Meta’s own store has leaked the Meta Quest 3S – which could be the cheap VR headset you’ve been waiting for

We might know the name of Meta’s next VR headset, as its own store has leaked the existence of the Meta Quest 3S.

Rumors have been swirling for some time that Meta is working on a cheaper version of the Meta Quest 3 – which has been called both the Meta Quets 3S and Meta Quest 3 Lite by people claiming to be in the know. The most recent leak revealed that it’s essentially the Quest 3’s brain (the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset) inside the Quest 2’s bulkier body.

It seemed likely Meta might want to launch a cheaper VR headset, as the Quest 3 is a lot pricier than the old Oculus Quest 2. We think it’s worth the added cost, but it comes in at $ 499 / £479 / AU$ 799 instead of the $ 299 / £299 / AU$ 479 the 2 was at launch (and the $ 199.99 / £199.99 / AU$ 359.99 it is currently) which is a fairly hefty price increase.

Now Meta has all but confirmed the Meta Quest 3S is on the way by listing it as one of its headsets in the Quest Store.

The Alo Moves Quest Store page with the Meta Quest 3S name listed

(Image credit: Future / Meta / Alo Moves)

First spotted by UploadVR (and we’ve verified it), if you head to the Alo Moves XR page you’ll see that the app “Supports Meta Quest 3S, Meta Quest 3, Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2.” Upload VR says it also appears on several other store pages – suggesting it’s not simply an error on the Alo Moves developer’s part – but we’ve not been able to spot it on any of the ones we’ve looked through. 

It’s possible many of these pages have already spotted and fixed the mistake, and we expect the Alo Moves reference to the 3S will disappear soon too.

Either way, this is as close to an official confirmation as we’ll get until Meta makes a proper announcement – something we had expected would happen soon as part of this year’s Meta Quest Gaming Showcase, a gaming-focused event that usually lands in June or July.

That official announcement is still going to be important as while this leak does seemingly confirm a Meta Quest 3S is on its way, it doesn’t tell us any details about what we can expect from the device. Yes, leaks have strongly hinted at a more affordable XR device but we won’t know for sure until we hear the details from Meta directly.

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You might be waiting a while yet for Wi-Fi 7 support in Windows 11 – but Microsoft is on the case

Windows 11 is now adding support for Wi-Fi 7, those who want to use the much-improved wireless standard will doubtless be pleased to learn – but it’s only in testing currently.

That’s despite the fact that there are already Wi-Fi 7 routers out there, and the standard has been officially finalized by the Wi-Fi Alliance (the Wi-Fi Certified 7 program was announced at the start of January 2024, in fact).

As you might guess, it’ll be some time before official Wi-Fi 7 support comes through to the release version of Windows 11, as it’ll need to progress through testing channels first.

Right now, it’s only in the Canary (earliest) test channel with build 26063, a preview release that flew under our radar somewhat, but an important one in this respect. However, it’s also been added for Dev channel testers, Microsoft informed us in the usual blog post on build 26063 (as flagged up by XDA Developers).

WiFi 7 in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

As the software giant also pointed out, Wi-Fi 7 (aka 802.11be) is in the order of 4x faster than Wi-Fi 6 and more like 6x quicker than Wi-Fi 5.

If you want to know more about how this new wireless standard takes some big strides forward – and it isn’t just about raw speed, though that is, of course, very important – check out our guide to the ins-and-outs of Wi-Fi 7.

Analysis: Wireless party

In fairness to Microsoft, while it appears to be pretty late to the wireless party, and Wi-Fi 7 may have officially kicked off (at least in some countries, the US, Australia, and UK included), it's still early days for the standard.

The standard may be effectively set in stone now, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be tweaks going forward. There will inevitably be firmware updates for existing Wi-Fi 7 routers to fix or modify things going forward as needed, although all the big cogs in terms of features are now in place.

Windows 11 is one of the final pieces of the puzzle to be added for Wi-Fi 7 support, then, for laptops which sport Wi-Fi 7. And of course as mentioned, you’ll need a Wi-Fi 7 router to benefit from faster wireless speeds. (Those devices are expensive right now, too, it should be noted – though that’s generally true of any cutting-edge tech).

With Wi-Fi 7 we’re getting performance which makes wireless online gaming a reality in terms of it being close to wired (Ethernet) performance, and certainly much better than other fudges for PCs that aren’t plugged directly into the router (such as powerline adapters, which can be notoriously flaky in some scenarios).

What about Windows 10 support for Wi-Fi 7? We’re still not sure on that score, although the last we heard was that it is inbound – but there’s no sign of that yet.

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Shazam finally gets the upgrade that all headphones lovers have been waiting for

Shazam's latest update added a feature you may be surprised to learn wasn’t already present: the ability to identify music through your headphones.

The way it works, according to the patch notes on the App Store, is you first launch the app whenever you find a song on YouTube, TikTok, or wherever. Tap the headphone icon on-screen to tell Shazam a pair of headphones are connected and to begin listening. From here, you can go to the video with the mysterious song and the app will pick it up – hopefully. 9To5Mac states the tool works on “almost any… app you can think of”, alluding to the possibility that Shazam may have some blind spots. Once you’re done, you can find the name of the song on the app’s interface.

It doesn’t matter what kind of headphones you use. The patch notes confirm the feature will work through wired and wireless devices alike. Nor does there appear to be any hardware restrictions either. You won't need to own a pair of AirPods to gain access.  It works with third-party brands.

Additionally, Shazam will continue to work normally even if a pair of headphones are connected. The feature won’t interrupt or prevent the app from listening to songs playing in your immediate vicinity.

We should also mention that the headphone listening upgrade is also available to Android users. The app’s listing page on the Google Play Store has been updated to now include a line mentioning the new functionality.

Possible macOS expansion

It’s not a major upgrade as you can see, but it does introduce a new level of utility to the app. You should now have an easier time finding out the names of songs you stumble across on social media.

It’s unknown if this function will roll out to Shazam on macOS. According to the Mac App Store listing, the last time Shazam on Mac saw a patch was August 11, 2022, so it’s been a while. We think this version is overdue for an update. So we reached out to Apple asking if there are plans to expand the headphone listening feature to its other rendition of Shazam. This story will be updated at a later time.

Until then, check out TechRadar’s list of the best headphones for 2024.

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The Discord mobile app has 4 new upgrades we’ve all been waiting for

Today Discord is rolling out some much-needed updates to its mobile app which might finally make it feel like a proper alternative to the desktop version.

While I’ve had Discord installed on my phone for years I only ever turn to it as a last resort. It has been sluggish, more than a bit clunky, and was overall a less reliable experience than the version on my PC. Nine times out of ten a different app would be a better option. That might be about to change though, thanks to some improvements the Discord team has been working on with help from the community.

Speaking of which, if you’ve been trying out the experimental build of Discord, you might find some of the updates are familiar – that’s because today’s update is finally rolling the fine-tuned upgrades out to everyone. So now all mobile Discord users can take advantage of the app's new features which should improve load times, extend your phone's battery life, and use your data package more efficiently. 

More to come 

Alongside the updates highlighted below, Discord has a few more mobile app improvements up its sleeve that are set to arrive in the (hopefully near) future. This includes better search filters for finding the exact message or post you’re after, giving you more control over how compact lists and messages appear so that they suit your preferences, and adding a quick access option to see a server’s member list.

But let's get into the features you can take advantage of right now.

Discord icon on phone screen with logo on blurry background, Illustrative Editorial

Update your discord app today to see the improvements (Image credit: Shutterstock / Postmodern Studio)

Faster, more efficient chatting

The best upgrade to the Discord app is that it now opens much more quickly – with the new version reducing app opening times by 43% on iOS and 55% on Android. What’s more, when you hop between servers the mobile app now uses four times less data so you can hop between conversations without eating into as much of your monthly limit.

Android users should also notice the software is more reliable. Over the past year, the team says they’ve cut the crash rate by half for people using Android phones and tablets.

Midnight dark mode is here 

A screenshot of the new black Midnight Mode on Discord Mobile

A proper dark mode is finally here (Image credit: Discord)

Second on my list of Discord upgrades is that the app finally has a proper dark mode. Discord’s old Dark mode just wasn’t dark enough, but thankfully it now has Midnight mode that hits the mark by making menus black – with it not only adding some subjective style but also offering reduced battery drain on phones with an OLED display. 

By tapping on your profile picture, then the Settings cog wheel, you can scroll down to see your app’s Appearance settings. From here, tap Theme and you can now select Midnight (or the other free Dark and Light themes), or perhaps one of the funky color options if you pay for Nitro.

Media sharing simplified 

If you’re looking to share snaps via a DM or in your server’s picture chat, everything should feel a lot more organized.

With this new update, Discord mobile gained the ability to send images and videos as a neatly packed gallery that you could swipe through without having to scroll through a huge trail of images in the main chat. 

This should help to keep your conversations clearer, without losing the ability to share fun snaps or clips.

Cleaner call UI

A screenshot of the new leaner call UI on Discord Mobile

The call UI isn’t massively different, but feels better (Image credit: Discord)

Last but not least, the voice and video call user interface has been redesigned to offer a more intuitive and “cozy” space when you’re on a call while out on the go. It's also now a little more seamless to jump into one of Discord's inbuilt games with other members of the call, based on our experience with the experimental build. 

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Meta Quest 3 owners check the phone app as 12 free games might be waiting for you

If you own a Meta Quest 3 you should check your Meta Quest smartphone app as you might have a six-month free trial of Meta Quest Plus waiting for you.

Previously this offer was an exclusive order incentive for people who bought the 512GB Meta Quest 3 model, but Quest 3 owners on Reddit have noticed that the 6-month trial is available to them even if they bought the 128GB version. This means rather than saving only $ 7.99 / £7.99 from a one-month trial everyone can get $ 47.94 / £47.94 worth of subscription value for no cost.

Meta Quest Plus is like a Netflix for Quest VR games. Each month you’ll get 2 free VR titles that you can add to your Quest library, and for as long as you are subscribed you can play them. If you unsubscribe, you’ll lose access to your free games until you rejoin Meta Quest Plus.  So with this trial that’s 12 free games, which is a pretty excellent deal that rivals this year’s best Black Friday deals.

To see if you can get this free six-month trial you’ll need to open open the Meta Quest app on your smartphone. Use Search to look for Meta Quest Plus, then on the Quest Plus store page tap the blue button at the bottom of your screen that says “Start your six-month trial.”

Meta Quest Plus advert showing Pistol Whip and Pixel Ripper 1995

(Image credit: Meta)

This offer doesn’t appear to be exclusive to new subscribers either. Comments on the original Reddit post suggest that people can get the six-month trial if they’ve tried the one-month trial before, and even if they’re subscribed – with the six free months being added on top of the subscription they already have.

It also appears to be available in every region, though some users have reported they can only see the one-month trial; that said it’s not clear if they’re Meta Quest 3 or Oculus Quest 2 owners.

If you’re looking to expand your VR library then Meta Quest Plus is a good way to do it, as the two games you get are worth more than the monthly $ 7.99 / £7.99 fee. However, you don’t get to pick which games you get so you might prefer to spend more but get the games you actually want.

The two free titles at the time of writing are NFL Pro Era and Angry Birds: Isle of Pigs. We've not tried either but both titles have been fairly well received with a four and four-and-a-half star rating, respectively, on the Quest Store.

If you don’t have a Meta Quest 3, or an Oculus Quest 2, then you can check out our Black Friday Oculus Quest 2 deals guide to see the latest and greatest offers. If it’s still available you might want to go after Amazon’s incredible Quest 2 deal as it gets you $ 50 / £50 off the headset and free $ 50 / £50 Amazon credit too.

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Microsoft is releasing the .NET update you’ve all been waiting for

Although Microsoft's .NET open source framework only just celebrated its 20th birthday the company is now pushing ahead with a new version, .NET 7. 

In a blog post, Microsoft says it is releasing .NET 7 Preview 1 alongside ASP.NET Core Preview 1 and EF7 Preview 1.

“.NET 7 builds on the foundation established by .NET 6, which includes a unified set of base libraries, runtime, and SDK, a simplified development experience, and higher developer productivity,” says Microsoft's Jeremy Likness. “Major areas of focus for .NET 7 include improved support for cloud native scenarios, tools to make it easier to upgrade legacy projects, and simplifying the developer experience by making it easier to work with containers.” 

Open source forever and always 

If you use .NET for work (or pleasure), then it's worth reading the full blog for the details on what's new over .NET 6 as there's a lot. 

Some headline features is the addition of .NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI), and new tools to make it easier to build cloud-native apps by simplifying the setup and configuration necessary to implement secure authentication and authorization, and also improving the performance of application startup and runtime execution.

Developers will be able to easily and quickly upgrade their .NET 6 apps to the new platform, with Microsoft providing a range of support tools and services.

After many years opposing open source, Microsoft is really leaning into making the space better. It's fair to say many developers were initially sceptical of Microsoft and it's commitment to making open source tools as the company, seeking to maintain its dominant position, opposed many developers and projects. 

But Microsoft's GitHub acquisition for $ 7.5 billion in 2018 helped the company turn a new page and win over sceptics. 

By maintaining .NET 7 – which is truly open source and cross-platform – so thoroughly (you could even say lovingly), Microsoft is doing its bit for the furtherance of computing.  

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Microsoft shares some good Windows 11 news we’ve all been waiting for

If you were worried that you’d have to wait a while before Windows 11 gets any major new features, then Microsoft has just shared some good news, which means the new operating system will get updated and improved far more regularly than first thought.

Microsoft had initially said that it would be only releasing a single annual feature update for Windows 11 each year, which led some people to worry that they would have to wait 12 months for new features to come to their PCs.

However, as ZDNet has discovered, in a new blog post about the Windows Insider program, Microsoft states that: “We will deliver updates to features and experiences in builds from the Dev and Beta Channels by releasing Feature, Web, and Online Service Experience Packs on top of these builds too.”

This means there will be three ‘Experience Pack’ updates alongside the annual feature updates. Rather than bringing a range of features, bug fixes and security upgrades across the whole of the Windows 11 operating system, as a major feature update does, these new Experience Packs will focus on adding or expanding features for particular aspects of the operating system.

So, Online Service Experience Packs will focus on adding features related to how Windows 11 manages online services and accounts – such as changing or improving the ‘Your Microsoft Account’ settings page.

Web Experience Packs will add features to do with browsing the internet, as well as features within Windows 11 that use the internet to bring you news and information. ZDNet spoke to Microsoft, which clarified that “the Web Experience Pack is updated through the Microsoft Store (while the Feature Experience Packs and Online Service Packs will be updated through Windows Update). The Web Experience Pack will allow Microsoft to update things like the Widgets experience in Windows 11.”

Finally, Feature Experience Packs will contain more broader features, such as updates to legacy apps to make them feel more modern.

Analysis: Keep the improvements coming

These new Experience Packs will be released independently of the annual major operating system updates, and this is good news for several reasons.

As we mentioned earlier, it means that you don’t have to wait a year for new features to be added. While in our Windows 11 review we said there’s a lot to like about the new operating system, it’s still not perfect. By having a regular new features coming to the operating system, Windows 11 will continue to evolve, while feeling fresh and exciting.

There’s another benefit as well. Microsoft’s move to single annual major updates for Windows 11 (and Windows 10, which is getting the same treatment) is a welcome move in many respects. It should reduce the number of times a user gets bugged to download, install and restart their PC. It’s also no secret that Microsoft has having some pretty major issues with recent Windows 10 updates. By focusing on a single update, there’s a hope that Microsoft will be able to ensure these updates are much better built and tested, hopefully reducing any potential problems.

However, if Microsoft kept all of its updates to a single download once per year, that could lead to very large and complex updates. By separating features to their own updates, this will reduce the size of the annual update.

Adding new features to an operating system is also fraught with complexities, and this is where issues sometimes arise. If a new feature is added that doesn’t work as expected – or ends up breaking other parts of the operating system – it should hopefully be easier for Microsoft to identify and fix if it’s part of a smaller Experience Pack update, rather than causing issues in a major annual update (which will also inevitably lead to bad PR).

So, this is good news from Microsoft regarding Windows 11. Hopefully the days of major issues after updating Windows are behind us.

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Microsoft Teams is finally getting the update you’ve all been waiting for

Working together with others outside your organization in Microsoft Teams will soon be possible thanks to a new update to Microsoft's online collaboration tool.

Workgroups often extend beyond one's organization with employees connecting with multiple external stakeholders including customers, vendors and partners. However, up until now, users had to rely on different software or even personal apps to collaborate with them.

Not only does this require employees to use multiple apps which takes longer and can reduce their productivity, it also creates security risks for both workers and their companies.

For this reason, Microsoft is currently working on two updates that leverage Microsoft Teams Connect and the secure access capabilities of Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to make cross-organizational collaboration easier for businesses.

Cross-organizational collaboration

The first update involves shared channels which allow individuals and teams across multiple organizations to work together in Microsoft Teams. When this feature becomes available in preview early next year, shared channels will appear within each Member's Teams tenant alongside other teams and channels. 

Users will also be able to schedule a shared channel meeting, use other Microsoft apps like Office and share each channel with up to 50 teams and as many organizations as they need.  Meanwhile, admins can use cross-tenant access settings in Azure AD to configure granular and differentiated trust relationships for external collaboration with different organizations.

Microsoft is also working on another update scheduled to rollout by the end of this year that will enable Teams users to chat with others outside their network including those using Teams personal accounts. They'll be able to invite any Teams user to chat using an email address or phone number while remaining within the security and compliance policies of their organization.

Cross-organizational collaboration is the Teams update many users have been waiting for as it will allow Microsoft's collaboration tool and video conferencing software to become a one-stop-shop for all of their business dealings both internally and externally.

Looking to improve your Microsoft Teams experience? Check out our roundups of the best business webcams, best headsets for conference calls and best video conferencing software

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