Surprise on the side of virtual reality! Pico unveils its new helmet, the Pico 4, intended to compete with the Meta Quest 2. Compact and mobile, it stands out in relation to performance/price which makes it a serious opponent.
The virtual reality market (VR for Virtual Reality in English) and augmented reality (AR for Augmented Reality in English) seems to be taking off! Several tech giants have invested in the field and maintain public enthusiasm. We think in particular of Apple, which is beginning to be seriously desired with its headphones supposed to be as revolutionary as the iPhone was at the time. Sony has also entered the race with the PS VR2, mainly aimed at gamers and which has received very good feedback so far. And of course there’s Meta – which developed the Occulus and Quest VR headsets – which is set to unveil its upcoming high-end Meta Quest Pro headset, which will mark a significant turning point in the development of the metaverse. But the one we certainly didn’t expect was Pico, a Chinese company specializing in VR and acquired last year by ByteDance – which owns TikTok, among other things. He timidly launched the Neo 3 Link on the European market in May 2022. Today, he unveils the Pico 4, which is intended to be the direct competitor of Meta Quest 2, released in 2020.
Pico 4: a compact and balanced helmet
On the technical side, the Pico 4 does not revolutionize anything. It features a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor – already present on the Meta Quest 2 –, 8 GB of RAM (RAM) and a storage capacity of 128 GB or 256 GB – depending on the model chosen. The display definition, on the other hand, has been revised upwards, with 2,160 x 2,160 pixels per eye, which brings it closer to the PS VR2 – which has a display definition of 2,000 x 2,040 pixels per eye –, but is content with an LCD panel, and not OLED – which offers very good contrast. It offers a refresh rate of 90 Hz.
In terms of design, the Pico 4 is quite light, weighing 295 grams, which rises to 586 grams by adding the strap that allows you to wear the helmet – slightly more than the 503 grams of the Meta Quest 2. Another change: the battery – supposed to provide three hours of autonomy – is located at the back of the rigid headband, which makes it possible to better distribute the weight, and therefore to have a better balance. The under face cushion is attached by magnets and can easily be cleaned. Accessories to increase the space with the face – practical for prescription glasses – or to adjust the hold on the nose are also provided.
Pico 4: improved controllers and 165 games at launch
A VR headset is nothing without its controllers. Those of the Pico 4 use the same design as for the Meta Quest 2, but with the motion tracking headband – which includes lots of sensors – which extends to the wrist. This modification is supposed to offer better visibility to the four cameras posted on the front of the helmet, and therefore provide better movement tracking. Pico says this will be particularly noticeable when one controller is positioned right behind the other, like archery for example – but that’s yet to be tested. Compared to the controllers of the Meta Quest 2 – which remain the benchmark – those of the Pico 4 have an additional button to capture content. They operate using two AA batteries for a battery life of approximately eighty hours.
Pico 4: release date and price
The Pico 4 is available for pre-order from September 23, and will arrive on October 18 in South Korea, Japan and thirteen European markets – including France of course. It is available in two versions: one of 128 GB at 429 €, and one of 256 GB 499 €. But Pico does not intend to stop there, since the company has already announced that it is preparing another headset intended to compete with the future Meta Quest Pro – competition between Meta and ByteDance is definitely becoming a habit – called “Pico 4 Pro” in China. and “Pico 4 Enterprise” for the rest of the world. It will feature sensors capable of tracking eye movement – theeye tracking – and of the face – the face tracking. It will normally be presented at the AWE show in Lisbon next month and reserved for companies, for a much higher price.