Apple Vision Pro Review: Incredible Potential, Imperfect Result

Apple Vision Pro Review: Incredible Potential, Imperfect Result

  • Mind-blowing and addictive experience, but far from perfect

  • Price is their major drawback for a product that replaces the tablet, not the computer

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Apple Vision Pro

The Vision Pro are something new, and at the same time, they’re not. We’ve been seeing virtual reality headsets for a long time now, and augmented reality is not entirely new to us, but Apple’s approach is nothing like we’ve seen before.

We can’t even say for sure if there are a pair of glasses (too bulky), a headset (too much air) or a space computer (too much marketing). It’s like deafening silences or organized chaos: a paradox.

Here’s our detailed experience using the Apple Vision Pro.

Index of contents (15)

Vision Pro Specs



21.2-22.9 oz (depending on the head band and light seal configuration)

Separate battery weights 353 g


2 x 11.5 million pixels, micro-OLED

Panel’s resolution: 3660 x 3200 pixels

3D display system, 7.5-micron pixel pitch

92% DCI-P3

90, 96 and 100 Hz refresh rates


M2 chip, 8-core GPU (4 performance cores, 4 efficiency cores)

10-core GPU

16-core Neural Engine

R1 chip, 256 GB/s memory bandwidth

12 m/s photon-to-photon latency


Stereoscopic 3D main camera system

Spatial photo and video capture

18 mm, f/2.00 aperture

6.5 stereo megapixels


4 eye-tracking cameras

2 high-resolution main cameras

6 world-facing tracking cameras

TrueDepth camera

LiDAR Scanner

Ambient light sensor

Flicker sensor

Four inertial measurement units (IMUs)


Optic ID


Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking

Audio ray tracing

Six-mic array with directional beamforming

H2-to-H2 ultra-low-latency connection to 2ndgen. AirPods Pro (with USB-C case)


Up to two hours of general use, according to Apple

Up to two and a half hours of video watching, according to Apple

Doesn’t support hot swap

Can be used while charging (30 W USB-C adapter)


256 GB / 512 GB / 1 TB


Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax)

Bluetooth 5.3




From $3,499

A Paradigm Shift

Apple has a history of entering new product categories with a different approach that often sets trends, rather than launching entirely new market categories. For example, with the iPod, iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods, there were already MP3 players, mobile phones, smartwatches, and TWS headphones available, but Apple perfected many of their fundamental features. In fact, with the last three products, Apple even established a physical standard that is still in use today.

Apple Vision Pro It’s much more difficult to convey the experience of such a device than of one whose screen is visible. That’s also a challenge for Apple when it comes to unveiling a product that needs to be tested in order to understand it. Image: Apple

However, Apple’s new product, the Vision Pro, is different. While there were already alternatives in the market, none were quite like this. The market for this product is still in its early stages compared to phones or smartwatches. Additionally, the Vision Pro are a unique device because they are something else entirely. Unlike previous products, which are designed to be looked at, the Vision Pro are designed to be looked through. This changes everything.

The challenge with this device is how to convey the experience of using it to others. In the past, it was easy to demonstrate how a product worked because they were rectangular screens with rounded corners that responded to touch. However, with the Vision Pro, the interface is superimposed on our field of view, without any physical space reserved for it.

Familiar and Unfamiliar Designs

The Vision Pro are an Apple product with a unique design. They feature a Digital Crown and an oval push button, similar to those on the Apple Watch.

Apple Vision Pro The Vision Pro in profile view, no battery connected. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro Silicone, leather and thin braiding are the usual protection materials for Apple devices, so it’s shocking to see mesh being used in the Vision Pro. Here, the mesh used for protecting the front glass. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro Outward-facing cameras to detect our hand gestures. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro Oval button, to the left of the user when wearing them. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro And the Digital Crown, like the one that has been in the Apple Watch for almost ten years, to the right of the user when wearing them. Image: Xataka

Additionally, they vents and speakers resemble those found on iPads and MacBooks. This familiarity is appreciated by users who are already familiar with the brand.

Apple Vision Pro The battery connector is magnetic but requires an adjustment (one-quarter turn) to secure it and avoid accidental disconnections. Image: Xataka

The accent color of the Vision Pro is orange, which is also used on the Apple Watch Ultra. It can be found on the headbands of the Vision Pro.

Apple Vision Pro Orange, the accent color. Image: Xataka

However, many aspects of the design are completely new and introduce a new design language from Apple. From the material and the band’s shape to the magnetic battery connector, to the mesh or the travel case that looks like it belongs to NASA.

Apple Vision Pro The famous Travel Case ($199), made with a ripstop outer shell. It waterproofs the interior as well as giving it a spectacular look, far from what Apple cases usually offer. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro Inside, it has some fasteners to fix the position of the device and battery. Image: Xataka

The band is made of ripstop, a material used in mountaineering and tent clothing. This gives it a permanent wrinkled look that is more linked to exploration and adventure (as the Apple Watch Ultra does), rather than elegance, which we’re used to seeing in Apple’s iPhone and MacBook accessories.

Apple Vision Pro Wrinkles all over. Image: Xataka

It remains to be seen whether this mix of industrial and metallic design with hints of adventure will be used in future Apple products. However, it’s a refreshing departure from the aluminum and glass design (plus the new titanium finish) typically used in Apple’s products.

Feel and Comfort

The Vision Pro headset weighs just over 21 ounces, with all the weight distributed on the front where the screens, lenses, cameras, sensors, and circuitry are housed. The temporal area only contains small speakers, and the parietal area is limited to the adjustment strap.

As a result, it’s impossible to forget that you are wearing the headset. Unlike headphones or a smartwatch, which we sometimes forget that we are wearing, the Vision Pro remains noticeable throughout its use. This was a key factor in deciding whether it would be feasible to naturalize their use. At present, it’s not possible.

Apple Vision Pro Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro Image: Xataka

The Vision Pro come with two fastening bands. The first is the one we see in promotional images, which is the “default one” and is more aesthetically pleasing. The second option is a band that crosses longitudinally over our skull, which may not look as cool but is much more comfortable, although a little more bulky. The latter distributes the weight better and is the recommended option for long sessions.

Apple Vision Pro The Dual Loop Band. Image: Xataka

Otherwise, the fit is highly customizable. During the purchasing process, either online or in-person, you’ll follow a configuration process to determine which pad sizes best fit your face. If we wear glasses and do not want or cannot use contact lenses, we can buy Zeiss magnetic lenses, which are specific for the Vision Pro, for $99.

New Gestures

Setting up a Vision Pro for the first time is simple and does not require configuring any additional controllers. All we need to do is set up the device itself. However, if we own an iPhone, we can transfer certain information and settings faster, which saves us the trouble of typing in our Apple account or Wi-Fi network password.

Calibrating the device is easy. We have to raise our hands in front of us to calibrate the hands. To calibrate the eyes, we have to look at a series of points in the air while making the gesture of pinching with our fingers. It's equivalent to clicking with the mouse and it shapes our entire experience with this interface.

Apple Vision Pro Welcome to the new standard gesture for virtual reality and augmented reality, the same way multi-touch was for mobile phones. Image: Xataka

Once we learn this gesture, everything else becomes intuitive. It becomes natural to scroll by holding the pinch and moving our hand or to increase the speed by taking advantage of inertia. It’s just like translating tactile gestures into the air.

There is no need to wonder how to perform any gesture in the future. The pinch, static or moving, and our gaze are enough for any gesture we need to make.

Apple Vision Pro The equivalent to a finger tap or a mouse click. Image: Xataka

“Look and pinch” has the potential to become a new standard in this type of device. It can be compared to the click and secondary click with the mouse or the multi-touch gestures introduced with the smartphone.

The sensing quality is spectacular, and we doubt there’s anything like it in the market. Apple is ahead of the rest of the industry by making the mouse not an additional pointer, but a mix of our gaze and a lap gesture.

Vision Pro’s Interface

The screen is a critical component of any device that has one. It’s the first thing we use to determine the quality of the device and significantly influences the experience it offers.

This is especially true for a device like the Vision Pro, which aims to provide an immersive experience by converting our field of view into pixels. If the display quality is subpar, the experience can be mediocre.

While we wouldn’t say that the displays on the Vision Pro are “excellent”, they are fantastic. It’s almost impossible to distinguish the pixel array, and the immersive experiences they offer are mind-blowing. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re perfect.

In some situations, the mammoth pixel density is not quite enough. At some point, we will likely see two ~8K panels instead of ~4K. This is because the Vision Pro has a pixel density of 34 pixels per degree, which is much higher than the Meta Quest 3 or PSVR2, which have 25 and 18 pixels per degree, respectively. However, these other devices are significantly cheaper.

Despite these nuances, it’s impressive to think that the Vision Pro have 23 million pixels, each only 7.5 microns in size, which is similar to the size of a bacterium or microscopic fungus. This is a lot of pixels in a small space, and it explains a significant part of the product’s price.

In well-lit environments, the display’s quality is excellent, and it works in tandem with the lenses to create a remarkable experience. However, in a slightly darker room, the field of view can be filled with granularity. It’s not accurate to say that you can’t distinguish between the image and the real world, but it’s still impressive.

Apple Vision Pro In a low-lit room, the noise (the granularity of the image behind the windows) is immediately noticeable. Image: Xataka

Looking at a sunny sky through a window can cause a strange effect where everything appears excessively bright and without detail. This is because the dynamic range of lenses still has room for improvement. For example, Apple’s claim of having 92% of the DCI-P3 gamut means we can see less than half of the colors our eyes can see. Although this is enough for current use, it may become difficult to distinguish images from real vision as technology improves.

The Vision Pro is an augmented reality product that can be adjusted to our preference for isolation by activating occlusion. We can easily turn the Digital Crown while looking at the occlusion icon (or the volume icon) to replace the background with mountains, the lunar surface, or any other image we choose.

However, the field of view is about 100º (although Apple has not made this spec public), which is lower than that of the Meta Quest 3. This means that using the Vision Pro produces a sensation similar to using binoculars as the peripheral view is not complete.

Apple has emphasized that the Vision Pro is an augmented reality product, not a virtual reality helmet. It’s more satisfying to use in immersive mode, like virtual reality, but augmented reality is more suitable for certain occasions and apps.

Apple Vision Pro visionOS initial interface in AR mode. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro Same interface with the occlusion on. Image: Xataka

There’s some motion blur on the screens of the Vision Pro, and it seems that Apple blurs the edges of the image where our gaze is not pointing to hide this effect. This is why even screenshots often have somewhat blurry areas.

The Vision Pro are best suited for indoor and seated use. It’s not practical to use them while on the move or outdoors. Although some early adopters may want to wear them on the street to attract attention on launch day, it’s not recommended.

Apple Vision Pro The email’s title text is clear because that’s where we were looking at the moment of the screenshot. The body text is a bit more out of focus. The sidebar text is very out of focus because it was far from the focus point. This is something the device does automatically. Image: Xataka

When we open applications on the Vision Pro, they remain fixed in space. For example, if we launch Apple Music in the living room and leave it floating next to the TV, it will stay there. We can even go to the bathroom with the device on (although it’s not recommended), and when we return to the living room, the Apple Music window will be waiting for us. The app will not move with us, and it will occupy a fixed space in the air, not in our field of view. Therefore, the Vision Pro are best used in static.

Apple Vision Pro If we set the Disney+ window there, it’ll stay there even if we move around the house, with or without the Vision Pro on. Image: Xataka

So, what’s the point of using the Vision Pro for augmented reality? Well, we can view 360º objects by placing them on a table, and some apps are designed for this use. However, there is still a long way to go in this area.

Apple Vision Pro A Rover in our living room to explore its components on a scale very different from what we may be used to on 2D monitors. Image: Xataka

Apple has heavily marketed augmented reality as the ideal framework for the Vision Pro, rather than virtual reality. However, most apps tend to lean towards the virtual reality side, with some objects or interfaces placed over the real world, but with little interaction between the two. Games are a prime example of this, with the best ones being virtual reality games.

Apple Vision Pro The mythical Synth Riders is available on visionOS via Apple Arcade and is one of the best games available for this device. Image: Kluge Interactive

At present, it makes more sense to use virtual reality rather than augmented reality most of the time. However, considering that they were launched just a few months ago, developers will likely eventually balance the scales.

Working With the Vision Pro

This is key. We’re talking about $3,499 glasses here, so their value can be determined by their ability to be used professionally. Using them just for leisure or to improve the way you work is not the same.

That was, in fact, our big question: can you use them work work? There’s no short answer.

Apple Vision Pro Connecting the Vision Pro to a MacBook to view its expanded monitor is easy enough, but the improvement over using an external monitor is not as great as we might expect. Image: Xataka

First of all, it depends on what you need for work. An iPad is excellent for illustrators, but not so much for accountants or architects. And what about the Vision Pro? Well, it depends.

There are two ways of working with the Vision Pro:

  • Using native apps
  • Connecting to Mac for a bigger screen

The device’s native apps are great, but limited, and users can only use what has been brought to visionOS. While there are over a thousand apps in its App Store and Microsoft 365 is available from day one, many of them are small curiosities that take advantage of the unique capabilities of this device compared to an iPhone or an iPad.

Most of the apps are paid apps, something that’s less and less common on iOS.

Apple Vision Pro Some of native visionOS apps are not optimized for the system, they simply use the iPad versions (see image) with some interface modifications to integrate the design language of this OS. Image: Xataka

It is likely that more professional apps will become available in the future, but buyers are spending their money today and expect immediate results. It’s important to keep this in mind when considering the purchase.

Apple Vision Pro Spreading windows around us to occupy the entire field of view is a useful way to use visionOS to work... as long as the App Store or the browser has everything we need. Image: Xataka

Alternatively, web apps available through Safari can be used as a partial solution, but this may depend on the user’s specific needs.

It is important to note that an external keyboard and trackpad are necessary for extended use. While typing in the air is a novelty, it is not practical for long working days.

Apple Vision Pro This is the virtual keyboard that shows if we don’t have a physical one. It’s quite good, but it’s not comfortable for typing anything more than a few words, plus it only detects your index fingers. Image: Xataka

The Vision Pro can be connected to a Mac in two ways. For a MacBook, a simple pairing button appears when the device is looked at. For a desktop, it can be done from the Control Center. Once connected, the computer screen appears to be floating in the air, as big as desired.

However, there is only one virtual desktop available, so everything has to be done within that one rectangle. Third-party apps can be used to add more desktops, but the native option only allows for one.

The desktop can be surrounded by visionOS apps, such as Apple Music, Reminders, Mail, Podcasts, and Notes, and other ecosystem functions that work with multiple devices can be used using Continuity. For example, it’s possible to copy a file in visionOS and paste it on the macOS desktop, or move the cursor between the two systems.

Apple Vision Pro Our MacBook screen turns into a gigantic floating monitor with no latency. On the sides, native visionOS apps so the panel not only shows what we need to use. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro Some macOS apps are not present in visionOS (Hidenburg, Superlist, Reeder). Image: Xataka

In practice, the extended display works as if an external 4K monitor has been connected, although the resolution is like a 2560 x 1440 Retina. The resolution cannot be changed, and the pixel space remains the same even if the floating window is enlarged.

Occasionally, there may be some annoyances, such as difficulty locating the cursor or a floating keyboard appearing when the integrated keyboard is in use. However, these are not too frustrating, as they do not happen frequently.

Overall, the experience of working with the Vision Pro was not as great as expected. The text is clear, but there is room for improvement. While it is impressive to see the Mac in a large size, the practicality of using it in day-to-day work does not feel like a significant leap compared to using a laptop with just its screen or an external monitor.

This is coming from someone who considered buying the Vision Pro if it worked well. Perhaps fine-tuning the extended monitor, making the product lighter, allowing more virtual desktops, or improving the resolution of the panels would enhance the experience.

Computer or iPad

We’ll discuss here another conceptual point: what are the Vision Pro? Apple refers to them as the “first spatial computer”. They said the same thing about the iPad a few years ago. Phew!

In a way, they are. But they can’t be considered a computer. Neither the iPad nor the Vision Pro have a desktop operating system. macOS, or Windows, allows us to focus on a main task, but can also have many other resources in the background, more flexibility and deep system modification.

visionOS is similar to iPadOS, which means that the Vision Pro is more like a space version of the iPad than a Mac.

Apple Vision Pro The depth of the system settings is enough to understand that this can’t be compared to a computer, but at least for now it’s something like the iPadOS. Image: Xataka

This is neither a good nor a bad thing, but it’s important to keep in mind when considering the Vision Pro as a computer replacement. Can your computer be replaced with an iPad? If you can, it’s likely you can do the same with the Vision Pro. However, if you can’t, it may be more complicated.

It's still early days for the Vision Pro, and its future will depend on developers, the market, and technological evolution. But for now, it seems more like a space iPad than anything else.

Media Greatness

Using the Vision Pro for work can be bittersweet, but using them for entertainment is an absolute pleasure. The experience is always amazing, especially when it comes to immersive content like virtual reality.

If you’ve never tried VR before, you’ll be blown away by the Vision Pro’s capabilities. And if you have, you’ll appreciate the device’s excellent image quality, zero latency, and superior sound.

The Vision Pro really shines when it comes to multimedia content. Apple TV+ offers a range of 3D recordings in 180º and 8K resolution with spatial sound. You can watch Alicia Keys singing in a rehearsal room, a mountaineer climbing a mountain, prehistoric animals, and even wildlife in their natural habitat.

Apple Vision Pro The immersive Apple TV+ catalog, as spectacular as it’s limited at the moment. Image: Xataka

We highly recommend starting with the clip that compiles all of these immersive videos into one. Apple’s storytelling ability and product excellence is on full display in this clip, which lasts just over a minute.

The combination of visuals and sound is stunning, leaving you wanting more. The clip even features a goal by Inter Miami seen from the stands - a perfect example of how this device can transform the way we experience sports.

Apple Vision Pro Promotional image of Alicia Keys’ immersive clip for Apple TV+. We can’t share a screenshot as the system only shows a black box when we take it. Image: Apple

The bad news is that it will take quite some time to bring everyday content such as soccer matches, movies, and street recordings to this format on a massive scale. However, we can get a glimpse of that future now with immersive content.

We can even watch series and movies on the equivalent of a cinema screen and choose our preferred seating area.

Apple Vision Pro Choosing the seating location when we want to watch a movie as we were at the movie theater. Image: Xataka

Some video-on-demand services, like Disney+ and Apple TV+, have visionOS-compatible apps. However, others like Netflix can only be accessed through the browser, without the additional features of a native application.

Apple Vision Pro Disney+ app, which has taken its arrival on visionOS very seriously. It offers different immersive environments for viewing content (albeit in 2D). Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro The Avengers tower. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro Looking left from the same tower. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro Tatooine and its two suns. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro The Minions’ plant. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro The elegant Disney theater. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro There are some recognition problems when we’re moving our hands, but the result is good when we stay still, especially in the hand and not so much in the wrist. Image: Xataka

Unfortunately, we cannot show screenshots of this content due to copyright restrictions. Some titles in these catalogs are available in 3D, but they are not too spectacular. Immersive videos are a tipping point, while 3D movies are not worth obsessing over.

Apple Vision Pro Some of the 3D movies supported by the Vision Pro. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro Haven’t seen ‘Gravity’ yet? Highly recommended. You can watch it here in 2D or 3D. Image: Xataka

The question remains whether the desire to watch movies in this format will be sustained over time or if it is merely a result of initial curiosity. Those who have a good TV may prefer the comfort and naturalness of their home screen, while those without may value the leap offered by the Vision Pro.

We’ll address the topic of viewing accompanied content later as it deserves its own section.

Live Sport

Whoever enjoys watching live sports will recognize the value of the Vision Pro as soon as they witness the immersive demo of soccer or baseball clips. It takes no time to understand the advantages of experiencing the game in this format.

While it’s not entirely clear whether using them for everyday movie watching is better than using a regular monitor, it’s evident that the immersive experience Vision Pro provides makes a significant difference when it comes to live sports.

Other approaches have used augmented reality to enhance the experience further. These proposals include displaying a 2D image of the match or race floating in the air and having dynamic information panels or even a recreation of the circuit on a table to show the progress in zenithal view.

Apple Vision Pro PGA Tour app to follow golf tournaments. Image: PGA

While these proposals are not bad, they don’t compare to being able to sit in a stadium backdrop and watch a play that ends in a goal. This experience allows you to get into the atmosphere of the game and the field, which is just incredible. It’d be worth paying money to be able to watch soccer like this every weekend.

It’s possible that we’ll see this format in occasional short tournaments like the World Cup or European Championship sooner than in regular seasons, where it may take longer to implement. Apple has a long-term agreement with MLS, which will likely result in the recording and later live streaming of these matches in this format - a perfect testing ground. If it proves successful, it could expand into other sports.

Vision Pro is an excellent tool for watching live sports in an immersive format. While it may not be easy to see it become widespread, there is no doubt that it provides a resounding “yes” when it comes to enhancing the experience of watching live sports.

Time Capsule

The Vision Pro is a great device for multimedia, but it’s not accompanied by third-party apps. Instead, it can record the same space videos as with the iPhone 15 Pro. These videos add depth to the image when viewed on the Vision Pro, and can be recorded directly from the device. They are not immersive or 3D, but they are still worthwhile.

They are perfect for recording family moments as they help to capture memories that are hard to recreate in any other way. These videos have blurred edges that give them a dreamlike touch, making them very enjoyable to watch.

Apple Vision Pro Dancing during Valencia’s Fallas. A memory that will be emotional to relive in a few years. The screenshot doesn’t do it justice. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro Non-spatial videos are not as spectacular as standard videos, but watching them on the Vision Pro feels like reliving a memory. Here, the atmosphere at the Mestalla Stadium. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro A win that means staying in the first division. Watching the images in high quality and occupying all the field of view is much better than looking at photos and videos on the traditional screen. Imagen: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro A “mascletà”, an atmosphere that will transcend generations. Imagen: Xataka

The Vision Pro serves as a time capsule, allowing you to look back at these moments and relive them in a unique way. It’s an excellent way to capture memories of loved ones, and it will be extra special when they are no longer with us in ten or twenty years’ time.

Apple Vision Pro Institutional ad at the 2023 Xataka Awards. Image: 2023
Apple Vision Pro Apple’s Photos app generates memories by grouping photos and videos based on locations, dates, or people. Even if they’re not spatial, it’s also a joy to be able to relive them here, where the experience goes much further than on a phone screen. Image: Xataka

The videos are recorded in 1080p resolution at 30 fps and in SDR. They are twice as large as non-spatial videos, taking up about 130 MB per minute compared to 65 MB. Sometimes it may be better to record in non-spatial mode but in 4K and at 60 fps HDR, depending on what you want to prioritize. It will be up to Apple to match the quality of spatial videos in the future.

A Solitary Device

The Vision Pro is a device that offers several benefits, but there is a catch. It’s a one-person device and cannot be shared with others. While it includes augmented reality, it can only be used alone, unlike a TV, a console, or a tablet that can be shared with others for a better experience. This can be inconvenient for those who live with their family as they cannot use it with others.

It may not be a problem for someone who lives alone or travels alone for work, but for someone who shares a home with their family, it can be isolating to use it on a regular basis.

It’s one thing for someone to resort to such a device at specific moments, but it’s complex to think that someone with a partner and children will use the Vision Pro on a daily basis while their family is at home, especially for prolonged uses such as watching a movie.

Apple Vision Pro The Vision Pro are inherently isolating and solitary. That’s the nature of the device. Image: Xataka

Considering the price of the device, it may not be feasible to buy multiple devices for every family member, making it an individual device. It’s important to consider this aspect before purchasing the Vision Pro.

While it’s possible to send its signal via AirPlay, it’s only compatible with certain screens and cannot be used to stream copyrighted content.

Other Bits and Pieces

One thing worth mentioning is the sound quality of the product. Although we’ve already said that it’s excellent, we’d like to elaborate on it. The speakers are small grilles that stick out of the strap’s protrusions and are directed towards our ears. It’s surprising how good they sound and how convincingly they reproduce spatial sound, considering their size.

Spatial audio was launched by Apple about five years ago in its AirPods Pro, and it’s clear that the development was achieved as part of the efforts on this product. The technology perfectly recreates the experience of having sound all around us, fixed in a physical space (like the windows of visionOS apps) and not fixed in a headset that follows us wherever we go.

Apple Vision Pro The small vent releases a spectacular sound. You can’t think of it as headphones, as it’s located at some distance from our ears. They are speakers, and can disturb other people at short distances, as well as diffuse what we’re listening to. Image: Xataka

However, it’s important to note that these speakers have many qualities, but privacy is not one of them. As we mentioned earlier, they are speakers and not headphones. Therefore, anyone near us can hear the same thing as us, albeit at a lower volume, or feel disturbed. Headphones are essential for shared use, especially outside the home, such as on an airplane.

Any Bluetooth model works, but the ideal ones are the 2nd generation AirPods Pro with USB-C case ($249), as they integrate the same H2 chip at 5 GHz as the Vision Pro, ensuring low latency, high quality, and seamless integration.

Regarding the battery, we thought it had to be integrated into the headset. However, we realized that it would’ve made the product much worse, at least with the current capabilities. The Vision Pro draw up to 40W of power during use, which is more than some MacBooks. This makes them generate heat that has to dissipate through the grilles. Adding the battery to the equation would have increased the heat and added extra weight, which is not a good idea.

Apple Vision Pro Vision Pro’s battery. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro On the left is the battery’s USB-C port. In the middle, charging cable that can be unplugged when using an eject tool in the hole on the right. Image: Xataka

We have a hanging battery that provides between two to three and a half hours of use. It weighs 353 grams and it’s recommended to keep it in a pocket or something similar to avoid tugging or forceful movement. The battery cannot be hot-swapped, which means that it turns off the Vision Pro. Buying another unit separately costs $199.

Watching video continuously lengthens battery life as compared to active use, which involves constant gestures and screen changes, causing more strain on chips and sensors. The typical battery life is around two and a half hours, and it takes about 90 minutes for a full charge with a fairly linear charging speed - no fast charging here.

The Vision Pro uses Persona, which is the word Apple has chosen to call the avatars that we can create with it to recreate our face during video calls.

It follows our movements through its cameras to render a video in real time, which is an important technical feat. However, the result is still in the unsettling valley. Although it has improved a lot compared to what it could do before its first update, it might take some time until we get used to it. It might not be comfortable to use it in a meeting at work, and it might not be suitable for someone who could make faces during the call.

Apple Vision Pro Persona doing ✌🏻. Imagen: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro And now doing 👍🏻. Imagen: Xataka

The Vision Pro is a device for seated and indoor use. Apple has not included an app like Fitness+ as proof of this. The risk of dropping the device is high when making sudden movements, even if it sounds tempting to bring the workout into an immersive experience. Apple Maps is more of the same: yes, it’s there, but it’s a 2D view. It would be ideal to walk around the city, seeing superimposed on the asphalt route to follow, but this device is not there yet.

Outside the home, it makes sense to use the Vision Pro in environments such as an office or in transport, especially on very long journeys. For those times, Apple has enabled a ‘travel mode’ that helps the movement of the train or plane not to leave the windows behind by turning off some tracking sensors.

Vision Pro’s Drawbacks

Apple developed the Vision Pro after several years of work. It’s designed to provide a good experience in terms of display, sound, autonomy, energy efficiency, latency, and weight.

However, the device has some shortcomings that are typical of first-generation products. One of these drawbacks is the visionOS interface, which wastes a lot of space on the home screen and only shows a limited number of icons (in alphabetic order - native apps first, third-party apps second). You can’t create folders or organize them in a Dock, like you can on iOS, iPadOS and macOS.

Apple Vision Pro The Home Screen clearly shows this is a first version software. No Dock, no folders, no way of customizing the apps order. Image: Xataka
Apple Vision Pro The Control Center can be accessed by looking up until the button shows up. If you press it, you’ll see the page in the image above. Image: Xataka

Additionally, the device does not store other users’ calibrations, making it tedious to share them.

Apple could easily fix this issue by providing guest profiles that allow users to leave the device ready for use by others without requiring recalibration.

You can see why Apple’s devices don’t support full user profiles, like those on a computer. However, they should, considering their high price. What it’s harder to understand is why they don’t even store a few calibrations, so that people who are very close to the device can use them without having to recalibrate them every time they put them on.

This is not a technical limitation, but rather a market decision. There is no reason why Apple can’t provide us with three guest profiles, which can be customized to restrict access to certain applications.

Guest mode is not enough, as every time we lend our device to someone else, they will have to do the eye calibration and we will have to decide which applications to restrict. However, the lens adjustment is automatic and motorized, making it much more convenient than fiddling around with dials.

Another issue with the Vision Pro is the external display, which does not live up to the expectations set by Apple’s marketing. The eyes on the external display were supposed to be intended to naturalize conversations with someone wearing Vision Pro, but they are still a physical barrier that is distracting and strange.

Apple Vision Pro Left, Vision Pro’s marketing image from Apple. Right, real life. Images: Apple, Xataka

The product's appearance is much worse than what Apple promised. Although this is a minor aspect, it’s difficult to ignore the stark contrast between what was showcased and what was delivered. While a future software update may improve the situation, it cannot erase the difference that currently exists between the two.

Furthermore, the eyes displayed on the external screen were meant to enhance conversations with individuals wearing Vision Pro. However, it does not seem like this goal has been achieved. Instead, it creates a physical barrier between interlocutors, and the eye simulation is quite distracting and unnatural, failing to achieve any sense of naturalness.

Vision Pro: Xataka's Take

The Vision Pro is an impressive product in terms of engineering, but it does have some typical shortcomings for a first model. The user experience is appealing, but the price is quite high. It’s easier to discuss the potential of the device in the future rather than in the present, especially due to the lack of a deep catalog of content that allows us to exploit its possibilities. However, without a compatible device on the market, no one is encouraged to invest in such content. Therefore, it was necessary to release it to pave the way.

Apple was likely counting on this. The first generation would have a discrete sales base on which to improve with each iteration. Better product, more third-party content, more sales - a virtuous cycle.

Today, buying a Vision Pro at its current price is a luxury for those who either know they will find precisely what they need or have unshakable faith in the product they want to own from the start—in other words, early adopters.

Apple Vision Pro Image: Xataka

The Vision Pro are primarily a canvas. They will be up to developers and audiovisual production companies to create works of art that are so captivating that consumers will be willing to spend thousands of dollars on them. If the conditions are right, the device has the potential to be very relevant in consumer technology, if not at the level of the smartphone, at least at the level of the more popular tablets.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed using the Vision Pro. It’s a great example of engineering at its best, but the current price of around $3,500 is something that cannot be justified at the moment. Maybe if you live alone and travel frequently, you’ll find it satisfying to work with them all day, or if they were simply cheaper, even at the cost of some sacrifices, the answer would be positive. Everyone will have to decide where this product fits for them.

It’s a first version, and the adapted content that will make the most sense will come, as well as a desirable price reduction for later models. If these stars align, we could be looking at “the next big thing” in consumer technology. Especially if Apple completes its efforts to make them less isolating.

Thanks to Marc (Macnificos / Rossellimac) for loaning us his Apple Vision Pro for this review.

Image | Xataka

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