Subsidiary of ByteDance (TikTok) specializing in virtual reality, Pico had warned us: in May 2022, the launch of Neo 3 Link in the European market, in very limited quantities and only from a few specialist retailers, was only a first step in its strategy to conquer the Western autonomous virtual reality market. But we didn’t expect the sequel to come so soon. It is indeed from this month of September that the manufacturer will deliver to the Old Continent the first copies of the Pico 4, its new generation all-in-one helmet.
“New generation” doesn’t mean built-in computing power, as the Pico 4 still packs that good old Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 SoC that we’ve known since the launch of the Meta (ex-Oculus) Quest 2 in 2020. Everything around it, on the other hand, shows some notable updates. The helmet itself is striking above all for its compactness, made possible by the use of the new ultra-thin “pancake” optics.
This finesse is also made possible by moving the battery (which provides approximately 3 hours of autonomy) to the back of the rigid headband, rather than the front of the helmet. This also has noticeable consequences in the weight distribution, which is much more balanced. The manufacturer claims a mass of only 295g for the visor itself, resulting in a feeling of reduced pressure on the face.
Thinner screen, but still LCD
The definition of the screen is also significantly higher than the standard that is the Quest 2. It reaches approximately 2000 x 2000 pixels per eye, a value very close to that of PlayStation VR2 for example. On the other hand, and unlike the latter, the Pico 4 is still satisfied with a very classic LCD panel, with significantly less spectacular contrast than Oled. The distance between the optics (interpupillary distance, or IPD) is adjustable between 62 and 72 mm.
The controllers are based on the Quest 2 model, but with a motion tracking ring that now extends to the wrist for better visibility from motion tracking cameras. inside out of the helmet. We’re told this should significantly improve tracking reliability when positioning one controller right after another, for example in an archery game. All this, of course, must be verified in real conditions.
165 games scheduled in the launch window
Finally, on the main content issue, the Pico 4 relies on the same app store as the manufacturer’s previous helmets, which tells us it’s working hard to win over developers. popular VR applications. The development of the catalog takes place in four axes: video games, fitness applications, 360° video and social applications. The first two remain the most important to this day.
On the gaming side, Pico promises 165 titles in the headset’s launch window and the upcoming arrival of major VR titles such as Saints and Sinners of the Walking Dead Chapter 2: Punishment Where just dance, launching simultaneously with other platforms on the market. As for VR sports enthusiasts – which we know are relatively numerous – they’ll be pleased to learn that the manufacturer is developing optional activity monitoring modules that will be available in the months following launch. helmet market. It should also be noted that Pico is working on developing a wireless PC adapter that will allow the Pico 4 to be used with the Steam VR and Viveport apps.
The Pico 4 will be available for pre-order from September 23rd for users who participated in the Neo 3 Link testing program. This will be followed by a general launch on October 18 in 13 European markets (including France), as well as in South Korea and Japan. The manufacturer prefers not to risk a launch in the Americas at the moment. The Pico 4 will be offered in two configurations: one with 128 GB of storage for 429 euros, the second with 256 GB of storage for 499 euros.