What make the Pico Neo stand out are its controller options. Much like the Vive Focus, the Pico Neo comes with a 3DoF trackpad controller for the same 3,999 yuan price (about $610), but the 5,299 yuan (about $810) business edition comes with two 6DoF controllers — something that the Vive Focus doesn’t yet offer, not even one. The latter are enabled by the controllers’ ultrasonic sensors that keep track of their positions, so long as they are within a 160-degree field-of-view of the headset. It’ll be interesting to see how well this tracking works — after all, if it’s as straightforward as it sounds, HTC would have already implemented this on the Vive Focus in the first place.
Of course, no VR headset is complete without content. The Pico Neo is actually the first third-party device to be based on HTC’s Vive Wave VR platform, meaning it’ll be able to handle content made for the Vive Focus as well — users can grab apps from the pre-loaded HTC Viveport store. Similarly, developers who want to support both devices should be able to port existing Vive, Daydream and Samsung Gear VR content over to Vive Wave with ease.
For now, Pico is only taking pre-orders for the Neo in China, and it’s expected to ship towards the end of January 2018. But unlike the Vive Focus, Pico also plans to launch its standalone VR headset in other countries, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for further announcements.