The Meta Quest Pro is not perfect. It is definitely a device that shoots for 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’s a surprising amount of depth to the app ecosystem available.
Meta has done a decent job managing the basics: a web browser, file browser, notification 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 those specifically designed for VR. These are the ones that have kept me glued to my headset, whether for work or play.
The #1 use case for working in virtual reality is designing in three-dimensional space. Being able to reach out and grab a model and manipulate it with your hand is incredibly liberating and removes UI barriers for viewing.
As Meta announced, Adobe is releasing a Meta Quest version of its Substance 3D app, a professional modeling app that has been used for popular games like Fortnitethe Halo franchise and Microsoft Flight Simulator. Unfortunately, Substance 3D won’t be released until 2023.
Fortunately, there are several other solutions for immediate use. Gravity Sketch is another powerful 3D modeling tool that makes it easy to create anything from fluid, organic shapes to precise technical drawings. Gravity Sketch is free for home users, with a gigabyte of cloud storage included for saving projects.
Beyond ease and power, there’s something magical about reaching out and grabbing your virtual VR headset and “removing” it to reveal your 3D model in your living room or office via a relay, then repeating this movement to return to full VR mode. Since it’s free, it’s a must-have app, even if you don’t foresee the need to create 3D models for the job.
ShapesXR offers another unique way to design in VR. Although it’s a UI design tool, you don’t need to be working on an app or website to take advantage of this comprehensive 3D prototyping app which can incorporate 2D elements and display the result in virtual reality. or mixed reality.
Painting on 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 having to set up an easel. Painting VR and Vermillion provide everything you need to create your next masterpiece while eliminating brush cleaning tasks.
Meetings and chat in VR
Video calls and meetings are often part of the job, and Meta includes a few different solutions built into Quest Pro. Horizon Workrooms is a virtual meeting space where other Quest owners can join you as an avatar. Those without a Quest VR headset can still join the meeting, appearing on a screen in the virtual room via their webcam if they connect through a computer.
Despite the teasing, Meta’s avatars aren’t that bad, especially if you own a Quest Pro, which allows your facial expressions and eye movements to animate your avatar. It brings life to the 3D character you customize and dress up. The sense of presence in a meeting in VR as an avatar adds a greater sense of connection than might be possible in a video call, but you might miss unspoken or subtle expressions in VR.
Meta’s Horizon Worlds is another virtual hangout, but it’s meant for personal hangouts. While Horizon Workrooms has conference rooms, whiteboards, and offices for guest staff, 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, appearing as 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 added value when using flat screens in a virtual 360 degree 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 looks like Meta is trying to provide several different ways to stay connected in VR, and with Quest Pro’s open sides and color passthrough option, you don’t have to feel separated from your friends and colleagues unless you choose to disable notifications and stay in full VR mode with light blockers in place.
VR Chat, Altspace VR, and Rec Room are popular VR worlds available on the Quest Pro as well as other VR headsets. Finally, meetings and collaborative work appear to be common features across many of the productivity apps available for the Quest Pro. The newer Quest apps provide a way to connect with others, show off your work, and invite participation.
Meta includes a good browser in the Quest Pro, and that’s crucial because a lot of work is done in a browser these days. It is based on Chromium, the open source project that is the basis of Google’s Chrome and several other browsers. Quest Browser has bookmarks and can remember autofill passwords if you allow Meta to save them for you. It supports tabs and up to three windows which can be resized in different aspect ratios. This is handy for opening up a tall, narrow window for browsing your Twitter feed and a wide, chunky window for watching videos on YouTube.
Unfortunately, the Quest browser also proves to be disappointing in some respects. For example, it does not sync with your computer’s browser or your phone’s browser. It’s also quite limited compared to Chrome, lacking 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 of requesting the desktop or mobile versions of a website, but that doesn’t always help with issues with web apps.
There are other solutions, and the Wolvic Browser restores some missing functionality from the Quest Browser. Most notably, it can sync with both desktop and mobile versions of the Firefox browser. Wolvic is also available on other VR headsets, so it’s a good way to transport tabs and bookmarks between multiple devices.
Wolvic works like a VR app, and while it supports three windows, it can’t multitask with 2D apps like the Quest browser can. Wolvic has a few extensions and can save web images that Quest can’t, which means there’s a good reason to install and use both.
A better web browser is desperately needed to bring the Quest Pro closer to the experience you’d expect with a laptop or desktop, and if Meta is serious about using its VR headsets for work, this really should be the top priority. Eventually, there will be augmented reality (AR) and VR applications to replace work done on a flat screen. In the meantime, an improved browser would bring the Quest Pro closer to a laptop replacement.
Remote desktop apps
Meta’s Horizon Workrooms now include a remote desktop feature that lets you bring your Mac or Windows PC’s displays into VR with you. Workrooms does the work, displaying up to three virtual screens from 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 enables VR meetings and will benefit from Microsoft Teams integration in 2023.
There are other and better solutions to access your computer from virtual reality. Immersed and Virtual Desktop are third-party apps that solved this problem long before Meta released Horizon Workrooms, and each offers a wider range of customizations and control. Immersed is free for a basic account and offers upgrades for more features. Virtual Desktop has one-time fees which are quite affordable.
With three options to choose from, you’ll be able to use the Quest Pro as much as possible and fall back on your computer when you find a missing app or feature.
If you have special workflow needs, there are plenty of specialized apps that could prove invaluable, and you’ll need to spend some time in the Quest app store and possibly SideQuest to research those solutions.
For example, Noda is an excellent three-dimensional mind mapping tool. Nanome helps teachers and students understand atomic and molecular structures. Resolve 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 experience what immersive VR gaming has to offer. Red matter 2 makes great use of the Quest Pro’s advanced eye-tracking capabilities with foveal rendering that increases resolution without slowing down the frame rate. Classics like beat the saber and Whip Gun are available when you have a few free minutes to take a break from your busy day.
The Quest Pro also keeps track of your movements, so your game counts towards your fitness goals. To amp this up dramatically, you should check out Supernatural and FitXR, the top workout apps on the Quest app store. By adding music and playing fitness, you will sweat while having fun.
A good start
I’ve found the Meta Quest Pro to be an outstanding device that can help keep you 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. That means it’s best to explore with an open mind and be prepared to blaze a new trail or find workarounds until the App Store and Meta’s Quest operating system offer the perfect applications and environment to meet all your needs, at work and at home. .
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