Pico Neo 3 Pro Hands-On First Impressions


Pico today announced the release of Pico Neo 3 Pro and Pico Neo 3 Pro Eye, its latest enterprise standalone headsets, to the Western markets. I have just received the Pico Neo 3 Pro directly from Pico Interactive (thanks!) and after some quick tests, I’m ready to give you some brief first impressions about it, so you can already decide if considering buying it or not. Next week, after I have effectively used the headset for some days, I’ll proceed with a full review with all the tiny details that you love of my posts!

As always, you can decide if reading this article in written form, or just hear more or less the same info in a cool Youtube video that I link here below:

What do you prefer? Youtube videos or blog posts? Let me know in the comments!

Specifications

Qualcomm XR2 chipset

4K low-persistence 90 Hz Curved Display3664 x 1920 resolution, 773 PPI

98° FOV

6GB RAM (2133 Mhz) for the Pro model, 8GB for the Pro Eye Model
256GB storage
Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
USB-C 3.0 connector with OTG
3 Physical IPD adjustments
Optical Positional tracking, with 4 tracking cameras
Cameras have 400×400 resolution and run at 120Hz
Maximum 10m x 10m tracking area and mm-precision accuracy

Optical Tracked Controllers, with 32 tracking points
All-PU materials fabrication, for easier sanitization
5300 mAh battery, for around 2.5-3h of usage
Integrated audio, with 3.5mm jack to connect external headphones
Tobii eye tracking in Pico Pro 3 Eye model
Wi-fi streaming or tethered streaming to SteamVR integrated in the runtime
Android 10 operating system
Pico SDK for development

Design

Pico Neo 3 Pro headset and controllers

The design of Pico Neo 3 is very similar to the one of Pico Neo 2… the style is the one that Pico has always used all these years: black and white colors in the front that make the headset very recognizable, with grey finishes for the cushions. Since this model uses four tracking cameras in the corner of vision, it looks like the combination of a Quest 2 and a Pico Neo 2.

The design is not super-sexy, but it’s nice, and I appreciate the dual-color because it is different from what the other vendors are doing. The materials of the headset are solid, as should always be in an enterprise device.

Comfort

Pico Neo 3 Pro is well balanced: since the battery is in the back of the headset, it is not front-heavy like Quest 2. Its cushions are in a material that is easy to clean and also feel comfortable, and the fitting mechanism with a top headband and a lateral crown that can be closed with a knob is effective and easy to use. I’ve found this comfortable to wear, much more than a Quest 2.

Anyway, its comfort is not perfect… after long usage, it left some signs on my face as well… I still have to find a standalone headset that has not this kind of ergonomics issues.

Visuals

Lenses and IPD adjustment of the device

With a 4K LCD display that can go up to 90Hz, Pico almost eliminates the screen door effect, and pixels just became like “noise” in the image, but they are not visible anymore. The display is good, but the whole visual system is affected by the usual issues of Pico HMDs: the sweet spot is not large, and the more your eyes move from the center, the more the visuals become blurred; there’s some chromatic aberration, much less than the one of the previous models, but still visible, especially close to the edges of the lenses; the visuals get distorted a bit when you rotate your head (I think the technical term for this is pupil swim). Also, the contrast of the colors of the display feels less balanced and a bit washed out if compared with the one of Quest 2.

All in all, visuals are good, but not the best in class.

Audio

The two integrated speakers and the integrated microphone do their job pretty well. I’m not an audio expert, but playing some games and watching some videos, I’ve found the audio clear and loud. It’s not as immersive as the one of Vive Focus 3, but it’s good nonetheless.

Controllers

One of the controllers of Pico Neo 3 Pro

Watching the images of the Pico Neo 3 Pro controllers on the web, I had the impression they were quite bad, but actually, since the moment of the unboxing, I’ve found them to be well manufactured. The plastic is solid, the grip is good, and they also feel pretty balanced in the hands. Their only problem is that they require two AA batteries each to work, and this means they are pretty heavy. Thanks to the fact that they are balanced, you don’t notice this problem immediately, but in the long run, you may feel them more tiring than the ones of the competition.

The layout of the controller input is the same as all the other controllers in the market: two triggers, two input buttons, one thumbstick, and two system buttons. Nothing special here, apart from the fact that there is one system button more.

Tracking

The positional tracking of the headset, performed using the four onboard cameras, is smooth and reliable. I had no issues with it both with natural and artificial light, with slow and fast movements.

The same holds for the tracking of the controllers, which work well in all conditions. It is not as good as Oculus Insight, that is the gold standard in the industry with its over-the-top accuracy, though, so here you can see for instance the virtual controllers slightly moving when you keep the real controllers still in front of you, or you can see some glitches if you make the controllers enter fast into the tracking field of view. But these are minor issues, almost never important for enterprise usage, where people don’t have to rank first in Beat Saber.

I remember seeing some weeks ago a Chinese video where someone showed how the tracking of Pico Neo 3 was poor: it is not true at all. The tracking works.

Battery

Pico claims 2.5-3 hours of usage with one single charge, and from my tests until now, I can say that 2-3 hours is a correct estimate. This is in line with what the other brands are offering at the moment.

Price and availability

Pico Neo 3 Pro is an enterprise headset, so you can’t buy it on Amazon, but you can contact Pico so that to buy it from one of its sales agents. You can do that through Pico website, or I can also help you with an introduction, if you need it.

Pico Neo 3 Pro costs €600 and Pico Neo 3 Pro Eye (which features Tobii eye tracking) costs €750. This makes it the cheapest enterprise standalone headset in the market, considering that Oculus Quest 2 For Business costs €800 and Vive Focus 3 BE costs around €1200.

Final considerations

Eye tracking inserts around the lenses of the Pico Neo 3 Eye (Image by Pico)

After my first tests with this headset, I can say that the Pico Neo 3 Pro is more or less what I expected: a very solid device, that has no clear flaw and is fairly good in all its features. It is never the best in what it offers, though: for instance, Quest 2 is more polished and has more content, and Vive Focus 3 is more powerful and has astonishing visuals. It is not a headset that makes you go wow, but it is one that does its job, one made to serve the needs of companies.

Pico has gained in these years a very good reputation in serving companies with its headsets (that can also be bought in big bulk quantities) and the related post-sales services (assistance, etc…) and this is important for its enterprise customers: apart from the technical features described here, this kind of services is what will make many companies interested in this device.

The €600 price is also very compelling, considering that it is 200€ less than Quest 2 For Business, and half of what the other company that excels in the B2B market, that is HTC, is offering. Vive Focus 3 looks like a Pro device for big companies, while this one looks like a good headset for small and medium enterprises, or also for big companies that do not need the super features of Focus 3.

For sure I think it’s a good product for the enterprise market, so if you are in a B2B market, I would advise you to get one to experiment with. If you are still in doubt, wait some days for my full review before deciding…

I hope you enjoyed this preliminary hands-on, and if it is the case please subscribe to my newsletter so that to receive the full review straight in your inbox when it will be out. Also, let me know here below what are your impressions on the Pico Neo 3 Pro… and if you have some questions, feel free to ask them!

The post Pico Neo 3 Pro Hands-On First Impressions appeared first on The Ghost Howls.

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