The Pico Neo 3 Link is one of the first consumer standalone headsets to challenge the Quest 2’s dominance.
But, wait, what’s a Pico Neo 3 Link?
There’s some promise in this new device and some reasons that Meta should take its arrival in European markets seriously. But, if you’re just hearing about the company and it’s latest standalone headset for the first time then don’t worry; we’ve got a full run down of all the info you need below. From specs and price to Pico’s past, present and future, here’s everything you need to know about the Pico Neo 3 Link.
Where Did Pico Come From?
Before we get to the Neo 3 itself, let’s backtrack and look at a bit of the company’s history. Originating out of China, Pico has been making various types of standalone VR headsets for over six years now. Its first device was the original Neo from 2016, which was one of the first all-in-one VR devices of the current era.
Over the following years the company released several more devices, including the Oculus Go-like Goblin. In 2018, the company launched its first 6DOF headset in the form of a refreshed Neo and, in 2020, released the Neo 2 with two motion controllers utilizing electromagnetic tracking. Some of these products have launched as consumer devices — mainly in Asia — whereas others have been focused on the enterprise market.
In 2021, Pico was acquired by ByteDance, the owner of TikTok.
What Is The Pico Neo 3 Link?
The Pico Neo 3 Link is another standalone VR headset that makes some key changes from the Neo 2. For starters, it runs from Qualcomm’s XR2 processor and switches out the Neo 2’s electromagnetic tracking for a four camera inside-out alternative.
There’s a good chance you’ve already heard of the Neo 3 in general. The headset actually launched for consumers in Asian territories back in 2021 and Pico brought the device to the west for enterprise markets with a model known as the Neo 3 Pro. These headsets are basically exactly the same as the Neo 3 Link, with some differences to what you get in the box. More on that in a bit.
How Does It Compare To Meta Quest 2?
On paper at least, The Neo 3 Link sounds practically identical to the Quest 2. Both are standalone, both use the XR2 processor, both have four-camera inside-out tracking and both feature 1832×1920 per-eye resolution. Even Neo 3 Link’s motion controllers look incredibly similar to Quest’s Touch controllers, with the same button layout and tracking ring placement. It does feature 256GB of onboard storage, which is the same as the more expensive of the Quest 2 models, but there’s no 128GB version. One big difference we can spot right now is that Link comes with a DisplayPort cable in the box. Again, we’ll get to why that matters in a bit.
What you won’t be getting, of course, is the same content library. As we’ll detail in a second, some of Quest 2’s best games are on the Neo 3 Link, but you obviously won’t have access to Meta-exclusive titles like Resident Evil 4 VR and Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond. It remains to be seen if Pico might support Neo 3 Link with its own exclusive software, though the company says there’s around 200 pieces of content on the device right now.
You probably won’t be getting a lot of Quest 2’s features out of the box, either. Things like support for tracked keyboards or placing virtual couches and desks in your play space haven’t been confirmed for the headset, though they could arrive in future updates. Neo 3 Link also won’t have hand tracking; the Pro model will be getting support via an external sensor from Ultraleap, but it’s unlikely to see robust support in consumer apps.
It’s Got Some Of Quest 2’s Best Games
So far a handful of games have been confirmed for Neo 3 Link’s consumer launch. They include Superhot VR, After The Fall, Larcenauts, Eleven: Table Tennis, Puzzling Places, OhShape, Demeo and Walkabout Mini Golf. Games like Contractors and HyperDash were also included in the headset’s Asian launch. Given the device uses the XR2, you can expect these to perform about as well as they do on Quest 2. Again, Pico also says there’s around 200 pieces of content currently on its store, though we can’t speak to the quality of all of that content.
It Connects To Your PC Both Wirelessly And With DisplayPort
Just as with Quest 2, you can connect a Pico Neo 3 Link to a PC to use it as a PC VR headset and access SteamVR titles. You have two options for doing this, with the first being wireless streaming. But, as we mentioned earlier, the Link also comes with a DisplayPort attachment cable in the box, which you can connect to your PC for uncompressed PC VR. Quest 2 only allows for USB wired connections, which compresses the image. This means the Neo 3 Link should offer superior image quality over the Quest 2 when playing PC with that wire.
It’s Launching In Europe Very Soon, But With Limited Quantities
You should think of the Pico Neo 3 Link’s release as a soft launch. Pico itself refers to it as a beta release in very limited quantities. It will first ship in Germany (where Quest 2 isn’t sold), France, Spain and the Netherlands in May. The UK (£399) and Italy will follow in June. The company is referring to this as a beta program in which users will be testing out features like the Pico Store as the company works to improve them.
Pico Neo 3 Link’s Price Is The Same As Quest 2… Sort Of
In Europe, the Pico Neo 3 Link costs €449, whereas in the UK it’ll sell for £399. These are the same prices as the 256GB model of the Quest 2 but, notably, there’s a 128GB model of that device that retails for €100/£100 less. Remember, though, that you will be getting a DisplayPort cable inside the box with the Neo 3 Link.
How About A US Launch?
Currently there’s no confirmation that the Neo 3 Link will launch in the US. Given the headset is getting such a limited rollout, it seems unlikely that we’ll see the device launch in the US anytime soon. Also consider that Pico’s Chinese origins and links to ByteDance might mean extra complications with releasing the headset there due to stricter import regulations.
Another Pico Headset Sounds Imminent, But Neo 3 Owners Will Get A Discount
Consider this a warning about jumping onto the Pico Neo 3 Link straight away: Pico has made it very clear that a follow-up headset is likely to launch within the next 12 months. In fact it’s going to offer anyone that does buy the Link a 35% discount on its next headset. It’s quite possible that we see improved hardware with a better user experience before next April, then. Keep that in mind if you’re thinking about picking up a Neo 3 Link.
And that’s everything we know about the Pico Neo 3 Link so far. What do you think about the device? Let us know in the comments below!
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