The Meta Quest Pro isn’t perfect. It is certainly a device that protects the stars to land among the clouds. And while it’s still early days for this platform and for this technology as a whole, there is a surprising amount of depth to the app ecosystem available.
Meta does a decent job of handling the basics: a web browser, file browser, message center, messaging, and virtual meeting apps — both for work and personal use. But beyond that, VR headsets are designed for immersive experiences, and many of the best Quest Pro apps are specifically made for VR. These are the ones that have kept me glued to my headset, whether it’s for work or for play.
The number 1 use case for working in VR is designing in a three-dimensional space. Being able to reach out and grab a model and manipulate it with your hand is incredibly freeing and removes the user interface barriers to visualization.
As Meta announced, Adobe is launching a MetaQuest version of its Substance 3D app, a professional modeling app used for popular games like FortniteThe Halo franchise, and Microsoft Flight Simulator. Unfortunately, Substance 3D won’t be released until sometime in 2023.
Thankfully, there are several other solutions for immediate use. Gravity Sketch is another powerful 3D modeling tool that makes it easy to create anything from flowing, organic shapes to precise, technical drawings. Gravity Sketch is free for individuals, with a gigabyte of cloud storage included for saving projects.
Beyond the ease and power, there’s something magical about reaching out and grabbing your virtual VR headset and “pulling it off” to reveal your 3D model in your living room or office by walking through it, then repeating the motion to return to full VR mode. . Since it’s free, it’s a must-try app, even if you don’t expect the need to create 3D models for work.
ShapesXR provides another unique way to design in VR. Although it’s meant to be a tool for user interface design, you don’t have to work on an app or website to get value from this full-featured, 3D prototyping app that can incorporate 2D elements and display the result in VR or Mixed reality.
Painting on a canvas is primarily a two-dimensional art form, but there are several Quest apps that let you explore your creativity with a variety of brushes and tools without the hassle of setting up an easel. Painting VR and Vermillion provide everything you need to create your next masterpiece while eliminating brush cleanup duties.
Meetings and conversations in VR
Video calls and meetings are often a part of work, and Meta includes several different solutions built into the Quest Pro. Horizon Workrooms is a virtual meeting space where other Quest owners can join you in the form of an avatar. Those without a Quest VR headset can still join the meeting, appearing on a screen in the virtual room through their webcam if connecting through a computer.
Despite the teasing, Meta’s avatars aren’t that bad, especially if you own Quest Pro, which enables your facial expressions and eye movements to animate your avatar. It brings life to the 3D characters you customize and dress up. The sense of presence when meeting in VR as an avatar adds a greater sense of connection than might be possible over a video call, but you may miss unspoken or subtle expressions in VR.
Meta’s Horizon Worlds is another virtual meeting place, but it’s meant for in-person hangouts. While Horizon Workrooms has boardrooms, whiteboards and desks for invited personnel, Horizon Worlds contains dozens of custom worlds as public spaces that anyone can join.
Meta also includes Facebook Messenger integration, but it works as a 2D app, like a rectangular screen that floats in your view. Three 2D apps can be placed side by side, rearranged, and resized to fill an entire wall, providing some extra value when using flat screens in a 360-degree virtual world.
It’s also possible to meet friends and colleagues in your personal home space that appears when you first put on your headset. It seems that Meta is trying to provide several different ways to stay connected in VR, and with the Quest Pro’s open sides and color pass option, you don’t have to feel separated from your friends and co-workers if you choose to mute notifications . And stay in full VR mode with the light blockers in place.
VR Chat, Altspace VR, and Rec Room are popular VR worlds that are available on the Quest Pro and other VR headsets. Finally, meetings and collaborative work seem to be common features in the many productivity apps available for the Quest Pro. The latest Quest apps provide several ways to connect with others, showcase your work, and invite participation.
Meta includes a good browser in the Quest Pro, and that’s crucial because so much work is done in a browser these days. It is based on Chromium, the open-source project that is the basis of Google Chrome and several other browsers. The Quest browser has bookmarks and can memorize passwords to fill in automatically if you allow Meta to save them for you. It supports tabs and up to three windows that can be resized to different aspect ratios. This is convenient for opening a tall, narrow window for skimming through your Twitter feed and a wide, squat one for watching videos on YouTube.
Unfortunately, the Quest browser also proves disappointing in several ways. For example, it doesn’t sync with your desktop browser or your phone browser. It’s also quite limited compared to Chrome, missing extensions and tab groups. The Quest browser seems trapped in a confusing space between desktop and mobile that will be familiar to iPad and tablet owners. You have the option to request the desktop or mobile versions of a website, but this does not always help to solve problems with web apps.
There are other solutions, and the Wolvic browser restores some missing features from the Quest browser. Most notably, it can sync with the desktop and mobile versions of the Firefox browser. Wolvic is also available on other VR headsets, so it’s a nice way to manage tabs and bookmarks between multiple devices.
Wolvic works as a VR app, and while it supports three windows, it can’t multitask with 2D apps like the Quest browser can. Wolvic has several extensions and can save web images that Quest can’t, meaning there’s a good reason to install and use both.
A better web browser is desperately needed for the Quest Pro to get closer to the experience you’d expect with a laptop or desktop computer, and if Meta is serious about using its VR headsets for work, that really should be the top priority. Eventually, there will be augmented reality (AR) and VR apps to replace the work done on a flat screen. In the meantime, an improved browser would move the Quest Pro much closer to being a laptop replacement.
Remote desktop apps
Meta’s Horizon Workrooms now includes a remote desktop feature that lets you bring the screens of your Mac or Windows PC into VR with you. Workrooms get the job done, displaying up to three virtual screens of your computer. Meta already has a more easily accessible app called Remote Display in beta testing that will allow multitasking alongside the Quest browser, app launcher, and other 2D apps. Horizon Workrooms also allows for VR meetings and will get Microsoft Teams integration in 2023.
There are other and better solutions for accessing your computer from VR. Immersed and Virtual Desktop are third-party apps that tackled this problem long before Meta released Horizon Workroom, and each provides a wide range of customizations and control. Immersed is free for a basic account and has upgrades for more features. Virtual Desktop has a one-time fee that is quite affordable.
With three options to choose from, you’ll be able to use Quest Pro as much as possible and fall back on your computer when you find an app or feature that’s missing.
If you have particular workflow needs, there are many specialized apps that can be invaluable, and you’ll have to spend some time in the Quest app store and possibly SideQuest to check out these solutions.
For example, Noda is an excellent three-dimensional mind-mapping tool. Nanome helps teachers and students understand atomic and molecular structures. Hold aids in building design and maintenance reviews. The list will grow rapidly based on the current trend.
Of course, the Meta Quest Pro isn’t just a productivity device, and you’ll definitely want to check out what immersive VR games have to offer. Red substance 2 Makes great use of the Quest Pro’s advanced eye-tracking capabilities with foveated rendering that increases resolution without slowing down the framerate. Classics like Beat saber And Pistol VIP Are available when you have a few minutes free for a break from your busy day.
The Quest Pro also tracks your movement, so your gameplay counts toward your fitness goals. To increase this dramatically, you should check out Supernatural and FitXR, the leading workout apps in the Quest app store. By adding music and gaming capability, you’ll sweat while having fun.
Off to a good start
I have found the Meta Quest Pro to be a remarkable device that can help you stay productive, entertained and healthy once I find the right apps.
The Quest Pro is a cutting-edge device that helps reinvent much of what we all take for granted. This means it’s best to explore with an open mind and be prepared to forge a new path or find workarounds until Meta’s app store and Quest operating system offer the perfect apps and environment to meet all your needs, both at work and at home