Abstract. A quasi-poloidal stellarator with very low plasma aspect ratio (R/a 2.7, 1/2-1/4 that of existing stellarators) is a new confinement approach that could ultimately lead to a high-beta compact stellarator reactor. The Quasi-Poloidal Stellarator (QPS) experiment is being developed to test key features of this approach. The QPS will study neoclassical and anomalous transport, stability limits at beta up to 2.5%, the configuration dependence of the bootstrap current, and equilibrium robustness. The quasi-poloidal symmetry leads to neoclassical transport that is much smaller than the anomalous transport. The reduced effective field ripple may also produce reduced poloidal viscosity, enhancing the ambipolar E x B poloidal drift and allowing larger poloidal flows for reduction of anomalous transport. A region of second stability exists in QPS at higher beta. Very-high-beta configurations with a tokamak-like transform profile have also been obtained with a bootstrap current 1/3-1/5 that in an equivalent tokamak. These configurations are stable to low-n ideal MHD kink and vertical instabilities for beta up to 11%. Ballooning-stable configurations are found for beta in the range 2% to 23%.