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Oculus Quest Pro: Everything we know about Project Cambria

Android Central logo Android Central 7/22/2022 Michael L Hicks

When Facebook rebranded to Meta and dropped the Oculus name in the process, it announced at the time it was hard at work on a new VR headset codenamed Project Cambria. But even before that announcement, Meta had dropped plenty of hints about an "Oculus Quest Pro" headset in the pipeline.

Now, that headset is due to arrive within a few months, if the rumors are true. So the question on many Quest 2 owners' minds will be whether they'll want to upgrade to Project Cambria, aka the Meta Quest Pro, or if the upgrades will justify the allegedly huge price increase.

We have plenty of official and unofficial information on Meta's next VR headset, including design renders, specs, estimated pricing, announcement timing, and more. If you're deciding whether to buy the Meta Quest 2 or wait for the Meta Quest Pro, we'll give you the information you need to decide.

Are Meta Quest Pro and Project Cambria the same thing?

Back in March 2021, Mark Zuckerberg gave a podcast interview on VR in which he talked about a future Oculus Quest Pro headset. He described how it would use face and eye tracking to support realistic avatars with matching facial expressions, along with improved mixed-reality tech to see things around you in VR.

Similarly, during an April 2021 Twitter Spaces interview, Oculus CTO John Carmack described how some at Oculus felt they needed to push the envelope, rather than perfect the Quest 2 design. That camp felt that "we need depth cameras, we need mixed reality sensors, we need eye tracking, we need face tracking." So they began to actively develop a "Pro version" of the Quest that will use "every sensor in the kitchen sink."

Why does this matter? Because the Metaverse livestream revealed that with Project Cambria, "your avatar will be able to make natural eye contact and reflect your facial expressions in real time," and that the headset would support "high-resolution, colored, mixed-reality passthrough."

Zuckerberg explained that Project Cambria "isn't the next Quest," which means it isn't the Quest 3 — that's expected to launch in 2023. But it is "compatible with Quest" and will feature Meta's "most advanced technology." All of this added up to a Quest Pro headset in our minds.

The most convincing bit of evidence came when dataminer Steve Moser found a reference to "Meta Quest Pro" in the Oculus iOS mobile app, specifically "pair Meta Quest Pro right controller." Some previous rumors had suggested the headset would be called Meta Quest 2 Pro, but this reference indicates otherwise — even if it isn't definitive.

We're fairly confident in this guess, so for the rest of this explainer, we'll operate under the assumption that the Meta Quest Pro and Project Cambria are the same device.

When will the Meta Quest Pro / Project Cambria ship?

During the 2021 Metaverse event, Angela Chang, Meta Director of Products, specifically said, "next year we are releasing a new product that will push the boundaries of VR even further. We've codenamed it Project Cambria." Barring any unexpected delays, it will arrive in 2022.

As for when in 2022, a recent Meta leak covering the company's next four VR headsets included the news Project Cambria would ship in September 2022. On the other hand, leaker Brad Lynch suggested Meta would announce it at Connect 2022, which will likely take place in October. 

Most recently, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted that Project Cambria would enter "mass production in 3Q22 & shipments for 2H22 to reach about two mn units." That tracks with an announcement around September or October. And the two-million number tracks with Meta's lower sales expectations for Cambria, given its allegedly expensive price tag.

As a side note, Meta will apparently follow up Cambria with a second high-end VR headset codenamed Funston, currently scheduled for late 2024 according to the same source. Like Cambria, it would be marketed as a work headset.

What will the Meta Quest Pro cost?

Zuckerberg explained that "Cambria will be a completely new, advanced, and high-end product and it'll be at the higher end of the price spectrum too." They will test out new features with Cambria, "before we can hit the price points that we target with Quest."

YouTuber Bradley Lynch, who's spoken to several supply chain analysts about the headset, claimed in a recent video that the "bill of materials for this device is around $800," but that there are rumors of a "subsidy" that could make the device slightly more affordable.

The aforementioned Meta source for The Information later confirmed Lynch's claim, saying it would cost $799. But Meta commented on the news to say that the price would actually be "significantly higher" than $799. 

Based on that statement, we'd expect Project Cambria's price to reach at least $1,000, matching the Valve Index, or possibly even higher. Considering Meta wants to market the Quest Pro as a lightweight laptop for your face, it makes sense it would sell it at a decently high price.

What's new with the Quest Pro design vs. the Quest 2?

YouTuber SadlyItsBradley recently leaked a ton of information on Project Cambria, including its design and specs. Working with 3D artist Marcus Kane, they created renders of the headset based on real-life photos leaked to Lynch by someone with a Cambria developer kit.

Based on these renders and previous leaks from other sources, Cambria will have an Elite Strap with Battery-style strap with a tightening knob on the back and a built-in battery pack — so you won't have to buy and attach it separately. 

In lieu of a foam face cover, it'll have a faux leather cover that extends onto the forehead for added support. And like the Quest 2, it'll be wireless.

Whereas the Quest 2 is very front-heavy, Project Cambria looks more like a pair of glasses with a much thinner front. This is thanks to the lenses' "pancake optics," which "fold light several times over" so they can have a thinner, lighter profile with "several optical layers." Those quotes come directly from Meta, by the way, so this leaked design tracks with the official info.

Overall, this means you'll have a much more lightweight headset, even with the Elite Strap built in.

While Cambria's front is mostly a solid, glossy black, it has transparent portions that allow the built-in cameras to peer through at your surroundings. Lynch says the two bottom cameras create a "Lua composite" while the middle 16MP HD camera overlays color and improved resolution on top of the other cameras' faster visual data. Combined, they'll offer a much better passthrough experience than the Quest 2's wimpy cameras can offer.

Lynch also claimed we'll see an improvement on how IPD adjustment is handled, a problem area with the Quest 2. Like that headset, Cambria will have sliding lenses you'll physically drag instead of using a knob. But the newer headset is "smooth all the way through," and will apparently have a higher maximum IPD because of the separate displays.

Meta Quest Pro specs and features

Current rumors suggest the Quest 2 Pro will have 2.48-inch mini-LED lenses with 2160x2160 resolution per eye, running at 90Hz. Compared to the Quest 2 with its 1832×1920 resolution per eye, it's a pretty decent upgrade.

However, Lynch spoke to two separate sources who tried Project Cambria for themselves and found that the resolution, field of view, and overall visual experience were all extremely similar to the Quest 2. Despite the spec upgrade, you apparently won't see too much of a difference if you're a regular Quest 2 user.

Lynch also said in a previous video that Cambria would use the same Snapdragon XR2 chip as the Quest 2 — something Kuo corroborated in his tweet — but that it would have improved cooling that would allow for higher clock speeds. 

We don't expect a major gaming performance boost compared to the jump between Quest 1 and 2, although a Bloomberg source claims it'll have "far better graphics processing and power." Perhaps it adds more RAM, and we simply haven't learned of this yet.

Zuckerberg did say in an interview that he wanted to create custom silicon for the Quest 3, but this isn't the Quest 3. It makes sense that Meta wouldn't make any major changes for this headset model.

Kuo's leak also indicated Cambria would have a ridiculous 16 total cameras; 10 on the headset, and three on each controller. That will enable some next-gen tracking and room mapping, but could certainly prove a challenge for the XR2 chip, which Qualcomm says can run "7 concurrent cameras" on its XR2 description page.

Will the Quest Pro have redesigned Oculus Touch controllers?

During a major Quest Pro leak, we got a glimpse of mysterious new controllers that lacked the halo tracking ring of the Oculus Touch. The buttons on these controllers look to have a similar configuration as the current controllers. But they should each have three inside-out cameras to help with tracking, as well as a stylus at the bottom for writing or selecting things in mid-air.

These controllers will presumably work just as well for playing your current Quest games library, while also enabling new, Cambria-exclusive experiences.

What will mixed-reality passthrough look like?

The Oculus Quest 2 supports passthrough, but only in blurry black-and-white. The Meta Quest Pro will offer a full-color passthrough that gives you a proper look at your surroundings and enables virtual creations to blend more seamlessly into your home, so you almost forget you're wearing a headset. 

You can see footage in the embedded video above; and Zuckerberg recently demoed a number of Cambria-exclusive experiences, screenshotted below.

It appears that the passthrough video is close to real life in terms of fidelity, resolution, and color, though there is a bit of a blur around the edges of text or real-life objects. Still, it's an incredible jump in quality compared to the Quest 2, and ensures you can enjoy experiences without losing "sight" of your surroundings or other people in the room.

Will Project Cambria have exclusive games and apps?

During the Metaverse event, Zuckerberg talked about "unlocking more mixed reality experiences" with Cambria — such as virtual workouts and working at a desk while in-headset — while Chang said they're "starting to work with developers to build experiences for Cambria as we speak."

Some XR experiences are technically available on the Quest and Quest 2 through the Presence Platform for Oculus Quest. We've seen chess, fishing, and a "real-world" version of the popular VR game, I Expect You to Die, among others. 

But others will require Cambria's full-color passthrough and improved hand tracking for the best experience. In Zuckerberg's demo video, we saw him interact with a virtual pet, work and write on real-life objects while in-headset, browse social media, and work out with a virtual trainer. In terms of augmented reality, Cambria is leaps and bounds above a typical Quest.

Meta designed Project Cambria as a lightweight work device, it'll need to have proper productivity software to succeed, an area where the Quest 2 is currently quite deficient. It announced 2D productivity Quest apps last year like Canva and Dropbox (see the above image), but most of them still aren't available. 

In general, we're waiting to see whether Cambria will get proper Android app support through the Play Store, or will rely solely on progressive web apps and have people work primarily through the Oculus browser. The latter seems more likely, which may not be the best "Pro" user experience.

In terms of VR content, the Oculus Quest Pro should offer the same experiences as the Oculus Quest 2. All of the best Oculus Quest 2 games should work on the new headset, but there won't be any Project Cambria exclusives that the Quest 2 won't also get (as far as we know).

Analysis: Meta's future could ride on Cambria

This June, Mark Zuckerberg and the Reality Labs team showed off a huge array of Meta VR/AR prototypes, including 60 pixels-per-degree lenses, varifocal lenses that make objects less blurry in VR, and "Holocake" lenses that are a step up on the pancake lenses found in Project Cambria. 

These prototypes could be the future of VR or XR headsets, but Meta likely revealed them because Reality Labs R&D is costing the company tens of billions of dollars per year, at a time when Meta is struggling with reduced ad revenue. Investors are spooked, and there are rumors that its upcoming VR and AR prototypes like Project Nazare could be postponed. 

The Meta Quest 2 is still selling very well, but Meta needs to justify all the money it's spending to advance its VR technology beyond entry-level gaming to something more powerful. And Project Cambria, or the Meta Quest 2 Pro, is its first attempt to prove this is all leading somewhere towards a "Metaverse."

In this context, fans of Quest devices and the VR industry in general can only hope the Meta Quest Pro succeeds. The AR industry is struggling, and if Meta is forced to abandon its efforts toward growing its VR technology, there aren't many other companies besides Apple that have the resources to make further technological leaps.

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