Bigscreen Beyond Review Summary

Photo by Road to VR

From a visual standpoint, Beyond is really impressive, but for me it’s really pushing the boundary of ‘minimum acceptable field-of-view’. As I mentioned previously, had I not gotten a second facepad with less eye-relief, I think it would have been just over that line where the sweet spot made the effective FoV just a bit too limiting even for the headset’s other benefits.

It’s unclear at this time what percentage of customers will get an optimal facepad right out of the box vs. how many might need adjustments to get the most from the headset. For what it’s worth, Bigscreen says it will work with customers to get it right.

“Each person is a unique scenario with the custom fit approach, we place a lot of emphasis on ensuring each person has a great experience and will do whatever it takes. We think of it as working with a bespoke tailor to get you an awesome experience,” the company told me.

Photo by Road to VR

Whether Beyond feels worth the tradeoffs of a smaller FoV in favor of an extremely compact and high resolution headset will probably depend upon your specific usage. Movie viewing in the Bigscreen application is sure to be a fitting use-case because the virtual movie won’t fill the whole field-of-view anyway, and head movements will be minimal compared to other VR content (which means you’ll be able to keep the display brighter without suffering too much from persistence blur).

As it stands, the headset is so small that it’s truly in a different class than its contemporaries. It isn’t perfect, but it’s an impressive and in many ways unique offering among PC VR headsets.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • implicator

    I feel the same way about it. The headset is comfortable, especially with the top strap, but the deluxe audio strap will be what it needs to really shine and be seamless. Thankfully you can 3D print adapters to use third party Quest headstraps already. Bobo VR and Kiwi VR have a lot of cool options.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Wouldn’t you give up some of the comfort by attaching a 3rd party Quest headstrap? The Bobo VR M2 apparently weights about the same as a Quest 2, more if you pick a version with battery. That’s great as a counter balance weight for the Quest 2. But with the Beyond at only ~180g that are mostly carried by the perfect fit of the facepad, so you don’t have to press it into your face with a tight strap, you have now created an extra weight several times the weight of the HMD itself at the back that will pull the HMD backwards into your face.

      The main benefit of the low weight and customized facepad would be that it reduces pressure and makes a light soft strap a comfortable/viable option even for those that find the default strap on front heavy HMDs like the Quest 2 unbearable. Replacing it with a strap designed to balance the weight of a Quest 2 should actually make it less comfortable, so the sole reason to even try would be the option to attach headphones to the stiff 3rd party straps.

      • NotMikeD

        I think your insight on eroding the BSB’s natural advantage by hacking on some 3rd party strap meant for another HMD is spot-on here. I think the beauty of something like this is that folks have loads of options on how to best tailor the BSB’s comfort to their tastes. Therefore I don’t look at the default strap option on this, or really any HMD, as major factor in my decision to purchase.

        • ViRGiN

          Man, think of the potential for cringetubers. You can milk out infinite amount of videos with frankenstein straps, and arguing what is the best!

      • implicator

        Don’t get a headstrap with a counterweight or battery. You will still have a much lighter headset than the competition. You can adjust the fit as you want with all of these headstraps. The custom fit part is just the facial interface of course.

  • ViRGiN

    Wow, I had a little heart attack when I saw the thumbnail.
    I thought Valve Dickhard was just announced.

  • ViRGiN

    > And here’s where it fits into the landscape of high-end PC VR headsets from a pricing standpoint
    Please stop using “high-end” if you are incapable of defining it.
    And why not include Rift S? It’s native PCVR. Is it because it’s been discontinued? Why include Vive Pro 2? Shows as out of stock on HTC official page. It’s essentially discontinued, with unsold units available through other ways.
    Quest 2 and Quest Pro are also PCVR headsets.

    In the specifications you listed the panel resoltuion, but not what it can actually render without upscaling.

    • Ben Lang

      High-end in my book is ~$800+ MSRP for the ‘full kit’, and also related to the intended target market.

      • ViRGiN

        That’s a pretty whack definition to be honest. That makes htc vive focus “high end”

        • Ben Lang

          That’s how they priced it.

          • ViRGiN

            It’s the definition that doesn’t make sense.
            Quest 3 is absolutetly high end, and due to lower pricing, it’s not by your definition. Really unfair.

  • Cl

    I wish you could tell us your personal fov measurements for quest 2.

    Speaking of fov I find it strange you talk about thr fov being so small often, but on your varjo review it is barely mentioned, considering your measurements are much lower on that compared to the beyond. I’d say beyond is 2nd best in your fov list.

  • polysix

    I can’t believe the final production units still have that awful hacky material for the face gasket, thought that ‘I hacked at a bit of foam with a blunt knife’ look was purely for the prototypes… looks terrible and I bet it doesn’t feel too great on the face either.

    Quest Pro > anything that touches your face now, even if it’s small and light like BB.

    • Dragon Marble

      “Anything that touches your face”. That’ll be my only reservation when I click that pre-order button for Quest 3 tomorrow.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      The hacky part is mostly due to the production process. Bigscreen asks customers to provide them with a 3D scan of their face, created with the depth sensor of an iPhone. These look decent when displayed on a screen, but their actual resolution isn’t all that high once you look at them without the images of the face applied as textures.

      Bigscreen will most likely take that somewhat edgy 3D face scan, use a CNC router to carve it into a high density foam, add a separating agent, then fill the mold they created this way with silicon foam, and top it with the interface plate that will later connect it magnetically to the Beyond. I of course don’t know if this is what they actually do (it’s based on what I would do), but the horizontal traces visible in the image below the “Clarity” header look a lot like the grooves a router bit will leave. The ones in the picture are way too large to be caused accidentally, so I suppose they are by design and actually serve a purpose like creating small air channels to allow sweat to escape.

      At some point they mentioned that the custom facial interface would be based on a silicon foam, which implies they either have to create individual molds or carve every unit out of a larger block. Silicon is also used for a lot of other VR HMD facial interfaces, as it is skin friendly, doesn’t soak up sweat and very easy to clean, all very important for an interface with a very large surface actually touching the skin.

      They could probably make it “prettier” by improving the process and end up more with something that looks like smooth EVA foam, but considering that the primary goal is perfectly fitting onto your face while keeping the costs of creating individual interfaces for each user acceptable, the production method and material they picked is actually very “fitting”, even if the results looks somewhat hacky compared to mass produced injection molded parts.

      • XRC

        Biggest problem with silicon on skin for active use (VR headset ) it doesn’t let the skin breathe, tends to cause localised irritation and longer term can cause issues. Build up of moisture can wet/fog lenses and start to attack headset electronics over time.

        Can also make the headset difficult to reposition once damp as it sticks to skin.

        This can be beneficial in some ways with a looser/poorly fitting headset to maintain eyeball alignment, but often annoying on a well fitted headset where you need to take it off and put back on quickly.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          Yes, the disadvantage of not soaking up sweat is that it remain on the skin, making silicon covers worn during VR fitness sessions extra sweaty. I really wonder if the grooves on the Beyond interface are there to reduce this problem. The biological purpose of sweat is to evaporate and thereby cool the skin, something not possible with many silicon VR covers pressing against the face with no gaps for air the sweat could evaporate into. Leaving tiny air channels may actually allow for the sweat to escape without significantly reducing the contact surface area or letting in light.

          The repositioning should be less of a problem, as the custom face pad should basically fall into place automatically. Norm from Tested reported that he wears the Beyond with a very loose head strap without any issues. On the Beyond, the strap seems mostly needed to keep the HMD from falling down, not for tightly pressing it against your face to stop it from moving around or sliding down.

      • Ben C

        thats my problem. iam allergic to certain silicones and dont get an answer on the exact material. and it not absorbing sweat could be a problem to, since my skin is sadly extremly sensestiv, so much, that sweating under the pads of my glasses already can to inflamed skins due to sweat and rubbing.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          Even if you found out the exact type of silicone, being oversensitive to sweat would probably still rule out any non-breathing large surface contact on the face. I don’t know if you’ve tried something like the cotton based covers for the Quest 2 facial interface from VR Cover, but something similar would probably be your best bet. With the Beyond staying in place by exactly matching your facial bone structure, creating a similar DIY solution may be as easy as cutting out a piece of fabric from an old T-shirt to roughly the same size with holes for the eyes and placing it on the foam before putting it on. It shouldn’t slide away during use, which a similar solution for the Quest would most certainly do. And if it does slide, simply folding it once or twice along the edges and fixing it with a few stitches or even glue should prevent the patch from moving in any direction.

          I doubt that you’d ever get an assurance that the facial will work for you simply for liability reasons.
          A (small) company will usually prefer customers with potential problems to not buy rather than having to deal with significant extra support costs not covered by the product price. So if someone is too large or small or has specific handicaps or health problems, they usually end up with having to pay a lot more for either custom made solutions or buying from companies specializing in (usually very expensive) special needs accessories that get tested for certain conditions.

          As you know pretty exactly what you’d get with the Bigscreen, I’d suggest assuming that you will have a negative reaction to the material and therefore have to get extra covers anyway, adding to the cost of the HMD. If cotton covers work for you, that extra cost could be as low as an old shirt plus some time, but even having a set of swappable, custom fabric covers made by a seamstress should be below USD 100.

          So that’s the extra risk coverage you’d have to add on top of the purchase price that would most likely allow you to use the Beyond, even if you react allergic to the foam or sweat collecting on it. You may also have to regularly switch fabric covers, before they have collected too much sweat. Whether this is worth it, depends on you. I don’t suffer from allergic reactions, but am very pressure sensitive with a seemingly odd facial structure, so all VR HMDs are very uncomfortable, with the Quest 2 with default strap being unbearable painful after a few minutes, and even 3rd party straps don’t work well. So I usually add some extra material cost plus a lot of time to customize a HMD on top of its base price to the calculation, as modifying it will be inevitable. I’d still rather do that than hoping for someone to someday release a HMD that I can use comfortably out of the box, as that may never happen. Your options may be similar.

  • XRC

    Good review, agree on audio! Some questions though:

    Any information on heat build up, lens fogging?

    How is the face gasket material on the skin? Does it breathe or get wet and sticky? Is it washable? How about replacements?

    How is the headset for active gaming, like a session of pistol whip or beat saber?

    Is this a native steamVR headset? Or using third party application to run in steamVR?

    • Ben Lang

      The material is more comfortable than it looks; more like a gel than a foam.

      I didn’t experience any fogging, but also didn’t get a chance to really get a proper sweat going in the headset before it had to be sent back unfortunately. I should be able to revisit this when I test it again with the audio strap.

      • XRC

        Look forward to seeing your next review once audio strap is available – looks like same driver as koss portapro (Rift CV1) so should be competent

      • NotMikeD

        Why even HAVE you send it back if the unit’s been tailored to your face and IPD?

        • Ben Lang

          The facepads are connected with magnets, so I kept those.

          Since each headset is indeed tailored to the IPD, they need to have many copies of each IPD available for reviewers that need them. As it’s a startup and they are early in shipping, I understand the need to ask for it back rather quickly.

          • NotMikeD

            Makes total sense, appreciate the reply. It also makes me think the severity of a lot of these comments about “not being able to resell or ever share these bespoke headsets with anyone!” are a bit overblown since you’re apparently just another 3D print or generic faceplate away from sharing this with someone with a similar IPD.

          • Ben Lang

            Yeah you’re slightly restricted because of the fixed IPD. Those with IPD toward the average will have more resale luck than those on the far edges!

          • XRC

            From the images they seem to use a pair of spacing pucks that set the ipd. These pucks are manufactured in multiple sizes (16?) to accommodate the range on offer. So perhaps not something permanent, but factory refittable.

  • peppersghostoftsushima

    I can’t believe you considered the perfect light blocking an issue and imperfect facepads as a feature. And then proceeded to use the lack of deluxe audio addon as a reason to call the product “incomplete”.
    I wonder if you would be more favorable if Bigscreen had the reputation of Apple and flew you over to fancy events. I bet you’d be much nicer then and chose your words very carefully, like you did with the bulky, heavy, 2-hour-battery 3K USD Apple headset review.

    Yes, I am implying you’re biased, but it was not unprovoked.

    And I don’t even own or plan to own the Bigscreen headset, but this is just jarring to read and disrespectful to the company who gave you a product to review and didn’t really deserve this unfounded criticism. Sure, other points were fair.

    • shadow9d9

      No audio, no controllers, and no base stations IS incomplete.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    The material of the facepad should be a closed pore silicon foam plus some plastic carrier and magnet, so just rinsing it or cleaning it with soap should be an option. If you still have the first faceplate that was a few millimeters off, maybe you are willing to risk ruining it by abusing it for some tests regarding how easy it is to clean without causing any damage, including getting rid of sticky stuff like pet hair.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    Or you could form the habit of actually using the wrist bands and always have the controllers dangle from arms, and put on the headphones first, resting around you neck, and then the headset. Comes with some other problems and sticking to that order is somewhat annoying, but I switched to it after having spent too much time looking for controllers. Now I always know exactly where they are without currently seeing or holding them, even when I forgot to first activate one, rendering it invisible in VR.

  • Ad

    I wish I could test one out to see, which isn’t possible because of how customized they are and how niche it is. It sounds great but I would want to get a bigscreen, an audio strap, and maybe a Nofio adapter, which seems like it could cost a wild amount of money in 2023, when other new hardware could be just around the corner. Although even if valve makes a new headset, I’ll also likely want a new GPU, there’s a lot of games I have but haven’t played because I thought I was going to get a 3080.

    • NotMikeD

      From my impressions of the BSB from this and other reviews, if you got a BSB, audio strap, and Nofio adapter it would be WORTH a wild amount of money. Unfortunately in this world sometimes we’ve got to pay to play.

      • ViRGiN

        Nobody has ever used nofio, other than cringetubers like Bradley in nofio controlled environment. It’s not shipping anytime soon and is already massively delayed.

  • NotMikeD

    Great review, thank you, and certainly much more informative than what that other site that shall not be named put out yesterday.

    One thing I can’t quite understand from your review though:

    “From a visual standpoint, Beyond is really impressive, but for me it’s really pushing the boundary of ‘minimum acceptable field-of-view’.”

    “Whether Beyond feels worth the tradeoffs of a smaller FoV in favor of an extremely compact and high resolution headset will probably depend upon your specific usage.”

    Yet from the FOV comparison chart from your very same article, it appears on-paper that the Beyond is pretty far out ahead of the other high-end HMD’s listed in your chart, really only bested by the Valve Index (still the king here!). Can you help me understand if your FOV criticism is specific to the BSB alone, or if it extends to other modern PCVR headsets like the Aero and Crystal?

    • ViRGiN

      Hey we can call how things are – uploadvr is straight up money oriented and constantly circlejerks within the staff. It’s business first, enthusiasm last. They always had the biggest amount of sponsors, and yet had to make comment section paid. It barely worked out for them, nobody subscribes.

      • shadow9d9

        If that were the case, then they would hype up everything to attract more clicks, as a money grab. That is the model of the youtuber nobodies.

        Therefore, what you are saying makes no sense. VR isn’t big enough to make money on criticizing something beloved.

        • ViRGiN

          It’s business.
          They just their uploadvr showcase where the devs have to pay to appear on them.

          Doesn’t matter if you’re running a cryptoscam – if you pay, they will publish your ads. They hosted Vail and never said a bad word.

          Maybe bigscreen doesn’t have affiliate links?

          Each to your own, i don’t see any value in uvr. Endless yapping about nothing really.

    • Ben Lang
  • peppersghostoftsushima

    The issue is not just the paragraph, but the wording in your conclusion and the headline.

    Adding a hole is not a solution, all it is is an issue labeled as a solution because that issue also produced an unintended side effect. If they kept a hole at the nose, then you would complain how it doesn’t block all light so is not as advertised. Tell me with a straight face that you wouldn’t.

    Not having a builtin audio is only silly if you cherry pick what you compare it to. PSVR2 also uses wired earbuds. But that doesn’t count? Or is the fact that Bigscreen box doesn’t come with off the shelf dirt cheap earbuds the problem?

    >Also, Apple didn’t “fly me” anywhere, otherwise my hand-on article would have included a disclosure.

    So apparently they don’t even need that for access journalism. What i said still stands, all you did was praise it and write a tiny poem about it. Only Norm from Tested and Marques Brownlee were clear about AVPs shortcomings, namely the bulkiness and weight. Everyone else were gushing over it trying to score points from Apple. Sorry, that’s exactly how it looked and not just with your review.

    >I like your username btw

    Hey thanks I like your profile picture.

    • Ben Lang

      Literally the first sentence in the audio section of my PSVR 2 review:

      “One of my biggest gripes about PSVR 2 is the lack of directly integrated audio.”

      From my Vision Pro hands-on about ergonomics:

      “For one, I was hoping Apple would move the needle more on headset ergonomics. AVP isn’t uncomfortable compared to contemporary MR headsets, but it’s still in the same ballpark. I found the headset fairly front-heavy, even with an optional top strap. I’m glad they have the top strap though, because AVP (like most headsets) definitely benefits from it. However, the choice to have the strap go from ear-to-ear (rather than forehead to back-of-head) seems like a mistake because it doesn’t let you lift the headset’s front-heavy weight up quite as well.”

      I’m sorry but you seem to be mistaking me for someone else?

      • peppersghostoftsushima

        1) Audio – My point was PSVR2 also doesn’t have a builtin speaker/off hear headphone, so you can’t go ahead saying it is a must when it apparently isn’t a must since headsets are made and sold by large tech companies without one just fine. As a journalist you should state what you believe is a must for the target audience not yourself.

        2) Apple – fair enough.

        • Ben Lang

          These previews and reviews are my analyses and opinions, based on more than a decade of reporting on and using VR professionally.

          I think that no built-in audio on a VR headset in 2023 is a strategic mistake for both myself and for the majority of users. There is a small minority of people for whom it is either fine or maybe even preferable to not have built-in audio, but in that case just make them removable.

          PSVR 2’s lack of in-built audio is annoying, but at a minimum they have an audio solution in the box that is custom-fit to the headset and also stows in the headset itself, making it slight less annoying than the BYOA approach.

          In a few months time we should have Bigscreen’s own official audio solution for the headset. Clearly the company realizes this is both wanted and important.

  • NotMikeD

    FWIW I didn’t read into any of those things the commentor mentioned as “unfair bias” (and I’m not sure I’d say that about another recent “review” of the BSB from another site..). Rather I found those to be thoughtful quality of life considerations to make when thinking through a radically different HMD like this.

  • NotMikeD

    As someone who’s pre-ordered a BSB I think I’ll likely wait for the dust to settle post release before deciding on a final audio option. We don’t have firsthand reviews of Bigscreen’s own built-in offering, and there’ll likely be loads of 3rd party or 3D print options on offer as well. For Day 1, I’m planning on using a wireless pair of Low-Latency APTX bluetooth buds I used to use for my Quest 2; and I do think that’ll provide the advantage of an ultra-low non-restrictive footprint that should synergize nicely with BSB’s form factor.

  • foamreality

    This was a headset I was thinking of buying. Having read this review about the tiny sweet spot I’ve changed my mind. A decent FOV was something I really wanted but OLED is an absolute must. I was prepared to sacrifice a wide FOV because I thought the pancake lenses would be like the quest pro, which shocked me when I tried them. They are absolutely flawless lenses: the entire lens is a sweetspot, and it also had a decent fov. But sadly its not OLED. I dind’t even care about the lower resolution, to my surprise a large fov and sweetspot actually does out-way a slightly better resolution.Even a little screen door was worth it. I so wish someone would do a headset with quest pro / 3 lenses. good sweet spot is the most important thing in my opinion, and its hard to explain why until you have tried it. Disappointment comes with every new headset. I hope valve pull something out of the bag soon, there have been dozens of heassets , each with something great but it seems none of them can give more than one good feature at a time. Its so frustrating. The tech is there to create the perfect headset since for a few years now, why hasn’t anyone thought to combine all the elements yet? I don’t get it.

    • shadow9d9

      Because the tech isn’t really there yet, clearly…

  • Very good and balanced review. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  • Jackson

    Seriously, just use wireless earbuds. Problem solved.
    Why on earth would you use big, clunky “gaming headphones” with a minimal VR headset like this?
    Earbuds are a natural fit since they’re so light that you forget they’re there, they never get in the way, and they can have better audio quality than any “built-in” crap on VR headsets. You’re probably already wearing them as you read this, too.

  • Jackson

    I’m certain I would eventually find the entire gasket shredded to bits, along with hundreds of cat claw/teeth marks on what remained of the headset.

  • Brandon

    Do you need tracking equipment to watch a movie in big screen or play something like Star Wars Squadr

  • Brandon

    Do you need tracking equipment to watch a movie in big screen?

  • Doon1

    I have an issue that causes my weight to fluctuate by as much as 25 lbs. While I’d like this headset, I’d need the ability to print my own faceplate. Do they have downloadable software that will allow me to do that. I think a TPU faceplate with a gyroid infill would work well.

  • Ben C

    big question i that i find no solid answer on: whats the material of the face gasket? iam allergic to latex and certain rubber/silicons. but even support just states “skin friendly material” that doesnt answer my question, you can have reactions to every skin friendly material

  • ScrittiPolitti

    How is the 3-D transmitted over DisplayPort? Does it transmit the left & right frames sequentially?

    Also, is there any way to use these for 3-D modeling in Blender or FreeCAD?