Meta's Quest 3 buy now pay later deal won't save you money on the 512GB model, it'll cost you more

Girl wearing Meta Quest 3 headset interacting with a jungle playset
(Image credit: Meta)

Following the Meta Quest 2 selling out everywhere, Meta has found itself lacking a cheap VR headset option for people who want to try VR but aren’t ready to commit $499.99 / £479.99 / AU$799.99 to buying a Meta Quest 3 outright. Its new ‘Play Now, Pay Later’ scheme might seem like a solution, but a bit of digging has revealed that it’s actually not as good a deal as Meta says.

For eligible US-based customers you can pick up a 128GB Meta Quest 3 headset, a 24-month subscription to Meta Quest+, and a 24-month Meta Warranty Plus for $24.99 per month. For $34.99 per month you can get the 512GB model instead – with either option coming with 0% APR financing through Affirm.

Meta says that people who are approved for the scheme will “end up spending less than you would if you purchased each item individually.” This is true for the 128GB Meta Quest 3 bundle – you’ll pay $599.76 instead of $659.96. However, it’s untrue for the 512GB bundle as you’ll pay $839.76 instead of just $819.96 if you go for the Play Now, Pay Later option.

We’ve reached out to Meta for clarity, and it hasn't yet responded, but I have a pretty good guess based on how the checkout page calculates the saving the bundles offer you. 

The Meta Store checkout pages for its Play Now Pay Later bundles coming in at 24.99 and 34.99 a month each

The checkout pages for the 128GB bundle (left) and 512GB bundle (right) (Image credit: Meta)

When you purchase either Play Now Pay Later bundle, the store says a 24-month Meta Quest+ subscription – which for context is basically a VR game version of Netflix that lets you enjoy a rotating library of software at no extra cost for as long as you’re subscribed, as well as a couple of additional games that are added to your library permanently (though you can only play them while subscribed) – will cost $191.76. This is correct if you pay $7.99 a month for Meta Quest+.

But Meta also sells year-long Meta Quest+ subscriptions at $59.99, or just $119.98 for two years if you buy them back-to-back. When you use this price for calculating the bundles’ values you get the $659.96 and $819.96 we provided above instead of the $891.74 total Meta says the bundle would cost you without its savings.

Because you're locked into a two-year deal by the Play Now Pay Later scheme we think it's fairer to use the cost of the two year-long subscriptions to Quest+ instead of 24 one-month subscriptions.

Meta Quest Plus advert showing Pistol Whip and Pixel Ripper 1995

(Image credit: Meta)

Hopefully Meta will adjust the price of its Play Now Pay Later scheme, but even if it does remember to be cautious with these sorts of deals. While you might be able to afford the monthly price now, who knows if you will be able to in a year – because even if you can’t afford it you’ll be expected to pay.

Additionally, while the bundle might save you money if you bought all of its contents, if you only wanted the headset on its own then you’ll be paying more overall. What’s more, with a budget-friendly Meta Quest 3S seemingly on the horizon following two leaks by Meta itself, you could find the cheapest option is to wait and see if it’s announced at Meta Connect in September.

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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.