I’ve tried the Vision Pro and other top XR headsets and here are the ones most people should buy

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Apple Vision Pro with Tim Cook on reflection

Apple Vision Pro with Tim Cook on reflection.

Jason Hiner/ZDNet

I used Apple Vision Pro, I spent a lot of time with it Meta Quest 3And I have tried most of the other XR headsets and smartglasses available. I spoke with XR developers about the state of the industry and their plans for the future. And I’d recommend that most people don’t buy the Apple Vision Pro — unless you’re planning to develop an app for it or need to evaluate it for use in your organization or industry.

That is my buying advice. And I don’t want to bury the lead here.

Until Apple comes out with a $1,500 to $2,000 headset aimed at a wider audience and available in larger quantities, it’s not worth considering buying one to use for entertainment, video calls or virtual monitors. It will take a year or two for developers to come up with more useful apps and experiences for Vision Pro, and for big partners like YouTube, Netflix and Spotify to be interested enough to bring their content to the platform.

If you’ve already ordered a Vision Pro and are having buyer’s remorse, don’t worry All Apple products have a two-week return policy. You can try it out for a week or two and test my buying advice, get a taste of the limited nature of the Apple Vision Pro in the beginning, and get your $4,000 to $5,000 back.

If you haven’t ordered the Vision Pro yet, but you’re curious as to why this product can cost so much, you should definitely book a demo at one of the Apple Stores that are offering them. It will be worth the trip. Most of the demos are full of impressive innovations. But there is something you have to see with your own eyes and that is spatial video and spatial photos. Apple’s implementation of these is outstanding and makes the headset worth keeping your eyes on.

The difference between regular photos and videos and spatial photos and videos is almost like the jump from black-and-white to color in photographs and film — though it can be a bigger jump. Looking at a good spatial photo or spatial video is more like stepping into a special moment than looking at an image or a recording. When I first saw it, I had an emotional reaction to it – and immediately thought, “I wish I had this when my kids were little.” I think most people would have a similar reaction and think about the most meaningful moments in their lives that they could relive. Mike Rockwell, the Apple executive who leads the Vision Pro team, sure The development team at WWDC had a similar reaction when they all tested the feature for the first time and decided it should go into the final product.

Eyes Apple Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro will have many eyes on it, and it’s going to bring more attention to the future of immersive digital experiences.

Jason Hiner/ZDNet

But as amazing an experience as spatial photos and spatial videos are, it’s not worth buying a Vision Pro just for them. In fact, you can capture spatial video and spatial photos on an iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max using an app like today localization To convert them to a standard format and view them $500 Meta Quest 3.

We should also expect more smartphones to start capturing spatial photos and videos this year — both additional iPhone models and plenty of Android phones in the fall. Note that Vision Pro competitors from Samsung and Google are still coming in 2024, and other headsets powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 are also being tapped this year, promising specs to rival the Vision Pro and a much lower price point.

If you take my advice and get a demo of Vision Pro at the Apple Store, or try one out for a week or two and return it, you can get a taste of how far these immersive digital experiences have come in the last few years. I would still recommend that you avoid buying one unless you fit the criteria mentioned above. However, you can plunk down $500 on one Meta Quest 3 And start checking out more than 500 apps already there, compared to about 150 on Vision Pro for now. There are also some incredibly good and well-refined quest apps like Supernatural and confusing place. I recommend getting a Quest 3, the Vision Pro ecosystem is evolving and then going back in a year or two when Apple comes out with a more affordable model with more apps available.

Quest 3 headset with blue strap

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Meta Quest 3

The Meta Quest 3 has a great display, a comfortable design, tons of apps, and a more affordable price tag than the Vision Pro.

If your business is looking to invest in VR, AR, and/or XR for use in product development, training, productivity, or other functions, you’re better off with established platforms and partners. HTC Vive, VirgoAnd Sony/Siemens since they are VR and The digital twin In multiple industries such as construction, architecture, manufacturing, healthcare, government, law enforcement and others. But, if you’re deeply invested in making the XR a key part of your organization’s future, you might want to order a Vision Pro to start experimenting with those other headsets.

Clearly, the Vision Pro launch is an important milestone for VR, spatial computing and the next generation of digital experiences. It’s also an exciting step into the future of immersive internet. However, most people should fight FOMO and avoid buying one. Go ahead and check it out. I am sure you will be as impressed with the build quality and aesthetics of the device as I was when I got my hands on it. And spatial video and spatial photos are truly emotional — and have the potential to ignite a revolution

But if you want to start experiencing the next level of immersive digital experience, get a Quest 3 now or wait for the wave of Vision Pro competitors arriving in 2024 — perhaps at half the price. And then when Apple has a product and an ecosystem that’s ready for wider adoption in another year or two.

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