From flagship smartphones to VR headsets, first-party accessories tend to be pretty expensive. Along with the higher price tag though, consumers typically expect exceptional quality. After all, the product’s designers had a head start, so those day-one accessories should be, if not the best out there, at very least high quality. Meta sells an array of useful accessories to fit that description, although some of its most expensive first-party stuff—namely its Elite Strap—continues to face reliability issues even today, as many users of the Elite Strap with Battery for Quest 3 are reporting faulty units.
If you’re looking to use the headset long-term, ditching the default fabric strap is one of the biggest single ways to improve your overall comfort. Meta knows this, and if you’ve worn either a Quest 2 or Quest 3 with the stock strap for more than an hour, you probably know it too. Depending on your point of view, you might call it product modularity, planned obsolescence, or even exploitative accessorizing.
Since the release of Quest 2 in 2020, Meta has produced its own brand of aftermarket headstraps: Elite Strap and Elite Strap with Battery, the latter of which comes with an external battery on that back that adds around two hours of extra juice. Yes. They’re priced at an eye-blistering $70 and $130 respectively for Quest 3, and $10 bucks less for both for Quest 2 versions. They do improve ergonomics by a wide margin though, and the extra battery is nice too.
Granted, you definitely don’t have to buy them—one look at Amazon shows Meta’s first-party stuff is usually well and above double the current asking price for third-party alternatives—but Meta is betting you’ll at least consider it before hitting the checkout button.
And that would be fine if they didn’t break a few months out of the box like early batches of the Quest 2 Elite Straps did, or refused to work at all, which is the case for many who currently own the Elite Strap with Battery for Quest 3. Again, a $130 accessory. To be fair, Meta issued a two-year extended warranty on its Elite Straps for Quest 2 because so many users were reporting excessive and unwarranted breakages of the plastic struts, but at this point the product line is starting to feel cursed.
Since its launch in October, many users across Reddit and Meta forums have reported the Quest 3’s Elite Strap with Battery isn’t working. The battery works for a bit, but then won’t charge the Quest 3 at all, rendering it essentially an expensive counterweight.
We conducted an informal poll, and 43 percent of respondents who had the strap for Quest 3 stated they’ve experienced similar charging issues, which suggests it’s not simply user error either, but rather some sort of manufacturer defect.
So what? The answer should be easy. Just send it back and get a new one, right? Well, Meta isn’t suggesting its customers do that.
“While we typically offer RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) for defective units, replacing the strap may not necessarily resolve the problem. We are aware of the emerging issue where the Meta Quest 3 Elite Strap with Battery is not recognized by the headset or fails to charge,” Meta support told Road to VR. “Our engineering team is actively working on finding a solution for this issue. Once they have identified a resolution, we will contact you with an update.”
Some users report successfully going through the RMA process, only to have to go through it multiple times to receive a unit that actually works.
I'm on my 3rd one. First 2 failed after 1-2 days. 3rd one working so far.
— VR Lowdown (@VRLowdown) November 14, 2023
I would say you should think twice about buying it, but just today Meta took down availability of its Elite Strap with Battery for Quest 3 across all of its supported regions.
While out of stock directly through Meta, you can still nab it from participating retailers though, like Best Buy and Target, both of which feature their fair share of 1-star user reviews citing that very issue.
For now, Meta hasn’t shared any further insight on what the problem exactly is, whether it be software or hardware related. Until the company addresses it though, we strongly advise you against buying the Elite Strap with Battery for Quest 3, as it could put a serious damper on the holidays.
We’re following this story as it develops. Check back soon for updates.