Bigscreen Beyond VR headset: Love it or leave it?

Bigscreen Beyond VR headset: Love it or leave it?

June 1, 2023:

Bigscreen announced significant updates to the optical components of the Bigscreen Beyond, increasing FOV to 102 degrees and improving sharpness to 32 ppd.

April 13, 2023:

Bigscreen reached out to MIXED with some clarifications about its Beyond headset. They state that the Beyond always displays at 2560x2560 per eye resolution, at both 75Hz and 90Hz.

There is a "visually lossless" compression technique called Display Stream Compression (DSC) that downscales to accommodate DisplayPort 1.4 bandwidth. DSC is a VESA standard that is widely used in VR headsets and gaming monitors.

Adam Savage's Tested posted a more in-depth review of the Bigscreen Beyond VR headset and loved some aspects while clarifying that it's not the right choice for everyone.

Tested's Norman Chan had some hands-on time with Bigscreen Beyond when it was first announced in February and was intrigued. For the latest video, Chan received a development sample for a more thorough review.

Bigscreen's tiny, new VR headset is ultra-light at just 127g, yet contains several unique features, including a display resolution of 2560×2560 pixels per eye and a foam pad that's custom-fitted to your face when you place an order.

What Tested loved

Tested's Chan said the Bigscreen Beyond's comfort and clarity were so good that it made him "love being in VR with this headset," adding that it renewed his "love for PC VR after spending so long these past couple of years on mobile VR."

Bigscreen claims the Beyond headset has a display resolution of 32 pixels per degree (PPD), which is surpassed only by the Varjo Aero.

Another important detail about the display is Bigsceen Beyond's microOLED technology, which provides the deepest blacks possible, even darker than the Meta Quest Pro's miniLED backlighting can achieve.

Regarding comfort, Chan mentioned the lightweight design allows the Beyond to be worn for much longer than a Quest 2 or Quest Pro headset. The headset is custom-made for each person, so it fits the face perfectly and is automatically aligned for optimal viewing (provided the face scan works correctly).

Chan pointed out that he didn't have to tighten the Bigscreen Beyond as much as other headsets since it conformed to the shape of his face. Another reason for its great comfort.


Potential issues

Tested didn't love everything about the Bigscreen Beyond, and a few issues were raised that might make you reconsider purchasing the $1,000 VR headset.

Some expensive extras are needed to use the Bigscreen Beyond. You need a gaming PC with a powerful GPU to drive the headset's high-resolution displays at a good frame rate. Since each eye has its own display, your PC must output at 5K resolution.

SteamVR base stations and controllers are also needed, adding several hundred dollars to the cost unless you already own those accessories. Meanwhile, PC VR usage is falling. With the Bigscreen Beyond, you get the VR headset, a soft strap, the custom face cushion, a 5m fiber optic cable, a link box, and a cleaning cloth.

The Bigscreen Beyond's OLED screens are vivid and have great blacks but aren't as bright as most VR headsets. Sony's PSVR 2 is the only other recent headset to use this technology. According to Chan, the Bigscreen Beyond can show artifacts like ghosting or doubling in high-contrast scenes.

Chan notes that gaming and VR enthusiasts might already have many or all of the necessary components; however, you also need an iPhone with FaceID capability to scan your face. Half the US owns an iPhone, so you can probably borrow one from someone you know. It will still be inconvenient for many people and places a barrier in front of orders.

Bigscreen Beyond is the world's smallest PC VR headset and one of the sharpest, boasting the best available comfort. That's enough to make it intriguing. Some of the concerns mentioned in Tested's video review could be addressed by future updates, so we're reserving judgment until we have a chance to go hands-on with the Bigscreen Beyond and put it through its paces.

Sources: Adam Savage's Tested | YouTube, Twitter