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It’s still too soon to say whether the Vision Pro is the game-changing mixed-reality product Apple wants it to be. However, recent headlines aren’t promising: It seems there are many customers returning their headsets, potentially a bad sign for the company’s big bet on XR.

I’m not convinced the returns are damning for the Vision Pro, but there are also some clear reasons why Apple’s latest gadget is inspiring some buyer’s remorse.

It’s just not comfortable out of the box

If the goal here is to spend as much time as possible in mixed reality, you want the headset itself to be comfortable to wear for hours on end. Unfortunately, this seems to be one of Vision Pro’s biggest issues: This thing is heavy, weighing in anywhere from 600 to 650 grams (21.2 to 22.9 ounces), on your face. And while the default solo knit band looks cool, it isn’t great for distributing the weight evenly. As Marques Brownlee notes in his review, the dual loop band is much more comfortable to use, at the expense of Vision Pro’s “cool” factor. Luckily, this band comes with Vision Pro, so you can (and probably should) switch to it for longer sessions. If you’re struggling to make it an hour while wearing the Vision Pro, I’d encourage you to try the dual loop band before rushing to the Apple Store.

It is too bad, though, that the advertised band is borderline unusable for extended Vision Pro use.

“Vision” is an issue

Apple advertises Vision Pro as being virtually indistinguishable from reality, especially when using the video passthrough mode. Whether you’re watching a movie “in the mountains,” or working on your Mac while seeing your living room around you, the experience is supposed to be totally immersive. The problem is, while Vision Pro seems to great in certain situations, it struggles in others, to the point where it becomes distracting to use.

For starters, the field of view just isn’t all that wide. You’ll notice a black border around the edge of the frame that you might be able to ignore if you’re really invested in what you’re doing, but it’s always there. It’s tough to actually see this in action, because Vision Pro only activates the inner screens when it detects a user is wearing the device, but The Verge drew up a rendering of what this experience looks like. Long story short, it’s not great. As Nilay Patel says in his review, it looks like you’re looking through binoculars. Marques Brownlee actually says this is the one thing about Vision Pro he’d change to make it more immersive.

Vision Pro simulation that shows the limited field of view

Credit: The Verge/YouTube

And while some have praised the Vision Pro’s video passthrough as high-quality and a convincing representation of real life, it isn’t always excellent. As Joanna Stern notes in her review for the Wall Street Journal, it’s difficult to read real-world text through Vision Pro in low light. Other reviewers have made similar notes: As the lighting conditions become less ideal, the Vision Pro starts to struggle. Just search “blurry” on Vision Pro’s subreddit, and you’ll find plenty of people complaining about poor video passthrough quality.

It’s still too new

The Vision Pro is a first-generation product, which means it’s not going to be as fully realized as, say, a Mac or an iPad. Being this early of an adopter means you might not have enough to do to justify the purchase, unless you’re super serious about mixed reality. Apple launched the Vision Pro with over 600 dedicated apps, but that’s not really that many. By comparison, the iPhone (which has been around for over 15 years, mind you) has over two million apps available to download. While there are undoubtedly some cool apps to explore, Vision Pro is missing some key apps out of the gate, like Netflix and Spotify. Don’t worry, though: TikTok has a Vision Pro app.

Apple also has to work out some of the initial issues with its new technology. The vision component can be improved, of course, but so can things like touch typing. Right now, you almost certainly need a Bluetooth keyboard to make typing on Vision Pro a worthwhile experience. Developer Christian Selig seems better than most at typing on the virtual keyboard, and still can only manage 31 words per minute.

There are plenty of smaller quirks that Apple can iron out in future updates, like Personas, but I don’t think it’s the little issues that are driving Vision Pro customers to return their purchases.

It’s so expensive

I think the fatal flaw here for many customers returning their Vision Pros is simply the price. Had Vision Pro cost $500, like the Meta Quest 3, I bet you’d see a lot more flexibility from users with the device’s limitations. However, it starts at $3,500, and only goes up from there when adding storage, accessories, or lens inserts. That high price point also means most people aren’t buying Vision Pro in the first place, so if you do want to buy one, you likely won’t have many friends or family members to use it with.

It’s kind of a no-brainer: If someone doesn’t have enough to do in a headset that appears blurry and isn’t actually comfortable to use, they’re probably not just going to wave away that $3,500+ and call it a day.

The return window on day-one purchases is rapidly approaching

Another obvious answer? The return window is almost up. If someone bought their Vision Pro on day one, Feb. 2, the two-week return window ends Friday, Feb. 16. It makes sense, given all of the above especially, that customers thinking about getting their money back do so just before this cutoff. I imagine many of them wanted to like it, too, so stuck with the headset for as long as they could before deciding to throw in the towel.

None of this is to say the Vision Pro isn’t an impressive piece of tech, or a huge step forward for mixed reality. All first-gen devices have their issues, of course, and you’ll find plenty of happy Vision Pro users online chatting about their passion for the headset. I just don’t think it’s necessarily a mystery as to why we’re seeing a lot of returns out of the gate.

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