Apple Vision Pro vs Pico VR: which is best?

Ready for another VR headset showdown?

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Time for another classic VR headset showdown – this time, it’s Apple Vision Pro vs Pico VR.

Apple’s recent announcement has got tech fans buzzing, with a forthcoming augmented reality device in the works. The Apple Vision Pro seeks to blend digital content with physical reality – they’ve described it as a spatial computer, building on the ‘augmented reality’ headsets such as Google Glass and other big names in the virtual reality market. The revolutionary new headset comes with a host of innovative new features that promise to improve your social and professional lives, all supported by the well-known iOS operating system. Although it was said in the press release that it would be available early next year, no specific launch release date has been given just yet. It’s set to be direct competition for Meta’s headsets and similar virtual reality devices, and is one of the most major announcements from the American technology company for some time.

The Pico VR headset is a little more straightforward. It’s a budget VR offering which is optimised for gaming and similar forms of entertainment. It straps to the user’s head similarly to Apple’s addition to the world of augmented-reality headsets.

Both are great headsets, but which is best for you? Read on to find out.

What is the Apple Vision Pro?

The Apple Vision Pro is an upcoming AR (augmented reality) headset that aims to seamlessly blend virtual reality with the real world, allowing users to stay connected through Apple apps while being fully present in their physical surroundings. For instance, during Facetime calls, users will appear as a persona – a digitalized version of themselves, giving the illusion of being in the same room as the person they are talking to. The headset also offers an immersive viewing experience, with a streaming service for TV shows and movies. It’s the first Apple product to use ‘spatial computing’ with enhanced spatial audio, eye and motion trackers and built-in cameras which allow you to see the outside world.

Additionally, the Vision Pro will support Apple Arcade games and other applications, with a strong emphasis on integrating the iOS system into real-world interactions. While specific details are not yet confirmed, it is expected that the operating system will run in unity with other Apple products such as the Apple Watch, iPhone, Mac laptop, and iPad. Standalone use is also expected.

What is Pico VR?

The Bytedance-owned Pico 4 is a budget VR offering. Designed to be lightweight and comfortable, it features a sleek and ergonomic design, making it easy to wear for extended periods. The headset is equipped with advanced display technology, providing crisp and vibrant visuals with a high resolution, allowing users to fully immerse themselves in virtual environments. It is beloved by game developers and gamers on a budget.

Although the headset doesn’t quite have the compatibility range boasted by the HTC Vive or Meta Quest Pro, it still offers a good selection of games accessible through the Pico Store or Steam. However, the hardware comes through, and it’s a solid cheap option for a good introductory VR headset.

Apple Vision Pro vs Pico VR

So, without further ado, here’s our comparison of the Apple Vision Pro vs Pico VR. We’ve picked the Pico 4 as our model to compare with, as it’s the latest edition.

Apple Vision Pro vs Pico VR: Price

Here the two models differ widely. The Apple Vision Pro is set to cost around $3,499/£2,817, making it a top-of-the-market choice for Apple enthusiasts, VR fans and general tech heads. On the other hand, the Pico 4 costs just £379. It’s currently not available in the US.

Apple Vision Pro vs Pico VR: Specs

Both devices boast a powerful internal processor and great display.

The Apple Vision Pro comes with the M2, a powerful chip already famous for its performance in the 15-inch MacBook Air. The R1 assists. The processor is complemented by the high-resolution display, with 23 million pixels on each eye-panel which provide a display exceeding most 4K TV screens. Apple has also introduced an exterior screen that displays your eyes on the front of the headset, giving the impression that the screen doesn’t exist. You can switch between full virtual mode and a more mixed reality experience. The Vision Pro runs off iOS software, seamlessly integrating into Apple’s lineup of old and new products. Super-sensitive microphones promise to boost Facetime and similar experiences. Dual-driver audio pods enable specialised ambient sound, again integrating the virtual world into the outside environments.

The Pico 4 VR headset comes with 2160 X 2160 LCD screens in each eye of the goggles, which can achieve a maximum 90 Hz refresh rate. It is powered by the Qualcomm XR2 ultra chip which can process information at a hefty rate. It’s a pretty lightweight device, too. You can switch to ‘see through’ mode to see real world surroundings, although they are not as integrated into general use as in the Apple Vision Pro. It has a decent microphone system, too.

Apple Vision Pro vs Pico VR: controls

The Apple Vision Pro is controlled via hand movements captured by sensors and a three-dimensional camera, and movements of the user’s eyes, which are detected by eye-tracking sensors. The Pico 4 requires hand controllers.

Apple Vision Pro vs Pico VR: Battery

Pico comes out on top here, with 3 hours of use unplugged. The Apple Vision Pro is set to provide 2 hours of battery life unconnected. Both come with an external battery pack.

Gloria’s Thoughts

Both of these are great headsets, but the one which is best for you comes down to individual needs and circumstances. If you are on a budget or just interested in gaming, the Pico 4 VR headset is definitely your best bet. However, if you have more cash to splash and are keen to get your hands on the most cutting edge augmented reality tech, you should start saving for the Apple Vision Pro.