Bigscreen is best known for its virtual social network of the same name, but it’s also branching out into VR headsets — and it believes it has a way to stand apart in a field of strong but bulky competitors. The Beyond is a PC-only wearable that the manufacturer says is the “world’s tiniest” VR headset and exceptionally light at little under 6oz with a strap. Even a basic rival like the HTC Vive Flow weights 6.6oz. This isn’t a bare-bones device, either, with a pair of 2,560 x 2,560 90Hz OLED displays, six degrees of freedom tracking, and three-element pancake optics that, according to the company, eliminate the screen door effect (where you can see the gaps between pixels) while reducing bulk and providing a decent 93-degree horizontal field of view.
To accomplish the size decrease, the corporation is not depending on a fantastic new technology. Rather, it is making a series of strategic concessions. Instead of fiddling with knobs and other adjustments to obtain the perfect fit, Bigscreen invites you to scan your face with an iPhone app (sorry, Android users) to create a custom-fitted Beyond design. If you regularly wear glasses, you will also need to purchase specific prescription lenses. External SteamVR Base Stations are used for six-degree tracking rather than built-in cameras, and built-in headphones are only available with an extra “Audio Strap.” You connect to a Computer through a link box, which provides both video and electricity.
The Beyond works with any suitable controller (including the Vive and Valve’s Index) and full-body trackers and supports the SteamVR platform. You’ll also need that compatibility since Bigscreen does not include controllers. You’ll also need a PC with at least a quad-core CPU and GeForce RTX 2070 or Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics.
The Beyond is now available for pre-order for $999 and will ship to the United States in the third quarter of this year (read: summer). Units will be sent to Canada and Europe in the fourth quarter, but Australia, New Zealand, and Japan will have to wait until the end of the year. According to Bigscreen, more nations will join in 2024. The slow rollout is attributed to the lengthier production processes required for bespoke headsets, according to the business.
Whether the Beyond is a worthwhile buy depends on your needs and expectations. It costs less than clunkier, lower-resolution options like the $1,500 Meta Quest Pro and $1,099 HTC Vive XR Elite, but they are also standalone headsets with controllers that can be shared with other users. You’re also out of luck if you utilise non-SteamVR games and applications. If you satisfy all of the requirements, this might be one of the few high-end headsets you can use comfortably for lengthy periods of time.