Pico 4 Review: Great RM1,699 VR Headset For New Adopters
February 15, 2023 Andrew Cheng

VR headsets have come a long way. What was once an expensive gadget with limited availability is now much more accessible with a more feasible price tag. This is exemplified by ByteDance’s Pico 4: not only is it affordable, it’s also a pretty darn complete VR headset.

While the Pico 4 does still have its fair share of shortcomings, it’s a great VR headset for folks who are just getting into the VR world. If you want a sub-RM2,000 VR headset, the Pico 4 is (effectively) your only option in Malaysia.

What It Is

The Pico 4 is a standalone VR headset, and its main competitor is Meta’s Quest 2, which is…well, not officially available in Malaysia. Yes, parallel importers do offer the VR headset here, but the lack of official support – especially in regards to aftersales service – makes the Pico 4 a much more compelling choice.

Aside from that, the Pico 4 also has a high resolution 4320 x 2160 display (2160 x 2160 for each eye), which is more than sharp enough to offer an immersive VR experience. On top of that, the panel has a refresh rate of up to 90Hz as well.

Other specifications of the Pico 4 include a Qualcomm XR2 chipset, 8GB of RAM, a 105-degree field of view, motorised inter-pupillary distance adjustment – so that different users can get the best viewing experience – built-in speakers, and a 5,300mAh battery that promises up to three hours of use; decent enough.

Two variants of the Pico 4 are offered in Malaysia. The base model with 128GB of storage is priced at RM1,699, while the 256GB version costs RM1,999. At the time of writing, the VR headset is bundled with six different VR games, including All-in-One Sports VR, Down The Rabbit Hole, OhShape, After The Fall, Cities VR, and Arizona Sunshine.

The Good Stuff

So how is it like playing VR content on the Pico 4? Very entertaining! The Snapdragon XR2 chipset is more than fast enough to provide a zippy, responsive experience. Whether I’m using the web browser or playing VR games, the headset performs admirably.

The bundled VR games that come with the Pico 4 are quite enjoyable too. I thoroughly enjoy All-in-One Sports VR, which features a collection of sports games. My personal favourite is the boxing games, which feels almost like playing Beat Saber, a game that’s (unfortunately) not offered on the Pico 4’s app store.

But if you have a PC powerful enough to run VR games, you won’t have to worry about a limited library of games. The Pico 4 works with SteamVR for a higher-fidelity VR experience.

Speaking of which, the Pico 4 remains a competent VR headset when it’s hooked to a PC, thanks to the high resolution 4320 x 2160 screen with a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s sharp enough that individual pixels are not easily noticeable, and the image quality is perfectly adequate too with vibrant colours and good clarity.

Another positive of the Pico 4 is its comfortable nature. This is thanks to the generous amount of paddings on the headset and its lightweight nature. Even under prolonged use, I never felt uncomfortable with it on. It’s also easy to get a good fit with the adjustment dial.

Build quality of the Pico 4 is quite impressive as well. The headset itself feels solid and robust, and the same goes for the two controllers, which are powered by two AA batteries each. The controllers also have nice, tactile buttons; smooth, precise analog sticks; and good tracking capabilities.

Last but not least is the Pico 4’s colour passthrough. A quick double-tap on the right side of the VR headset enables this, allowing me to quickly see my surroundings without taking off the headset. But as this uses the camera on the front of the headset, the image quality does suffer in low light conditions.

And that is a good segue to the next section of the review.

The Bad Stuff

While it’s convenient that the Pico 4 features built-in stereo speakers, they are…mediocre. They don’t get particularly loud, and the audio quality is decided average. On top of that, there’s no headphone jack either, though the VR headset does support Bluetooth audio.

The Pico 4’s selection of games on the Pico Store is quite limited too, as you can see here. As mentioned, this won’t be an issue if you already have a PC that can run games through SteamVR, but if you want to use the Pico 4 as a standalone VR, this will prove to be an issue.

Hopefully, the Pico Store will see a wider selection of games in the near future. With a larger library of games, the headset will definitely be more appealing.

Is It Worth It?

Starting at only RM1,699, the Pico 4 is a great option for folks who are just dipping their toes in the VR world. It’s an affordable VR headset that’s only rivalled by the Meta Quest 2, which isn’t even available here in Malaysia officially.

Its limited selection of games is the Pico 4’s biggest shortcoming at the moment, and depending on your use case scenario, this may or may not be an issue to you. Here’s hoping Pico will continue to expand its game library to improve the appeal of the budget-friendly VR headset.