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Meta Quest 3 Lite rumors: Everything we know so far and what we want to see

The Meta Quest 3 Lite is rumored to offer a similar experience to the more expensive model, just with a few small tweaks.
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Published onMay 14, 2024

Meta Quest 3 Flanked by Two Controllers On Gray Table
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
The Samsung XR is expected to be a more upscale experience than the Quest 3 (pictured).

The Meta Quest 3 represented a significant leap forward from its predecessor when it debuted in 2023, incorporating new mixed reality features and a more powerful processor. It also experienced a substantial price increase, sparking rumors about a cheaper Quest 3 variant that would replace the current Quest 2 as the company’s budget-friendly option. Here’s everything we know about the current Meta Quest 3 Lite rumors, along with our wishlist for the features we’d like to see in Meta’s next VR headset.

Meta Quest 3 Lite: At a glance

  • When is it expected to come out? It's likely the Meta Quest 3 Lite will be revealed in June of 2024 at the Meta Quest gaming showcase with a release sometime after that.
  • What new features could there be? There isn't much known for sure about the spes just yet, though it is likely it will feature the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2, just like the more expensive Quest 3 model.
  • How much might it cost? The Meta Quest 3 Lite price tag is likely to slot between the Quest 2 and 3, so a price tag between $249 and $329 seems likely.

Will there be a Meta Quest 3 Lite?

Officially, Meta has yet to announce plans for a Meta Quest 3 Lite, although a previous report from The Verge suggests the company has plans for a budget device that will replace the Quest 2 as a cheaper alternative to the Quest 3. There have been multiple independent leaks that further support the idea that Meta is working on something along these lines, including an alleged render.

It’s pretty obvious Meta is at least testing the idea of a lower-cost headset, but it’s too early to say that there will absolutely be a Meta Quest 3 Lite.

It’s also worth noting that at least one of these reports has suggested the name could be the Quest 3s or Meta Quest Lite instead, so it’s hard to say what the official name for this budget device will be. For consistency, we’ll refer to it as the Meta Quest 3 Lite throughout the rest of this guide.

What is the most likely Meta Quest 3 Lite release date?

Meta Quest 3 Closeup on Front
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
  • Meta Quest 3 — Oct 10, 2023
  • Meta Quest Pro – Oct 25, 2022
  • Oculus Quest 2 — Oct 13, 2020
  • Oculus Quest — May 21, 2019

The Meta Quest series has historically launched new products in October, shortly after the Meta Connect event. While the first instinct is to assume this will remain the case here, it’s possible that Meta will release earlier in the year for a few reasons.

First, the Apple Vision Pro has many people hyped about VR who didn’t get on board previously, yet many of these individuals aren’t likely to spend Apple’s asking price on a product that’s still seen as a bit of a niche item. Meta might be looking to capitalize on this positive VR momentum by releasing a Meta headset that has many of the same AR/VR features but is at a much more palatable price point. The other reason is that Meta might want to take a page out of Google’s Pixel playbook and create distinctly different launch windows between its budget and higher-end Quest offerings.

If we had to pick a likely launch timeframe, we’d say that the Quest 3 Lite will get some kind of reveal at the Meta Quest Gaming Showcase sometime in June, with a launch in the weeks to follow. If the Meta Quest 3 Lite is largely compatible with the same games and experiences as its bigger brother, this would be a wise time to show it off to maximize hype around both its new games and the upcoming budget platform in general.

What rumored specs and features could the Meta Quest 3 Lite have?

While there have been a few rumors about the Meta Quest 3 Lite, most of it has centered around pricing and design. Even the only render we have to go by is more than a little suspicious, as it shows a headset without a passthrough camera, which is required for modern mixed reality and other features.

Why wouldn’t the Quest 3 Lite cut the camera to save some cash? While it’s technically possible, it contradicts earlier reports, including a statement from Reality Labs Director of Engineering for XR tech that said, “passthrough and MR will be a standard feature on all future headsets.”

Moving past basic rumors suggesting it is coming, there isn’t much known about the Meta Quest 3 Lite specs, though at least a few rumors claim it will have 128GB or 256GB of storage and an 1832 x 1920 pixel display per eye.

Most rumors indicate that the Meta Quest 3 Lite will offer a similar experience to the standard model, but with a few cost-cutting measures. This suggests that we might also get the same Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 processor, which would ensure smooth capability. That said, in order to cut costs, the Quest 3 Lite might have the same 6GB of RAM as the Quest 2, as opposed to the Quest 3’s 8GB of RAM.

The Meta Quest 3 Lite could finally open up MR/AR/VR to a whole new generation of mainstream adopters.

It’s also worth noting Meta recently introduced a new and more efficient way to digitally map rooms in order to help avoid obstacles and more. While this hasn’t rolled out to any specific products, it’s possible this tech could introduce itself with the Lite. Of course, it’s very unlikely such a feature would remain an exclusive, and so its very likely the same functionality would come to other Quest models in a later software update.

Bottom line, we can’t say much about the Quest 3 Lite’s specs definitively, but all the rumors we’ve heard so far paint a picture of a device that is similar to the Quest 2 but improves some aspects, like the AR experience, in order to keep better pace with the Quest 3’s apps and games.

What might the Meta Quest 3 Lite price be?

  • Meta Quest 3 — $499
  • Oculus Quest 2 — $299
  • Oculus Quest — $399

It’s too early to predict the price of the Meta Quest 3 Lite accurately, but based on historical pricing, we believe it’s likely to launch at a price similar to that of the original Quest 2. While there were initial rumors suggesting the Quest 3 Lite might be priced as low as $199, this seems overly optimistic. Our estimate places the Quest 3 Lite’s price tag somewhere between $249 and $329.

Could the Quest 3 Lite potentially justify a higher price? Perhaps. If its functionality is nearly identical to the Quest 3 but with fewer premium materials and features, a price of $399 could still be reasonable. However, for Meta to effectively target budget-conscious buyers, a price point of $299 or lower would be more appealing.

Should you wait for the Meta Quest 3 Lite?

Meta Quest 3 Controls Underneath Headset
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Considering that the Meta Quest 3 Lite hasn’t even been officially announced, there’s no need to delay diving into the world of VR. However, the choice depends on what you’re looking for.

If you’re seeking affordability and simply want to explore VR, the discounted Quest 2 ($249 at Amazon) is an obvious option. However, for future-proofing, the Meta Quest 3 is a better investment. Of course, there are numerous alternatives outside of Meta, such as the Apple Vision Pro ($3499 at Apple) and the Valve Index, among others. Just keep in mind that most of these options will come at a significantly higher cost compared to the Meta Quest series.

Meta Quest 3Meta Quest 3
Meta Quest 3
MSRP: $499.99
The Meta Quest 3 is the next-gen VR headset from the folks behind Facebook. Available with 128GB or 512GB of storage, play games, connect in cyberspace and more with this capable headset.

What if you specifically desire an AR experience but can’t afford to spend more than a few hundred dollars? In that case, it would be best to wait for the potential release of the Meta Quest 3 Lite, or until you have a bit more budget to invest in the Meta 3 or a similarly priced competitor. The Quest 2 is not optimized for the MR/VR mixed experience that the Quest 3 offers.

Meta Quest 3 Lite: What we want to see

Most of my wishes for the Quest 3 Lite unify around the same goal: delivering an experience that’s as close to the Meta 3 as possible while making necessary compromises to bring in more mainstream adopters. Let’s jump right in on what we want to see.

Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 and at least 6GB RAM

It might seem like a tempting place to cut, but I feel the Meta Quest 3 needs to be more than just a Quest 2 remake with AR enhancements and other quality-of-life improvements to help it keep up with its bigger brother. It needs to have the same power as the standard Quest 3, and that means it needs a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2. I’d personally also like to see an upgrade to 8GB of RAM, but I could live with the decision if Meta chooses to pair down the RAM to save some money.

The main reason why I want to see the Meta Quest 3 Lite pack the latest silicon is for future-proofing purposes. If they choose an older processor, it limits how long the device will support the newest games, effectively giving the Quest 3 Lite a shorter lifespan than the standard model.

Same controls as Quest 3

Meta Quest 3 Controllers Side By Side
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

I’ve heard some say the Quest 3 could cut costs by changing up the controller, there are a few ways they could do this. Meta could include a basic controller out of the box, like the Xbox controller that was used to pair with the original Oculus Rift. You could still use the Quest 3 controllers, you’d just have to buy them separately. Honestly, this became a bit of a software support nightmare later in Oculus Rift’s life, as some games needed motion controllers, some didn’t, and it just made finding compatible games a tad more complicated. Another possibility is Meta will make new, cheaper motion controllers that work similarly to the Quest 3 models but with less advanced functionality, cheaper materials, and so on.

Either of these moves would be a mistake. Developers have said time and time again they wanted more universal standards and support for VR controllers, and Meta itself has been vocal about the need for better uniformity. Using a cheaper controller would detract from that stance, and charging extra would risk confusing or alienating consumers who are first-time VR buyers.

Passthrough and full mixed reality support

Meta Quest 3 Controls Underneath Headset
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Previous rumors have suggested the Quest 3 Lite will have a passthrough camera and will offer the full mixed reality experience that you’d get with the Quest 3. Unfortunately, the only leaked render contradicts this claim, meaning that either the earlier reports are wrong or the render isn’t real. My hope is the latter proves true.

Without passthrough and MR, the Quest 3 Lite would basically just be a Quest 2 with an improved processor. That seems like a wasted opportunity.

Pancake lenses

The have been conflicting whispers as to whether this budget Meta Quest will have cheaper, bulkier fresnel lenses like the Quest 2 or if it will opt for the more premium pancake lenses from the Quest 3. While it might make sense to make a cut here to keep costs down, the quality difference is night and day. It also means the headset will be much bulkier and a bit heavier.

If I’m honest, I think it could go either way. If the use of fresnel lenses means this thing can come at a crazy low price, like $199? I’d be all for it. If Meta targets closer to $299, they shouldn’t cheapen out here.

Meta Quest 3 Lite - what features would you most like to see?

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