Vision Pro Hands-On: Reviewers Comment on Weight, Disney+ Experience, Virtual Keyboard and More
Apple this week invited members of the media to New York City for another round of testing the Vision Pro ahead of its launch, and sites that were able to try out the device are now sharing their impressions.
As a recap, Apple first allowed media to use the Vision Pro following its debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference, but it was still under development at the time and features were limited. Now the headset is nearing release, so testers are able to experience the Vision Pro as consumers will.
Engadget's Cherlynn Low wore the headset for just 20 minutes with the standard strap and "was in pain" due to the weight of the device. Apple swapped her over to the Dual Loop Band, which "felt much better for weight distribution."
Dana Wollman from Engadget had to experiment with Light Seals in order to get the right fit against the face, and when it was too loose, the headset's lettering did not look sharp. Both testers preferred the Dual Loop version of the band, which was more comfortable, and they said there were a lot of options for fit. Joanna Stern from The Wall Street Journal said that the Dual Loop, which she was able to try for the first time, was much more comfortable than the single band option.
Had my 4th demo of the Vision Pro this AM and Apple finally let us take a photo with it on. My first three demos (1 in June, 1 in November, 1 in December) were all with the Solo Knit Band and I really felt the weight of the face computer on my face. Today I tried the Dual… pic.twitter.com/DjyYknyme3 — Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) January 16, 2024
The Verge's Victoria Song didn't comment in detail on the weight, but said that you can feel it sitting on your head "wrecking your hairdo," and that those with long hair can feel it bunch up at the back.
Immersive video was part of the demonstration, which Low said showed impressive levels of texture. Wollman felt immersed in the scene, but "also excluded" because it's lifelike, but no one in the immersive videos "sees you or interacts with you." Disney+ for Vision Pro was described as "like playing a video game" because you can select a Disney-esque background for watching content. Wollman described it as a "Disney-themed drive-in." From Low:
As a big Marvel fangirl, I really geeked out when the Avengers Tower environment came on. I looked around and saw all kinds of easter eggs, including a takeout container from Shawarma Grill on the table next to me. It feels a little silly to gush about the realism of the images, but I saw no pixels. Instead, I looked at a little handwritten note that Tony Stark had clearly left behind and felt like I was almost able to pick it up. When we switched over to the Tattooine environment, I was placed in the cockpit of Luke Skywalker's landspeeder, and when I reached out to grab the steering controls, I was able to see my own hands in front of me.
Song described the experience of watching spatial videos shot on the iPhone, and she felt "some familiar VR motion queasiness" from the camera shake.
While the floating keyboard has been described by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman as a "complete write-off," Low said that it worked "fairly well," while Wollman said that it was "one of the more frustrating" parts of the demo because none of the typing options worked for extended use. Song said it worked, but it was clunky. "You look at a letter and pinch your fingers to select it," she described.
Reviewers were also able to test out the meditation feature and the Encounter Dinosaurs app, and their full thoughts on the device can be read over at Engadget and The Verge. Additional accounts of in-person experiences will be coming out later this week, and Apple is giving some of the media that visit New York this week headsets to test out for full reviews. More in-depth reviews will be available ahead of when the Vision Pro launches on February 2.