After a long pre-launch, finally the Chinese vendor Pico has unveiled completely its Neo 3 headset. And it looks like a very interesting consumer-oriented clone of the Quest 2 for the Chinese market, something that could finally kickstart the consumer segment in the Red Country. In the West, it is coming in a Pro variant dedicated to prosumers and companies: probably Pico doesn’t feel confident in battling Facebook in the consumer market here, and so it stays in the niche where it is already one of the best companies, that is the enterprise one.
Pico Neo 3 Specifications
Let’s start from the full specifications of the consumer version:
- Qualcomm XR2 chipset
- 4K low-persistence 90 Hz Curved Display
- 3664 x 1920 resolution, 773 PPI
- 98° FOV
- 6GB RAM (2133 Mhz)
- 128GB/256GB storage
- Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
- USB-C 3.0 connector with OTG
- 3 Physical IPD adjustments
- Optical Positional tracking, with 4 tracking cameras
- Cameras have 400×400 resolution and run at 120Hz
- Maximum 10m x 10m tracking area and mm-precision accuracy
- Optical Tracked Controllers, with 32 tracking points
- All-PU materials fabrication, for easier sanitization
- 5300 mAh battery, for around 2.5-3h of usage
- Integrated audio, with 3.5mm jack to connect external headphones
- Wi-fi streaming or tethered streaming to SteamVR integrated in the runtime
- Android 10 operating system
- Pico SDK for development
Pico Neo 3 launched in China
The price for the Chinese market is 2699 yuan (around $420) for the 128GB model and 2999 yuan (around $467) for the 256GB model. The 128GB model can be bought now (until the 13th of May) for the launch price of just 2499 yuan (around $390), while the 256GB has the launch price of 2899 yuan (around $451). The 128 GB version can also be bought now at 2649 yuan in a special package that includes a carrying case, the game Dream Lap, the game Hyper Dash (or a discount on other games), and a pass card that gives you 4 games plus other 6 if you win the previous 4. A fantastic package to get started with VR!
In China the headset is sold for the consumer market: in a country where the Quest 2 can’t enter, there was a strong need for a valid headset with a price tailored for the mainstream audience, and Pico is trying to fill that void. There is a strong push also on the Pico Store, with the addition of important titles like SuperHot, that can make the users entertained for some hours. The headset is also being marketed as a fitness machine, which is the same thing that Facebook is doing for the Quest, proving once more that fitness is the first real consumer use case of VR besides gaming.
I really hope that this can finally unlock the VR market in China for all my friends that are trying to push VR there. My Chinese Assistant Miss S says that the price is not bad for a good quality device, but of course, there are in China the same problems that have haunted VR when the Quest was launched here in the West (e.g. people were used to thinking that VR was just the one of crappy mobile viewers). Let’s see how the market (that is usually unpredictable) will react. Fingers crossed.
If you want to buy it, you can head to JD.COM and get it now.
Pico Neo 3 Pro announced in the West
In the West, Pico instead is selling this headset for the enterprise market. The specifications are roughly the same, but the headset is dubbed Pico Neo 3 Pro. Exactly as with the Neo 2 line, there is also an “Eye” variant, that features eye-tracking, a feature that is very appreciated in enterprise environments. The differences with the above-listed specifications of the consumer headset are simply these ones:
- Storage is only 256GB for the Pro 3 line
- RAM is 8GB in the Pro 3 Eye variant
- Pico Pro 3 Eye features Tobii eye tracking
These two headsets are sold directly to companies via a dedicated sales team spread across the globe. The Neo 3 Pro is available for pre-order at $699 USD and the Neo 3 Pro Eye at $899 USD. They will be available in Q3 2021.
$699 is $100 less than the Quest 2 For Business, for having more or less the same features, and Pico’s greater experience with regard to enterprise services. I haven’t tried this headset yet, but if the tracking and the display are good enough, it could become the best choice for companies that want to use a solid standalone VR headset (and not having to deal with Facebook).
Focus on PC streaming
There is a last interesting tidbit about the streaming from PC, that I report from the press release:
The Pico Neo 3 Pro and Neo 3 Pro Eye will also support NVIDIA’s Direct Mode as they are DisplayPort (DP) supported and equipped with DP connectors and cables, which provide native 4K@90Hz high bandwidth wired connection for Pico VR Streaming. When Pico HMD is connected to a PC via a DP cable, the Pico VR streaming assistant can work in Direct Mode, which is a high-performance, low-latency way to render PC VR content to Pico HMD display.
The entire Neo 3 family of headsets support NVIDIA CloudXR™, delivering VR wirelessly across 5G and WiFi networks. With NVIDIA CloudXR™, enterprises can integrate VR into their workflows to drive design reviews, virtual production, location-based entertainment and more.
So basically the Pico 3 Pro supports tethered connection to PC via DisplayPort (a bit similar to the Oculus Link, but different), untethered connection via Wi-fi (a bit like the Air Link), and also cloud rendering via NVIDIA CloudXR. It’s interesting to have all these possibilities in a single headset!
Foto: Pico Interactive