Meta Quest 3's next update steals the Vision Pro's best productivity feature... kinda

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

The Meta Quest 3 looks set to be taking yet another step towards being an Apple Vision Pro that doesn’t cost $3,499 / £3,499 / AU$5,999, by taking yet another feature from the Apple headset for itself.

This time it's a new window layout style, though it’s not really fair to say Meta is stealing this idea from Apple, merely improving its current approach. Rather than simply having three 2D apps docked side by side in fixed positions (which is what is currently possible on the Meta Quest 3 and other Meta headsets), you can now have three windows that are freely placeable anywhere in your virtual home office, and another three docked – making a total of six.

The experimental setting has been unlocked as part of the HoizonOS v67 update which is currently in beta for members of the Meta Quest Public Test Channel. Clips of people testing it out also show users switching the windows between curved and flat, as well as a feature that can lower the brightness of 2D environments – though this doesn’t work if you’re using the windows in mixed reality with passthrough.

While this does bring the Quest 3 closer to matching the Vision Pro’s approach to 2D apps in a 3D space, it’s not quite one-to-one yet. The biggest difference is if you stray too far from a window it returns to its default docked position on the Quest 3 – whereas on Vision Pro you can leave windows in their custom floating positions indefinitely like they’re real objects.

That said, it’s also worth noting the Meta Quest 3 only costs $499.99 / £479.99 / AU$799.99, so it’s forgiven for not being a direct copy.

A closing gap

The Apple Vision Pro will always be better than the Meta Quest 3 on a technical level with its vastly better displays and chipset. But Apple hasn’t done enough to leverage its advantages in ways that matter, but that was probably always going to be the case.

The Vision Pro with its eye-tracking, laptop-level power, focus on less active XR experiences, and approach to hand-tracking offers app developers a vast array of tools to create interesting software for the device. 

However, what makes the headset unique is also its downfall – it’s too dissimilar to its rivals. If you make a VR app that takes full advantage of the Vision Pro it probably won’t be well suited to other platforms (and vice versa). So if you’re weighing up your options, making a non-Vision Pro app just makes more financial sense as it can run on more popular platforms; that is, unless Apple is offering some kind of financial incentive.

A Meta Quest 3 user throwing a giant die onto a virtual medieval tabletop game board full of castles, wizards and knights

Demeo is great, but the Apple Vision Pro needed more than this (Image credit: Meta)

Some classic VR games and apps have started to get Vision Pro ports, but they are in small numbers and have trickled in months after the headset launched and the hype has died down.

Instead, most of the apps that it can run are XR versions of iPad and Mac apps which begs the question of what you really gain from buying a Vision Pro – especially as you likely already have those other gadgets, or could buy them for less than the cost of Apple’s headset.

Meta on the other hand has continued to fund exciting exclusive apps – we’re getting a bonafide Batman: Arkham game to name a recent example. At the same time, it's rolling out monthly major software updates that have only narrowed the gap between the Vision Pro and Quest 3.

We’ll have to wait and see how things continue the rest of the year and beyond, but my advice remains the same as it always has: if you want to try VR then get a Quest 3 or Quest 2 – there’s no good reason to get a Vision Pro instead.

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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.