I Tried Apple Vision Pro for the Fourth Time and the Weight Wasn’t an Issue

Pre-orders for the $3,500 spatial computer start tomorrow. Here’s what you should know before you buy it.

Inverse Deputy Editor Ray Wong wearing Apple Vision Pro and using hand tracking to control visionOS

A day before pre-orders for Apple Vision Pro go up in the U.S. on January 19, Apple invited me to try the $3,500 “spatial computer” headset again for the fourth time since it was announced at WWDC last June. I also got a few photos of myself wearing Vision Pro (the first time the company has allowed me to see what I look like with it strapped to my face).

Like my previous three Vision Pro demos (one at WWDC and two sessions for spatial videos) the session was around 30 minutes. It went by really quickly and I experienced a whole lot of visionOS. Some of the stuff I’ve seen before; other parts were new, like using Siri, dictation, typing on the virtual keyboard, and seeing EyeSight (though, it was on another person).

And yet, as I’ve said before, the 30 minutes was not enough time to really experience all that the Vision Pro and visionOS have to offer. Two weeks from the Vision Pro’s February 2 launch in the U.S., Apple has still not let any media try the headset connected to a Mac with a mouse and keyboard. It’s strange! Apple announced last week that there will be over 250 Apple arcade games and several “spatial games” available at launch, but nobody has tried any. What’s it like to play immersive games without VR controllers? Do you control them using hand tracking or with a Bluetooth gamepad? Maybe both will be options? We don’t know!

This time around, Apple offered two straps for me to try on. The Solo Knit Band is the thick one that’s in all of Apple’s marketing materials and the Dual Loop Band is a thinner and less sleek strap sans wheel for tightening it, but has a top strap to hold the headset up from sliding off your face. I didn’t get to try the Dual Loop Band because I didn’t need to; the Solo Knit Band, when tightened enough (but not to the point where it hurt) was more than enough to keep the Vision Pro securely on my face.

This is not me pushing up the Apple Vision Pro, but me pushing the Digital Crown button and rotating it to change the amount of visibility in “environments.”


Some reporters and YouTubers have complained about the Vision Pro being too front-heavy with it sliding down their face or fatiguing them within minutes. I think that’s greatly exaggerated, especially once you secure it properly. My guess is that many of them had it just loose enough. In my very first Vision Pro demo, I said the device’s weight was a concern and it did slide off. But I’ve worn the Vision Pro three times since then and not once did it slip off or feel like my head was going to tip over. Apple Vision Pro’s glass and aluminum construction means it’s heavier than VR headsets like the Quest 3, but it was not at all uncomfortable to the point where I couldn’t wait to take it off after 30 minutes.

Once I had Vision Pro on, my demo was pretty similar to the ones I had last year. An Apple rep holding an iPad could see everything I saw in the headset. Apple Vision Pro will let you AirPlay its screen to iOS devices so that another person can see what you’re seeing, similar to the casting feature on the Quest 3 that lets you mirror it to another display.

I got a guided tour of some of the Vision Pro’s standout features: looking at photos, panoramas, immersive video, and spatial videos in the Photos app, browsing the web in Safari, and watching 3D movies and trailers within the Disney+ and Apple TV apps. All of this was pretty straightforward. I’m sort of an expert at looking at icons and buttons and tapping my thumb and index finger together to “click” them, pinching to swipe between stuff and scroll on web pages, and pinching with two hands to zoom in on photos.

New for me was the Keynotes app, where I was whisked away into a virtual boardroom “environment” with a TV screen behind me showing my slides and a boardroom table in front of me. Standing in between the two, I could “practice” my presentation. Other than the empty seats at the boardroom table, the virtual space was convincingly real, especially for a person like me who still gets a little stage fright when doing public speaking. Had there been realistic-looking boardroom members in the seats, I think my knees might have gotten shaky and my palms a little sweaty.

Similar to the one I had at WWDC, I got to try another one-minute meditation using the Mindfulness app. I meditate a few times a week to reduce my stress levels and seeing flower petals swirl in darkness around beats closing my eyes or squinting down at my Apple Watch. It’s calming, though I do feel like Apple could make the environments in the Mindfulness app more detailed as opposed to just black.

Eye and hand tracking is so smooth and intuitive that it takes all but a few seconds to learn how to use it.


The app that I wanted more time with the most was JigSpace, where I could place a 3D Alfa Romeo C43 Formula 1 car in the room, resize it as small or large as I wanted, and then literally take it apart piece by piece by simply pinching a car part and pulling it off. In another view, I could see an aerodynamic simulation with wind blowing along the car’s body. I was also encouraged to resize the car to life-size and “sit” inside of the driver’s seat. I didn’t sit on the floor, but I did lean in to examine the instrument clusters and was amazed by the amount of detail. I’ve tried JigSpace on VR headsets before, and while the app was neat, the lower-resolution screens on those headsets didn't offer the same kind of realism compared to Vision Pro.

I already had a sense of what typing on the virtual keyboard would be like thanks to Brian Tong’s description. You can type in two ways: looking at a key on the floating keyboard and then pinching your thumb and index finger together or pecking at each key like you might on an old typewriter. I found the latter faster and easier to do but with no tactile feedback. I don’t think I’ll be touch-typing with all 10 of my fingers the way I can on a physical keyboard. And honestly, you might not even use the keyboard often. Entering text with voice dictation is quicker and pretty accurate most of the time, so long as you enunciate clearly.

One random cool thing I liked was being able to say “Siri, close all apps” to quit all open apps. I immediately said out loud that I wish my Mac or iPhone could do that. I don’t know what else Siri can control in visionOS or how many things it can control, but I want to see Siri become the voice assistant it deserves to be with support for system-wide voice commands.

As for Vision Pro’s EyeSight, the controversial feature that shows your eyes on the outside display of the headset, well, I finally saw it in person for the first time — but on someone else. Apple had a rep wearing Vision Pro while presumably working with a connected Magic Keyboard and Trackpad. Standing three feet away, the outer display on his Vision Pro glows purple. It was only when I stepped closer that a shimmering effect appeared on the screen, and then his eyes faded in. When he was fully “immersed” in an app with a virtual environment with no transparency, his eyes disappeared and the screen switched to the purple gradient to indicate that he couldn’t see me. I still think EyeSight is a little creepy. I found the eyes too dim and too artificial-looking, which is not inaccurate since they’re just digital recreations of your eyes sampled from the “Persona” that you create when setting up the Vision Pro. The eyes still move in real-time based on your eye expressions, and I believe I saw his eyebrows move, too, but there’s something off about it. It might have been the thick bezel around the eyes that made it seem like his eyes weren’t placed directly over where they should be.

After four demos, I know more about the Vision Pro, but at the same time, I don’t know everything. Maybe that’s exactly what Apple is going for. Like any computer, Vision Pro is capable of many things: movies and videos, browsing the web, productivity work, games, music, and so much more. There’s no one thing that will sell millions of units. You have to try it and figure out how it fits into your life. But if there was one thing, it’d probably be watching movies on a massive virtual display. That seems to be the feature that Apple is leaning into the most at launch. For now, I remain extremely curious about the Vision Pro and what you can do with it.

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