Technology

Meta Quest 2 has a new competitor PICO 4 VR

We’ve just received our first fall VR headset, and it’s not the Meta Quest 3.

PICO has just announced its latest VR headset: the PICO 4. Although this headset directly competes with the Meta Quest 2, it has some features that put it ahead of the current Meta VR headset. One of the most notable features is the “pancake optics”; next-generation lens technology that allows for flatter lenses and a more compact headset design. This is a feature we are currently looking forward to in the rumored Meta Quest Pro.

Unfortunately for US customers, you won’t be able to get PICO 4 right away – if ever. The VR headset will go on sale October 18 in thirteen European countries, including the UK, Japan and Korea. The price will start at £379 or €429 for the 128GB headset. It also plans to launch in Singapore and Malaysia this year. Pre-orders start September 23rd.

Pico 4: characteristics

Headset PICO 4 VR.

(Image credit: PIKO)

The PICO 4 comes with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. This is a small step up from the PICO Neo 3 which only had 6 GB of RAM. The chipset remains unchanged from the previous generation as the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 looks set to remain the standard in the VR world for now. However, PICO says improved cooling systems should result in better performance despite the same processor.

The display is where the PICO 4 makes some headway, at least on paper. The resolution for each eye is increased to 2160 x 2160 pixels per eye. This should make a noticeable difference compared to the PICO Neo 3’s 1832 x 1920 resolution. The field of view has also been increased to 105 degrees, which is also a notable improvement over many current generation headsets.

As stated earlier, pancake optics allow for better designs, although they don’t necessarily translate into a better display on their own. Most likely, a thinner display allowed the headset to be lighter and more compact. That’s good news, considering the PICO 4’s battery is a big reason the headset weighs a (relatively) whopping 1.3 pounds. However, this battery is on the back of the headset, which is why PICO claims this results in a more ergonomic design overall compared to the competition.

How to pre-order Oculus Quest 2

(Image credit: Oculus)

While not a huge gap, the specs listed for the PICO 4 suggest a better headset than the Meta Quest 2. The display resolution is a significant improvement over the Quest 2 and PICO 4’s 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye. 105-degree field of view surpasses the Quest 2’s 90-degree field of view.

Aside from the display, the two headsets are quite similar. However, there are two areas where Quest 2 could have an advantage. First, the battery life of each headset is between two and three hours (technically the PICO 4 is 2.5-3 hours), so without comparing them to each other, chances are that the Meta Quest 2 performs better in this regard. The Quest 2 has a distinct advantage in terms of weight, though again PICO 4 claims its more ergonomic design could make the headset more comfortable.

Pico 4: Perspectives

PICO 4 VR headset in use.

(Image credit: PIKO)

Unfortunately for PICO 4, the only area where Meta Quest 2 has a clear advantage is access to the US market. Since the two headsets are priced the same, the PICO 4 may be the better value of the two headsets.

This can undermine the device’s ability to succeed. The more users in the ecosystem, the more developers will want to develop applications for it. It remains to be seen if they will miss out on one of the biggest VR markets in the world. (will open in a new tab) it will hurt. I hope it’s not, because PICO 4 looks like the kind of competitor Meta needs to spur innovation.

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