John Carmack, legendary programmer and former CTO of Oculus, is known for giving his unfiltered thoughts on almost every aspect of the XR industry. While he departed Meta in December, concluding his “decade in VR,” Carmack is still very interested in the medium, as he recently went hands-on with one of the latest PC VR headsets to hit the scene, the slim and light Bigscreen Beyond.

Bigscreen Beyond is a tethered PC VR headset that uses Valve’s SteamVR tracking standard, which starting at $1,000 for just the headset makes it an interesting value proposition for users already hooked into the SteamVR hardware ecosystem. It’s largely praised for its slim and light profile, which is thanks to the inclusion of pancake lenses and micro-OLEDs, serving up 2,560 × 2,560 pixels per eye at 70 to 90 Hz refresh.

You’ve probably already heard what we think of it though. Now for the master:

“Bigscreen Beyond feels like a prop for a futuristic movie, but it works!” Carmack said in a Twitter thread on Monday. “Far and away the smallest and lightest PC VR headset.”

That’s high praise coming from a key figure in the Oculus genesis story, not to mention co-founder and lead programmer of id Software, the studio behind pioneering ’90s 3D games Wolfenstein 3DDoom, and Quake.

Image courtesy John Carmack

To hear all of Carmack’s thoughts on Bigscreen Beyond, we’ve formatted his tweets below for easier reading:

Bigscreen Beyond feels like a prop for a futuristic movie, but it works! Far and away the smallest and lightest PC VR headset.

As a result of the iPhone based face scanning before ordering, the fit is perfect, with zero light leaks. The custom printed facial interface is comfortable, but not breathable, so it isn’t great for fitness activities.

The prescription lens inserts snap in with magnets and work well. The visuals are a trade off vs Quest Pro. The resolution is clearly higher, but there are more internal reflections in the pancake optics, and the quality falls off more toward the edges. There are parts of the view where screens look fantastic, good enough for actual productivity work, but not across the entire view.

I sorely miss integrated audio. Having to mess with headphones severely impacts the minimalist feel of the headset. I know some people have strong opinions, but I still feel Quest made the right decisions around audio.

The cable to the PC and the tracking base stations are the biggest downside. The magic of stand-alone VR is real, and while some people happily trade it away for the raw power and flexibility of a PC, I wouldn’t recommend any PC VR setup as an entry point to VR.

For people considering an upgrade to a PC VR system, Bigscreen Beyond should be in the mix. I am very happy to see this extreme focus on light weight, and I hope it impacts Meta’s future designs.

In a follow-up tweet, Carmack points to a review from Adam Savage’s Tested, which he says “hits most of my points in more depth.”

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In it, Tested’s Norman Chan reports back after having lived with the headset for a month, using a development unit as the office’s primary PC VR headset. Chan shows through-the-lens images, and discusses “the good, the bad, and the weird with this unique approach to high-end bespoke VR,” the video’s description reads.

Check out Tested’s review below:

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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.
  • xyzs

    100 percent agree with he very last sentence.

  • I love Carmack

  • pixxelpusher

    If Bigscreen Beyond and HyperVision’s 240° prototypes don’t influence every headset moving forward, then the heads of companies should roll.

    • ViRGiN

      Are you nuts?
      Nobody cares about shitty extremely outdated, limited and overpriced valve lighthouse tech.

      • pixxelpusher

        Talking about the small form factor as per the article. That’s what John is impressed by. I dIdn’t mention anything about lighthouse as that’s not what the discussion is about.

        • ViRGiN

          And that is achieved by customized fit and ipd, with basically nothing inside except for tiny display. No audio, not wireless, doesn’t have inside out tracking. Yeah. Every company after bigscreen is not going to target dead pcvr “market”.

          Form factor is great indeed, but the best headset in the world can’t make shitty platform suddenly interesting.

          • pixxelpusher

            Again I’m simply talking about 2 specific design points in isolation that need to be standard moving forward in all headsets. Not discussing anything else. How they do it I don’t really care. That’s their job to work it out.

          • Only trolls hide comments

            Stop feeding the troll. Everyone else who has been here more than twice already blocked them. They’re so prolific that I don’t even have to ask who it is even though I can’t see their comments anymore.

          • Ookami

            Honestly the comments section would be better off, but I just can’t bring myself to because sometime you get nuggets of gold like, “the Russia-Ukraine war is all Valves fault because if they’d shut down steam in Russia, all the Russian soldiers would get lonely from not being able to play games with their e-friends, that they’d give up fighting.”
            And they were totally serious too.

          • Only trolls hide comments

            If you can’t resist the obvious troll-bait, I will have to block you as well. How naive must you be to think after reading something so absurd and blatantly inflammatory that the troll was “totally serious”?

            If pointless arguing with disruptive trolls is how you get your endorphin hit, why don’t you just get a reddit account, or something?

            “Nuggets of gold”. SMH

          • Ookami

            block me idc
            In the context it was entirely serious because he somehow thought that I was the one with the position, and he was going on about how I might be correct and giving all the weird stuff about soldiers getting lonely because they can’t play with e-friends.

          • Frozenbizkit

            You know its Virgin lol

          • Dolomite

            Username checks out.

          • ViRGiN

            Stupid as a rock.

          • Dolomite

            Lol

            You spent hours coming up with that didn’t you?

          • ViRGiN

            Years

          • GunnyNinja

            Here’s the thing dude. How LONG have you been talking about the “dead” PCVR market? If it’s dead, why are you still here telling us about it?

          • ViRGiN

            For years I guess?
            If it’s not dead, then why be bothered with “fake news”?
            i back my statements with real data. Get a life. People don’t want PCVR.

    • xyzs

      They should land within Varjo and VR engineers products in a near future the CEO said.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    Major mistake now to allow wireless PCVR capability such as Virtual Desktop.

    • It’s not that they “don’t allow” it, it’s simply not within their scope of development for the first consumer version to have it built in. They’re already working with at least one external company towards having it work with an adapter system for semi-wireless use.

      This is a preferable approach anyway since it allows for upgrading of and/or reuse of such hardware, and most notably flexibility in powering it.

      • Only trolls hide comments

        What the heck is “semi-wireless”?

        • Where the device is wired by default but can be used with additional hardware to enable wireless use; similarly, the Oculus headsets are wireless (or in their case more accurately self-contained) by default but can be used wired to a PC also.

          The bulk of wired headsets cannot be used wirelessly using any commercially-available hardware, just as there are self-contained headsets which can’t be used wired to any external system.

          • Only trolls hide comments

            The Quest isn’t just self-contained. It has wifi 6 and it works great for PCVR. That’s primarily what I use mine for. IMO, wireless is essential for a good VR experience unless you’re playing a seated game like a driving/flight/mech sim.

          • GunnyNinja

            Limited IPD. Nothing it has means a thing if I can’t use it.

    • xyzs

      To me their main mistake is to not have an integrated inside out tracking system.
      A couple low res B&W cameras would cost 10 dollars and 5 grams to add…

    • Michael Hudgins

      If wireless is what you want from a headset, it’s not for you, and that’s okay. They set out to make the very best PCVR headset for those of us that want to use PCVR with no compression bs. This headset maximizes comfort and visual clarity. Beyond makes some compromises (no wireless, not amazing FOV, no built in audio, lower brightness than the standard), but wireless is SO FAR away from being compelling enough to overcome it’s tradeoffs imo. I’d rather Bigscreen do exactly what they did, and make the best possible tethered headset they could. There will be more options available for wireless hmds from Meta (and possible Google/Samsung). Your tastes are already being served by the biggest players. This is a niche PCVR enthusiast headset, not standalone wireless garbage that is available for mass market already. Options are good.

  • Blinkin73

    The thing is cool for what it is, but I think the point may be for this to be used more as an affordable and comfortable movie theater to wear on your face. Has it been marketed as anything else?

    • Ookami

      It’s very usable as an Index replacer. You get Oled screens, high resolution, comfort and small form factor, but you have to trade away some FOV.
      I own a G2, and playing with it for a couple of hours can be tiring and uncomfortable because of the size and weight, so having something like this would be amazing.

      • Blinkin73

        I get all that. What I’m saying is that if you are going to review it, then review for the reason it was most likely made. I agree with you 100% that this thing is amazing for other stuff. I’d be all over this if it had a lens fan. I play a lot of fitness VR games. They steam up sometimes.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          TL;DR: This is something that annoys me to no end, but people just ignoring the announced use cases and instead comparing the device to what they wanted it to be, even if it was made perfectly clear that it wouldn’t be, is apparently very much part of human nature. Here Bigscreen didn’t even really make that clear by restricting the marketing to mostly showing virtual cinema, they instead gladly rode a viral campaign driven by a couple of VR influencers showcasing it mostly for non-cinema VR applications without ever trying to stop them (which would have been extremely stupid from a PR perspective).

          In theory you are right, in reality people will ignore the advertised use and always apply their own wishes. The Meta Quest Pro was announced mainly as a tool for VR conferencing, with the eye tracking used to improve these by giving avatars proper eye gaze direction. What people actually wanted from the Pro was basically a Quest 3, an enthusiast device with slightly improved specs, and working ETFR for extra performance gains. The price was considered as way to high for an enthusiast device, despite Meta (very unsuccessfully) trying to position it as a business tool, where the price would have been acceptable, if it actually provided any significant productivity gains.

          In a similar way people for years only ever heard Apple talk about AR, and pushing AR on iOS devices, but desperately wanted them to release a high end VR HMD. So when it finally appeared and Apple showed mainly using existing iOS apps, media consumption and integration into existing Apple communication tools, completely ignoring VR, the same people started declaring the device would fail due to the lack of VR controllers preventing ports of existing VR games.

          People will judge based on their expectations, no matter how unrelated they are to what was actually announced. It’s like rating a Tesla an unusable product because it still can’t fly, and you have been asking Tesla and SpaceX to finally come up with the flying cars that were promised 50 years ago.

          Bigscreen has “screen” in its name, their whole business model before presenting the Beyond was selling/renting movies, and the Beyond is very much designed exactly for that purpose. But instead of acknowledging that a wire isn’t a problem for virtual cinema, or that lying down with a battery at the back of your head instead of a soft strap would be very uncomfortable, people want it wireless with a battery for balance. Lighthouse tracking is what allows the headset to be so small and light and comfortable to wear for whole movie sessions, but people want it to include cameras and a SoC for inside-out tracking. The individualized facial interface eliminates light bleeding in and guarantees a perfect fit and correct IPD without adjustments, but people want a generic interface so multiple people can use it for beat saber. And more.

          Basically everybody wanted a small form factor HMD, and that is the only thing people actually looked at. They wanted that for very different applications, so anything that didn’t fit that application was considered a design flaw, even if it was essential for actually achieving that small form factor. The question in the end is if people are just ignorant idiots, and/or if manufacturers should always imply that their devices will be (ab-)used in various ways they never intended and cover these or make the intended use cases more explicit.

          I’m not sure how Bigscreen could have achieved that, they basically would have had to put testers into virtual cinema first/only and emphasize this use case. What they actually did was sending the headset out to a number of prominent VR influencers that willingly provided a lot of feedback and later publicly praised the HMD, but of course primarily demonstrating its use for regular VR, with virtual cinema only mentioned on the side. Apple managed that better by limiting the presentation to almost exclusively features Apple users already utilize on other Apple devices, showing no VR at all and strictly limiting the pictures that the invited developers/journalists/YouTubers etc. were allowed to use: only of the HMD itself or material provided by Apple, nobody was allowed to show the HMD in use, so we ended up mostly with narrated reports about the experience and ease of use with absolutely zero pictures of the person actually using it.

          Rumors now say you won’t be able to just buy an AVP, you’ll have to make an appointment at an Apple store, where someone will introduce you to the device and its proper use. So nobody can leave the store and say that the VR experience was disappointing, because they will really hammer down the message that this isn’t a VR device, as otherwise people would again ignore the intended use case and only compare it to what they themselves wanted it to be. Bigscreen is partly at fault here for not having made the primary use case more obvious. They probably did that intentionally, knowing well that trying to sell it based primarily/only on virtual cinema would never have created the same positive reactions and wave of interest from the VR community that their whole marketing is based on, simply because this wouldn’t match the main interests of most VR users. So they now couldn’t really complain if reviews don’t focus on the official main purpose of the device.

          • kraeuterbutter

            the Quest Pro was wrongly placed as a buisness-headset..
            the first thing when you open the Store in the Quest PRo: what do you see? 98% of all apps are GAMES !
            GAMES GAMES !
            how many software does use the eyetracking-feature? how many software does use facetracking?

            so: they through a headset on the market: which is not bad for gaming ! its infact better for gaming than the Quest2
            better colors, better E2EC, better lenses, better blacks, wider FOV, posiblity to use it in “open-style”, higher perseved resolution, clearer image, better controllers, …
            so playing with it is better than with the Quest2

            BUT: meta says: “nononono.. its not for gamers.. its for business..”
            but: no real software to use with it as business-headset
            that was the mistake

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            I disagree that the QPro was wrongly placed as a business HMD: The QPro was indeed never designed for gamers. The included features make production costs way too high, and most of them do not address the issues gamers want to be solved first. Which is why gamers don’t buy it, even after the price has been dropped by 1/3rd.

            The main benefits are the pancake lenses, then, depending on personal preference, the better balanced halo strap or the improved display, with everything else nice to haves, but not at that price. What gamers wanted/needed from Meta was basically a Pico 4 with slightly improved specs for USD 200-300 more than a Q2. Self-tracking controllers or charging stations are nice, but not USD 1000 extra nice, while the minimal hassle these allow for quickly jumping in and out of VR for short conferences would have made much more sense for businesses, as would eye and face tracking.

            I fully agree that the lack of software was the real mistake: Much of the QPro hardware design would actually make it a good fit for the official target group, for whom the feature list and consequently significantly higher cost should have been fine. Meta just utterly fucked up the software, by not integrating it with existing PC software and workflows, by not developing a range of VR apps interesting for businesses, and by messing up the VR conferencing that was supposed to be the flagship use case so badly that not even their own employees are willing to use it.

            In its current state the QPro does not provide an acceptable cost/benefit for either gamers (price too high) or businesses (benefit too low). Of course there will be some gamers willing to pay the price and some businesses that find their own uses cases, but in general the QPro was simply not ready for release. They probably should have worked at least an extra year or two on making it actually useful. But they apparently developed hardware and software independently, and ended up with hardware that had to be launched a year before the Q3 to not be outdated right from the start, so they pushed into the market anyway.

            It simply should not have been released in that state. Trying to shift the focus to gaming afterwards made little sense with the expensive non-gaming features and the Q3 offering way better performance just a year later at 33% the initial or 50% the current QPro price. They should have scrapped it when it became clear that the software didn’t work, updated the hardware based on the Quest 3 and tried again in 2024 with actually working software. And they should have had working prototypes that demonstrate actual benefit for business usage long before they even started to design the QPro hardware.

            They very prematurely tried to enter the professional VR market, be it either to get rid of HTC/Varjo, preemptively strike against whatever Apple might release, or just get into a market with higher margins, as consumer VR turned out to be less popular and more expensive than they had hoped. Making it mostly a disastrous management failure and consequently a giant market flop that Meta doesn’t want to talk about anymore. They probably feared that not launching an already announced product would look bad. But by launching it in this unfinished way, quickly cutting the price due to nobody buying it and then canceling it shortly after, they have pretty much kicked themselves out of the professional market, which values reliability and actual productivity gains way higher than price or fancy new features, for years to come. I’m sure HTC and Varjo love what Meta has achieved with the Quest Pro: bring lots of attention to professional VR, and at the same time make clear to buy professional HMDs from anybody but Meta.

          • kraeuterbutter

            i dont agree with everything ;-)
            with the lowered price of it:
            of course, its not for people which buy in the quest2/G2 price-range
            BUT: with the lowered price: its around Index-Price (but wireless with Pancake),
            its cheaper than the Beyond, its cheaper than the Pimax-Headsets, its cheaper than the Aero which is also placed for consumers

            and at release-time it was i would say the best standalone-Headset out there..
            they should have started with the 1000US$ price at first

            better pancakelenses and displays than the pico4,
            one of the best controllers
            better than Quest2, Pico4 (in some ways), better than any HTC headset

            now with the Q3 on the horizon its of course difficult for it

            for business? one key-feature is working also on virtual desktops..
            i have done that in homeoffice several times, with Quest2 – and better – with Pico4
            but its still for enthusiasts who WANT do it in VR
            the resolution is not good enough for text
            not a problem for games, you forget that resolution thing
            but working – you see constantly that there is still not enough resolution

            in my eyes: the Quest Pro was/is a great standalone-Gaming-Headset
            (pricewise not in Quest2-categorie, but reasonable when compared to index/beyond/HTC Pro2/ all Pimax Headsets/ AEro)
            but for business: its not enough.. softwarewise, and resolution still not good enough for text (the Quest3 will also not solve that problem)

          • kraeuterbutter

            oh.. too expensive…

            now with 1000US$

            the Quest3 – which is said to be for gamers:
            its not difficult to get to the same price with the QUest3

            Meta Quest3 512GB + Elite Battery STrap + Charging-Dock ==> 1000 Euro

            of course: thats a unfair Äpfel-Birnen-Vergleich,
            because of added battery runtime, …
            but what i wana say is: there will be many gamers, which end up investing 1000Euro or more in the Quest3

  • Only trolls hide comments

    This is the form-factor that XR needs to be to go mainstream. I’m not willing to shell out a couple grand for it until they’re able to ditch the lighthouses and make it wireless, but it’s progress.

    I would also probably have problems with it not being breathable. I’m someone who sweats a lot and would get constant lens fog until I got a vented insert with fan.

  • Only trolls hide comments

    A lot of people seem to get hung up on FOV and image quality, but for having a good XR experience I think that’s secondary to form factor and comfort.

    • kraeuterbutter

      for sure there is something true in that !
      i have a Oculus Go -> frontheavy, stiff FAcegasket
      i have a Oculus Quest1 -> very frontheavy
      i have a Qeust2 -> stock and with BoboVR Halo-STrap -> still frontheavy and feels heavy
      and a second Quest2 -> Elite-Battery-STrap -> nearly 800g heavy

      for me the Pico4 was a game-changer… with soft gasket it feels half as heavy as a Quest2 also it is same weight.. but perfect weight distribution
      and so the front is only about 250-270g “heavy” compared to the 500g of a Quest2
      i was very curious about the pancake lenses, comfort was nothing i was thinking about – but at the end its for me i think the biggest feature over the Quest2, the comfort of the Pico4
      so waiting to try out the Beyond..
      downside: its “pressed” against your face.. so a halo-kind mod is still something i think i would like to have

  • Chris S

    Just got Quest 2 and surprised how complete it is. 4K and eye tracking would make it damn perfect for me.

  • Facebook/Oculus (hate the name Meta) could do a Quest like this…. IF… they moved the electronics and battery to the BACK of the head. It’s not a huge move. The data cable might be a weak point, but if they are worried about damaging it, they could always make it user-replacable.

    It’s flat-out silly to pile the whole unit on the front of the user’s head, and always has been. I’d love to hear Carmack’s reasoning for NOT moving it to the back of the head, since otherwise the rest of the Quest’s design was inspired! It seems like the only boneheaded part of the design.

    The cameras can work off a cable, the displays can work off a cable. The cable only needs to travel 6 inches, so it’s not a cable-distance issue. And if the data cable is moved serial, you can split the bytes and move even more.

    I know they save a bit by putting the cameras on the PCB directly, but it all comes at such an ergonomics loss.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      The main reason for not moving the battery to the back of the head are all the disadvantages of the Elite strap with battery:

      – Significantly more expensive construction compared to soft straps.
      – Much larger volume/harder to transport compared to soft straps.
      – Unusable while lying down due to pressure on the back of the head, with media consumption/virtual cinema taking up 80% of the usage time of the Oculus Go, and the hard strap of the Quest 1 stopping many from upgrading from the Go.
      – May be more comfortable for many, but the less flexible strap makes it very uncomfortable for those who’s head shape doesn’t fit well.
      – Increased service costs due to more fragile construction with both the strap and the electrical connection adding points of failure. The Elite strap initially broke very easily.
      – Added manufacturing complexity/costs, as more parts have to be assembled by hand.
      – The internal Quest 2 battery weights 63g, ~14% of the 454g HMD without a strap. The soft strap adds 49g/11%, the Elite strap 171g/38%, the Elite strap with battery 321g/71%, or 258g/82% total if you use it without the internal battery. So while balance improves (a lot(, total weight gets a lot higher too.

      Some of these are fundamental (worse comfort for some/usage for virtual cinema), others are mostly about costs, which is still rather critical for a subsidized headset. I’d agree that for most actual VR usage an improved balance with a fixed headstrap with battery in the back works much better, but it would have to be optional and/or come with more options for individual comfort fit. A compromise Could be a Quest that defaults to a similar configuration as the Quest 2, but allows removing the battery and placing it into an optional (and configurable) variant of the Elite strap.

      That way users can decide what suits them best, the front weight could be reduced on demand, and the cost of the strap could be reduced due to not needing an extra battery. Alternatively users could add a second/larger/heavier battery for extended run time and better weight balance. The internal flat battery is currently pancaked between PCB and lenses and connected via two sets of flat cables. They’d have to change the design to slide it out to the side to make it configurable, as placing it at the front would make the device more front-heavy in the default configuration and mess with the cooling.

      • kraeuterbutter

        owning all headsets you mentioned.. i can say:
        the Go is far to heavy in the front – what limits its use for watching movies
        only when you ly down
        even oculus founder palmer luckey has removed the battery of his Go, lightened it further and moved the battery to the back..

        another idea: for example Pico4: the pico4 has 2 Batteries in the back..
        so: why not move each of the batterys – one a little right, one a little left
        replace the strapping-wheel at the back by a dual-mechanism at the sides..
        so it would be possible to be maximum flat at the rear, so you can ly down without a problem
        still have the heavy battery at very far rear for good balance
        since using the pico4 i realy dont like ANY of my 3 Quests because of that heavy front, which is realy a bad solution for comfort when you compare..
        and you can buy several aftermarket straps – done that over the years with my 3 quests – but the front is still: 500g
        there is no way around that :-(
        little bit sad, that the Quest3 also packs everything in the front, which makes it even a little heavier than the Quest2..
        yes, its flater which helps a lot, but still.. over 500g on your face

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          I’ve recently been thinking that maybe the facial interface is the real problem, and everything else is mostly a result of it either fitting or not. The Bigscreen Beyond is of course very light, but still has all the weight in the front, while some HMDs can be balance so well that they just stay on the head without having to be tightened. The Beyond still requires straps pressing it against the face, and it doesn’t even feature a strap going over the head to distribute the weight like the much loathed Q2 default strap.

          Nonetheless pretty much everybody loves the Beyond’s comfort, if the facial interface perfectly matches. Some reviewers actually reported discomfort (despite the low weight), but it seems to have always been due to the delivered face padding not properly sitting on the face due to failed 3D scans. Q2 users are somewhat split: some are just fine with the regular soft strap and consider the aftermarket straps worse, also hinting that weight isn’t the real issue, while others consider the original strap basically unusable.

          I’m in the latter group, and unfortunately the aftermarket straps only improve it slightly, so I had to heavily customize every headset I ever had, with the CV1 still being the most comfortable by default and the Quest 2 currently sporting a HTC DAS, extra straps across the head, an pad to move some of the weight to the forehead and the lower part of facial interface pushed out of the Q2 case. And it is still not comfortable, but at least acceptable.

          Most of my measures aim to reduce the painful pressure the default strap causes by just pressing the HMD against my face. The weight is only an indirect issue in that it requires to tighten the strap more. It would be very interesting to see how all this would change with a custom facial interface for the Q2 created in a similar way to the Beyond, that not only removes any points of high pressure due to a different bone structure, but also distributes the weight/pressure evenly over a much larger area. 500g pushing down mostly on 5cm^2 on the cheek bones hurts, but 500g being evenly supported by about 60cm^2 for a perfectly fitting Q2 ring-around-the-eyes style interface, and even more for a Beyond everywhere-with-holes-for-the-eyes style interface, may be a non-issue.

          By now I’m pretty sure that all the extra straps are trying to solve the wrong problem: better balance is nice, but the primary reason the extra balance is even needed is that it reduced uncomfortable pressure from badly fitting facial interfaces. Which is why there are many that would never bother with an Elite strap, because they are lucky and their facial structure matches the Q2 design very closely. Halo straps and better balance will still have their place, as we currently have no way to automatically adapt the facial interface to each user on the fly, making generic, adjustable options an important improvement, but I expect that the real solution will be paddings that are matched to each user the same way as glasses are, ideally magnetically attached (like in the Beyond) and usable with multiple HMDs.

          Consequently my interest in moving the battery to the back has somewhat lessened, because it introduces a number of technical issue as listed above, but most of all tries to solve the wrong problem. We’ve known for a long time that comfort is a major issue for VR, and that due to different face and head shapes, what works for some people feels utterly miserable for others. But nobody really properly tested how much comfort would improve with perfect fit before Bigscreen. We just got used to all kinds of workaround while still sticking to two or three standard shapes for millions of different faces.

          And we have come up with lots of reasonings (weight, balance, number and position of straps, adapting soft vs supporting stiff straps etc.) for (lack of) comfort. These might all miss the most important point: comfort requires preventing areas of high pressure, which requires evenly distributing weight/pressure, which requires a (thin and stable, not thick and soft) facial interface that very closely match the shape of your facial bones. The main objective may be as simple as controlling the max weight per cm^2, not the average weight per cmˆ2, or the absolute weight of the HMD, or complicated structures to lift the HMD away from the face.

          • kraeuterbutter

            hmm.. not so sure about all of that…
            a perfectly matched facial interface would help, of course
            for the Beyond: i have the same concerns as you mentiond in your first paragraph
            the thing is “STrapped” to your face
            take ski-googles.. they are “ultralight”, compared to any VR-headset out there..
            and still: you have to STrap it to your face which can get uncomfortable

            the part with conterweight at the rear: iam a fan of that weight..
            switching to the elite-Strap with the quest2 was a big improvment..
            BUT: the Quest2 becomes 800g heavy with that
            and: its still not enough.. in reality it even needs more weight if you wana wear it relativly loose on your head.. so it gets closer to 900g-1000g
            for that reason, the Pico4 was a game-changer for me..
            i can – in games which no hasty movements of the head – just “lay” the pico4 on my head.. i even dont need to strap it onto my face
            with a fabric-strap on the front from side to side it becomes even a little bit halo-style, but without having to “STRAP” the thing to the forehead
            it just lays on my head like a hat
            my Sony XM1000 Headphones are more feelable on the head, than the Pico4 for me..
            its even so, that i sometimes forget that i have a headset on the head, which has never happend with any other headset sofar
            because i dont have to STRAP it to the face, i can also remove the facial interface
            i like that “Quest Pro”-Open-Style
            in some games it give me a bigger sence of FOV than with my Pimax headset
            because my eyes see the real surrounding, but its far out enough, that my brain does blend it in into the VR-world
            works even more impressive in games like 11table-tennis, where the virtual ground in VR moves the same way than your real world floor in your living-room, so the brain connects that perfectly and it becomes one world
            other benefit: not pressure on face, eyes are free, air around the eyes, you can – without removing the headset – touch your eyes if you need with the fingers
            most times i use the pico4 without facial gasket now
            with dark games of course its not so good..
            but: even than: at night, with IR light you can still play with perfect black surrounding
            (but: FOV still looks bigger, when you can see the surrounding.. its not natural to have a black border around your vision)

            but little offtopic…
            what i wana say: balance can be – and is for me – VERY improtant.. it allows to “not strap” the thing to your head but just lay it on your head

            the other thing is: where is the weight in front..
            the Quest 2 is thik, the center of weight of that headset far away of your face

            i own a drone-mask (plastic-housing with a lense, you put your phone into it -> but not like google cardboard with 2 lenses for stereo-vision, only one lense.. so you can watch a 2D single IMage on your phone in big with this headset – and because it each eye can seee EVERY pixel of the smartphone display the perseved resolution is very good.. higher than all 2160×2160-VR-headsets out there

            how ever: that thing is lighter than a Quest2
            BUT: its double as thik.. the smartphone is a big distance from your face..
            result: its the MOST uncomfortable headset you can imagine
            for me its hard to survive 15min with that flying a drone
            so: bringing the weight closer to your head (Quest3 vs. Quest2) is for sure also something that helps
            but: Qeust3 is still a “Strap it to your face” thingy

            oh:have also the Halo-STrap for the Quest2 from BoboVR..
            everything said before it sounds as would that be perfect for me
            –> i hate it… the quest2 is too heavy in front of your face for that

            so: i doubt that a perfect facial interface would be enough to compansate the two downfalls of the quest2:
            500g heavy in your face
            and thik so lot of “Momentum” to turn it down forward
            (sorry for my bad english)

            for the Battery and so complicated when not build inside the front..
            MRTV had a video some days ago about a AR-Goggle… Viture One
            this goggles have a Puk, with Battery AND processor for your pants pocket…
            the cable is connected like a apple Notebook with magnet.. you can connect it blindley
            and its not only current and maybe a temp-sensor-signal …
            no, theres running the whole video-signal as well through that long, magnetical detachable cable..
            around 400 Euro that goggles..

            so: on a VR-Headset with only the power and maybe some voltage-messurments and temp-messurments over short distance and not with the purpose to be connected 1000sends of times..
            that should not realy be a problem
            even when you want to make it detachable

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            i have the same concerns as you mentioned in your first paragraph …
            the thing is “Strapped” to your face

            I mentioned the Bigscreen Beyond in the first paragraph esp. as a proof that the strap or strapping something against the face is NOT the actual problem. So I don’t have the “same concerns”, quite the opposite. You sort of ignored my core argument: the problem is the uneven pressure, not the total pressure caused by weight and the tight strap. The point of a perfect fit is to distribute the weight/pressure evenly over a large area instead of causing uncomfortable pressure at some points.

            All the examples you mention (ski goggles, Quest 2, drone FPV goggles) are examples of one-size-fits all, slim-padded-ring-against-face, which leads to exactly those pressure points, if the shape of the ring doesn’t match the shape of the face. And if they don’t sit perfectly on the face, they have to be strapped on tight to not slip, increasing the pressure.

            I of course don’t know if exact fit would be the solution, as I haven’t tried the Beyond myself, and none of the commercially available interfaces match my face. But there are a lot of hints. The most important is that there is an astonishing amount of people who consider the Quest 2 with default strap very comfortable or can wear drone FPV googles for hours without problems, with a significant amount of people (you and me included) having very different experiences. It’s very unlikely that one of the groups has any special medical conditions causing this, the main difference between them would be the shapes of their faces/heads.

            The second hint is the reports of Beyond users. Tested recently posted another review video, and pretty early on Norm says that he doesn’t even feel the HMD on his face, and that he can use it with a rather loose strap due to the HMD resting on the face. Indicating that a) the pressure the HMD puts on the face is very evenly distributed and b) that large surface contact can carry most of the weight, so the purpose of the strap is no longer to stop the HMD from sliding down, it mostly has to keep the HMD from flying off during head movements. The latter would still be a challenge with an 800g HMD.

            I do no doubt your own experiences and that a counter balance is by far the best solution you have found. What that actually does is moving the pressure away from the face to the top of the head. It is of course possible that the top of the head is less sensitive than the face, but it is more likely that it is simply easier to evenly distribute the pressure there due to the much simpler convex shape, compared to a facial interface that has to match eye sockets, cheek bones, nose and eye brow area.

            The only way to actually determine how big the impact of good fit plus large surface contact would be compared to better balance/lower weight, would be to actually try a device that would sit tight on the face even without any padding. From your list of uncomfortable things strapped against your face I’d say it is safe to assume that your facial bone structure is quite different from the average shape that HMD or ski google manufacturers expect, resulting in a rather bad fit for pretty much everything. With most masks/goggles/HMDs designed for a “standard head shape”, the currently only options to test this is with either the Bigscreen Beyond or a DIY solution.

            And that’s actually my third hint. For me commercial HMDs range from “unbearable” to “somewhat tolerable for more than an hour”, none of them is in any way comfortable. But I had a very comfortable “HMD” once: a self-build Google Cardboard made from old packaging with some simple straps. It started out as absolutely unbearable for more than a few seconds, pressing all the weight against the bridge of the nose. But due to being made out of cardboard and foam, I could easily modify change the fit. I ended up with extra, 3cm wide stripes of cardboard covering the edges, with velcro attached foam and three straps over the back of my head, trimmed with scissors until there were no more unpleasant points of pressure.

            So I got a very good fit for my face with a large surface area and straps exactly matching the shape of my head. The whole construction weight around 200g including the phone, so it was light too, but as mentioned, it started as unbearable despite the low weight. There wasn’t a lot of software that would have justified wearing it for hours, but I voluntarily played >1h sessions in 4Rooms and The Height, with the phone and software being the much bigger comfort issue.

            I own a 3D printer and a CNC router, and one of my many still unrealized projects is to create a custom facial interface from a 3D scan, with the foam carved out of a large block and then placed on a printed ring fitting the Quest 2. I doubt that I would get anywhere close to the comfort of a Beyond, and Bigscreen will have good reasons why they dropped all non-essential features to reduce the weight. Based on my cardboard experience, I expect that I could get rid of high pressure points that make HMDs so uncomfortable for me, even with power banks strapped to the back as a DIY counter balance. But until I have actually tried it, this is as untested as your assumption that a properly balanced HMD is more important/impactful than a fitting facial interface and well worth the extra total weight.

          • kraeuterbutter

            Hello,
            i wanted to say, that some people – even with the 127g light Bigscreen Beyond AND the 3D-scanned personal face-cover still are not pleased with it, to have to strap it tight
            i have already seen youtubers modding there BigScreen with a head-strap to remove weight, so they can loosen the strap
            for example sadlyitsbradley has a headstrap mounted
            the bigscreen is a headset – for long time we will not see anything lighter i would assume
            (with prozessor, with battery, with inside-out-tracking)

            of course: you brought the argument, that such cases are caused by a faulty 3D-scan..
            hmm..

            but for me this is a indicator that you can not compensate everything just with a “perfectly made” GAsket
            something else i wana mention: when the thing does not touch your face, you can completley freely use your “Gesichtsmimik”, move your face muscels
            i had on one or another headsets the impression, that the pressur of the facegasket leeds to even less blinking you already do in such a headset

            i think – the bigscreen modded in direction of a halo-design – would be great.. the bigscreen would be a great basis to do that, because it is so light

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            I’m not sure what weight reducing modifications to loosen the strap by Bradley you are referring to. He initially added a side-to-side strap on top, not due to the HMDs weight, but because the default strap going around the head was uncomfortably rubbing against his ears, something adding a top strap solved by allowing to move the strap away from the ears. In the next video he reported that Bigscreen would now add such a top strap, so the HMD could be worn without the strap even touching the ears. The last modifications he showed were pretty much the opposite of weight reductions. In one he tried to add cat ears, and during the recent “Live Q&A (Summer is Hell Edition”), he showed a prototype by Val’s Virtual that replaces the strap with a fixed headband plus a rather heavy flip-up mechanism in the front, obviously not to reduce weight, but to add a functionality that made it more front heavy.

            There will obviously never be one perfect solution for everything. While most are annoyed by light bleeding, there are others that really dislike being completely isolated and prefer facepads leaving gaps or “floating HMD” solutions like with the Quest Pro. Some have issues with balance when not seeing the floor, making wearing a Bigscreen actually dangerous. There will also be sensitivities about things touching the face. I personally hate anything even slightly touching the sides of my nose, so a Beyond may turn out to be unpleasant to wear, I’d need a facial gasket that leaves an extra air gap around the nose. And I’d absolutely love a flip-up HMD for development, and would give up low weight, zero light bleeding and high comfort in an instant for that.

            I’m not claiming that custom fitted facial interfaces are the only option needed or will even work for everybody or every headset, though with the positive Beyond reviews and Apple doing something similar on the much heavier AVP, I expect others to follow. Adding a top strap will still distribute the weight better, it may just be unnecessary for comfort, just like adding a fourth or fifth strap on current HMDs doesn’t improve them noticeably. But you seem to assume that, based on your experiences with other headsets, a custom fit facepad just couldn’t solve all/most/enough of (your) comfort issues, or stay on the face without requiring lots of pressure, otherwise you’d not suggest adding a halo. And that despite reviewers saying they don’t even notice the HMD on their face during usage, thanks to the combination of low weight, large contact surface and a loosely worn strap, so adding a halo would make it worse for anything other than special cases like flip-up solutions, needing to always see the environment etc.

            You may be right and it may not work for you. But you simply can’t know or even guess that at this point. The Beyond isn’t directly comparable to the HMDs we had so far, so it makes little sense to just project their problems onto the Beyond without trying it yourself it, or getting the answers from someone who has tried it. Since Bigscreen has now begun shipping the Beyond to customers, we should see a flood of reviews soon and hopefully get a better idea for how many of the users it actually works.

          • kraeuterbutter

            i think we are both on the same page when it comes to “one fits all, one solution for everyone” –> there will not be such thing
            i think we agree with that
            where i stepped in was – when i remember corretly – when you said: counterweight bzw. balance of the headset is not that improtant, its more improtant to have absolut perfect sitting facesual gasket..
            and there i do not agree.. i think balance of the headset is very important
            specially with the formfactors we have now (formfactors and weights)
            and yes, i think its better to transfere some of the weight to the top of the head (by splitting the headset and distributing the weight evenly between front and rear.. not so good by adding additional weight at rear)
            i think this is better than strapping the headset with a force to your face, so the friction is big enough so it does not slide down
            in former times people were caring lot of weight on top of there heads.. you dont wana have that kind of weight on your face.. so yes, i think the top of the head is more tolerant to carring some load
            the bigscreen reduces that kind of problems of course, because it is soo light
            but i think we will for years se more heavy headsets than the bigscreen beyond..
            more tech inside.. eyetracking, inside-out tracking, passthrough cameras, ipd mechanics, and in many headsets batteries and prozessors..
            and so: i think one good solution is: make the headset not that frontheavy.. give some of the weight to the rear
            another thing, a second step is then: perfect face gasket, to distribute that remaining weight and pressure to the face..
            but first step for me should be: make the headset weight balanced.. that reduces the needed force to your face a lot
            the perfect gasket can then be added

            are both things done: the result should be better than when you do only one of the things

  • Cl

    It should really be noted somewhere that the specs have been updated since that review video. Fov, reflections and clarity were improved.

    • kraeuterbutter

      @ADORKEDTV
      why downvote this post from @CI