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Apple Vision Pro Has A Comfort Problem, But There Seems To Be A Solution

Apple Vision Pro Has A Comfort Problem, But There Seems To Be A Solution

Almost every first generation Apple product has a major shortcoming, and Vision Pro's seems to be its comfort.

Apple hasn't officially publicly disclosed Vision Pro's actual weight, though The Verge previously reported it weighs "a little less than a pound".

We noticed Vision Pro's weight as a potential problem in our brief hands-on time at WWDC in June, but didn't have enough time with the headset to determine whether or not this was just a fitting problem.

A few weeks later, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who reliably reported many details of Vision Pro before it was officially revealed or even acknowledged to exist by Apple, reported that "many" early testers found Vision Pro "too heavy" for multiple hours of comfortable continuous use. In a more recent report detailing the in-store demo process, Gurman wrote that "several retail employees have said they felt their head was tired and sweaty after only about half an hour of use."

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Flash forward to this week, and Apple is letting some journalists and influencers try out Vision Pro again ahead of its launch in just over two weeks. Of the new impressions posted so far, every one I've read mentions the headset's weight as a significant drawback.

Marques Brownlee (MKBHD), one of the most prominent YouTube tech reviewers, succinctly described in a post on X how the weight detracted from the experience in his three Vision Pro sessions so far:

"First time I tried Vision Pro: Damn this display is amazing and the eye tracking is like magic and this feels very future and also it’s a little heavy

Second time: immersion factor is still so high. Special videos are hit or miss, you gotta get the distance right. And wow this thing is really, heavy, not sure how long I’d be able to wear this

Third time: Damn this thing is heavy. Also the typing experience is decent. There’s some new cool apps to check out. But wow. So heavy."

The Verge's Victoria Song said her demo lasted half an hour, after which:

"by the end of my demo, I started to feel the weight of the headset bring me back to the real world. I’d been furrowing my brow, concentrating so hard, I felt the beginnings of a mild headache."

Engadget's Cherlynn Low seemed to have the worst experience of anyone so far:

"15 minutes into my experience, I started to feel weighed down by the device, and five more minutes later, I was in pain"

Dual Loop Band To The Rescue?

Apple seems to be aware of Vision Pro's comfort problem, as it has seemingly devised a last-minute solution.

The new impressions cited above were given while wearing Vision Pro's default strap, called the Solo Knit Band. This is the strap you see in almost all of Apple's marketing shots, including the one envisioning in-store demos. The problem with the Solo Knit Band though is that it lacks a top strap, a critical component of the straps of existing headsets like Meta Quest 3 and Valve Index.

Solo Knit Band

Last week Apple announced that Vision Pro would come with an additional alternative strap in the box, called the Dual Loop Band.

The Dual Loop Band has a thinner back strap that sits lower on the back of your head, but crucially also has a side-to-side top strap to better support the headset's weight.

Dual Loop Band

When Engadget's Low switched to the Dual Loop Band, she reported Vision Pro then felt "much better":

"When I finally told the company’s staff about my issues, they changed the strap to one that had two loops, with one that went over the top of my head."

"that Dual Loop band felt much better for weight distribution, and it didn’t keep slipping down my hair."

The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern summed up in a post on X how switching the band also improved comfort for her:

"Had my 4th demo of the Vision Pro this AM and Apple finally let us take a photo with it on.

My first three demos (1 in June, 1 in November, 1 in December) were all with the Solo Knit Band and I really felt the weight of the face computer on my face.

Today I tried the Dual Loop Band. Not as elegant looking but definitely more comfortable."

These impressions seem to suggest the Solo Knit Band simply isn't sufficient to support Vision Pro's weight, and the less aesthetically pleasing Dual Loop Band is a necessity for comfort.

Reducing the headset's weight is reportedly Apple's primary focus for the next version of Vision Pro, above all other priorities, and there's good reason to believe Apple will be successful. Miniaturizing product lines and shaving off weight is one of Apple's specialties. With products like the iPod Nano, MacBook Air, iPhone 5, iPad Air, and AirPods, Apple has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to cram higher-end specs into thinner and lighter devices. With its Vision headset line, this skill will be more important than ever.

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