One of the things that was highly anticipated from Tuesday's Meta Connect event was a big new VR headset focused on pro users. And so it came to pass: The Meta Quest Pro offers a great VR headset that takes the things everyone likes about the extremely popular Quest 2 and adds a nicer display and eye tracking alongside impressive augmented reality features. And if you're the target audience, which is very much not someone who is enjoying VR as gamer at home, there's a bunch of very cool things you're going to be able to do with this headset. Our own Scott Stein got some time with the headset if you want to learn more about that overall experience.
For everyone else, there are much better ways to spend $1,500. And if you're not sure how big that list is, I'm here to help.
1,860 pairs of Fireworks Diffraction Glasses
Have you ever watched fireworks or walked through a garden of holiday lights with diffraction glasses on? It's amazing -- these paper glasses diffract light so colorful shapes are added to what you're seeing. This particular set adds rainbow hearts to what you're watching, which is just plain fun. You could buy a pair of these for every person you know and all go watch fireworks or tour holiday lights for hours and have a great time. Can't do that with a Meta Quest Pro.
Buy a Meta Quest 2, and use the leftover cash to buy...
At the end of the day, Meta's new Pro headset is not going to improve the overall quality of your VR experience by enough to justify the price for a home user. It's made for high-end use cases, like prototyping and corporate training environment. That's great for those situations, but if you're just trying to have fun at home you could have a great experience with the Quest 2 and still have $1,000 left over. And if I were you, I'd spend that money on some of these options:
Two more Quest 2 headsets
Playing in VR is great. Playing in VR with friends is even better, and unfortunately not everyone has a Quest 2 yet. If you've got $1,500 to burn, you could totally get three Quest 2 headsets, invite two friends over and play all of the great multiplayer VR games together in the same room. All you need are two more friends you'reOK with touching your stuff, and you're good to go.
Get the really nice Steam Deck
There's nothing wrong with the base model $400 Steam Deck, but if you've got money to spend, you get a lot more out of the fully upgraded model. If you get the version with 512GB of faster storage and anti-glare durable glass, it'll cost you $650, but those bragging rights will last you a good long while.
A nice laptop to add to your Quest 2 experiences
You don't need a computer to drive the Quest 2, but you can do some additional cool things if you have one. There are higher-quality games and apps you can play, or you can just bring your computer screen into VR and enjoy multitasking. And it turns out there are several really nice Windows laptops you can get for well under $1,000, including the Dell XPS 13 that our own Josh Goldman recommends in our Best Laptops article.
Get a new Xbox AND a new PlayStation
If you're excited about the Meta Quest VR experience, you're clearly into gaming. If you're clearly into gaming, you should diversify as much as possible and just get all of the gaming experiences. And if you're into playing with friends, you'll find there are a lot more of them on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.
Other highly capable VR headsets
If you want portability, convenience and a ton of games for a reasonable price, there's no doubt the Meta Quest 2 is where it's at. But if you're going for a "Pro" headset, there are actually a bunch of options available for either the same price or noticeably less than this new Quest Pro headset.
From it's impressive "knuckles" controllers to the quality display and head-tracking, Valve offered up a high-end PC VR experience you can buy in individual pieces, or you can scoop up the whole kit for $1,000. Not only would you be saving $500 with this headset, but you'd still be able to access a huge number of Meta Quest games through the PC app. Check out Scott Stein's full review for more details.
HP Reverb G2
The Windows Mixed Reality honeymoon may be over, but HP's VR headset still has some of the best displays you can buy in a VR headset today. You'll save quite a bit against the Quest Pro, as this headset is currently discounted to a shocking $350 and still works great with all of the best PC VR apps and games. You could easily buy this headset and a Quest 2 for portable VR and still have a couple hundred bucks left over.
Pimax Vision 8K X
If you're going to drop serious cash on a "Pro" VR headset that pushes the boundaries, I'd like to introduce you to Pimax. This headset has a pair of ridiculous 4K displays and a 200-degree field of view, so as long as you have a PC capable of delivering quality visuals, you'll be blown away by how clear everything is. The included headphones also deliver great audio, and SteamVR is ready to work with this headset. And with all of that onboard, this $1,170 headset is still cheaper than Meta's latest offering.