prioritizing professional applications, high fidelity simulations, and mixed reality experiences with minimal latency – particularly for high-risk use cases – the Apple Vision Pro is a better choice due to its specialized chips. Quest 3 is more suitable as a versatile VR headset especially in gaming and entertainment, and is not recommended for use cases where there is no room for error.

Camera System and Sensory Array

The Apple Vision Pro features a stereoscopic 3D camera system, characterized by an 18mm, ƒ/2.00 aperture, alongside two high-resolution main cameras and a LiDAR Scanner for advanced depth sensing. With this setup the Apple Vision Pro captures detailed three-dimensional images of the user’s environment and makes it suitable for highly realistic MR experiences. For instance, in an interior design application, users can place virtual furniture within their living space, seeing it with accurate dimensions, realistic lighting, and precise positioning thanks to the depth information provided by the LiDAR Scanner.

The Quest 3 has six camera sensors to create high-resolution color mixed reality experiences, supplemented by two RGB cameras to enhance the mixed reality mode. With this setup the Quest 3 can accurately map the user’s surroundings and overlay virtual content onto the real world with decent clarity. The application is found in educational settings as interactive virtual models of historical artifacts or scientific structures.

Both headsets bridge the gap between the virtual and the physical, but they do so with a focus on different aspects of the MR experience. The Apple Vision Pro excels in applications requiring precision and realism in the integration of virtual objects into real environments. The Quest 3 performs well in scenarios where a broad and accurate visual understanding of the environment is crucial for overlaying virtual content. The Apple Vision Pro is particularly well-suited for professional and high-fidelity MR experiences, while the Quest 3 is a good choice for versatility and broad applicability in both consumer and business-focused MR applications.

Audio Technology

Spatial audio is important in creating fully immersive XR environments by simulating how sound is heard in the real world, with directionality, distance, and environment-specific acoustics.

The Apple Vision Pro has an integrated advanced spatial audio system with a six-microphone array positioned around the headset. This configuration helps capture high-fidelity audio from the user’s environment with immersive and directional sound that aligns with the visual content. For instance, in a VR concert experience, the Apple Vision Pro’s setup would enable users to perceive the music’s direction and distance accurately. And as the user walks through the virtual crowd, the sound of the music changes based on their position relative to the stage.

The Quest 3 has an integrated spatial audio as well, but the audio components within the headset are less prominently disclosed. It is because the headset’s audio tech is engineered to produce sound that appears to come from all directions. That can be effective in gaming scenarios, where the ability to detect the direction of footsteps or spoken words provides a tactical advantage.

Both headsets leverage spatial audio to heighten the sense of presence within virtual environments, but they approach the integration of this technology differently. The Apple Vision Pro’s system is much more advanced, and yet again suitable for high-precision applications and where the ability to capture environmental sound is important. The Quest 3 offers an effective and engaging solution, but not to the Apple Vision Pro’s degree.

Battery Life and Charging

The Apple Vision Pro offers up to 2 hours of general use, a capacity that aligns with the intensive computational requirements for high-fidelity mixed reality experiences. This duration supports the kind of short, immersive sessions typical of professional use cases or high-end consumer entertainment so the users can engage with content without interruptions. Regarding charging, the Apple Vision Pro’s battery charges approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. The headset is connected to its battery via a cable, and can be charged while in use, including a power bank.

The Meta Quest 3’s battery life ranges from 1 to 2 hours depending on usage, with more demanding applications, especially those leveraging the device’s mixed reality capabilities, potentially reducing battery duration. The Elite Strap for the Meta Quest 3 can more than double this duration. The charging time is approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes. Like the Apple Vision Pro, Quest 3 can also be charged while in use, power bank included.

Connectivity and Operating System

The Apple Vision Pro is equipped with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3 for fast and reliable wireless connections. It runs on visionOS, which provides a sophisticated user interface designed specifically for mixed reality experiences. VisionOS stands out with its range of accessibility features, such as VoiceOver for auditory navigation, Zoom for visual magnification, and support for hearing devices, making the Apple Vision Pro more accessible to users with varying needs.

Meta Quest 3 operates on a VR-optimized operating system with access to an extensive library of apps and games available through the Meta Quest Store ranging from immersive games and educational apps to fitness and social VR experiences. The Quest 3 has Wi-Fi 6 capability, and supports Bluetooth 5.3.

Both headsets provide a solid connectivity foundation, but in the Apple Vision Pro it is combined with a tailored OS. Apple Vision Pro shows commitment to accessibility with visionOS, and combined with the connectivity features, it leads in this category.

Price and Value Proposition

The Apple Vision Pro’s price point in Europe will range from 4490 to 4990 Euro. The Meta Quest 3 ranges around 450 Euro for 128 GB and approximately 570 Euro for 512 GB.

The Apple Vision Pro and Quest 3 offer distinct value propositions that reflect their pricing strategies and target market segments. The Apple Vision Pro appeals to the high-end segment and those who are willing to pay for it. Quest 3 is still a high-value option – it’s affordable for general consumers and it’s perfect for as a scalable solution for business available with additional license.

Conclusion and Recommendations

To conclude the insights into tailored recommendations to guide potential users in their decision-making process:

Apple Vision Pro is recommended for:

  • Professionals in creative, medical, and technical fields where the highest degree of visual fidelity and performance is non-negotiable
  • High-end consumers and technology enthusiasts who desire the most immersive and detailed XR experience available, regardless of cost
  • Educational institutions and businesses that require advanced mixed reality applications for training, design, and simulation
  • Developers focused on creating applications within the Apple ecosystem, leveraging the Vision Pro’s advanced capabilities

Key advantages:

  • Micro-OLED display technology with 23 million pixels for unparalleled visual clarity and color vibrancy
  • Comprehensive connectivity with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3, running on the intuitive VisionOS.
  • Stereoscopic 3D camera system with LiDAR Scanner for precise depth sensing, enhancing mixed reality experiences
  • Premium build and cutting-edge processor technology, including the M2 and R1 chips, for top-tier performance and low latency

Meta Quest 3 is recommended for:

  • The average consumer looking for a high-quality VR experience that combines performance with value
  • VR enthusiasts interested in a broad spectrum of content, from immersive games to social and educational applications
  • Small to medium-sized businesses and educational institutions seeking an accessible entry point into VR for training, collaboration, or engagement
  • Developers aiming to reach a wide audience with VR applications, benefiting from the Quest 3’s versatile platform and significant user base

Key advantages:

  • A competitive price point paired with a rich library of VR content and mixed reality experiences
  • Integrated spatial audio and advanced hand-tracking capabilities for intuitive and immersive interactions
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3 for reliable connectivity, with a VR-optimized OS that’s easy to navigate and use
  • Accessible to a wider audience, including the option for businesses to enhance their VR capabilities with the Meta Quest for Business license

Choosing between the Apple Vision Pro and Quest 3 should not be too difficult, if the user knows what the headset is supposed to be used for. These two have differences – some smaller, some major – and the choice will also be dependent on the financial investment the user is willing to make.

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Petra Palusova

Written by Petra Palusova

Petra Palusova is writer for the VRX blog with an affinity for all-things-XR. Architect, systems scientist specialized in XR and synthetic environments, Petra is currently active as a product design lead, advisor and researcher delivering best practices, communications and business strategies to technology companies building XR products and platforms. A true jack of all trades!

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