Are Quest Pro’s virtual screens better than real monitors?

Meta’s Quest Pro is a $1,500 headset that promises to bring productivity to virtual reality, something that has proven difficult due to the limitations of display technology.

This new high-end solution from the world’s most popular VR headset maker incorporates two major changes to help with visual clarity, pancake lenses and mini-LED backlighting, but will that really be enough to replace your physical monitors? This is what we know so far.

What the first Quest Pro previews reveal

The Meta Quest Pro hasn’t started shipping to consumers, but some have gotten sneak peeks at the headset. A few lucky developers have been using early development units for quite some time to prepare apps, and a limited group of tech journalists also had a brief time to experience Meta’s more expensive headset. At select Best Buy stores, a few demo units have even been displayed with restricted use, mostly limited to mixed reality apps.

These glimpses of what to expect won’t be as revealing as trying out the Quest Pro that ships next week and certainly won’t be as comprehensive as the long-term reviews will be. That said, you should know what to expect before shelling out $1,500, which could go a long way toward getting you some high-quality monitors.

Joshua Kurikeshu, Head of Content at Immersed, tweeted about his experience with the Quest Pro, describing the text clarity as amazing and sharing the view from the headset via a smartphone. Kurikeshu went on to say that he often reached for Meta headphones when he needed to use multiple monitors.

Me #mixedreality 4 screen setup using @ImmersedVR. 🔥 The #Goal #QuestPro it has amazing text clarity. Mind you, this is through a phone camera lens (doesn’t do it justice). #MetaQuestPro #vr #Arkansas #Mr

– joshkuri.eth (@jkurikeshu) October 17, 2022

Andre Elijah is a creative director who works for a variety of large corporations, including Meta. He has been using the Quest Pro on the road as a virtual monitor and voiced on Twitter that reading text with this headset is a pleasure.

Reading text in Quest Pro is a joy, whether you’re using the Immersed or Guy app. I’ve been using mine as a virtual monitor on the go while my team has been developing it.

– ANDRÉ ΞLIJAH (@AndreElijah) October 16, 2022

Developer Noah Rayburn is comfortable enough with the Quest Pro to tweeted that I would take it on the road as a replacement for a laptop.

I took the Quest Pro as a laptop replacement on my trip to Los Angeles. Turns out the Quest Pro fits in a Quest 2 carrying case (a bit tight, but seems fine)

– Noah Rayburn (@FileCorruptedGM) October 20, 2022

Some journalists who have tested the Quest Pro agree. CNN said that it is “possible to read even small print with ease.” The Verge was less than enthusiastic, describing the screens as admirably clear; however, small text in a Google search seemed “a bit fuzzy”.

Consumers who have tried either the Meta Store or Best Buy are impressed with what they have seen. Reddit user Mountain_Bar_4823 said the screen had the best colors and contrast they had ever experienced in VR. This is significant, as they own a Quest 2, HP G2, Valve Index, and Pico 4. They also described the sharpness of the Quest Pro, saying it was as sharp or even sharper than their HP G2, which has a 2160×2160 resolution. pixels per eye, which is higher than that of the Quest Pro.

Reddit user Logical007 praised the incredibly sharp display that didn’t require moving your head to see clearly, even at the edges of the screen.

How can a 1800×1920 screen be sharp enough for text?

Meta gave an example of what you can see when using a Quest Pro.

It’s surprisingly hard to fathom how good readability could be when the Quest Pro’s resolution per eye is 1800×1920. It’s well known that a 4K monitor is better than a 2K monitor, so wouldn’t the Quest Pro be half as sharp? We’re so used to looking at screens from a distance that it’s easy to forget we’re talking about a screen that’s just over an inch from your eyes in a largely light-protected enclosure. That makes the difference.

The Quest Pro display has been described as clear and easy to read by technology experts. Screen density could be part of why this is possible. The screen resolution of an iPhone 14 Pro is only 2556 × 1179 pixels, which is equivalent to 460 pixels per inch, but it is so densely packed that the pixels cannot be distinguished with the naked eye.

Meta presented a chart showing visual resolution in VR at Display Week 2022.

The chart above from Meta’s Display Week 2022 presentation shows where the VR industry was at earlier this year with regards to visual resolution. Most VR headsets average 600 pixels per inch (PPI). At 773 PPI (given at Display Week 2022), Meta’s two-year-old Quest 2 should look sharper than the 460 PPI of an iPhone 14 Pro, however, the screen is enlarged and much closer to the eye.

If you could focus the iPhone when it was within 8cm, which is about 2.5 inches from your eye, it would have similar visual sharpness, assuming all else was equal, which it isn’t. You’d need a magnifying glass to expand the view and allow you to focus that closely, but it would give you a good idea of ​​how sharp even the Quest 2’s screen is.

The Quest 2’s screen doesn’t look as sharp as it could, because it uses Fresnel lenses, which distort and blur edges like a magnifying glass. The Quest Pro is much better, according to Meta, having 37% higher pixel density, 25% improved clarity in the center, and 50% sharper edges thanks to the use of pancake lenses. This should add up to some very impressive screen density and clarity. The question is whether that holds up in reality; early reports suggest yes.

With several large virtual displays that expand the available space, you can increase the size of text without the loss you’d experience on a laptop. It looks like it could be an ideal multi-monitor arrangement on a desk, yet portable enough to be taken from room to room or even on the road. We’ll reserve final judgment until we’ve had enough time with a Quest Pro to give a full review.

Quest Pro’s mixed reality view isn’t as sharp

The Figmin app provides a great example of the mixed reality capabilities of Meta Quest Pro.

The Quest Pro’s color pass-through camera, which is, by all accounts, much better than the Quest 2’s, still isn’t as sharp and clear as the graphics generated inside the headset. Having color is nice, but the consensus is that it’s completely obvious you’re looking through a camera, even with the excellent alignment and tracking. That doesn’t matter when you’re displaying text on the screen or connecting your laptop to expand the view to virtual screens.

By using virtual monitors, you do not need to look at your real laptop or computer screen using the transfer function. Instead, up to three virtual screens are displayed.

These appear to be placed a few feet away, but the images are fairly close to your eye and sharply focused by the pancake lenses with no smearing, window glare, backlight issues, or off-center dimming that you might experience with a real monitor. .

Do you need a Quest Pro or another monitor?

Three Omen 27C monitors side by side.

As good as the Quest Pro display is, it seems the main advantage is having more screens when and where you want them without the hassle of setting up two or three large monitors. If you do most of your work in one place, it may not be worth the extra expense compared to getting one or two more physical screens. The Quest Pro is locked to 90Hz and may not suit your needs for fast-paced gameplay compared to a high-refresh-rate gaming display.

However, if you like the idea of ​​traveling with a multi-screen device that takes up a small footprint and is good for productivity while offering some engaging VR gaming opportunities, Meta Quest Pro might be just about ideal.

It has good potential as a standalone device and, paired with a laptop, could be a way to get the best of both worlds: a triple-monitor setup that’s also remarkably portable.

We’ll know for sure once we’ve reviewed the headset ourselves, but for now these Quest Pro virtual screens certainly seem closer to replicating real monitors than we thought possible.

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