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Apple Vision Pro review round-up – a pretty but pricey headset

What do the reviewers see in the Apple Vision Pro?
Last Updated on January 31, 2024
Apple Vision Pro review round-up - a pretty but pricey headset. Image shows the Apple Vision Pro next to a pink thought bubble with three question marks in it, on a pink blue gradient background.
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With the embargo finally lifted, we’re finally able to hear a bit about what people actually think of Apple’s ‘Spatial Computing’ headset, the Apple Vision Pro. There’s no doubt that this device gives us a peek into the future with its 4k display and hand and eye tracking, but it’s unlikely that Apple has got it perfect straight away – or is it?

Now that Vision Pro reviews have started making an appearance, we can start to get a clearer sense of how its mixed-reality experience fairs in the real world; basically, we can see if the headset is worthy of its $3,500 price tag. If you’re on the fence about the Vision Pro, or if you’re simply just curious, in this article we’re doing an Apple Vision Pro review round-up, weighing in on the opinions of those who were lucky enough to have a hands-on try before the headset’s release on the 2nd of February. Here’s the lowdown.

Apple Vision Pro reviews by experts

Let’s dive into what experts have to say about the Apple Vision Pro. These reviews are from Tom’s Guide, CNET, CNBC, and The Verge.

SiteReviews from experts
CNET“What really makes Vision Pro seem futuristic isn’t the display or the apps, it’s the input. Eyes and hands.”
Tom’s Guide“The Apple Vision Pro is a truly amazing product that delivers futuristic eye and hand-tracking interface along with breathtaking 3D video and truly impressive AR apps.”
The Verge“The Vision Pro represents a series of really big tradeoffs–tradeoffs that are impossible to ignore.”
CNBC“Apple’s most exciting product in years…the best example yet that this will become a new way of computing.”
Quotes from Apple Vision Pro reviews from CNET, Tom’s Guide, The Verge, and CNBC

Overview of the Apple Vision Pro – what’s good, what’s bad?

In a nutshell, the Apple Vision Pro is a cutting-edge mixed-reality headset designed to provide users with immersive experiences. Priced at $3,500, it aims to offer a complete spatial computing solution for both entertainment and productivity, working seamlessly with the other iOS devices across Apple’s ecosystem. Pre-orders seem to have a pretty decent turnout, and now we’re counting down the days until its official release on the 2nd of February.

So, has the Vision Pro hit the nail on the head when it comes to design and purpose? Strangely enough, most of the reviews seem to be in agreement: almost, but not quite. As a sort of first-generation device, it’s an astounding product, but the Vision Pro is not without its flaws. A good summary comes from Tom’s Guide’s Mark Spoonauer, who notes that the Vision Pro “revolutionizes both mobile computing and entertainment”, but is at its core “pricey and far from perfect”, with Scott Stein from CNET concluding that it’s ” Apple’s wildest and strangest device”. Its price tag and niche audience may cause some people to scoff, but the Vision Pro could be the most innovative Apple product we’ve seen since the iPhone. Here are a few of the goods and bads reviewers highlighted from their Vision Pro experiences.

Goods – the Vision Pro is in a class of its own

One of the most common compliments of Apple’s headset concerned its appearance and design quality, with reviewers concluding that the Vision Pro usurped its rivals in this regard. The Verge’s Nilay Patel commented on how it felt like a “natural extension of Apple’s familiar design language”, so we know it’ll hold high standards in line with the brands reputation; CNET’s Stein quoted the device as the “best wearable display I’ve ever put on”. When comparing the carbon fiber and aluminum feel to that of the plastic Meta Quest, it’s clear that the Vision Pro is in a different league.

What’s more, its elite outer design correlates to the software experience you get inside the device. Also highly praised are the eye and face-tracking that “puts the competition to shame” in the opinion of Spoonauer, with CNET also chiming in that while other VR headsets have eye and hand tracking, there currently isn’t one that does it as “smoothly, subtly and intuitively as the Vision Pro”.

Bads – heavy and pricey

It’s clear that the Vision Pro is a premium product, and its premium price tag did not go under the reviewer’s radar: in fact, Tom’s Guide concluded that its steep price will “greatly limit this headset’s initial appeal”. Moreover, there are so many add-on extras that the total cost for your Vision Pro could come to a total of close to $5,000 if you opt-in for the 1TB model with Apple Care and a carrying case. Also, the Vision Pro seems to work better as a companion device to other Apple products, such as the Magic Keyboard and Mouse, and most likely a MacBook.

Apple Vision Pro – overall design and features

The Apple Vision Pro boasts an impressive design that’s sleek and futuristic. Its curved glass front panel and modular design make it highly customizable to the wearer. However, it should be noted that the headset is on the heavier side, weighing around 1.3 to 1.4 pounds. This was one of the core criticisms, with the Tom’s Guide reviewer commenting that “After 30 minutes, I felt it weighing on my cheeks”. While it may not be the most comfortable to wear for extended periods, the Vision Pro offers different band options for added stability and support, but this doesn’t take away from the annoyance of having all the weight on the front of the device.

One of the standout features of the Vision Pro is its eye and hand-tracking interface. Critics have praised the accuracy and responsiveness of the eye-tracking technology, which allows users to select elements simply by looking at them. The hand-tracking functionality also works seamlessly, enabling users to interact with virtual objects and control the headset without the need for external controllers.

In terms of software, the Vision Pro runs on Apple’s VisionOS, providing a user-friendly interface that integrates well with the Apple ecosystem. Users can easily launch apps, multitask, and even mirror their Mac’s display on the headset for an extended workspace. The headset also supports a wide range of apps, from entertainment and gaming to productivity and creative tools.

Apple Vision Pro – overall performance

In terms of performance, the Apple Vision Pro has been praised for its smooth operation and seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem. Users can run various apps, including productivity tools like Excel and Webex, without any major issues. However, there have been reports of early performance bugs that need to be addressed.

Apple Vision Pro – overall battery life

Battery life is a significant consideration for any portable device, and the Vision Pro offers around 2 to 2.5 hours of general use and video playback. While this may be sufficient for short VR or AR sessions, it falls short compared to other VR headsets with longer battery life. The tethered external battery pack can also be cumbersome and may require users to plan their usage accordingly.

Is the Apple Vision Pro worth the money?

The Apple Vision Pro comes with an eye-watering price tag of $3,500, making it a luxury product reserved for well-heeled early adopters. If you’re a glasses wearer, then you aren’t in luck here, as separate prescription lenses are available for a minimum of $149 extra dollars on top of your initial investment.

While it offers a truly immersive VR and AR experience, critics question whether it justifies the high cost, especially when there are more affordable alternatives available. The Vision Pro is undeniably innovative and offers “a stunning look at the future” of computing and entertainment, but its value proposition may not be compelling for everyone. On the flip side, for now, it’s probably the best mixed-reality headset available, outperforming rivals such as the Meta Quest 3, at least for modern spatial computing.

Final thoughts

The Apple Vision Pro is a remarkable piece of technology that pushes the boundaries of VR and AR experiences. Its eye and hand-tracking interface, coupled with impressive 3D video and AR apps, create a truly immersive experience. However, there are some drawbacks to consider, including the high price, limited gaming library, early performance bugs, and relatively short battery life. Hopefully, this Apple Vision Pro review round-up has given you some insight into what people actually think after having first-hand experience with the headset.

On the whole, if you have the resources to invest in cutting-edge technology and want to explore the future of spatial computing, the Apple Vision Pro may be worth considering. It offers a unique and captivating experience that is unmatched by other VR headsets. However, for the average consumer, the Vision Pro may remain out of reach for now. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect more affordable and refined VR and AR solutions to enter the market, providing a wider range of options for consumers.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.