In April 2022, Pico announced the release of the company’s first B2C VR headset: the Pico Neo 3 Link. This came just a year after Pico Interactive was acquired by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance. This gives the Oculus/Meta Quest 2 some real competition, as Pico’s device comes with similar specs and a more open ecosystem. In this Pico Neo 3 Link review, we want to find out to what extent the Neo 3 Link can be seen as a real option for the consumer market.
In this comprehensive Pico Neo 3 Link review we will take a deeper look at the following points:
|2 in 1 VR headset: standalone + PC VR with DP cable included||Less content on Pico Store compared to Oculus Store|
|No Facebook or Oculus Account needed||Pico link does not always work smoothly|
|Access to SteamVR||No native hand tracking|
|Refresh rate 120 Hz|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2|
The Pico Neo 3 Link has the following specifications:
The Pico Neo 3 Link comes in a long white box. All contents are neatly and logically packed.
The following items can be found in the box:
In terms of looks, the Pico Neo 3 Link is indistinguishable from the business variant Neo 3 Pro. Only the face pad, which was previously made of PU leather, has been replaced by a fabric face pad. This is a bit softer, so it fits the face better and less light gets in.
A knob on the back of the headband allows the Neo 3 Link to be adjusted to fit any head shape. The interpupillary distance can also be adjusted in three different levels between 58 and 69 mm by moving the lens space, just like on the Quest 2.
A very good feature of the Neo 3 Link is the battery built into the back of the headband. This creates a very balanced weight distribution, which significantly increases wearing comfort. On the Meta Quest 2, the battery is built directly into the headset, which means that all of the weight sits on the front. However, the Neo 3 Link is heavier than the Oculus Quest 2 with a total weight of 620 grams, while the Quest 2 has a weight of just 503 grams.
One of the reasons for Pico’s continued growth is largely due to its usability. While the business variant Pico Neo 3 Pro did not even require the creation of an account for use, the Neo 3 Link now at least requires you to create a Pico account and to log in with it before the headset is ready for use.
However, this is still a clear advantage compared to the Facebook/Meta requirement of the meta corporation, because the company around Mark Zuckerberg makes no secret of the fact that it stores the users’ data platform-wide and uses it to serve personalized ads. This is of concern to many VR users and has even led to an official sales ban of Meta’s headsets in Germany, for example.
The setup for the Pico Neo 3 Link is exactly the same as for the Quest 2. With the help of the black-and-white passthrough image, you can first set the floor height and then use the controller to draw the play area onto the floor. Unlike the Quest 2, you can also define a circular play area with a freely selectable radius on the Neo 3 Link.
In terms of performance, the Pico Neo 3 Link is on par with the Quest 2. Both the Pico and Meta headsets have Qualcomm‘s latest chip, the Snapdragon XR2, installed. Games like “After the Fall” therefore run smoothly and in high resolution on both devices.
The Pico Neo 3 Link comes with 6GB of RAM. These are also installed in the Quest 2 and ensure stutter-free gaming in both headsets. Even with more demanding games found on SteamVR using the DP cable, the Neo 3 Link was able to handle them without compromising the experience.
The Pico Neo 3 Link has a 4K LCD display with 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye. In addition, the refresh rate is 90 Hz by default. This can be increased to 120 Hz in the settings. It has to be said, however, that this setting reduces the battery life by quite a bit. However, even 90 Hz is already enough to make displayed content appear smooth and realistic to the human eye. The Oculus Quest 2 offers exactly the same display specifications, including the 120 Hz setting.
When it comes to the horizontal field of view, however, Pico is very slightly ahead with the Neo 3 Link. The headset offers 98 degrees, while the Quest 2 offers 97 degrees. At this point, there is still room for improvement in both headsets, because other VR devices can already offer much more here, such as the HTC Vive Focus 3 with 115 degrees of horizontal field of view.
|Pico Neo 3 Link||Meta Quest 2|
|Resolution||1832×1920 pixels per eye||1832×1920 pixels per eye|
|Refresh rate||90/120 Hz||90/120 Hz|
|Field of view||98° horizontal||97° horizontal|
The Pico Neo 3 Link uses 4 integrated cameras for its 6 DoF tracking. This method has become established in the VR world and is used by many VR headsets. Since you don’t need external base stations for this type of tracking, immersing yourself in the virtual world is much easier and faster.
The Neo 3 Link also has only positive things to report when it comes to controller tracking. The tracking of the controllers works very smoothly and reliably, there is no problem even when the controllers are moved out of the field of view or overlap for a moment.
However, the tracking of the Neo 3 Link has one drawback compared to that of Oculus: You can turn on hand tracking on the Quest 2. Once enabled, you can put the controllers aside and control the Quest 2 with your bare hands. This is generally also possible with the Neo 3 Link, but it requires an additional Ultraleap module, which has to be purchased separately. In addition, this does not work with the standard UI of the device, only with custom built Unity applications that support hand tracking.
Although the Pico Neo 3 Link is still in the beta phase, some VR game classics like Smash Drums, Superhot or Eleven Table Tennis can already be found in the Pico Store. However, the selection is of course by far not as extensive as in the Oculus Store, where even more popular games like Beat Saber or Resident Evil 4 can be downloaded.
However, thanks to the included DisplayPort cable (or wirelessly via Pico Link), you can also access and play all content from the SteamVR Store with the Neo 3 Link. More about that in the next section.
The Pico Neo 3 Link is also designed to be turned into a PC-VR headset using a computer, thanks to the included DisplayPort cable. Streaming SteamVR content to the Pico via cable works great and with low latency. Sometimes getting the DP cable working with your Neo 3 Link and PC can require some extra time, however the Pico Streaming Assistant makes this easy to troubleshoot and solve.
SteamVR content can also be streamed wirelessly to the Pico Neo 3 Link via the Pico Link software. Unfortunately, this only works moderately even with a very good Internet connection; a noticeable latency always remains here.
Meta offers similar options for the Quest 2. However, a corresponding DisplayPort cable is not included but has to be purchased separately. Wireless streaming is also possible via “Air Link”. This works much better than Pico Link, but a small latency is always noticeable here as well.
The Pico Neo 3 Link has two small speakers integrated into the headband, exactly at the level of the ears. The sound feels better and a bit more powerful than that of the Oculus Quest 2, but if you enjoy high-quality sound, you will have to connect headphones to the VR headset in any case. This can either be done via the 3.5 mm jack or via Bluetooth.
The controllers of the Pico Neo 3 Link look very similar to the controllers of the Meta Quest 2. Only the grip of the Neo 3 Link is significantly longer, which will provide a better wearing experience especially for people with bigger hands.
Both Pico and Oculus use two AA batteries in the controller for an extensive battery life.
The Pico Neo 3 Link is available at VR Expert for the price of €449 including VAT. The Meta or Oculus Quest 2, on the other hand, is available in two versions. As a 128 GB version, the Quest 2 costs $399, while the 256 GB variant costs $499.
The Quest 2 cannot be purchased in Germany due to the sales stop, however, it can be imported from abroad for a surcharge and can also be used normally in Germany.
In conclusion our Pico Neo 3 Link review shows how the device compares favorably with the current leading VR headset, the Oculus Quest 2. When it comes to technical specifications, the Pico is on par, except for the hand tracking.
Especially because of the 4K display and SteamVR. Moreover, the Neo 3 Link offers users who want to avoid Meta’s Facebook or soon to be Oculus constraint, a proper alternative.
But of course, you can tell that the Pico headset is still in beta. Because even though the native Pico Store already has some games available, it is nowhere near the massive offer of the Oculus Store. Furthermore, some features, such as the Pico-Link software, are not yet fully developed and can be buggy.
In the end, we still have a technically outstanding VR headset that already comes with a lot of features for an affordable price. For those who value their privacy but want quality, the Pico Neo 3 Link is a great option. For those who want the most content with great quality and who can live with the possible privacy issues, then the Quest 2 is the better option for now.
Click here to buy the Pico Neo 3 Link from VR Expert.
|Pico Neo 3 Link||Oculus Quest 2||HTC Vive Focus 3|
|Price||449 €||$399/499||1249 €|
|Resolution||1832×1920 per eye||1832×1920 per eye||2448×2448 per eye|
|Refresh rate||90 Hz||120 Hz||90 Hz|
|Field of view||98 degrees horizontal||97 degrees horizontal||115 degrees horizontal|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2||Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2||Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2|
|Tracking||Inside-out tracking with 4 integrated cameras||Inside-out tracking with 4 integrated cameras + hand tracking||Inside-out tracking with 4 integrated cameras + hand tracking|
|Weight||620 grams||503 grams||785 grams|