Meta Quest 3 is a virtual reality of repair insanity
Bravery and a bucket for the screws required to service latest idiot visor
Meta's Quest 3 headset has fallen victim to the iFixit team, and the news from a repairability perspective is not good.
As iFixit charitably observed: "The 'year of virtual reality' turned out to be 'the run-up to mixed reality.'" Charitable because a cynic might remark that if idiot goggles failed to take off while everyone was locked down at home, they probably never will. Not for this generation, at any rate.
However, while companies such as Microsoft might appear to have stepped back from earlier grand promises, others, such as Apple with its Vision Pro, remain keen to augment reality once their hardware actually ships.
Meta has continued to keep the faith, even if the faith of users might have been tested by slightly underwhelming hardware in the form of the Quest Pro. At the same time, the Meta Quest 2 – originally branded the Oculus Quest 2 – has grown increasingly long in the tooth.
With the Quest 3, Meta has upped the specifications as well as the price. The 128 GB version retails at £479.99 ($499.99), and the 512 GB goes for an eye-watering – but still some way from Apple's pricing – £619.99 ($649.99).
As the iFixit team tore into the headset, the first major failure from a repairability perspective was the "extremely complicated procedure of replacing the lithium polymer battery pack."
"Replacing the battery in the Quest 3 is as difficult as it was in the Quest 2, and far more difficult than the Quest Pro."
That said, the batteries in the controllers are AAs rather than the lithium-ion cells of the Quest Pro, so it's a win there.
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Faced with a multitude of screws and the lack of a service manual, iFixit stripped the headset back to its bare components, revealing the new time of flight sensor – essential for hand and controller tracking as well as mapping out the space around the user – and, beyond the fan, the mainboard.
The Quest 3 is powered by a Snapdragon 8, the XR2 Gen2. According to iFixit: "Leaked benchmarks suggest that this newer SoC improves on the XR2+ found in the Quest Pro both in terms of performance and power efficiency."
However, it is the battery that disappoints. Although it is a standard unit so theoretically replaceable, iFixit noted: "It's taken me three Fixmats, a single tray of plastic, and very careful organizing of about 50 screws to get this far."
Yikes. Not really a user-serviceable part at all.
At 19.44 Wh, however, it is considerably beefier than the 14 Wh of the Quest 2's unit, which explains why the Quest 3 is smaller yet heavier than its predecessor.
Finally, the team got to the new 2,064 x 2,208 LCD panels providing the visuals. No mico-OLED units here – Meta has eschewed the exotic of the new for something more traditional.
Overall, the team gave the device a provisional 4 out of 10 in its teardown, principally due to the absence of manuals, OEM spare parts, and "any sign of repairability considerations whatsoever."
But hey, at least you can swap out the AAs in the controllers when they die. ®