Following the exciting new announcement of the Meta Quest 3, this article will highlight what we know about the Meta Quest 3 vs HTC Vive XR Elite. These two VR headsets will go head-to-head to be known as one of the best standalone VR headsets, so this article will help you decide between them.
The HTC Vive XR Elite with controllers costs €1,029, whereas the Meta Quest 3 with controllers is priced at $499 or €569.99 for 128GB and is likely to be available in multiple storage versions.
The Meta Quest 3 will feature the second-generation version of the popular standalone VR headset chip: Snapdragon XR2. This System-on-Chip builds on the existing efficient and effective infrastructure while delivering improved heat dispersion, as seen in the Snapdragon XR2 Plus chipset. We found the XR2+ to alleviate the cooling fan in the Meta Quest Pro, resulting in a better overall experience, and we expect the same for the Meta Quest 3.
Based on rumors, we called the Snapdragon XR2 2nd Gen Snapdragon XR3. But despite the namesake, the 2nd Gen XR2 will revolutionize standalone VR as the power will be 2.5 times higher than the processor in the Oculus Quest 2.
Comparably, the HTC Vive XR Elite is run by the current VR standard XR2 Gen 1, which means all standalone VR applications will be able to be experienced on the XR Elite.
Nevertheless, due to the updated processing power on the Meta Quest 3, it is significantly more futureproof and will be able to deliver captivating standalone VR gaming experiences. Unfortunately, to enable the lower price tag on the Meta Quest 3, the new Meta VR headset will only feature a single display.
Like the Oculus Quest 2, Meta continues to sacrifice display performance for an affordable price point. Therefore, the Quest 3 only has one LCD display, whereas the HTC Vive XR Elite features dual LCDs, one per eye.
However, since the Meta Quest 3 hasn’t been released, we are unable to test if this sacrifice is significant. What we can say is that the resolution of the display is chopped up to 2K by 2K per eye, which is a commendable resolution, especially for the cost.
Yet, single-display VR headsets struggle with a lower field of view (FoV), as evidenced by the Oculus Quest 2 and Meta Quest 3 will have the same 97 degree visible FoV. Consequently, both Quest headsets have a significant ‘movie theater effect,’ decreasing immersion.
On the other hand, the HTC Vive XR Elite features two LCDs, one per eye, matching how we naturally see the world and enabling a wider field of view. So while the resolution on the XR Elite is slightly lower, with 1920 by 1920 per eye, we don’t know the FoV of the Quest 3, so we can’t determine which headset has better display performance yet.
Both the Meta Quest 3 and the Vive XR Elite use a dedicated spatial sensor to map and track the environment. Consequently, the mixed reality performance between the two VR headsets will be similar when manipulating digital objects in your real world. We will have to test the Quest 3’s live video quality from the passthrough once the device is released. We were particularly impressed by the dynamic white balance and exposure of the XR Elite, enabling you to read small text on a physical monitor through the headset.
We are hampered by the lack of information for the Quest 3, but the unique VR glasses form factor of the Vive XR Elite is unlikely to be featured on the Quest 3.
The HTC Vive XR Elite is capable of detaching the battery in the back with two arms while being connected to a PC. This transformation changes the headset into virtual reality glasses, and we found it to be very versatile and useful for sedentary uses. Particularly, learning the piano using mixed reality or having virtual floating displays while working is great on the XR Elite. It is also worth noting that the design of the XR Elite is more eye-catching, resembling a combination of the Vive Focus 3 and Vive Flow. In contrast, the Meta Quest 3 is a slimmer Oculus Quest 2 with three cutouts for dual cameras for passthrough and a dedicated depth sensor.
Lastly, it is worth noting that you receive an extra battery with the Vive XR Elite for a total battery life of 4 hours. We don’t know the run time for the Meta Quest 3.
We suspect that the display performance will be better on the Vive XR Elite, delivering a crisper image if you are pixel-peeping. Yet, the processing power of the Meta Quest 3 will be substantially more powerful and will deliver prettier pixels, i.e., VR experiences. This point crystallizes the difference between the two VR headsets.
Because the Vive XR Elite, from its unique VR glasses form factor to the extra battery and stellar mixed reality quality, is better at practical and work use cases in MR. This further connects with the higher price, as the XR Elite is for productivity, work, and some VR gaming.
The Meta Quest 3, on the other hand, has prioritized a powerful and updated processor but sacrificed display performance for an affordable entry price, focusing on standalone VR gaming and acting as a direct upgrade from the Oculus Quest 2.
Our final verdict, for now, is that the Meta Quest 3 is an excellent deal for standalone VR gaming. But if you look to use mixed reality for productivity or work, the HTC Vive XR Elite is the better choice.
Jakob Pii is Writer at VR Expert and currently lives in the UK. He started his career in VR gaming in 2015 and has stayed in XR since, from exposure therapy in VR to 360-degree video documentaries. He is fascinated by how emerging technologies change how we live, play and work.