PICO 4 Review – Hassle-Free VR – Pokde.Net
Unpacking the PICO 4
Starting our PICO 4 review with the unboxing, the all-in-one VR headset comes in a shiny mid-sized box similar to a shoebox or a smaller game console like the Nintendo Switch. You have all the necessary details and features of the product listed on the box itself. Inside it, you can find the following items:
- glasses spacer
- nose pad
- 2 x Controller Cords
- USB-C power adapter
- USB-C to USB-A adapter
- Quick guide
- Safety and Warranty Guide
- 2 controllers
- The PICO 4 VR headset itself
8 x 2.84GHz, 64-bit, 7nm
|Connectivity||Dual Band Wi-Fi 6
USB-C (natively supports Ethernet to USB-C)
|Display||4320 x 2160 (2160 x 2160 per eye)
72Hz/90Hz refresh rate
|Optical||Pancake lens, 105 FOV, 20.6 PPD,
Adjustment of the inter-pupillary distance 62-72 mm
|Sensor||6DoF positioning system|
|audio||Built-in high fidelity speaker
|Power||5,300mAh with 20W fast charging|
Works with PC via SteamVR, Streaming Assistant and Virtual Desktop
There are a number of reasons to consider buying the PICO 4. For starters, it’s very easy to set up as you just need to wear it, turn it on and set the motion tracking limits. You can set it up to play standing up or sitting down, and it also fits in small spaces. I got it to work great playing on a queen bed while sitting. It’s worth noting that you’ll need a larger space for SteamVR unless you plan to use it while stationary, but this setup process is easy too.
Moreover, the ease of installation also brings wireless freedom as it works as a standalone VR unit and a PC VR headset. The former lets you play games and run apps through its native PICO operating system, which you can further download through their own digital store. As for the latter, you have the option of connecting via USB or wirelessly via Wi-Fi on Streaming Assistant, as long as your router supports the 5 GHz band. You can also opt for Ethernet to USB-C for a wired connection if you’re using Virtual Desktop, which gives you a solid 1,200 Mbps connection through a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Streaming Assistant is free, while Virtual Desktop is a paid app.
While those unfamiliar with VR may think a standalone VR headset would be heavy and bulky, the PICO 4 clearly isn’t. At only 295g, it is very comfortable to wear for a long time, thanks in particular to the adequate cushioning, and it is easy to tighten/loosen since you just have to turn the wheel on the back band for this. To give you an idea, it only weighs a little more than an iPhone 14 Pro Max. Keep in mind that it comes with space for glasses and a nose pad inside the box if you need it.
The PICO 4 doesn’t skimp on its screen either as you get a high resolution 4320 x 2160 or 2160 x 2160 screen per eye which basically means you’re viewing things in 4K resolution. However, temper your expectations as things won’t look as sharp as viewing from a 4K TV or monitor as they have to accommodate the 360 view. As for the refresh rate, you have the option of using 72Hz or 90Hz, but from what I can see it’s hard to tell the difference, so I’d suggest using 72Hz for this extra battery life.
Whether you use it alone or as a PC VR headset, it works smoothly and with good movement accuracy. Playing All-in-One Sports directly on the PICO 4 and playing Beat Saber through SteamVR feels no different in terms of responsiveness and accuracy, which is great. It can simulate finger movement to some extent, but not with great precision as it depends on the buttons, and that’s okay as it would be overkill and pointless to be able to do that at this point.
And finally, I’m impressed with the audio capabilities of the PICO 4. The built-in speaker gives good directional accuracy while sounding clear and full. It lacks a bit of bass but the overall sound is definitely enough to immerse you in the virtual world. Additionally, the built-in microphone is surprisingly very clear with good depth, putting it easily up against your standard gaming headsets, which ends up making your voice hollow, tinny, and sometimes overprocessed. In case you were wondering, the speaker doesn’t bleed into the microphone, which is great.
Be careful whenever you are online, especially if you see this guy in VR or any online platform.
As good as the PICO 4 is, it has its fair share of downsides. For starters, its standalone use is somewhat limited because the PICO OS doesn’t have many games worth playing. Sure, it has great games like All-in-One Sports and After The Fall but it lacks killer titles like Beat Saber and Resident Evil 4 VR. This shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for you if you plan on using it with your PC via SteamVR as it will give you access to a lot more games, just that its novelty as a standalone will wear off pretty quickly.
The next downside is that there’s no headphone jack here, which means you’ll have to rely on the built-in speaker for audio. On the plus side, the built-in speakers are pretty good, but if you ever wanted to have a private or more immersive audio experience, you’ll have to rely on Bluetooth, which can lead to latency issues. The only workaround is if you’re using it as a PC VR headset, where you can play audio from your PC through whatever audio gear you’ve plugged into it, be it a headset wired or surround sound speaker system.
Speaking of connected audio, one issue I encountered when using it with Streaming Assistant and SteamVR is audio. There have been times when the audio is just quiet and the microphone sounds awful, like the recording above. We discovered a fix, as the input and output drivers apparently conflict with each other. In simpler words, you cannot use the built-in speakers and microphone at the same time when using it on PC. We might just write a guide on the fix in the near future as it might be confusing for newbies.
Moving on to power efficiency, the controllers require two AA batteries each, bringing the total to four. Unless you plan on buying rechargeable AA batteries and a separate 4-slot charger, be prepared to spend more on these batteries. On the plus side, the batteries usually last as long as mine lasted 2-3 weeks of daily use, but your mileage will vary depending on which AA batteries you purchased. Personally, I would prefer it to come with a charging station instead for that extra bit of convenience.
Finally, the PICO 4 VR headset itself takes a bit of time to charge. While I personally agree with its almost 3 hour battery life, given what it is, it’s not good to charge it for nearly that long. The culprit here is the 20W charging speed, which is slow these days as it takes nearly 2 hours to fully charge its 5,300mAh battery. Hopefully we’ll see a significant boost from its successor model, perhaps around 55W to 60W charging speed, as well as a bit more battery life.
Pico Verdict 4
In essence, PICO 4 isn’t exactly groundbreaking as it does something its rivals can do in much the same way. The key point here is to make VR more accessible than ever in a versatile, easy-to-use package. Whether you’re looking for a more futuristic exercise tool or immersing yourself in VR content, you can’t go wrong, especially with its retail price of RM1,899. The deal gets even sweeter when you consider the fact that they often offer freebies, like free games, to go along with it.
At the end of our PICO 4 review, we award this all-in-one VR headset our Silver Pokdeward.
Many thanks to PICO Malaysia for sending us this VR headset for this review.