I covered my first impression of the PICO 4 almost four weeks ago, where I said it was giving me some positive impressions. I also did the unboxing in that article, so you can read that if you want to know what you are getting in the box and the specs.
Before we start, I just want to say that this is my VR experience and also my VR headset, and I don’t have any other VR headsets to compare it with. So, I will be reviewing this as someone who is very new to VR. Also, I don’t have a PC good enough to run PCVR games, so I will just review this as a standalone VR headset. Let’s get started!
How Comfortable It Is?
The PICO 4 is a lightweight VR headset, at 586grams with a head strap. The top head strap is removable, but I recommend keeping it there so the VR can rest better on your head. Although, I can feel the back of the headset is a bit heavier because the 5,300mAh battery sits inside there and the battery is not removable.
There’s a knob on the back where you can adjust how secure you want it to be. The facial padding is kind of stiff, not the best but it works. It was made out of skin-friendly material that feels like fabric. The padding attaches itself via magnets to the VR and it is removable, but currently, PICO is not selling the padding separately and there’s no third-party solution yet.
This is one of the features that you must set properly before you start playing or else everything will look blurry or out-of-focus. You can set the IPD between 62mm – 72mm, but you can actually go lower than that. A warning message will pop up if you try to set it lower than 62mm, telling you that setting it any lower and the lenses might pinch your nose, but if you are okay with that, the lowest you can go is 58mm.
The PICO 4 has 105 degrees of field of view, when the IPD is set correctly and I have adjusted the VR headset properly, I’m getting a good edge-to-edge clarity and I can see almost everything clearly thanks to the pancake lenses. But it has a slightly noticeable screen door effect but it’s not distracting.
The VR is running 72hz out of the box, you should adjust 90hz in the Lab setting immediately for that extra smoothness. Also, even when I set it to max brightness, I feel like the brightness is lacking, perhaps it is due to the LCD panels.
The controllers are comfortable to hold, but the buttons are a little bit small for my hands. The tracking rings are well positioned, they don’t interfere with each other when you are holding a gun with both hands.
You can take screenshots and record videos with a press of a button and it uses two AA batteries for each controller, and PICO said you can expect around 80 hours of use.
There are four cameras located on the PICO 4 for tracking the controllers. The tracking is good, I have no problems with it when I was playing games. There’s also one 16MP camera that supports colour passthrough and you can double-tap the right side of the VR to turn it on.
There’s no depth sensor, so it uses the tracking cameras to create a sense of depth but the video looks wobbly. It’s a bit hard to read texts unless you get really close to it, but it’s fine if you just want to grab a drink or look at your surroundings. Hopefully, PICO will improve this and maybe create mixed-reality content with it.
There’s an integrated stereo speakers on the strap and the volume button is located on the right hand side of the strap. There’s no headphone jack, but you can use USB-C headphones or a dongle.
You can also use Bluetooth headphones or earphones but it is not suitable for gaming due to the latency. Besides that, there’s a mic as well.
The speakers support 3D spatial audio, and it sounds pretty good; I can hear gunshots and explosions all around me, but the bass is lacking. The speakers are good enough to play games and watch movies or videos in a quiet room.
The PICO 4 is running on PICO OS 5.0. The OS is based on Android, but deeply customised for the VR experience. I tried downloading an APK from APKMirror and it works just fine. There’s a fitness feature that will track how many calories you burned, how long was your exercise, and etc.
On the home screen, you can find Explore tab (recommended games, videos and etc.), Store tab (you can buy games and apps here, with prices ranging from RM12 to RM168+), Files manager tab (manage your screenshots, videos, APKs and etc.), and Library tab (all your installed/uninstalled apps and games, videos, and etc.).
There’s also quick settings to adjust brightness, volume, IPD, toggle Bluetooth and etc. In addition to that, there are three home environments to choose from that you can also walk around in. You can even check the controllers’ battery life in VR just by looking at it.
I tried playing some games on it, such as Operation Warcade, After The Fall, In Death: Unchained and All-In-One Sports VR. All the games work fantastically, but sometimes I just want to keep playing without stopping. PICO said the battery will last up to three hours, but I’m only getting around two hours or so. Charging it to full takes two hours.
Should You Buy It?
If you are looking to buy your first VR headset, you can’t go wrong with PICO 4. It has amazing specs and it is not too expensive. From now until 15 November 2022, the PICO 4 can be purchased at RM100 less than its retail price, at RM1,599 for the 128GB variant and RM1,899 for the 256GB variant. You are also getting 10 free games with it.
However, the software still needs some work, and right now, there aren’t that many games compared to Meta Quest 2. If you already have Quest 2, perhaps you want to stick with it, especially if you are already pretty invested in it.
Overall, PICO 4 is an amazing VR headset that is taking the right step towards making a good VR experience that is accessible to all.