Apple Vision Pro: Review roundup with verdicts
- Reviews by UploadVR added
The review embargo for the Vision Pro has been lifted. We gather the first impressions for you.
The first reviews of Apple's mixed reality headset have arrived.
Below is a rough summary of opinions on the Vision Pro, followed by a list of individual reviews. First are the conclusions from articles (the links are at the bottom of the sources), followed by videos.
The article will be updated as new reviews are published.
The Apple Vision Pro will be released on February 2, 2024, initially only in the United States. It is currently unknown when the device will be released in other markets.
Reviewers agree that the Vision Pro is an engineering marvel, but at the same time only the first, imperfect iteration of a new class of computer that currently has many drawbacks and trade-offs.
Vision Pro is too heavy and uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time or for serious work, and too big and dorky to wear in public. You also have to carry around a heavy, external battery.
The passthrough is impressive and unmatched by any other headset, but still far from perfect. You are always aware that you are looking at a display and not the real world, with all the inconveniences of a technical mediation of reality through cameras and displays.
The new input methods also have their pros and cons. Eye- and hand-tracking controls are revolutionary and magical, but they are not flawless and cannot replace classic input methods like keyboard and mouse, at least for doing serious work.
The quality of the display is nothing short of stunning, eliminating the screen door effect, making text effortlessly readable, and turning movie nights into an unparalleled experience. The lenses, on the other hand, leave something to be desired, with a smaller field of view than the Quest 3 and blurriness, color fringing and distortion at the edges.
The digital Personas (Apple's term for avatars), which are still in beta, are a mixed bag: some find them impressive, others creepy.
The external EyeSight 3D display, which is supposed to show the user's eyes to the outside world, was unanimously poorly received, being too dimly lit and quite blurry.
Articles and Conclusions
Bloomberg: "Apple’s Vision Pro is an iPad killer — but not anytime soon"
"All told, the future potential of the Vision Pro is certainly visible, though a little blurry. The fundamentals are all largely in place. But it’s going to take some hardware upgrades, a slew of software updates, and far better support from app developers and content makers to actually make the headset the iPad replacement that it’s capable of being.
Until then, the Vision Pro is essentially a prototype — just one where you have to pay Apple for the privilege of testing it out."
CNBC: "This is the future of computing and entertainment"
"I’d buy the Vision Pro right now if I had an extra $3,500. I’d even consider trading in my iPad Pro and MacBook Pro to offset the cost since the headset gives me a lot of the same capabilities. But that’s not an option.
You’ll definitely love it for movies. I think a lot of people will also really enjoy being able to read the news and browse the web while having a huge TV screen open and lounging on their couch. Some may find they can work in it. I did. It’s fun.
Apple’s real opportunity will materialize when it finds a way to mass produce the Vision Pro at closer to $2,000, or less. Until then, it may be a niche product. But the experience blows everything else out of the water. It’s Apple’s most exciting product in years and it’s the best example yet that this will become a new way of computing."
CNET: "A mind-blowing look at an unfinished future"
"The Vision Pro comes with its own drawbacks and limits all over the place. But it's also, at its best, a stunning look at the future.
[…] Apple Vision Pro is a moment where the ecosystems are starting to finally arrive, the hardware is hitting levels of audiovisual quality that are truly remarkable and input systems are being reinvented. It's an exciting time, and Vision Pro won't be the only product in this landscape.
[…] Will the Vision Pro be the first step toward modern spatial computing in mixed reality as we know it from now on? Maybe. What really makes Vision Pro seem futuristic isn't the display or the apps, it's the input. Eyes and hands. Other headsets have eye tracking and hand tracking, but none have the combination working as smoothly, subtly and intuitively as Vision Pro.
[…] My favorite things to do on the Quest -- games and fitness -- aren't on Vision Pro much. I'll still use my laptop, phone and iPad as my main computers for now, but I imagine a future version of Vision Pro as something that could swallow them all up someday. Not today. But I do feel, right now, that I want to dive back in."
Inverse: Do we really want this future?
"Apple Vision Pro is expensive, but also nothing short of profound. It’s not just the most beautiful head-mounted computer ever made; it also has the most intuitive input, the most responsive interface, and has the best shot at succeeding thanks to its close integration with other Apple devices (iPhones, iPads, Mac, AirPods) and services (iCloud, iMessage, FaceTime).
[...] Now, with Apple kickstarting the start of the “spatial computing era,” it’s never been more important that we ask ourselves, no matter how incredible the Vision Pro’s eye and hand tracking are or how futuristic the mixed reality visionOS experience is: Do we want this future where a computer covers half our face?
[...] We should reject Vision Pro (and headsets like it) as phone replacements today and in the future to prevent it from tightening our already self-imposed handcuffs to the digital world. Let Vision Pro be what it clearly is: a modern take on a general-purpose desktop computer, only instead of a tower under your desk or a clamshell on top of it, it’s a headset with three-dimensional virtual app experiences that can blend with your surroundings. Apple Vision Pro has set the bar for spatial computing, but let’s leave the augmented reality computing for indoors and be intentional about where and when we use it. Our reality outdoors still needs our undivided attention."
The Verge: "Magic, until It's not"
"The Vision Pro is an astounding product. It’s the sort of first-generation device only Apple can really make, from the incredible display and passthrough engineering, to the use of the whole ecosystem to make it so seamlessly useful, to even getting everyone to pretty much ignore the whole external battery situation.
[…] There are a lot of ideas in the Vision Pro, and they’re all executed with the kind of thoughtful intention that few other companies can ever deliver at all, let alone on the first iteration. But the shocking thing is that Apple may have inadvertently revealed that some of these core ideas are actually dead ends — that they can’t ever be executed well enough to become mainstream. This is the best video passthrough headset ever made, and that might mean camera-based mixed reality passthrough could just be a road to nowhere. This is the best hand- and eye-tracking ever, and it feels like the mouse, keyboard, and touchscreen are going to remain undefeated for years to come. There is so much technology in this thing that feels like magic when it works and frustrates you completely when it doesn’t."
The Wall Street Journal: "The best headset yet is just a glimpse of the future"
"Apple’s headset has all the characteristics of a first-generation product: It’s big and heavy, it’s battery life sucks, there are few great apps and it can be buggy. And come on, have you seen what this thing thinks I look like?
Yet so much of what the Vision Pro can do feels sci-fi. I’m flicking apps all over my home office. I’ve got multiple virtual timers hovering over my stove. I’m watching holograms of my kid petting a llama. It’s the best mixed-reality headset I’ve ever tried, way more advanced than its only real competition, the far cheaper Meta Quest Pro and Quest 3.
These companies know these aren’t really the devices we want. They’re all working toward building virtual experiences into something that looks more like a pair of regular eyeglasses. Until then, they’re just messing with our heads. For now, this face computer is best for seeing Apple’s vision of the future."
Tom's Guide: "The best headset yet is just a glimpse of the future"
"The Apple Vision Pro is a truly amazing product that delivers futuristic eye- and hand-tracking interface along with breathtaking 3D video and truly impressive AR apps.
It’s also a magical way to extend your Mac. But there’s some early performance bugs that need to be worked out, the battery can get in the way, and Digital Persona is a bit creepy and needs work."
UploadVR: "A Heavy Portable Cinema & Monitor With A Promising Spatial OS"
"Vision Pro is a portable cinema with a bigger screen than your TV that can play 3D movies better than any TV ever could. It’s a giant monitor that fits in your backpack. Vision Pro's current focus is turning screens into software, and it has the resolution to pull it off.
The question of course is: does it do this well enough to be worth $3500? The answer is of course not. It’s too heavy to be comfortable for many people, and it’s priced for wealthy early adopters only.
(...) Apple Vision Pro, as a piece of hardware, is simply not seven times better than Meta Quest 3. But the magic here is in the foundations of the software. For multitasking and general computing visionOS is so far ahead of the Meta Quest platform that I find it hard to imagine how Meta could ever catch up - the software differences are that stark. Without controllers Vision Pro simply doesn’t compete with Quest’s primary use cases, but it pulls off other use cases so much better. It’s a very different product."
The Wall Street Journal
Marques Brownlee (Unboxing & review)