Pico headset: ByteDance’s New Competition for Europe and Asia

Pico Device

Pico is a Chinese startup that was acquired by ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company last year. The company now has a new virtual reality headset on the way. The new headset known as Pico 4 will retail with a starting price of €429 (around $425) in European and Asian countries, is a reasonably full-featured but affordable option for games and passive entertainment.

The Pico 4 closely borrows its features from earlier Pico products, with a self-contained standalone design that can also connect to a PC for high-end VR. However, it is smaller and lighter than the Pico Neo3 Link that debuted in May, weighing 295 grams without the strap and 586 grams with it. It uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor but a beefed-up 8GB of memory and a higher-resolution display with 2,160 x 2,160 pixels per eye.

The device also has two possible storage sizes instead of one: a 128GB model for €429 and a 256GB model for €499 (about $492). A limited preorder opens in August, with general preorders starting in October and the device shipping on October 18th. There’s a battery that offers three hours of use and as with the previous Pico headset is built into the headset’s back strap to balance it.

Pico 4 has not yet been released to the public although some Pico headsets have shipped in the United States, the . It will be available in Japan, Korea, and 13 European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. This is before its public preorder availability in retail. Pico Neo3 Link beta program members in these countries will have access to an advance preorder period beginning September 23rd.

The headset will be officially be released into the Chinese market on September 27th, and it will be available in Singapore and Malaysia later this year. It has however appeared in FCC regulatory filings which makes a US release more likely.

The general manager for Pico EMEA, Leland Hedges, describes the Pico 4 as a “first VR headset” for a range of new adopters, geared toward a combination of gaming, fitness (not leaving out users of Neo3 Link), and video. It works with SteamVR on PC and a dedicated Pico app store, and Pico is also launching a social environment called “Pico Worlds” in 2023. The acquisition of the company puts out a possible integration of the device with TikTok.

If this all sounds familiar, it should: ByteDance is implicitly positioning the Pico 4 as an answer to Meta’s entry-level Quest 2. As you can see with the comparison here, the Pico Neo 3 Link was already in the same rough specs ballpark as the Quest 2, and the Pico 4 costs about the same as a Quest 2 after a Meta price rise in July.

ByteDance will be later releasing a more expensive version of the headset that includes eye-tracking cameras, known as the Pico 4 Pro in China and the Pico 4 Enterprise in other markets which is similar to its previous headsets, which have offered the feature as an additional upgrade. And it suggests Pico is moving in the same direction as Meta even if it hasn’t cracked the global market in the same way yet.