As a brand, PICO XR has actually been around since 2015, making VR headsets under the Bytedance umbrella. This year, it made its official entry into the Malaysian market with the PICO 4 VR headset. It comes with a very compelling starting price of RM1699 too, with the option to double storage space, all for an additional RM300.
It is also probably among the more accessible VR headsets locally, with an official presence in the country. As a newcomer, though, it also has to contend with more well-known industry mainstays, including the Meta Quest 2, to name at least one.
What Is It?
On the face of it, the PICO 4 is a VR headset that does what it says on the tin, with some twists in its design formula. Some of the key differences here include the Pancake optics to reduce the size of the display’s side of the headgear. Also helping reduce the size of the front-end of the headset is the 5300mAh battery that is located at the back of the headstrap. Speaking of its battery, other items on its spec sheet include a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset, a 1200PPI 4K display with a 90Hz refresh rate, and storage options of 128GB and 256GB.
The PICO 4 also comes with a passthrough camera which, as the name suggests, lets you see the real world without having to take the headset off. This is done by slapping the headset twice, in no specific spot. This feature is not turned on by default, which is definitely strange. You get full colour vision, but depth perception may be an issue. That being said, you’ll unlikely need to use it for long enough for it to be a problem.
The headset features built-in speakers, so if you’re alone while you’re using it you don’t really need headphones. But if you still prefer to not use it, you can connect your own via either USB-C or Bluetooth.
As you’d expect, the headset comes with a pair of controllers, which sport a very familiar design if you’re familiar with, say the Meta Quest 2 (expect more comparisons with this). At the very least, the button layout is identical, but the arch, or ring if you prefer, cuts diagonally from the front to the back.
Is It Any Good?
The PICO 4 distinguishes itself from the crowd by being both lightweight and well-balanced in the same department. To start, the company claims that without straps the headset weighs 295g. Which is pretty light. Making things better is the fact that the weight distribution is balanced thanks to the battery being at the back of your head when you have it on. All this makes for a more comfortable wearing experience, allowing you to keep it on for as long as its battery can last.
Speaking of battery, the company rates the battery life of the PICO 4 at three hours. In my experience, you’re more likely to get two-and-a-half on average. This isn’t too bad, as it’s just slightly under what you’ll get with the Meta Quest 2. Also, like its rival’s headset, the controllers are powered by AA batteries. Which can be annoying, but these are likely to last you weeks, if not months.
The Bad Stuff. Tell Me.
If you’re a first-time owner of a standalone VR headset, then this is probably less relevant to you. But if you’re already an owner of Meta Quest 2, then you may find that the content here is a little lacking. Not that PICO is being stingy with content, but more so Meta just has the larger library. Not only does it lack titles like Beat Saber, but it naturally also won’t have big-name exclusives like Resident Evil 4 VR.
It is also a separate ecosystem, meaning that if you were already heavily invested in Meta and already bought a lot of software, you’ll have to fork out the money all over again. Though as mentioned, this is no issue if the PICO 4 is to be your first standalone VR headset.
Should I Buy It?
This really depends on if the PICO 4 is going to be your first VR headset. If so, then by all means go for it, just keep in mind what you’ll potentially be missing content-wise. It will also probably be the easiest to look for and get, as the brand now has an official presence in the country.
On the other hand though, if you’re already familiar with VR via another platform, that will depend on if you’re already very heavily invested. If you already own a Meta VR headset, and all you want is content that’s not available in the PICO 4’s store, then picking it up is not a bad idea. But if you have a decked-out library, then having to rebuild it from scratch on another platform will definitely be a tough financial pill to swallow.