The first reviews of Apple’s Vision Pro gush compliments on the augmented-reality headset, with one reviewer calling it “mind-blowing” and another “stunning.”
However, there’s also plenty of criticism for the high price, weight and slim collection of software available when the product launches later this week.
First Vision Pro reviews filled with praise and criticism
Friday will bring the true start of Apple’s era of spatial computing with the launch of Vision Pro, the company’s first augmented-reality headset. Vision Pro displays apps in a 3D array, seemingly floating in front of the user — a feat the device accomplishes with cutting-edge technology.
There’s a lot to like. “The Vision Pro is stunning compared to other VR headsets, which are largely plastic and often downright goofy-looking,” said The Verge.
“The headset is the best wearable display I’ve ever put on,” the Cnet reviewer remarked.
Vision Pro wearers look at tiny micro-OLED screens that are better than 4K — they pack in 23 million pixels each. Each pixel is 7.5 micrometers.
“The displays help remove the ‘screendoor’ effect that’s common in lower-cost headsets like the Meta Quest 3. That’s where you can see the pixels as you look through a headset,” notes CNBC. “You can easily read text on a website or a book on the Vision Pro. And I was able to watch movies, including in 3D, on screens bigger and nicer than any TV in my house.”
The Verge reviewer says the displays “look generally incredible — sharp enough to read text on without even thinking about it, bright enough to do justice to movies.”
No hand controllers needed
“With Vision Pro, your eyes and hands are all you need,” said the Wall Street Journal review. There are no hand controllers.
“The other thing Apple is very proud of is the eye and hand tracking control system, which is light years beyond any other consumer hand or eye tracking systems out there,” said The Verge.
“The Apple Vision Pro feels revolutionary because of how easy it is to operate,” said the reviewer for Tom’s Guide. “There’s no controllers to deal with. You just use your eyes to look at the element you want to select and then tap your thumb and index finger together to ‘click.’”
Limited selection of native Vision Pro software
“The Apple Vision Pro can run over a million compatible iPhone and iPad apps at launch, which is nice, but I was more interested in testing the truly native Vision Pro apps. While the selection is fairly small for now — there’s reportedly 150 to 200 Vision Pro apps so far — some of the experiences are mind-blowing,” said Tom’s Guide.
CNBC called out a list of popular applications not available for Apple’s visionOS. That includes anything from Google or Meta as well as Netflix, Spotify and 1Password. There are games from Apple Arcade but not cross-platform titles like Diablo Immortal.
EyeSight is a waste
Cameras inside the headset pointed at the wearer’s eyes project their peepers on the outside of the device for others in the room to see.
Cnet‘s reviewer called the external screen “dimmer and lower-res than I expected.”
And The Verge called it virtually a waste.
“It might as well not be there,” said The Verge. “It’s a low-res OLED with a lenticular panel in front of it to provide a mild 3D effect, and it’s so dim and the cover glass is so reflective, it’s actually hard to see in most normal to bright lighting.”
Yes, it’s heavy
Apple’s headset weighs between 1.3 and 1.4 pounds, depending on what straps the wearer chooses to use. It’s been called uncomfortable — and even painful — by some early reviewers. And the weight becomes more noticeable the longer you wear the headset.
“It’s comfy at first, but after half an hour the headset feels top-heavy and pushes in on my cheeks a bit,” noted Cnet. “It’s fine for short sessions, though.”
And the WSJ reviewer said, “One included band has a top strap to lessen the face crush; the other wraps around your head like a comfy tube sock. The Light Seal (not a breed of sea mammal) acts as a cushion and light blocker. Mine is now covered with makeup.”
“Unbelievably expensive” is Cnet‘s description of the price.
“You’re probably not going to buy the $3,500 Apple Vision Pro. Unless you’re an app developer or an Apple die-hard, you’re more likely to spend that kind of money on an actual trip to a Hawaiian volcano,” noted the WSJ.
And even fans of the device get stuck on the price. “I’d buy the Vision Pro now if I had an extra $3,500 to spend,” said the CNBC reviewer.
A vision of the future full of questions
Vision Pro can be a replacement for a desktop Mac or MacBook. And that had many reviewers asking questions.
“What if my desk was just floating monitors? What if I didn’t need anything but a headset? Vision Pro gets close to that feeling when all the apps are open and the flow is going,” said the Cnet review. “There are glitches, and sometimes the controls feel too floaty, but in its first form, I’m shocked at how good it already is.”
And there are practical questions from The Verge: ” Do you want a computer that messes up your hair every time you use it? Do you want a computer that smears your makeup every time you use it, if you wear makeup?”
Summing up Vision Pro
Tom’s Guide said, “My bottom line on the Vision Pro is that it’s definitely revolutionary, but it’s a revolution very much in progress.”
The Verge said, “There is so much technology in this thing that feels like magic when it works and frustrates you completely when it doesn’t.”
Cnet‘s reviewer remarked, “Living in the Vision Pro for the past week has been one of the most complex experiences of all. It’s one of the hardest products I’ve ever had to evaluate. Parts of it are stunning. Others don’t feel entirely finished.”