When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works

Home / Features / I bought an Apple Vision Pro, here’s what I think after 48 hours

I bought an Apple Vision Pro, here’s what I think after 48 hours

Spoiler alert: it's a fantastic device from Apple. In fact, the Vision Pro might be the best headset. But it's still just a VR headset.

Wearing the Vision Pro

I’ll confess, I’m a sucker for Apple’s top hardware. And the software too. The entire ecosystem, really. Call me whatever name you want – I like what I like. Despite a background in startups and an obvious interest in gadgets, VR has never really appealed to me. I’ve never really… got it.

AR looks better, when you can shrink it down to something that I could actually walk around wearing. But you can imagine my excitement when Apple (of all companies) announced a mixed reality headset called Vision Pro.

Before it actually launched, I could work out where I stood on the Vision Pro – things were confusing. I stated to sour a little, with VR criticisms slipping in there. But when it launched, I got excited – just like any other Apple launch. And I knew, I had to get my hands on the Vision Pro to see what it’s actually like.

So, I bought an Apple Vision Pro to see what it was all about. While not a full review by any means (I’d need to live in this headset for a while longer), here’s what I think about the headset after 48 hours. Spoiler alert: it’s a fantastic device from Apple. In fact, the Vision Pro might be the best headset. But it’s still just a VR headset.

Vision Pro hardware: heavy is the head

In case you’re not up to speed on what to expect from the Vision Pro, we’ll run over the hardware and specs again.

Vision Pro is made from aluminium, glass and carbon fibre. The front of the headset is polished glass, for the whackiest feature: EyeSight. It shows your eyes when other people are nearby – and those people will also appear in your virtual view too. This headset sports an aluminium frame that curves towards your face and customised fabric mesh pad (called a Light Seal) against the head. Looking at the headset, it’s a stunning design. That’s something you notice when you first get the Vision Pro – it’s nice to look at, and makes you excited to use it. It’s been designed so heat is drawn away from the headset itself. But this design makes it heavy. Really heavy.

After using the headset for an hour, I was ready to take it off. It was putting far too much pressure on my forehead. This is using the Solo Loop band, which hugs the back of your head. It’s a dial-adjustable fabric headband which is ribbed and available in multiple sizes. There’s the Dual Loop band, which feels more comfortable, but I’ll need to use the both of them in more detail. Even with the headset that sits on top of your dome, there’s no denying the Vision Pro is a hefty device. Apple is right about drawing heat away, however – I didn’t get hot while wearing the headst.

Battery thoughts

You’ll find an Apple Watch or AirPods Max style Digital Crown, alongside a pressable button for features such as photo taking. You can use the crown to focus on content to ensure full clarity. If you wear prescription lenses you can buy them to fit inside the headset, made in collaboration with Zeiss. Plugged into the headset, you’ll need the 3166mAh battery pack, which is waist-mounted. It is connected to the headset via a MagSafe cable. Controversially, I actually don’t mind the 2.5-hour battery life. It’s enough to watch a standard feature length film, have a FaceTime call, or get some work done. Having to take the headset off every few hours lets you get a break from the weight. And it’s actually somewhat of a safety consideration. You can’t forget to feed Larry the cat when you’re forced to take the headset off. A clever constraint or an accidental saviour? Unclear, but I welcome it either way.

State of the art insides

Apple’s Vision Pro headset boasts state-of-the-art hardware inside. It really is quite incredible what Apple has packed in here. Firstly, there are two 4K micro OLED panels (each the size of a postage stamp) boasting 23 million pixels. You can really tell how impressive these display panels are when you move apps closer to you. Things become much clearer. And, just for fun, I took off my glasses to use the Vision Pro. If I moved an app close to my face, I could read it. And moving further away, it became illegible. This doesn’t mean much, but it’s fun to see how realistic the display really is.

There are a whopping 12 cameras plus five sensors on board (including LiDAR and IR), and six microphones underneath. Two Apple Silicon chips are used; the M2 and a new R1 chip – the latter is dedicated to processing input from all the cameras and sensors. Apple says that R1 streams images to the displays within 12 milliseconds which is eight times faster than the blink of an eye. Incredibly capable hardware, then, which translates into the real world. Using the PassThrough, it feels almost no different to reality. If you’re nitpicking, perhaps colours aren’t quite as saturated. But it’s a very realistic representation, far better than any other headset out there.

Software, features, and the experience: compelling to use, even if you don’t know what for

The Vision Pro headset runs visionOS – a new operating system built on iPadOS, Apps can support real-time rendering but the software is clever enough to only render the graphics you’re actually looking at, which obviously saves on processing effort and presumably has an effect on power efficiency. You’ll notice this in some of the screenshots I’ve added below. When you’re looking through the headset, you obviously don’t realise that what you’re not looking at is blurry. It’s really rather clever.

What sets Vision Pro apart from other headsets is that you can control everything with a few gestures while apps respond to where you move your eyes. There’s no other way to describe it – the eye tracking feels like magic. Remember the Smart Interactive Whiteboards from school? Calibrating the Vision Pro’s eye tracking is like calibrating one of those with the pen. You look at the dots and pinch. It takes less than a minute to get it ready to use. One quirk here is that you have to fundamentally learn how to use the software, since it relies on your eyes. As part of human nature, you start to look ahead to what you’re doing next. This doesn’t work with Vision Pro. You have to look at what you’re doing as you need to do it. And that’s a lot harder than it sounds. You’re definitely going to have to get used to using it.

Home environment

There’s a honeycomb-style home view just like on Apple Watch. Apple says it has taken care to ensure that the different elements have depth to them so that it looks like they’re in the room with you. You can place apps anywhere you like and scale them up or down – though you can’t rearrange the home screen. This part is incredible to use. If you place an app in a room, you can move throughout the room, turn around so your apps are out of view, or even leave the room. When you look back to where the app should be, it’s there. It’s ready and waiting, exactly where you left it. It’s remarkable how well this works. There are some UI quirks, like having to switch from the home screen to a People page or to your environments. And to get back home, you have to press the crown. Every time. Closing apps is a struggle at first, with a tiny “X” icon at the bottom of the window. These aren’t major turn-offs, but definitely things that will get ironed out in the future.

Vision Pro also works alongside your MacBook, essentially as an extra 4K display for it – and you can use it with accessories such as the Magic Trackpad should you wish. You can type using your MacBook’s keyboard, which you’ll probably want to do. Typing on the Vision Pro’s native keyboard is tedious and slow. You can either jab at the keys in the air, or look towards letters and pinch. I found that I actually preferred the keyboard, and the sound effects provided enough haptic feedback that it feels semi-realistic.

Take a look around

Diving into immersive content is impressive. Looking around panoramic photos really puts you back into the moment. The photo curves all around you, so you can move your head to feel back in the moment. I took a panorama of where I was sat (boring, I know) to see how it lined up against reality. As you can see below, the edge of the panorama lines up pretty much with real life – for a like-for-like recreation. Spatial Videos add a depth effect to put you back in the moment as if you’re standing there. They work, and they are more immersive than normal videos. But don’t be fooled into thinking you can create 3D films with your iPhone or your headset. The immersive environments look stunning, too. Apple has put some serious production value into these landscapes, and the sound recordings make them feel immersive. My favourite, surprisingly, is the Cinema you can place yourself in while watching content. You can choose whereabouts you want to sit, and it does a great job of replicating the cinema experience – something I personally love.

The other most talked about feature on the Vision Pro is FaceTime, or more specifically the Persona. Apple makes you hold the headset in front of you, so the headset scans your face and creates a 3D avatar. They’re right on the border of the Uncanny Valley – not realistic enough to fool you, but so real they put you on edge. Think, the Polar Express. While I’ve not jumped on a FaceTime call yet, talking to people hovering in front of you is set to be a more personal experience. The headset tracks your head movements, so the person you’re speaking to sees your avatar move accordingly.

Apps you know and love

Beyond this, all the other Apple apps you know and love can be found on the headset – it slots perfectly into the ecosystem. You can reply to emails as they come in. You can pop your AirPods in more private audio, or spatial sound with lower latency. But your iPhone doesn’t really fit in. This seems like a somewhat obvious oversight – you can’t unlock your iPhone with Face ID. You have to wait for it to give up trying and demand your passcode. It really takes you out of the “mixed reality” experience and reinforces that this is a virtual reality headset. You can unlock your Apple Watch with your iPhone, why can’t Vision Pro unlock your iPhone when it’s verified you with Optic ID?

One last criticism for me is how isolating it is to use with other people. You can see people sat next to you, and SharePlay some content. But beyond that, using Vision Pro is a very isolating experience. It’s not the ideal experience. You can’t show anyone else content you can see – whether you give them your headset, or try to send it to them. It’s very much personal computing. But perhaps too personal. I don’t think you’ll see everyone wearing one when it isolates you too much.

Apple Vision Pro initial verdict: it’s a first-gen product

Pointing at Vision Pro while wearing it

So where does that leave us? Vision Pro is Apple’s first headset, and it feels like one. Some obvious quirks like Personas and not being able to unlock your iPhone feel like big oversights. The weight and price are problems that Apple will have to address with future iterations. I’m left feeling excited for the next one, while still being very pleased using this one.

But would I use one? That’s the million dollar question. Putting the headset down, I always feel compelled to pick it back up for some reason. It is fun to use, something that I can’t say about my phone. And interactive software is definitely the way forward. But I don’t know what I’d use it for. I can recreate the productivity screens with my dual monitors. I can recreate the Theatre experience by going to the cinema, which I already love. The “killer use” for the Vision Pro isn’t clear yet, at least for me.

Where I think it shines most, is in interactive experiences. Overlaying software to the real world makes tech feel integrated to the world, not in addition. Shrink these down so I can wear them all the time (I’ll even take the battery pack) and add more apps, and I’d wear them every day. Until then, it’s more a toy than an everyday gadget. And that’s ok. It’s a VR headset – the best you can buy. But still a VR headset.

Profile image of Connor Jewiss Connor Jewiss


Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around seven years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home

Enable referrer and click cookie to search for eefc48a8bf715c1b 20231024b972d108 [] 2.7.22