The former Oculus CTO tested the sleek PC VR headset Bigscreen Beyond. What is Carmack’s verdict?
John Carmack has posted a positive review of the Bigscreen Beyond PC VR headset on Twitter. Carmack, who is partly responsible for the success of Oculus, hopes that the slim headset will influence Meta’s future design decisions. But the VR expert also offers some criticism.
Carmack: “Like a prop for a futuristic movie”
The Bigscreen Beyond, which costs around $1,000, is the world’s smallest PC VR headset. Carmack has special praise for its slim form factor: “I am very happy to see this extreme focus on light weight, and I hope it impacts Meta’s future designs”
Compared to Meta Quest 2, however, Bigscreen Beyond is less suited for VR fitness: “The custom printed facial interface is comfortable, but not breathable, so it isn’t great for fitness activities.”
Bigscreen Beyond feels like a prop for a futuristic movie, but it works! Far and away the smallest and lightest PC VR headset. pic.twitter.com/pj0xYRI46R
—John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) July 3, 2023
Anyone who buys a Bigscreen Beyond will receive a custom face pad. To do this, a face scan is taken with an iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera after the order is placed. The fit is perfect with no light interference, Carmack said.
The vision lenses also work well, he said. Similar to the Zeiss lenses on the Apple Vision Pro, the Bigscreen Beyond’s vision lenses are attached with a magnetic holder.
Graphics compromised over Quest Pro
Carmack sees room for improvement in the graphics display. He says the visuals are a trade-off compared to the Quest Pro: “The resolution is clearly higher, but there are more internal reflections in the pancake optics, and the quality falls off more toward the edges.”
He says there are parts of the view where the displays look fantastic, “good enough for actual productivity work, but not across the entire view.” The audio solution also underwhelms Carmack. “Having to mess with headphones severely impacts the minimalist feel of the headset.”
Bigscreen Beyond: Not an entry-level headset
Carmack sees the cable to the PC and the tracking base stations as the biggest drawbacks. Bigscreen Beyond works on the PC with Steam VR controllers and tracking. The headset therefore requires the Lighthouse 2.0 trackers, which are very accurate, but awkward to place.
“The magic of stand-alone VR is real, and while some people happily trade it away for the raw power and flexibility of a PC, I wouldn’t recommend any PC VR setup as an entry point to VR,” Carmack says.
However, those looking to upgrade their existing PC VR system should consider Bigscreen Beyond, he says. “Bigscreen Beyond feels like a prop for a futuristic movie, but it works!”