Looking back over the years as we moved from PC-powered virtual reality systems like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, to the advent of standalone headsets like the Oculus Go and Pico Neo — A clear revolution has begun and we are starting to see some of the features we had been waiting for in a standalone headset. The Oculus Quest came in late 2018 and consumers were raving at the ease and simplicity of use for such a device. Fast forward to 2020 and we have a new contender on the scene with the Pico Neo 2 Eye.
Today we are going to look at the advantages and disadvantages of the Pico Neo 2 and see just how well it matches up compared to its rival the Oculus Quest.
P.S. Thanks to Will & the team at Pico for sending us a Pico Neo 2 Eye for review and testing!
When first putting on the headset the first thing I noticed is that the visual fidelity has been improved greatly — we are looking into the lens of a true 4k crystal clear headset which is on par if not better than the Oculus Quest display currently. This coming with built-in eye-tracking and foveated rendering makes it a real contender in the realm of virtual reality standalone devices, especially for enterprise usage.
I also noticed that the weight disparity with the headset has been greatly improved versus its predecessors, the Pico team has done a great job in ensuring the headset is as comfortable as possible and almost feels (after 5 minutes of use) that you aren’t wearing a headset at all.
Another important note with the Pico Neo 2 Eye is that they have upgraded the chipset to feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor which is a small bump in speed over the Oculus Quest’s 835 chip. For full specs, you can check out the Pico Neo Website.
Another important consideration is that the Neo 2 offers a hygienic design with a full removable all-PU facial interface — an especially important consideration during the recent COVID-19 global pandemic. The leatherette face cushion provided ample comfort and is easily removed in order to clean with disinfectant if needed.
Eye Tracking & Foveated Rendering
Aside from hygiene, the most important new feature with Neo 2 is the built-in eye-tracking and foveated rendering. In tested I found that the eye-tracking worked well — however during the inside-out tracking mode, I found that the inside-out cameras were jaggy and not tracking the best, which caused a bit of discomfort. Quest has an advantage with inside-out tracking currently. Currently, the eye-tracking doesn’t work over streaming (will only work on-device apps/games) so that cant be used to improve render or streaming quality for the spot you’re looking at.
Currently, Neo 2 is targeted towards businesses only so they are looking to segment the market a bit in terms of their target demographic and audience. I wonder if the Quest 2 will exceed further here still — one thing is for certain they will need to update their controllers as the Quest currently still run on batteries vs the Neo 2 with USB-C charging controllers. It’s also important to note that the price point is definitely targeted towards the enterprise market as the sticker of $900 is rather steep.
So What Device Is Best for Business?
The overall takeaway from our end as a development agency is that eye-tracking is the only real game-changing piece of technology here. If your business has a need for precision-based eye-tracking then the Pico Neo 2 is your headset of choice. The Pico works with 3rd tier training modules like Engage as well as enterprise management tools like Snobal which can effectively turn the headset into a business unit of choice.
Another consideration that may weigh against Oculus is the fact that Oculus is requiring users to have a Facebook account for logging in to use applications moving forward — this alone may push many users to look to alternative devices like the Neo 2. All in all the Pico Neo 2 is a great addition to the virtual reality hardware ecosystem, and it will remain to be seen if they turn into a true contender for enterprise use cases in the coming years.