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  • Bryan Tan

Pico 4 Review: Not Playing Around!

So, we have a little something new for you guys today. This is the new Pico 4 VR headset and it is certainly really interesting. But before we "dive" right into it we'll just like to note that we don't usually do VR products, so our perspective is mainly from your average consumer looking to use VR for entertainment purposes.

In that regard, what do we think of it? Well, if you want AR functions for whatever reason and you like being on the bleeding edge of XR tech without burning a gigantic hole in your pocket, the Pico 4 is honestly a worthy consideration.


For those unaware, Pico is a Chinese company originally specialising in XR headsets for businesses. They then started targeting consumer audiences and were acquired by Bytedance last year. Recently they’ve also started to expand into Asia markets as well, largely in part thanks to Bytedance and that is why we have one here with us today. Thanks, Pico!

So, here we have a company with a long history dealing in the XR space and this Pico 4 is their newest in the lineup. How does the experience compare? Well, we actually have a Meta Quest 2 in the office as well and we'll be drawing comparisons here and there while putting the Pico through its paces.


Okay, enough chatter, let's get right into it, starting from the unboxing. The packaging generally feels very premium and you get the headset, the controllers with lanyards, and a USB C cable for charging along with an adapter. You also get an extra flap for the nose area and a spacer for glasses.

The design of the Pico is as you would expect from a VR headset, it's made of plastic with a matte finish but surprisingly, you don't get the impression that it's cheaply made at all which makes it very similar to the Quest 2. A good thing in our opinion.

Being a mixed reality headset, the front is covered in glass for colour passthrough and this certainly makes the Pico 4 seem more advanced compared to the Quest 2 as it doesn't have that function. On another note, just from a visual standpoint, you can definitely guess which precedes the other.

The Pico 4 is also designed with its battery compartment at the back so the weight is counterbalanced. However, it is slightly heavier than the Quest 2 at about 586 grams or 1.29 lbs. The adjustments, however, make for a snug and comfortable fit. You don't feel the strain from playing long hours as compared to Quest 2, where the weight is mostly packed at the front which you can definitely feel the effects of, especially when you play games like Super Hot where you need to turn your head a lot. So despite the increase in weight, it is actually the more comfortable headset of the two.

The Pico is designed to fit with glasses with a spacer if you need that additional gap and in most cases, it does fit quite comfortably. Although if your go-to glasses are the kind with thicker or larger rims, you might have a little trouble with them so do take note.

As for the controllers, it's designed to fit the contours of your grip and generally, we have no complaints with them. The rounded parts that go around the controllers do strike us a little bit odd at first but after seeing one of our colleagues hit the headset while playing All-in-one sports, we definitely now do understand why the design is so.


Aside from that, you get the USB C port but strangely, the Pico 4 doesn't have a 3.5mm jack. It might not be that big of a deal for everyone but we do prefer to have options. Not to mention if you play it tethered you'll likely be on it for longer periods and you don't want your audio cutting off halfway due to a lack of batteries and such.

This might be a sizable concern considering that the speakers aren't the best. It sounds hollow, lacking any clarity and the exhaust fans of the Pico quickly overshadow the listening experience but if you just want to hear what's happening instead of being immersed then it should suffice. But of course, not the best experience.


Okay, before we actually fire this thing up and get into the experience, we might as well get the specs out of the way. The Pico 4 is powered by the Snapdragon XR2 chipset. On paper, the Pico 4 actually edges out the Quest 2 with a larger battery (5,300 mAh), higher resolution per eye (2160 by 2160p) and support for colour passthrough.

The display also runs at either 72Hz or 90Hz. In our experience, the difference might not be that noticeable unless you are paying very close attention to some scenes or you are used to picking out various refresh rates. If you're the rare few who aren’t sensitive to differences in refresh rate, you might want to just keep it at 72Hz for slightly better battery life without much loss in actual performance.


Despite having a higher resolution, however, the difference between the Pico 4 and Quest 2 is unnoticeable to the naked eye. The Pico 4's colours also seem slightly dialled up on the contrast and there are currently no options to fine-tune it. To add on, smearing also occurs quite frequently, especially with black and darker colours but after fiddling with it for a bit we got used to it. That’s not to say we’re going to let this pointer pass, but for the price of the Pico 4, we think it’s livable.

You can also activate colour passthrough with a tap on the right side of the Pico, allowing you to fully see your surroundings as you would without the headset. But the video feed isn't the best with heavy processing and noise artefacts. It’s kind of like looking through an old monitor in a way or perhaps thinking of it as looking at the world in 720p. In situations where you need to quickly look at your surroundings, however, especially when you are playing alone, it’ll still work fine. Just don’t expect crystal-clear images.

During our recent trip to Hawaii for the Snapdragon Summit, we did also get to try on the Meta Quest Pro and based on first impressions alone there's not much of a difference in video quality there as well.

Setup & OS

The setup is very straightforward. You have prompts that you can easily follow with video references to go along with it. You do however require a Pico account to access their ecosystem.

Speaking of the ecosystem, Pico OS 5.0 is very clean and well-designed, even for a first-time user you can definitely find your way around by feeling about the menu options. Occasionally, the UI does stutter but it's not detrimental to the experience.

The Pico Store also carries a plethora of apps and games for you to check out, although compared to the selection in Quest 2 it certainly loses out by a mile.


Standalone, we at least have titles like All-in-One Sports and Down the Rabbit Hole. But of course, if you want to play games outside the Pico store, like BeatSaber, your only hope is tethering to a PC for SteamVR via 5Ghz Wi-Fi or a link cable. That being said, if you don't have good coverage for your Wi-Fi, you're not going to have a pleasant time as the frequent stuttering will be a major annoyance. Not only that but the stream is also pushed out as a compressed video feed so there will be a noticeable drop in fidelity compared to games and apps in the local library. Even if you have a link cable, you’re not going to have much luck there either as the Pico doesn't support DP output so the video feed will still come in compressed.

On the entertainment end, you can also stream YouTube or Disney+ and give yourself a cinematic experience within the comforts of your own home. Funnily enough, our fellow colleague, Bryan, who actually tested this very Pico thoroughly, might have actually spent more time watching Andor on the Pico than actually playing games. He says it’s that good.


Unfortunately, even with a beefy 5300 mAh battery, the Pico 4 lasted just about 2.5 hours, with intermittent usage of all the previously mentioned scenarios. In comparison, the Quest 2 only has a 3640 mAh battery and lasts about 2 hours. How those numbers work out will depend on your individual use cases.

Pricing & Availability

So thus far, while there might be lots of ups and downs for the Pico 4, honestly, we’re pretty impressed. Certainly, there are a few minor points we wished could be better but we’re willing to close an eye simply because of the price. The Pico 4 starts at S$499 and S$599 for the 128GB and 256GB versions respectively.


Should you buy it? Although it has a few drawbacks, with that asking price the Pico 4 does place itself very affordably as the Meta Quest 2 cost about S$600 to S$700 despite being released in 2020. This makes the Pico 4 a more than worthy consideration if you can look past its flaws.

In conclusion, Pico really isn't playing around, they know full well who they are up against, the current market for VR and what is essential for potential users, if you are currently looking for a cheap entry point into VR, this is it.

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