Meta can't stop leaking its next VR headset, as it accidentally shows off the Quest 3S

An orange Meta Quest 3 and its controllers on a blue plastic plinth in front of a blank wall
The Meta Quest 3 (Image credit: Meta)

Meta has to know what it’s doing, because for the second time in as many weeks it has leaked the Meta Quest 3S – this time its next VR headset made a cameo in the background of a video filmed by its CTO.

In a video highlighting the new mixed-reality upgrades arriving as part of Horizon OS update v66 which Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth posted on Threads, we see a view of someone’s home office with some kind of Meta Quest headset on a desk in the background.

The thing is, this Quest device doesn’t appear to be anything we recognise. It looks too bulky to be a Meta Quest 3, while it has cameras in the wrong places and it isn't round enough to be a Quest 2. The white plastic cladding also confirms it’s not an original Quest or Quest Pro.

Instead, it looks nearly identical to the leaked Quest 3S design. Luna – the leaker sharing the bulk of the Quest 3S info – took to Twitter to point out this accidental teaser, which Bosworth then replied to, saying “love that higher quality video over on Threads…”

This is far from a confirmation, but combined with the Quest 3S appearing accidentally on some Meta Quest Store pages it seems very likely that the so-called cheaper Quest 3 model is coming soon; most likely at Meta Connect 2024 which Meta revealed is taking place on September 25 and 26.

That said, with all these leaks Meta may make an earlier official teaser ahead of its wider reveal later this year to try and regain some control over the situation.

It’s time to eat my hat 

I was convinced the Meta Quest 3S wouldn’t return to the Oculus Quest 2’s bulky design when I first saw the leaks. I fully expected Meta to prioritize comfort as this was a major critique in Vision Pro reviews – Meta’s most high profile rival.

Instead I was prepared to see it shave off the price by using lower quality displays, less RAM, cheaper materials, or perhaps using a less impressive mixed-reality camera system. Heck, with all the hand-tracking updates we've seen, I wouldn’t have been surpised if the controllers had been let go – even if that wouldn’t be a great idea overall.

But with this latest leak I have to accept that I was wrong. The Quest 3S does look to be a Quest 3 in the Quest 2’s bulky body. The only remaining question is how much will it cost?

Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset under a green light

Welcome back Quest 2 design, we hardly missed you (Image credit: Shutterstock / Boumen Japet)

This is where I’m a little worried. If the Quest 3S isn’t the technical downgrade I was anticipating, can a price drop to the Quest 2’s launch price of $299 / £299 / AU$479 be justified? I mean, Meta can do whatever it wants, but pricing the 3S will be a challenge.

If it goes too low – which $299 / £299 / AU$479 feels like it might be – can we justify spending $499 / £479 / AU$799 on the full-on Meta Quest 3? If Meta instead aims higher, maybe $399 / £399 / AU$599, then this won’t feel like the budget Quest 2 replacement leaks have teased the device to be – and begs the question if it’s not just worth spending that bit extra to get the full-on Quest 3.

At least even if Meta does go for the cheaper end of the scale it won’t anywhere close to as big a burn to Meta Quest 3 customers as when it teased the Quest 3 as it’s “most powerful headset yet” less than six months after it launched the Quest Pro – with it then selling the Quest 3 for only a third of the Pro’s original price.

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Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.