We’ve had a chance to go hands-on with Apple Vision Pro when the company unveiled it at WWDC last summer. Now it seems Apple has let a few outlets in for another go, as new previews have dropped ahead of the device’s Friday pre-order event.

The Verge and Engadget were among those with fresh Apple-sanctioned previews of Vision Pro, which featured a pre-demo scanning session so users would have the right sized strap for their heads. Indeed, one of the biggest themes here isn’t whether Vision Pro is cool and on the cutting edge, but is it comfortable?

The Verge’s Victoria Song says that like any other VR headset (Apple’s calling it a ‘spatial computer’), you can “feel it sitting on your head and wrecking your hairdo once you slip it on,” noting that people with long hair will feel it “bunch up in the back.” Song doesn’t mention whether the discomfort stopped there.

In Cherlynn Low’s hands-on for Engadget, she says the standard configuration gave her some issues:

Unlike the version that our colleague Devindra Hardawar saw at WWDC last year, the Vision Pro unit I tried on today came with a strap that you stretch and ends up at the back of your head. It was wide, ridged and soft, and I at first thought it would be very comfortable. But 15 minutes into my experience, I started to feel weighed down by the device, and five more minutes later, I was in pain. To be fair, I should have flagged my discomfort to Apple earlier, and alternative straps were available for me to swap out. But I wanted to avoid wasting time. When I finally told the company’s staff about my issues, they changed the strap to one that had two loops, with one that went over the top of my head.

Low was eventually offered a Dual Loop band, which distributes weight over the top of the user’s head, something she notes kept Vision Pro from slipping down her hair.

Dual Loop band | Image courtesy Apple

YouTuber Marques Brownlee also got a third hands-on. In a post on X, Brownlee expresses some reservations about long-term comfort. To him, the headset is heavy.

First time I tried Vision Pro: Damn this display is amazing and the eye tracking is like magic and this feels very future and also it’s a little heavy

Second time: immersion factor is still so high. Special videos are hit or miss, you gotta get the distance right. And wow this thing is really, heavy, not sure how long I’d be able to wear this

Third time: Damn this thing is heavy. Also the typing experience is decent. There’s some new cool apps to check out. But wow. So heavy.

Like Brownlee, both Low and Song seemed to walk away with similarly positive impressions when it came to UI, eye-tracking quality, and the headset’s dual microOLED screens.

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YouTuber Brian Tong was offered his fourth preview of Vision Pro, wherein he says he’s concerned he wouldn’t even be able to “get through even an hour of watching a movie straight, let alone two hours of a full movie. Maybe I’ll have to take a rest in between.” Ouch.

We’re hoping for another crack at Vision Pro too, which will let us dive deeper into long-term comfort ahead of the headset’s February 2nd ship date. We should also have a better idea of what launch content Apple is planning then too, which for now isn’t clear beyond the demo stuff we’ve seen, which includes support for standard iOS apps, spatial video replay, a Disney+ app, and a built-in meditation app.

In the meantime, check out our initial hands-on with Vision Pro to hear all about our first impressions of Apple’s $3,500 headset.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • gothicvillas

    Many headsets fail in this department. It must be rigid headstrap like index, psvr2 or bobo to be comfortable for longer periods. With Bobo there is no discomfort, stop playing when battery ends.

    • MackRogers

      One advantage of creating a “productivity” headset is you can get away with more counterbalance on the backstrap.

      Counterbalance is terrible on devices like Quest3 and Index becuase they are gaming first and the counterweight creates a “swimming” affect when quickly moving your head or jumping up and down affecting the the sweet spot for where your eyes comfortable focus.

      Seeing as Vision Pro was designed for a mostly seated experience or casual walking, counterweight could go a long way into solving the front loaded weight issue.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Yep, that’s why I like my HTC Vive Pro very much, and would not even think about buying a Quest 3 without a frankenstrap or a bobovr with hotswappable batteries (which should just be standard by now for all new standalone headsets).

    • polysix

      Quest Pro > all. Trust me.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Quest Pro > all [for polysix and others with similar head shape]. <- FTFY

        I trust you that the Quest Pro is the best fit for you, and I'd really prefer a HMD that worked without touching my face too, but you've responded to enough people that e.g. preferred the PSVR halo that didn't work for you, or got similar answers yourself, that it should be clear that there is no one single solution that fits best for all. In the end everybody has to test what works for them and hope that over time we get head straps that don't have to fit as they are, but can easily be made fitting for anybody by way more adjustments than just tightening them.

  • MackRogers

    It’s a shame Apple is so beholden to vanity. They are really damaging the usability of their product in this particular case.

    Typically a mandate from Jony Ive that they use sharp bevels on an iphone resulting in a less comfortable grip at the expense comfort is merely a nuisance to the end consumer.

    In this case, they are out in front of their skis. The added weight attributed to the gimmicky glass panel was a stupid decision. This combined with the poorly thought out headband, which in pictures is crunching ears, and not really supporting the front of the headset rather just holding the back strap in place.

    75% of people are going to feel pain using this stock out of the box. And with all that being said, I don’t actually think it matters. They just need 50 year wallstreet bros to put it on for 20 minutes, get blown away, and start pricing further revisions into the stock price. This initial device is a showpiece, it’s not a “track ready” car it’s a working showroom model.

    The good news, if you can call it that spending $4000 after taxes, is that Apple has designed incredibly robust ball bearing attachment points to the sides of the device allowing 3rd party head strap makers(bobo VR already confirmed development) to fix this for them with a more structured and comfortable design that should alleviate a lot of the problems.

    • STL

      Most enthusiasts of Apple will perceive this as blasphemy.

    • sfmike

      This will certainly happen.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      High tech glass to cover phones is both more durable and lighter than comparable plastic, making AVP more expensive, but not heavier. The main reason is EyeSight, the built-in display showing multiple perspectives of the user’s eyes, with lenticular lenses on/in the glass making the gaze look “natural” from different angles. VR users may see this as a gimmick, but AVP isn’t a VR headset, it’s positioned as part of their iOS family, to be used in a similar way to an iPhone or iPad in the living room with others present, not hindering communication.

      Many AVP details are due to current limits of technology, and the design team pushed for a later release. The main reason for the high weight is the tons of tech required to even get to what Apple considers an acceptable XR user experience. They are running a powerful SoC, probably not underclocked unlike in Quest 3, a dedicated R1 chip processing data from more than a dozen sensors, plus two microOLED displays using two layers of OLEDs to generate enough light for the inefficient pancake lenses. They get rid of all the generated heat with a (heavy) custom aluminum alloy frame acting as a heatsink to avoid large and noisy fans. Actual reviews will show for how many the default strap will not be enough to comfortably use the heavy HMD.

      • Thud

        Christian I rarely disagree with your informed opinions but I disagree on every point here. The “Glass” facia is not really lighter as a feature and recent reports of cracks have show it to not be actually durable. Also the “Eyesight” feature has proven in many review to be not ready for prime time and to not really have achieved the desired effect.

  • Dragon Marble

    That has been my main concern since it was announced. It looks like Apple has yet to learn the lesson the hard way. XR technology is not yet ready for doing regular things you already do. It needs to be short bursts of fully immersive, full-body, high-intensity experiences not possible on conventional devices.

    • MackRogers

      I could not possibly disagree more with what you said.

      Apple is targeting a more sedentary laptop like use case scenario. Jumping around shooting robots on the wall is the exact opposite of what they are trying to accomplish. Thats a gimmicky toylike device best left to Quest 3.

      The consumer that is paying $4,000 after taxes for this device is not the same consumer that wants “full-body, high intensity” XR games.

      This device was designed for productivity and entertainment in the form of a theatre experience. At some point XR will converge into being able to do all those things but we are years away from that.

      • Dragon Marble

        I know Apple is targeting relaxing, sedentary experiences. The problem is, you can’t really relax with a brick on your faces. So you might as well stand up, jump around, flail your arms — and have some exercise.

        • MackRogers

          I don’t follow your logic.

          • Dragon Marble

            Before it reaches glass form factor, we should emphasize unique features of XR, and apps build for XR. Using it as a mere extension of conventional devices does not have enough appeal to entice people to jump over the hurdle.

          • alan

            quest 3 has some great mixed reality apps. They should be on this device. Find a video for First Encounters on Quest 3. There’s no reason Vision Pro shouldn’t be able to do that. Find a video for Les Mills Bodycombat mixed reality on quest 3. No reason Vision Pro shouldn’t be able to do that. The one video I saw of Disney Plus, they botched the environments. Disney+ Theater environment puts a movie theater in the background, but doesn’t put the video on the movie screen in the movie theater.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/865d6f06d60f9246af62d1bc41808d6dac58a42aae47e3cc553a905c8b769802.png

          • Dragon Marble

            The same is true the other way around. Those 150 3D movies, why are they not on Quest? We should pool all the users together across platforms to share the cost of development. Walls and segmentations are bad for a niche market like VR.

          • dextrovix

            But there’s the problem, big businesses don’t collaborate, and certainly not for the greater good. For example Meta isn’t allowed to run Android apps on Quest 3 even though the OS could, so not for technical reasons- Google are just salty, and the end result is consumers suffer.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Meta is allowed to run Android apps on Quest 3, and they could offer their own Android app store just like Amazon or Epic or Huawei. Meta doesn’t have access to the Google Play store because Google demands Google services to run on devices that access Play store, which shovels the 30% fee on app sales and subscriptions to Google. And Meta doesn’t want that, as the whole reason to even invest into XR as a new platform was to escape Google and Apple. It’s not Google being salty, it’s Meta not wanting/being able to make a satisfying deal regarding revenue sharing.

            The Quest 3 could without problems run most apps (not requiring Google services), if Meta can convince the developers to also publish on a Quest Android store. They probably never bothered to try, because the minuscule revenue that Quest 3 users also running regular Android apps would generate, would hardly be enough to entice any developers to invest some time.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Yeah, just read that Disney+ even has 3D movies for this, I wonder if they would also be available for people with a 3D TV/projector.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            AVP is able to stream video via AirPlay like other Apple devices. So if you have an AirPlay capable 3D TV/projector, and AirPlay even supports 3D, this would be a way. Though I’m aware that what you are really asks in is whether 3D movies now available for AVP will be available for other non-AVP clients as well.

            One issue may be serious bandwidth requirements. AFAIK the movies are re-encoded as two separate 4K streams at very high quality, with 180° content streamed at 8K, so you’ll need something rather powerful to decode it. I don’t know how 3D movies are encoded on Blu-ray, but even Ultra HD Blue-ray is limited to a single 4K@60Hz HEVC stream, so up to now there was no need for more powerful decoding chips. An 8K spec exists in Japan, but I’m not sure anybody has implemented those yet.

            Hardware limits could be worked around by providing the movies in a format that a existing 3D TV/projector can handle, at lower resolution/bandwidth if necessary. Disney etc. may shy away from extra costs though. I’d expect that with more XR HMDs being released, the streamable 3D library will grow and become more platform agnostic, eventually also serving existing 3D TVs.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Nah, I don’t believe for a second that those 3D movies are encoded as seperate 4k streams, I’ll bet they’re regular 3D bluray versions encoded with a lesser bitrate. You don’t need 4k/eye if you want to show these 3D movies, as they are ‘projected’ as if watching in a theatre.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            The info came from a recent article describing technical details how they ensure a very high fidelity for movies shown inside AVP, which I unfortunately can’t find in my browser history.

            From the Disney press release “Disney+ on Apple Vision Pro Ushers in a New Era of Storytelling Innovation and Immersive Entertainment”

            Using Dolby Vision and Multiview High Efficiency Video Coding (MV-HEVC), 3D movies on Disney+ will deliver exceptional UHD resolution in HDR, unfiltered and independent for each eye, and at a high frame rate for several titles – ensuring that the filmmakers’ creative intent is fully preserved and reflected

            UHD is 4k/2160p. MV-HEVC is a multi-layer extension of HVEC/h.265 that encodes both views in one stream as alternating frames, with one view marked as primary for backwards compatibility. Non-3D players will ignore the secondary frame/view. The AVP format is described in Apple’s “HEVC Stereo Video profile”.

            I looked up how Blu-ray handles 3D. They encode stereoscopy with MVC, a multi-layer extension to AVC/h.264, with two separate streams, the secondary one referencing the primary stream. It basically plays two separate movies at the same time, and AFAIK they can’t both be 4K@60Hz, they interlace either two UHD streams at 30fps or two streams of lower resolution.

            So all content has to be re-encoded from the source material due to using newer compression schemes, different encoding methods and adding features like HDR for more colors and HFR for higher, dynamic frame rates. They could of course just re-encode 3D Blu-rays material, but the result would be very inferior, with worse pixel and color resolution, lower frame rates and lots of artifacts from the second encoding pass. I seriously doubt that either Apple or Disney will go that way.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Hm, USD 50bn from Meta so far, divided by 20mn Quest owners is USD 2500 shared development cost per user, or USD 7500 per active user. With Apple running the AVP project secretly for a decade, I’d expect them to also have spent dual figure billions.

            Segmentation is bad, but I have serious doubts that at this point in the game the VR users have a lot of financial influence. And the movie rights will come out of Apple’s deals for Apple TV+, which was at about 1/3 the market share of Netflix in mid 2023, or around 80mn users. So at best Apple could offer Apple TV+ subscriptions on Quest, but I again doubt that either Apple or Meta would want that.

          • Dragon Marble

            I am not talking about hardware; I am talking about software. S&S just reached $100mm revenue. Meta was wise not to try to make games like that exclusive. Exclusives may make sense for a mature market, which is more like a zero-sum game. In a nascent market like VR, the potential benefit of collaboration outweighs competition.

            Many people think competition is always good and benefits consumers. That’s not true. Having those 3D movies available only to less than 100,000 people is an example.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          The weight complaints about AVP are different than the ones about Quest 2/3. AVP seems to be sitting rather comfortable on the face thanks due to paddings the shape of which is selected for each individual based on a 3D face scan, so the problem is not “the brick on the face” like with Quest.

          The issue seems to be that the Dual Loop band they now bundle after weight complaints in June puts most of the weight uncomfortably on top of the head through the rather slim side-to-side strap. Still not good, but easier to fix than a mismatching facial interface. You basically have to increase the contact area to distribute the pressure, like the cushioning pads for bags used to prevent the strap from cutting into the shoulder.

          Apple very likely was aware of the weight issues, but hopes/hoped that most will be fine with just the fit face pad and the very wide and soft default strap that allows lying down, distributes pressure and doesn’t mess with the hair. Every extra strap will scare off more customers by making it (look) less convenient and more hairdo destroying.

      • alan

        I want to do both. It should be the best VR/AR gaming/fitness device yet (best resolution and most powerful processor), but they apparently don’t have the tracking for that implemented.

        So strange they’re ignoring the fitness aspect of VR/AR when they are a company who otherwise pushes fitness in their devices.

      • STL

        This scenario simply doesn‘t exist, I‘m afraid.

  • alan

    I suspect many of the people who mention the weight don’t use VR. How does it compare in comfort to Quest 2 or Quest 3 with the elite strap?

    Which band is better with the Vision Pro? It’s odd that they don’t do a strap from the front to the back, that helps distribute the weight. Maybe the dual band will too.

  • Thud

    Special Spacial videos are hit or miss,”

  • Thud

    Apple knows their audience and have provided a well polished
    experience with many exclusive features that would be attractive to their
    user base but I think they have fallen into the same trap that all
    other current headset manufacturers have which is clearly called out in
    these articles. I have owned the GearVR, the OG Vive, Quest 1 and 2 and
    the Pico 4 and returned or sold them all because they were to heavy and
    uncomfortable to use for any reasonable length of time. It’s
    understandable as this size and weight is required to house all the tech
    neccesary for a full featured headset at the current state of the art. I
    believe though that we are now reaching a point with the Bigscreen
    Beyond and the MeganeX where this problem will be overcome soon. I hope
    that new users are not soured completely by the discomfort of current
    headsets and that they don’t completely write off VR as a bad experience
    as a result though.

    • xyzs

      I kinda disagree.
      It’s like the people who never buy a new computer because they are afraid it will be obsolete when the next one is released.. There is never a perfect time to get in, if they do it now, AVP1 is far from perfect, (too bulky, only a M2 chip inside etc…) but if they did it later, they would face the exact same issues with their next gen specs not being good enough compared to blah blah.. it’s never ending…
      Apple needed to jump in the pool, and they do it now, imho it’s a bit late, because the top VR trend was like 5 years ago and VR would be much more advanced if they started bringing competition earlier, but better later than never.

      • Thud

        No. VR headsets are just too heavy. A lighter headset would (and will soon) solve one of the major problems with VR adoption. Take my word for it. I have a lot of experience with many of the current headsets and the Pico 4 and to a lesser extent the Quest 2 have attempted to address this problem with varying degrees of success. I have demoed all these headset to the general public widely in an impartial setting and unanimously weight and comfort was the most common complaint.

        • ViRGiN

          To really understand the weight problem, people would need to own any headset first. They did not – 98% of gaming PC owners on Steam were not interested in getting a headset. It’s not about the bulk – it’s about the software. There are tens of games coming out every month that will gather massive following – not even a quarter of that on PCVR.
          Quest 2 is still selling extremely well, so the weight isn’t a problem for adoption.

          • foamreality

            Agree that weight is the lowest of all the issues. (though of course everyone wants a light headset) But lets be honest the main obstacle to adoption (by a country mile) is the price. To run a half decent PCVR game on the cheapest workable computer with the cheapest headset available you need roughly £1500 , that will get you the bare minimum expereince and you won’t be able to run the best AAA games, of which there are only about 4 in existence. PCVR is a disaster. we have over 2 dozen headsets on the market with only minor improvements between them. It could have been so much better if VR manufacturers focused on games instead, only meta did that ( valve did just 1 (ONE) game, they have all given up .

          • Thud

            Thanks for the well reasoned response. I disagree that software is the sole reason though.

        • xyzs

          I never said I disagree headsets are too heavy. I agree totally. I almost do not play VR anymore because I am tired of discomfort.

          But the way to small and light headsets is through getting VR more mainstream to get more people buying, to then get more investments into making the tech better, it’s not coming out of nowhere.

          PS: the Pico 4 is super not comfortable too, I had one and sold if after a few days, plus the lenses are terrible (warp distortions were making me sick)

          • Thud

            I had the exact same experience with the Pico 4. Wavy lenses so I returned it. I bought an aftermaket facial interface with it though and it was really comfortable. Not willing to chance buying another one after the experience with their QA though. Anyone want to buy a lightly used Pico 4 facial interface? ;)

        • Andrey

          Just to be clear – do you understand that even if headsets will become lighter, then even if more people will be willing to wear it they still won’t do it if there won’t be interesting content for it?
          A little story from my personal experience to add some context – in the early 2000s I started my own gaming journey when my father built a PC from some random components (even without a case – “naked” motherboard was lying on it’s box). And at the time I was using a display with 640×480 resolution (around 5 inches I think?). As a GTA fan I was able to play GTA Vice CIty, but when GTA San Andreas released it would not work because it required a screen with at least 800×600 resolution. Ahh, what a great time it was…
          What I am trying to say – as a great phylosofer said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how” (с). Millions of kids around the world right now playing all kinds of games on their smartphones’ tiny screens instead of at least 17 or 24 inch PC screen because they probably can’t have this privilege for one reason or another, but still enjoy the process even in that not-so-cofmortable format and keep |struggling”.
          So, I will say it for the hundredth time on this site, but “content is the king”. If there is still no mass adoption, then there is just no enough compelling reason for most people to “struggle” with “bricks on their faces”. If, hypotetically, GTA VI would be an exlusive of any current VR platform, a lot of people would buy it and play it just because “it’s GTA”. Surely they would prefer to play it with the most possible comfort, but even something “uncomfortable” like Quest 2 with the original strap most probably wouldn’t stop them to enjoy the game for many hours per session.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            12″ displays were standard in the 80s, a cheap 14″ with 800*600 in the mid 90s and 17″ 1024*768 in the early 2000s. Your phone screen is probably larger than 5″, so either your timeline is somewhat off, or you played 2002 GTA Vice City on decades old special purpose hardware.

            And people play games on their (USD ~600) phones not due to a lack of privilege/money, but for the convenience of playing anytime anywhere, with most gaming money now spend on mobile. We just saw the first AAA releases on mobile with AC Mirage, RE8 and Death Stranding for iPhone 15 Pro, so it’s not a lack of content that determines a platforms success, as most mobile games are the opposite of AAA.

            The convenience of anywhere/anytime easily trumps over the discomfort of simplified input, small screens and simple games on phones. VR is inconvenient by requiring empty space, blinding you, being sweaty and for many so uncomfortable that playing for hours simply isn’t possible, even if it had games everybody wanted to play. And it hasn’t, 95% of gamers don’t care. And that despite the fabulous HL:A as a near perfect VR game from a cult franchise with millions of people begging for a new release for 13 years, making HL3 a meme. I doubt even an exclusive GTA VI would be enough, and that’s never going to happen.

          • Thud

            “Just to be clear – do you understand that even if headsets will become lighter, then even if more people will be willing to wear it they still won’t do it if there won’t be interesting content for it?”

            I’m not discounting that we need more apps and games to make VR compelling. I am saying that many new users don’t even get past trying a couple of games without saying “This isn’t for me, it’s too uncomfortable”.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          It’s not just weight. It is weight plus fit plus balance. Discomfort comes mostly from uneven pressure, and you can handle that (somewhat) by reducing weight, adding a counter balance or by individually matching the padding and strap to the shape of face and skull, to distribute pressures evenly while avoiding sensitive areas with veins where pressure can trigger intense headache.

          I agree that VR headsets are too heavy, but there is currently no way around that doesn’t come with other constraints such as higher cost or more complicated straps like everything with the battery at the back. For many a Quest 2 with soft strap works just fine. If you’ve tried a lot of HMDs and they pretty much were too uncomfortable to use, then like me you are probably one of the unlucky ones with a non-typical skull/face shape that doesn’t fit the “standard head” HMDs are designed for. Then your options are going for custom fitted light HMDs like the Bigscreen Beyond, try lots of 3rd party straps and face pads hoping to find usable ones, DIY everything to match your needs, or hope for someone to someday release light and very adjustable HMDs. Which might take a while.

          • Thud

            You’re right I mispoke. I should have said “bulk and balance”. But I do thinl that the next gen with it’s minimal weight will not even need counterweight to be nearly unnoticeable on the head.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Typical glasses weigh 25g-50g/1oz-2oz to be comfortable to wear. That’s not directly comparable, as they sit on nose and ears, so more weight pushes on just a few points. But with the Bigscreen Beyond having its weight reduced to just 127g/4.5oz by removing everything non essential, and still requiring a well fitting custom facial interface for comfort, we will probably have to wait several generations before any standalone HMDs becomes nearly unnoticeable on the head.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        I had to heavily modify every single HMD to make it bearable, none of them were comfortable. The unmodified Quest 2 with default strap hurt my cheek bones so much it forced me to hold it up with one hand after a few minutes. I’m very unlucky in that regard and compensate with a lot of tinkering, but not everybody can 3D print adapters or make their own facial interfaces.

        Comfort is different from “not perfect”, because “not perfect” usually means too slow, complicated, lacking features, but still workable with patience. Lack of comfort can make a device unusable. HMDs are designed to fit the majority of users, but like with shoes or trousers, a HMD of the wrong size or shape will cause issues, sometimes hard to pin down.

        A heavy HMD with a perfect fit can be fine, while even a light HMD can cause pain if all the pressure is concentrated on one point where the bone protrudes too far compared to the average user’s head. That’s not the fault of the HMD manufacturers, and I agree that they have to release products now, even if they aren’t in a perfect state or don’t work equally well for all yet. But it’s also not the customers fault when they return HMDs that are simply not usable for them. I’ve accepted that I’ll have to create my own straps and facial interfaces for the next decade, but that won’t work for the most consumers.

    • Cl

      Tbh quest 3 with an aftermarket strap isn’t that uncomfortable. Balance is perfect and it fits on your face better than quest 2. Beyond is more comfortable, but mine came defective and I’m trying to return it.

      • Thud

        I frankenQuested the Q1 with a DAS and a battery counterbalance and it was still a no go for me. I tried the Q2 but I just don’t want that pressure on my face. I believe we are on the cusp of comfortable headset soon though.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      That must be something about you then, as I have no problems with playing hours on end with my HTC Vive Pro (1) with the wireless module even on top. The headstrap makes it perfectly balanced, for me.

      • Thud

        I’ve heard the pro is comfortable but in my experience the factor of weight and comfort has discourage many new users from becoming frequent or even casual users. Sure we are VR enthusiasts but I think many don’t become that because we haven’t achieved a “good enough” form factor.

    • sfmike

      The comments about mussing up ones hair should not be taken lightly. 3D movies and 3DTV died because people didn’t like wearing light plastic glasses. Also, does it make you look stupid? For young people that is the most important thing as not looking cool is the worst thing that can happen to you, thus the value of worthless trashy tattoos and piercings to show your obeyance to peer pressure.

      • XRC

        Yes the amount of visitors at trade shows that refuse demos of headworn equipment due to expensive haircuts and makeup is very revealing.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Apple vision pro is a front heavy torture device according to testers and Apple store’s empoyees. How the hell could this happen with a device costing $3.5K? Comfort is no1 when it comes to XR.

    • xyzs

      They went berserk with their price, it’s scandalous, but as long as people buy it, they will continue.

      • Thud

        I doubt they will if comfort is not acceptable. I think for better or worse sales will in large part depend on the opinions of tech publications and influencers and after release, word of mouth.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        I don’t think they went beserk with that price, the hardware is pretty highend. But they could have done a much better job with the headstrap, even the one with the top strap, which now will come standard in the box. It’s relatively priced the same as all other Apple hardware. I’ll bet it will be sold out with a day (or two).

    • Kfir Even

      Companies don’t care about comfort! when Meta puts a huge battery on the front and Apple makes a glass and metal XR device… that’s the reason XR is failing. It’s an unusable “magic”.

      • Octogod

        You…you do know the strap is adjustable right?

        If ANY pressure is on your forehead, than you have messed up.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Well, you should have said, you do know you can replace the crappy strap with a much better headstrap which makes the headset more balanced.

      • Cl

        I’ll agree that the battery on quest 3 shouldn’t have been on the front. It is more comfortable than quest 2 though.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        But the headset being heavy isn’t a problem IF you have a decent headstrap. HTC got it right with their deluxe audio headstrap.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Companies care, but have to balance features, weight, price and comfort for the largest possible group.

        – Cram everything into an HMD with simple strap and one standard face pad that works well for ~75% of all users. You get a cheap Quest 2.
        – Remove everything possible off the HMD and require custom facepads and IPD settings. You get a light Bigscreen Beyond.
        – Use a lot of heavy tech with a complex strap adjustable in multiple locations/directions to distribute weight and pressure. You get a professional Varjo XR-3.
        – Create many different paddings based on 4000+ measured head shapes, 3D scan customer faces and fit them paddings with a simple strap in your store to carry a HMD that’s one giant metal heat sink. You get a high end AVP.
        – Have someone create a facial interface exactly matching your bone structure, an extenal battery to balance the weight, straps going over non-pressure sentitives parts of your head, and wide and stiff enough pads matching your skull shape to evenly distribute the pressure. You get a really comfortable device at a very high price.

        Many people care a lot about the price and go for a cheap Quest that mostly works, some add another USD 50-100 for a 3rd party strap. Companies care, but currently comfort requires either money or compromise.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      There is a difference between “not comfortable for longer use” and a torture device, and Meta proved with Quest 2 that you can become market leader with a HMD that not all, but many consider unbearable in the default configuration, with comfort being nowhere no1. The problem is always people having different head shapes, and comfort depends largely on how well a HMD fits you. For some a Quest 2 with soft strap works fine, others can only bear a Quest Pro halo with the HMD not touching their face.

      Varjo produces rather heavy HMDs, but includes a ton of adjustable straps and pads, so users can distribute the pressure evenly, making is comfortable for hours. None of the people who now tested the AVP complained about the (individually) fitted face pads, they had issues with the weight not being well distributed with the single slim side-to-side strap pressing on the top of the head, and the initial strap shown in June didn’t even feature that.

      This could be easily solved by using a wider strap with extra padding further in front and/or a front-to-back strap. But this is much a harder sell for consumers, because you go from simple ski googles to pretty much helmet mount with helmet hair. For some the fit will be fine even without any top strap, and future AVPs should/have to be a lot lighter, but a portion of all users will have to add extra straps and paddings until HMDs are down to the weight of glasses.

  • Octogod

    It’s wild to see Apple have to deal with ergonomic issues straight out of 2018.

    Their demo process too sounds insane. As someone who did many VR demos in the day, this is going to be grueling for a minimal sale chance. And the demo experiences don’t even sound very compelling.

    I’m an Apple fanboy. But damn if this launch isn’t more underwhelming than it seemed at first.

    • polysix

      I knew it was gonna be shit when I saw the details, dangling battery? nope, heavy weight on front for ‘gimmicks’, nope, face gasket, soft strap? nope nope.

      It’s ridiculous, all ANYONE has to do now is take Quest Pro as the starting point, easily the best design from 7 HMDs I’ve owned and many more I’ve used and refined that as needed. The dangling battery is a joke too.

  • Nevets

    None of the VR companies get comfort right. But among those that fuck it up the most, I would have expected Apple to be last.

    • STL

      No. Sony got it right with PSVR. The 1st one. I used it 800 hours with Skyrim VR. Just perfect.

      • polysix

        I had PSVR1 and 2, 1 was much better than 2 but both pale next to Quest Pro. MUCH better balanced, wireless and NOTHING touching your face. I found PSVR1 would start to crack my head like a nut after a while and PSVR2 was awful on the front (returned it)

        • STL

          Well, I liked PSVR and found it comfortable. But since today I have a Quest 3 and its love on first sight. Can’t speak for Quest Pro, but Quest 3 is very convincing. Meta rules.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Nope HTC got it right with their deluxe audiostrap for the older Vive, but certainly got it right with the Vive Pro. Still can play hours on end without any discomfort.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        A strap should stop the HMD from moving around. If the HMD doesn’t properly fit the face, the strap has to be very tight, causing painful uneven high pressure points for those without a matching bone structure. DAS was a very good strap, though I still needed extra padding with it. But you still have to win the anatomical lottery with every “one size fits all approach”.

        AVP improves with a selection of individually form fit pads for face and back of the head, but the high weight due to all the tech and an aluminium chassis needed as a giant heat sink require more support than their initial strap or the one with a extra side-to-side strap they now added. Maybe acceptable for a mostly first mover/developer device, but still a bad look for something intended to become a consumer device. We’ll no doubt see “hair styles ruining” front-to-back straps added for better weight distrubition.

        So far only the Bigscreen Beyond nails comfort for pretty much everyone, at the very high price of requiring a custom made face pad, fixed IPD, leaving out everything not essential, and relying on a PC and lighthouse tracking, which brings down weight far enough for the HMD to safely rest without pressure on the perfect fit facial interface with a simple elastic strap. Compromises will stay with us for a while.

        • XRC

          Early adopters of the Beyond have been fitting extra head strap to improve comfort, Bigscreen have now included this with the headset.

    • polysix

      Quest Pro is nigh on perfect for many, and for those that it isn’t a simple top strap makes it supremely comfy.

      Honestly Apple screwed up in many ways here – face touching gasket, facebrick with too much weight still, bad strap like the worst of the old HMDs, AND an external battery with a cable LMAO

      and Apple fanboys will still swear it’s the best design ever for VR (SC).

      Quest Pro is about the best we have so far, not including bigscreen beyond as a flawed/overdone product.

      • philingreat

        it depends heavily on your head shape. I can’t wear the pro for more than 15 min. If your head is the same shape as the designer of the pro than you are lucky and it is super comfortable, but if not, there is no way to adjust it.

    • Fam Wired

      Valve Index is still the most comfortable VR headset I ever used and I probably have tested out more than 20 over the last decade.

  • deckert

    There will always be critics – it’s too expensive, it’s too heavy, it’s too big, it misses the mark, it’s crap, etc… These are the same types of individuals that throw a wet blanket on anything that even smells of innovation.

    It is so much easier to cause the accident than it is to avoid one.

    AVP could weigh 4 ounces and cost $99 and come in 20 colors – and they would still be whining about the lack of colors, or why they don’t have 8K per eye displays, or the OS, or the warranty, or the weather. You cannot please them.

    I’m holding my comments until I can publish my experiences with a shipping AVP. I will say, for those that have a ton of experience in the space – there’s nothing better I’ve used (and I’ve used everything from Pico’s to Quests to XR4s and pretty much everything in-between.

    For those of you that can’t find happiness – just don’t buy it and keep your comments to yourself. If you do own one and have complaints – then by all means share them. It’s the only way the industry will move forward.

    • ViRGiN

      If you like it – keep your comments to yourself. Why we need to read about your optimism? Find an Apple subreddit or discord.

      • MackRogers

        Has Ben ever given you a formal explanation as to why you have not been banned from here? It makes no sense to me.

        • ViRGiN

          Show us on the doll where Tim Cook hurt you.

        • Anonymous

          Because while he maybe extreme he makes more valid points of current PCVR frustration and often backed with data, than your small pathetic comments?

          • Thud

            Virgin, we all know this is your second account. This is the only Guest account commenting and it’s only and responding to comments that respond to you.

      • deckert

        Not optimism – just good manners. The key point – before someone proclaims something is crap – I’m suggesting they actually try, use it, and then make their own conclusion. If it’s crap – now you have experience and can highlight the flaws (and future generations will hopefully be better). If you think it’s great – you now how the experience to justify your opinion.

    • Juan Ritz

      Of course you can’t please everyone, but it’s absurd to act as if it’s pedantic to call out bad ergonomics on a piece of high end tech that you wear on your face. This is one of the most powerful and capable companies in the world, and they’ve somehow completely botched the ergonomics of their first headset. That’s understandably very disappointing. This isn’t 2016 where we’re simply looking to collect consumer headset comfort metrics for the first time. I agree that the performance of the AVP is great, which makes it all the more frustrating that ergonomics seem to have been a complete afterthought. Third party manufacturers will very likely correct their missteps, but that simply shouldn’t be necessary.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      I’m holding my comments until I can publish my experiences with a shipping AVP.

      That is a very wise policy. And those that cannot wait that long should at least delay their final judgement for two more weeks, until after the device is available and reviews are out. Reading the comments on the Verge’s first impression article is quite interesting, with one of the authors slowly losing faith in humanity due to everybody calling the writeup of a 30min demo a review, and ignoring his statements that an actual review will only be published after they had the chance to test the device on their own for a longer time.

      A week after launch we will have tons of articles and YouTube videos about everything from trying to somehow stream VR games with ALXR to 3D printed weight balancing battery holders or people hacking on 3rd party straps, plus different people who have already spend 20h with AVP on their head reporting about the actual comfort experience. Which will be worth a lot more than a long thread speculating about long term usability based basically on 10 lines of first impression text, esp. since nobody here can even agree which of the existing HMDs are comfortable to use or not.

    • david vincent
  • STL

    This thing is 5 times the price of a Quest 3 and I believe every billionaire should have one. But for what? Who knows. And will they use it twice? Most likely not.

    • MackRogers

      We get it, you can’t afford $3500 in your wildest dreams. It’s a rounding error to me. How’s that paycheck-to-paycheck life treating you? not so good I imagine.

      Maybe you could save up to buy the Vision Pro case and then put it on your desk to look at? I’m trying to help.

      https://media2.giphy.com/media/yon3MU36tVeZGXmaqA/giphy-downsized-small.mp4

      • ViRGiN

        We get it, you have no friends and family. No need to brag about the $3500 you inherited from your parents.

      • Thud

        “We get it, you can’t afford $3500 in your wildest dreams. It’s a rounding error to me.”

        Wow. If that isn’t the most tone deaf, entitled sounding proclamation of perceived superiority I’ve heard recently.

        Any respect you may have garnered by any quasi-intelligent comments in the past has been completely overshadowed by this egotistical display. Lol.

    • Thud

      7 times

  • Jason Moore

    I just got out of a 2 hour VR session with my new big screen beyond headset. Could have stayed in for another 3-4. Thing is like wearing nothing at all. Feel sorry for anyone wearing a brick on their face, and I’m never going back to boxes and bricks again. I’ll wait a few years until Apple comes up with something lighter.

    • ViRGiN

      I feel sorry for people tied to SteamVR, with nothing to look forward to, and limited by tether and lighthouse coverage.

      • foamreality

        They are limited only by the games available. EVERY VR USER IS!

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Funny, I can also go on for 4-6 hours with my Vive Pro (1) headset and mostly the reason I stop is due to time or battery of the wireless module running out.
      No matter how light the headset may be, if its got a wire to your PC, I wont use it, rather have a heavier, but well balanced headset on my head, than a f-ing wire running to a PC.

    • david vincent

      Weight is the least issue if you have a good strap and a good balance.
      My modded Pico Neo3 Link weights 800g and I can wear it for hours.

  • $3500 to suffer in pain, lol

  • MosBen

    I mean, this sort of hits right in the middle of what I think of most first generation Apple devices: gets a lot of things right but a few things wrong enough to not be worth paying the high price and fighting the crowds/availability to get one. I’m not an Apple user generally, but I have to give it to them that unlike a lot of companies they usually stick with a product line through at least a few generations, and by the second or third generation they usually have the biggest kinks worked out. I’m reasonably confident that in a second generation Vision device they’ll stick roughly to the same compute power to keep compatibility between generations but decrease the weight and reduce the price. And that will be a device that makes more sense for an average person to buy.

  • XRC

    As an ergonomist, it pains me to see this multi-billion dollar company making such fundamental human factors errors, after turning up so late to the XR party.

    A small clue is in the name, HMD (head mounted device), basically…something worn on the head!

    Tony aka Skarredghost was kind enough to host my first long read article on ergonomics back in 2018, this was widely read by many in the industry, but perhaps not the nice people at Apple?


    “The end goal when designing Virtual Reality equipment is “complete transparency” where it fits so well, you don’t notice you are wearing it; you simply relax into the virtual world with true immersion where you feel “present”. As we start to see higher resolution displays coming to market, the notorious “screen door effect” will diminish, and more sophisticated lens designs will reduce or eliminate optical artifacts like “god rays”, meaning that good fit will become ever more important so as to not become a barrier to true immersion.”

    • Thud

      I’m really intirued by the nomenclature in this comment. What is the meaning of “dogfooding” and “team grows blind to flaws” in your industry?

      • XRC

        It’s a term that originated with Alpo dog food advertising in 1970’s where Lorne Greene said he fed it to his dogs. Then popularized by Microsoft late ’80’s in a drive to have more employees using their own products.

        It’s using your own products and services internally throughout your company before a consumer launch to assess quality and provide feedback.

        A danger of being too close to any product is becoming somewhat blind to its flaws, this takes experienced product management to overcome as well as fresh eyes. Big tech companies like Google actually run paid research sessions involving consumers for this very reason.