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Ask HN: Working in a VR Headset?
199 points by penetrarthur 10 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 249 comments
I am working full remote right now(programming/gamedev) and I travel several times a year for periods of up to two months. Because of specifics of my job I need to have a powerful workstation(I mostly need a powerful CPU) and I am comfortable with at least two 27" monitors. Traveling with that much stuff is only possible with a car, and even then the whole setup takes too much space.

Laptops are getting there with the compute power, but the 27" monitors aren't getting any smaller. Meta Quest Pro(which seems to be the top of the line now) has been just released and even tho it is somewhat pricey($1500), it still costs as much as three good 27" monitors.

Does anyone have any useful experience to share on working in a VR headset? Is it comfortable for longer periods of time? How is it on the eyes?

I have a vive and a quest 2 and I tried working like that when travelling. The quest won't work in a car as it uses gyros.

I tried for about 18 hours each device to work in VR. Many things are not there yet. My vive is attached to a 5 monitor dual GPU beast that drives a central 144hz 4k HDR 43" and 5 2560x144 monitors. The vive couldn't touch the physical setup for comfort or resolution or just non-fussiness. I constantly had to adjust virtual monitors. In real world I just scootch a quarter inch on my rolly cHair. It's like the first time you setup a physical workspace every time you use it for me. Vive gets warm.

The quest 2 is too low resolution and too laggy. Battery too weak. It was a joy to take it off. Quest is more sweaty.

With the quest I worked from a RV for 3 days. It sucked.

What worked better was just 2 pelican cases with monitors and a discounted ups rate. In the RV I just shoved them in the corner and pulled them out when we parked. When I visit my mom or airbnb I just ship them to where I'm going. Was a massive relief. Maybe in a few years.

It's not just pixel density, it's software, weight, latency, fiddlelyness.

As an addendum one of the things I also remembered in a lower comment is that the Facebook devices definitely seem at random intervals to need some type of internet connection which is not always available when you're working remotely so if you were going to plan on working locally off your laptop with no internet there are definitely cases where all the sudden your display decides it needs to talk to the mothership and therefore your display is now locking you out until you get back into cell or network coverag.

Similar some of the applications and steam sometimes surprisingly want internet connectivity and so some of the desktop applications also will lock themselves out randomly

> The quest won't work in a car as it uses gyros.

Am I reading it correctly you are trying to use VR in a vehicle while someone is driving?

I get car sick very easily when riding. I also get motion sickness when using VR. I cannot imagine being affected by both at the same time.

I have definitely tried to use VR in a car while someone's driving I don't get motion sickness very easy so I often try to make myself throw up. When I first tried VR something was bugged with elite dangerous and so I was just sitting there doing as many barrel rolls and backflips as possible trying to make myself throw up and one of my co-workers came in looked at the 2D monitor asked me what I was doing said they got very motion sick easily and then about 10 seconds later I started hearing gagging the 2D was making them nauseous and it wasn't even bothering me.

Yeah we were driving across Texas going to a lake and I was sitting in the passenger seat so I figured I would try out and see how it worked. It did not it freaked out constantly. I think if you had a vibe with a laser tracking system it would actually work but that would be interesting to mount inside of a suburban.

One of my favorite things I ever did was sitting in the bendy middle section of a bus in Seattle which constantly moves while going up and down the hills and playing super stardust HD on Vita that almost got me.

>I don't get motion sickness very easy so I often try to make myself throw up


I've almost never been able to do it.

I do it to see where the limits are. I worked in games when the orignal (of this wave) VR stuff was being made. Many of the devs tried all sorts of stuff to see what made them nauseous so they DIDNT ship it. As a game dev you need to think about discomfort of your users. So seeing painful audio, flickers, buzzing, flashes, nausea, that's being player centric. But sometimes you do want to make people uncomfortable for a feeling and you need to know the range to take it to.

Just about everything we eat is because someone tried it and saw if it killed them or made them sick. We got diving tables because divers got the bends and we figured out what caused them and what the limits are. On an on in human history. I'm not putting myself in the same boat as test pilot or navy diver but plenty of people push the envelope to see where it is.

You’re braver than me. I feel like the Internet has taught me some people you just don’t ask.

the AI is driving

On a more serious note since this is not Reddit, I have watched movies in VR during bus trips (6h long routes). It works, it's way better than looking at laptop/tablet/phone.

You get sick because what you watch is moving differently that your eyes/head. VR is nailed to your head.

Hahaha no. I get sick when the motion I see doesn't match the gyros in my ears. I felt horribly sick from vr once with the gyros switched off.

I feel that the bare minimum headset that can handle work is the HP Reverb G2. It’s the only headset with a high enough resolution under $1000 (you can find it under $300 on eBay). There’s also Pimax, but their QA and customer support is terrible and you need to deal with base stations.

Through the lens comparison g2 vs Index vs Quest 2


I have a reverb g2 - great for games but definitely not up to it for work - the sweet spot is just too small.

If looking at a page of text, only the middle of 3 or 4 lines of text are in perfect focus. The rest might be readable but blurry. You have to move your head to scan lines comfortably and that is far from acceptable. I tried all the tricks to increase the size of the sweetspot to little avail.

You’re right, but it’s much better than either the Quest 2 or Index.

I guess we’ll all have to wait for simula or Apple reality then

The Quest 2 and the Reverb look closer than I expected. The contrast is the main difference (and that could be an artifact of the way it's shot)

The tracking on the Reverb has a bad reputation and I've avoided it for that reason mainly - as well as the extra complexity resulting from using one more translation layer (Windows MR > SteamVR) and a minority platoform.

The headset tracking for the Reverb is pretty good, it's mostly the controller tracking that has issues.

But the WindowsMR layer is a bit annoying. It's not too common but I've had a Windows update prevent it from working until I did a full uninstall/reinstall of the Windows Mixed Reality software, the Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR software, and SteamVR. Also because it uses different controllers, sometimes (though very rarely) an app will not recognize the controllers or certain buttons on them.

Oculus and SteamVR are pretty far ahead of the pack - the Quest is the biggest market and SteamVR is the most open ecosystem, and the rest of the APIs get comparatively little (or imbalanced) real-world testing and improvement.

Reverb is cool but at the end of the day, despite some good Valve engineering, it's WMR, and HP doesn't seem super committed to VR anyways.

> The quest won't work in a car as it uses gyros.

I did try the quest 2 on a plane and it worked well, apart from when the plane was turning or in turbulence. I suppose the visual tracking makes an assumption that the world is static, which is usually true but breaks down when the plane is bouncing up and down.

It did work a little bit better in a plane when I tried it however I couldn't get past the unlock screen because I hadn't quite paired it correctly and I didn't have internet and the quest needed to do something with the internet. This actually brings up one of the biggest issues I have with some of these systems is they are too tied to the internet for remote work

If they ever wanted to fix that, it seems like it'd be pretty easy to do by having a wireless IMU and gryo you could attach to the vehicle itself, then subtract that from whatever the headset feels.

Not an assumption: movement is relative. Quite fun to think about it (Einstein's elevator mental experiment)

But here the movement is relative to two things. You're aware of your motion relative to the plane, and the headset is aware of its motion relative to earth's gravitational field. Einstein's elevator experiment only works when you're traveling on a (reversed) path that matches one that would be caused by gravitational force.

The other thing to think about is a lot of these systems use kalman filters and sensor fusion, so stuff like a compass will cause drift. They jsut didn't design the software to think about movement. It could be conmpensated for.

Some previous discussions:

"I Spent Hundreds of Hours Working in VR"




The latter discussing this classic "Working from Orbit" article (below) has been linked before, but it's from a clear fan, which is not necessarily representative. But it demonstrates it works for some - and that's with the Quest 2.


I haven't tried it myself extensively, but personally I think the tech and software is not quite there yet for full comfort and practicality (eg text legibility) - at least on a plug-and-play level - for the average interested user.

You can comfortably work in VR, but the trick is that you can't use any of the headsets as is.

There are upgrades that you really need: A better head strap, ideally one with an adjustment knob at the back to easily loosen and tighten the headset. Also one with an extra battery that both gives you longer unplugged time but more importantly balances the headset front to back.

And a better headset/face interface. You can get one that is much softer and thicker, which puts less pressure on the face and moves the screens a few extra mm away. They also have vented interfaces, which help cut down on the problem of getting hot face.

And lastly, you know how all the experts advise that when you're working you stop and take a break to look away from your screens every 20 minutes or so? It's more important in VR to heed that advice. All you have to do is slip off the headset (you got the easy to adjust one that just slides right off, right?), take ten seconds to look at something far away our out the window, and then put it back on and keep working.

If you do all that, there are a lot of great products out that that will give you great virtual monitors and keyboards.

> A better head strap, ideally one with an adjustment knob at the back to easily loosen and tighten the headset. Also one with an extra battery that both gives you longer unplugged time but more importantly balances the headset front to back.

You're pretty much describing the Quest Pro. This part also matches the Quest 2 with Elite Battery Strap for what it's worth, but the Quest Pro also matches your next criteria, whereas the Quest 2 didn't.

> And a better headset/face interface. You can get one that is much softer and thicker, which puts less pressure on the face and moves the screens a few extra mm away. They also have vented interfaces, which help cut down on the problem of getting hot face.

The Quest Pro only attaches at the top on the forehead, is open air by default and further away from the face, and for example I can comfortably fit it over my glasses, which I couldn't do on the Quest 2.

It's a huge step up in comfort for long sessions, although you'd still want to attach a USB-C power cable for anything beyond a couple of hours.

Disclaimer: I work at Meta but not on anything VR related, this is based on my own experience as a personal user of VR headsets.

> You're pretty much describing the Quest Pro.

Speaking as a user of a heavily comfort-modded Quest 2 and recent Pro owner: the Pro is surprisingly comfortable (especially with the below lifehack) and mostly on par with a Quest 2 with a modded Bobo halo strap.

Craziest thing about the Quest Pro is that you can (carefully) pop off the back cushion and flip it. I highly recommend anyone with a Pro try it out since it’s significantly more comfortable and brings a very noticeable increase in FoV.

There’s a thread about this on one of the Quest subreddits - and there’s not a single comment from anyone who prefers the stock placement. It does make aligning the charging dock a bit finicky but otherwise it’s kind of strange that Meta chose the other cushion direction as the default.

How much better is the resolution for the Quest Pro for working? I spent a a few days working in a Quest 2, and even with resolution problems, it's an incredible and productive experience. I miss it when I'm not doing it, but the resolution is just not there yet. I'm hoping the quest pro is all that I need for a high-enough resolution virtual office.

> There are upgrades that you really need: A better head strap, ideally one with an adjustment knob at the back to easily loosen and tighten the headset. Also one with an extra battery that both gives you longer unplugged time but more importantly balances the headset front to back.

IMO, until VR gets the size and weight of safety goggles you need the device to rest on your forehead. The PSVR is still the single most comformtable VR system that's shipped because there is no pressure on your face whatsoever.

Apparently you can get these for Quest 2. Here's one. Don't own a Quest 2 though so I haven't tried it


I go have a Rift S. It tried to copy PSVR but failed to make it as good. You have really crank the back of the head strap below the ridge of the back of your head to get the HMD to rest on your forehead and not your face, and then it slowly slides and it's back to resting on your face.

Let me also add, if the thing requires a strap that goes over the top of your head then it's a fail!

I have that strap for my Quest 2. It's very good. Better than the 1st party battery-pack strap.

This configuration is called a "halo" strap.

I also have the Quest Pro now. It comes with a halo strap. Nothing touches your cheeks. Resolution is also very high, and the new pancake lenses are very clear.

That's another problem with older headsets. The Fresnel lenses in previous systems cause "god rays" around any bright objects on dark backgrounds. Like, say, light text on a dark background for a dark-mode UI.

Pancake lenses don't have that problem. They also have a much larger sweet spot, so you don't have to get the headset perfectly adjusted every time, and you can look around with just your eyes, not moving your head, more.

I think the Vive Flow was the first commercially available headset to use the pancake lenses, but the Flow is otherwise not a great experience. The Quest Pro is really impressive.

That's all fine and groovy - as long as your work doesn't involve any text or anything requiring high resolution/fine details.

Then unless you spend $$$ for very high end hardware with high resolution (4k on a headset != 4k on a monitor!) you will not be able to work efficiently.

There are also many problems with the applications and usability of the entire stack when it comes to doing actually productive work.

Can you recommend one of these great products that won’t transmit my activity and usage off my device? Fortunately monitor manufacturers haven’t figured out that trick yet and I don’t want a privacy regression from my non-virtual monitor setup.

Everything I have found in VR land assumes internet connectivity, demands a login/PII, and transmits data back to the mothership against my will.

It’s not a dumb monitor. Even the new Apple headset will require internet connectivity and an online account. Also from what I’ve seen, most VR headsets have an option for not sharing your usage analytics. It’s not shared by default.

> It’s not a dumb monitor

It could be. Just like you can use Android phones without signing into Google (or at least could, not sure how stock OS works nowadays as I'm on microG for the last couple years).

Then there’s only one possible choice: SimulaVR

It’s a stand alone full system though

> It’s a stand alone full system though

AFAIK, it will be possible to use SimulaVR either in standalone mode (with its own portable computer running everything) or in tethered mode (plugged into a normal computer which runs everything); there's even an option on the preorder page to get a version without the portable computer (it is my understanding that the portable computer is detachable, so the full version can be transformed into a tethered-only version simply by detaching it).

Well, there's always less official choices :-) For example on phones, we have rooting / jailbreak and the aforementioned microG.

On Oculus, there's a way to skip the mandatory account sign in and just sideload apps instead. [1] Some tracking will still be there, but I think as it grows more popular we'll also see custom ROMs for it. Maybe even some running the Simula OS?

[1]: https://basti564.github.io/Quest-Account-Logout/

I don’t mean just analytics. Right now precisely zero identifying data leaves the building when I boot my machine, power on my displays, and open some terminal windows and text editors.

I don’t know any VR setups available today that I can say that about. Even without analytics they phone home with identifiers (serial numbers, login cookies, etc) on launch/boot.

I started to use my Quest Pro with my MacBook when I am on the go and it’s pretty awesome if the alternative is a laptop screen!

But it’s also not yet perfect

I haven’t tried it in wired mode but wireless has a bit of latency (which is fine for coding and other productivity stuff but not workable for games for example)

It’s really nice that it’s easy to switch between pass through to see your environment and VR mode to be able to focus and not get distracted

It’s early but def where things are headed if you ask me!

At home I have a 8k screen which is hard to beat…but just a matter of time until VR can match that resolution IMO

Can you share a pointer to setup information for this? I bought a Meta Quest Pro a little while ago (my first VR headset) and really have no idea what I'm doing with it yet.

Nothing special…I just use horizon workrooms

Instructions https://www.meta.com/help/quest/articles/horizon/getting-sta...

There is similar apps from third parties too but I haven’t tried those yet

Workrooms is by far the best experience right now but, if you want multi monitors on Windows, Immersed is an okay runner-up.

My biggest complaint about Workrooms is that the MacBook Pro keyboard recognition doesn’t have an option for the 14in model, oddly.

It looks like they put extra effort into making the Meta Quest Pro comfortable. Do you think those straps would need replacing? If so, do such straps already exist?

From the pictures is does look like they integrated some of the most common upgrades, but I haven't seen one in person yet, so I can't say for sure.

But I can see they sell an upgraded facial interface that is billed as "full light blocking", which usually means thicker and softer, so they probably at least have that accessory. I doubt any other accessories exist yet, since it's too new and not a big enough market.

I have used both and I can say that the Quest Pro is so much more comfortable than the Quest 2.

Yeah it's integrated. You can't change it. Even if you break the strap apparently which is a bit worrying considering the elite strap for the quest 2 tends to snap.

well there goes my hope of handing my Meta Quest Pro down to my grandchildren

By default the Quest Pro has no facial interface at all. It doesn't touch your face below the forehead.

According to reviewers, it is comfortable, but you can’t change any of it

I agree with all of this. I would add that there is a Quest 2 accessory that is a small exhaust fan that makes a huge comfort improvement as well. With a better strap, battery counterbalance, and fan, I've finally been able to use the Quest 2 for genuine productivity. Meetings without the wall of faces staring at you like Zoom are quite a bit more pleasant.

I still don't think the systems are 'there', yet. But I feel that I can finally see the way forward to real success.

[edit] I have the older version of this Bobovr fan:


Quest Pro addresses all issues you mentioned.

If you are working stationary, you might as well neutralize the weight with industrial pulleys, as they are used with robot cable packages and other situations were too much weight is in equipment for the work required.

This is outdated since the Quest Pro came out.

How so?

It addresses nearly all concerns for comfort without the need for 3rd party accessories. Even glasses fit well. The catch is that you can’t seem to change anything out for 3rd party options

On the other hand, im not sure resolution is high enough for text heavy work

I'm currently visiting family abroad and working remotely. I bought my work machine (A Mac M1) and a quest 2 with me. So far I've done one week of 9 hour days and on one of those days I used Immersed VR until I got a battery warning.

The experience was flawed but many things worked surprisingly well. I was getting fed up with just having one screen and having four low-resolution screens was really useful for some things. I could have slack on one screen, VSCode in the centre, my calendar or documentation on the left and my personal recreational browser and music Windows on my right (I eventually moved this to the top because otherwise it was covering the corridor where family members walked past and I preferred to see them using pass-through than being completely oblivious to the outside world).

Is it a very small screen for an IDE and is text blurry? Yes both. But text right in front of your head is quite clear. You have to scan your head to read lots, but most of the time a suggestion of the surrounding text is enough to get by. You also have to change your idea of "sharp text" it's better to use something like cool-retro-term or zoomed in browser to get text that's knowingly large and fuzzy.

I wear glasses but have VROptician lenses and a Bobovr headstrap. The batteries would have died before I became uncomfortable.

The most important observation is that I didn't jump back in to VR once the batteries were charged or the next morning, but I'm glad to have a multi monitor option that fits in my cabin luggage, and cost a free hundred pounds, for when I'm doing a task that would be a total pain on one monitor.

> I bought my work machine (A Mac M1)

did you have to use windows to get VR to work in a mac? Steam vr does not work on a mac natively afaik.

Immersed VR connects to the computer but runs on its own. Imagine a remote desktop with multiple monitors.

As fermuch says, I'm just using a stock Mac and a stock Quest 2 (apart from headstrap and lenses).

Do you mind clarifying your multi monitor setups’ tech specification?

Never really thought about being one to many along.


At home I just have one enormous monitor and use the laptop itself as a secondary. I think I actually preferred two "normal" sizes monitors though as "fill this monitor" is such a fundamental concept in window managing. (Sorry I can't be more specific, I haven't paid attention to the sizes or resolution for years, so can't remember what's what)

In Immersed VR there are no tech specs, if that's what you mean. Though I am using a "headless" HDMI connector, which I think gets me an extra monitor without having to pay monthly for Immersed.

If this becomes workable then it would allow me to attain a dream of proper remote working, taking longer holidays to cities and such with the wife, without taking annual leave. Probably a pipedream :p

Don't only consider VR headsets; also check out AR glasses. The newest generation of AR glasses are surprisingly practical as portable displays e.g. Nreal Air.[1] However neither VR headsets nor AR glasses have reached the resolution sweet spot to compete with monitors in permanent workspaces

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDekX4vrSsA

The Nreal Air looks cool, but it only offers a 46 degree FoV[1]. That's less than half the FOV of the Quest 2, which makes it hard to see all of your windows/workspace. (To be fair: the tradeoff is excellent PPD within its narrow FOV).

[1] https://www.nreal.ai/specs/

(I'm trying a pair out. They are on Amazon for $379 and extended returns during Christmas...)

It feels like a wall height screen about 8-10 feet in front of you. Perhaps a little bigger would be good, but it isn't that too small.

The resolution of 1920x1080 is ok. I wish it was higher. And it doesn't support AR monitors (the 1920x1080 in the glasses a mirror of the iPad - except for blink .. - the demos for android are much nicer with AR windows places in physical space)

The setup I'm testing:

  - nreal 1920x1080 nreal air
  - usb-c plugged into an ipad mini + cellular
  - tailscale allows me to remote into my desktop computer
  - with bluetooth keyboard and mouse
  - and then blink app to tmux (or perhaps vscode - I haven't tried it yet)
I've only been testing a couple days.

It feels much better than my experiments with Quest2 VR desktop. And when I am able to just work within a single app (blink, safari, ...) it is a good experience. My biggest struggle is iPad os - inconsistent keyboard shortcuts even in apple applications.

I'd like to try a tiny raspberry pi like device that allows remote-ssh vscode + remote tmux + streaming chrome (vnc or perhaps https://www.mightyapp.com) - but the hardware needs to support USB-C Display Port.

Perhaps a DIY powered by Framework mainboard... https://twitter.com/FrameworkPuter/status/156912081380642406...

Overall, it is still promising and I'm going to keep trying until end of January - to see if this is a good to take anywhere to code/dev/mosh. For a V1 of this experience it exceeds expectations (and is much better than quest2 for me)

> it doesn't support AR monitors

At the top of this thread, the youtube video linked by that comment shows AR monitors on a Mac at 7:24 in the video. The software support for that isn't there on iOS or iPadOS, but it is supported on Mac, apparently. (And Android, as you noted.)

the Macos software is pre-release - and jittery/high latency is an understatement.

Supposedly a new version is being released mid-nov. Hopefully that will address the issues.

I would highly recommend buying a Samsung S10E second hand off of ebay or something for $100 and using that. Once you've used Dex and Nebula with a bluetooth mouse and keyboard it will all click. It's incredible.

What are Dex and Nebula? (I’m considering trying this setup)

Nebula is Nreal's proprietary virtual workspace. DeX is a feature offered on many mid-to-high-end Samsung phones where you can plug it into an external monitor, mouse, and keyboard and get an Android-based desktop-style experience with draggable, resizable windows.

I have the Airs. For the purposes of working, 46 FOV is more than sufficient. I find myself straining my eye to read the corners.

On the Nreals, the small FOV means the pixel density is much better than the alternatives.

Does it affect your vision when using them for many hours? Whenever I use VR headsets for more than 1 hour I tend to get blurry vision once I take them off, since my eyes have adjusted to having the screen so close to them.

I am super interested in getting the nreal glasses for work. But I'm also a bit hesitant due to this.

I think everyone experiences them differently. I can tell my eyes have a bit of "lock-in", but the level of lock in is tiny compared to staring at a laptop screen or phone for the same amount of time. It's definitely not in the realm of other VR products I've used.

The HP G2 is much better than any AR product for reading text. It comes close to desktop monitors. It’s also under $300 on eBay and frequently on sale

That’s interesting. As a HP G2 owner, it really doesn’t come close to reading text on a desktop monitor for me.

The combination of FoV and the resolution really isn’t there, I struggle reading text through it vs a 27” 1440p desktop monitor I have on the same PC. I really couldn’t imagine reading text for any length of time in VR.

(Edit: I just realised you were comparing to AR, not desktop, sorry.)

I have an index. Doing text editing in vr just can't compete with my 34" 4k monitor under any circumstances. However, virtual chalkboards can activate a different part of the brain and can be quite nice if you like working that way normally. VR is also excelent for viewing cad models but the tooling still needs tons of work. Once there is proper vr support in autodesk products i will likely use it maybe 30% of the time.

One thing i didn't anticipate is how hard it is to do the equivalent of alt+tabbing to a reference document or similar and then jumping back to the main program in use in VR. Context switching is important for productivity and probably can't really be done right without remaking the whole desktop environment for vr. I would wait at least 5 years before expecting anything to be viable as a full monitor replacement.

> Does anyone have any useful experience to share on working in a VR headset? Is it comfortable for longer periods of time? How is it on the eyes?

I bought the entry level Quest 2 to evaluate the feasibility of this about a year ago. These are some of my insights (that might not apply 100% to Quest Pro):

- The resolution was too poor to comfortably read anything on two displays arranged about the same way as two horizontal 27" monitors side by side. This ultimately killed the whole effort.

- Without good passthrough, using a keyboard and mouse is a bit difficult.

- There is finger tracking, but I found the controllers to be more accurate. So I needed to keep the controllers on my desk.

- There is a bit of motion sickness that either goes away after a few days of use or reduces a bit. For me, I could never get over the motion sickness. But it wasn't very bad after a couple days of use.

- The screen door effect was very noticeable for me on Quest 2.

- It was possible to up the resolution and refresh rate of Quest 2 using developer options on the PC with some third-party software. With that, the headset might become uncomfortably warm to wear.

- The WiFi 6 wireless VR was surprisingly much better than expected. But it will definitely not be a good experience with typical hotel Wifi - not even close.

I was pretty happy to spend about £300 on a Quest 2 to try it for work. I then sold it for about £250. £50 to try this work mode for a few weeks was worth it. I chose not to go with VR for work at the time. I would suggest trying it yourself in some way similar to this. Perhaps not buying it but borrowing someone's VR headset for a bit, or going to one of the VR venues and just seeing how comfortable it is and what kind of resolution you might get?

This is pretty much my experience. Based on the 'working from orbit' article I bought a Quest 2, but just couldn't find a way of working. I have a 1920x1200 in the centre now, and to each side a 19" 1600x1200 (same pixel density, vertical height, gives a level of wraparoudn with 3 monitors).

The main thing was I couldn't make the virtual screen be as good as the physical ones, and being able to see to type - I'm not at the complete touch type level - especially without reference points.

The difference is I haven't sold mine, it is still here to try some VR gaming, which I also haven't got roudn to get.

My summary is I was impressed with what the technology can do, but it's not a replacement if you have a well set up desk.

I had mostly the same experience, but I bought a Logitech k830 and it shows up in meta headsets


I didn’t notice the screen door effect on Quest 2, only the low resolution for reading text

There is a company called Simula that makes a headset specifically for work. I know about them because Meta subpoena'd them a month ago.


Simula looks like it’s pre-order only, do you know if they have actually shipped units? I couldn’t tel if the preorder is for their first device or an iteration, it looked like their first serious foray.

We're still in preorder phase, aiming to ship most headsets in ~Q2 of 2023.

This is our first foray into hardware, but we already developed a stable Linux VR Desktop (https://github.com/SimulaVR/Simula) from 2017-2021.

We try to provide frequent updates on our hardware engineering progress. For example, here's a recent post showing some videos of our review units: https://simulavr.com/blog/first-glimpse-of-review-units/ If you're interested in community discussion, you might also check out https://hn.algolia.com/?q=simulavr.com.

> Simula looks like it’s pre-order only, do you know if they have actually shipped units?

Not yet, you can follow their progress at their blog (https://simulavr.com/blog/).

Its still in development, nothing shipped yet!

Meta lifted its ban on this, they will be able to ship! Also, has mucch better pixel density than quest headsets, even quest pro. Will be a bliss to read on. But provably no propper head tracking

> But provably no propper head tracking

They are supposed to include 6DOF positional tracking. Do you mean it's not "proper" because it's inside-out tracking?

Positional tracking required high performance, extremely high fidelity CV / ML algorithms. The guardian on Oculus being as any ML algos 'just' 9X% accurate makes me rage regularly, a tiny kickstarter being able to deliver smth better is highly unlikely imo

Additionally, it would be great if one could try the software with already owned VR headsets, without having to buy their hardware before.

Their software is open source : https://github.com/SimulaVR/Simula

However it looks like they are more focused on hardware than software right now

Yep, you can try out our software at https://github.com/SimulaVR/Simula on the HTC Vive and Valve Index platforms.

If you don't have one of those headsets, there are some videos of people (whom we have no affiliation with) on YouTube testing it out: https://youtu.be/8gVLF8SnK84?t=424 Here's also (a pretty old) video of me hacking on Simula, in Simula: https://youtu.be/FWLuwG91HnI.

It's also true that we're more focused on hardware right now. We plan on reverting more towards software development in 2023. For more details: https://github.com/SimulaVR/Simula/issues/180#issuecomment-1...

Some things we have planned to implement include VR window tiling and some other UI stuff.

Does Simula have pass through? I can information about it on your website.

Good luck with the project!

The headset doesn't look very ergonomic.

Might still be worked on at the phase they're at. I do wonder about the lack of an overhead strap in the design.

In the pictures and video, the headset the guy is wearing is probably light and without a display to vertically align his sight on.

I imagine they're trying to avoid the strap to make it more stylish to enable its use in public settings, but if it ends up being uncomfortable or hard to focus through, that would really hurt all other values it offers. It's meant primarily for work, so one should be able to stay on it for hours. Wonder how things will turn out.

Worst-case though, adding a strap is probably not too difficult of a mod.

I worked for about a month using the Immersed app and an Oculus 2. I judged it workable for me, but probably near the borderline. The positives were that the software generally worked (modulus some bugs), and I could code, attend Teams meetings (as an avatar with a VR camera) and have multiple monitors. Interestingly, Teams meetings with the other participants on a virtual monitor about 2 metres away were very noticeably less psychologically stressful. (I suspect some evolutionary/neurological thing about faces in a monitor 60cms away). The resolution was fine, but not great. I wear spectacles (slightly near-sighted, a bit too much to drive without) and the headset was comfortable enough. With the Oculus 2 the pass-thru was rubbish, so touch-typing and a tidy desk vital. The negatives were that a good wifi connection to the laptop was necessary; the battery-life on the headset meant I had to trail a wire across to keep it on for >2 hours; it was slightly sweaty (I didn't get the serious discomfort other people have experienced); the default headband wasn't great; and in the end it wasn't better than my physical multimonitor setup. I seem also to not suffer from VR-sickness (or motion sickness for that matter), but YMMV greatly.

Almost all your complaints are addressed with the quest pro. Especially the sweat and passthrough are all much better. I just used it yesterday to work w/horizons workrooms while at the office, and being able to see my surroundings was great.

I'm going to re-try using Immersed as well, I haven't figured out a great way to address the latency in the office yet.

Obviously, working at Meta means showing up as an avatar to a meeting isn't seen as a big or unique deal (usually more than one person in every meeting is an avatar). I do think video of someone's face is WAY more expressive than an avatar.

The worst aspect of the Quest is the connection with Meta.

If you bought a Quest and thought you can finally watch NSFW content at work, remember that Zuckerberg is now watching over your shoulder.

And he might even be looking at the code you write.

Try horizon workroooms. To me, immersed is like Linux - tons of options, more features, but it’s a bit trickier to set up just right and things seem to not stay right, it takes constant adjustment.

Horizon workrooms was like using a Mac - it “just works” when I onboarded, less features but way less hassle. I much prefer it personally.

On the slight risk of provoking a flamewar, gonna chip in with a warm take:

To me, Mac is like Linux - tons of options, more features, but it’s a bit trickier to set up just right and things seem to not stay right, it takes constant adjustment.

Linux was like using a Mac - it “just works” when I onboarded, less features but way less hassle. I much prefer it personally.

> Teams meetings with the other participants on a virtual monitor about 2 metres away were very noticeably less psychologically stressful.

How were you projected? Was everyone else looking at a person gazing vaguely in the direction of the camera and obscured by a bulky headset?

Immersed has a 'VR camera' - you position it in your virtual space and so your Teams partners see a floating avatar with hands (the Quest 2 has hand tracking as well). It provoked initial mirth but didn't disrupt much.

> Interestingly, Teams meetings with the other participants on a virtual monitor about 2 metres away were very noticeably less psychologically stressful.

That's fascinating, but it makes sense. I wonder how much of "Zoom fatigue" is caused by feeling you need more personal space, and could be mitigated by just having the screen be (or seem to be) the distance away that a normal human would.

You could probably get pretty far with floating screens rather than the whole avatar thing. They'd all still be staring at you when they talk to each other though.

I question if any of these other commenters have actually tried the Quest Pro yet and specifically with 1) Horizon Workrooms and 2) a mac and 3) a supported tracked keyboard from apple or Logitech.

I was a complete Meta disbeliever and long time Quest owner, having put a few dozen hours into working in Immersed last year before putting it down and accepting it wasn’t good enough.

Fast forward to last weekend, give it a try with the setup described above instead. Proceeded to do a 9hr shift fully in VR. Went out, got the Pro, and now I am all in. We are there. Give it a shot, you can always return it right?

Also +1 to everything jedberg said in their comment, great advice.

can you post screenshots?

> I am comfortable with at least two 27" monitors.

I embraced a single-monitor workflow early in my career after experimenting and finding that having multiple monitors often makes me less productive than just switching workspaces with ⌘+tab. Now it's extended to a single-laptop workflow that's given me incredible flexibility to travel and move around the office.

When do people really need multiple monitors? My only guesses are if they're using Windows, or have a really short feedback loop workflow between two apps that are too big/awkward to share a screen? Which, I guess OP could be in both boats.

In webdev using a framework with HMR having VS Code on one screen and the browser on another is a lot more productive than having to Alt/⌘+tab to see changes.

There are many more similar use cases.

I’ve found an ultrawide, 32” monitor addresses this just as well.

some of it definitely relates to window management features and their limitations

I have been experimenting with multiple monitor setups for some time, using 2 - 6 monitors. Currently I have 5.

I like having Email+IM on a vertical monitor on the side. If someone contacts me, I always have this communication screen, and I can respond to people without forgetting what I was working on. On my laptop, I press Cmd-Tab and everything is gone.

I also like having a second monitor above my main monitor just for source control. It's always there, so I can review changes while leaving the source files I was working on visible on my main monitor.

I also work a lot with VMs, and seing them all at the same time makes it easier to work with them.

It's much easier if you can lay out your work on a big area, and when every task has its own designated place.

I also work a lot on a single laptop when I'm not at the office, and I feel way less productive. I spend way more time trying to remember what I wanted to do, because stuff always disappears when I press Cmd-Tab.

For your laptop, have you tried virtual desktops tied to keyboard shortcuts (like Alt-1, Alt-2, etc)?

Also a drop down quake style terminal with multiple tabs provides the same rapid access functionality for the command line.

I have tried multiple desktops (or "Spaces" as they are called on macOS). They work fine when I want to switch to a completely different task (eg. I'll create a space for doing my monthly accounting), but when I use spaces to switch back and forth between eg. IDE and source control, then I have the same problem that switching spaces makes the current task disappear and I forget what I wanted to do.

> When do people really need multiple monitors? My only guesses are if they're using Windows, or have a really short feedback loop workflow between two apps that are too big/awkward to share a screen? Which, I guess OP could be in both boats.

IMO, assuming OP is using this setup for software development, it has to be a very specific short feedback loop to really justify 2 monitors, something that can't easily tested as part of a test suite such as layout testing which might require specific resolution and thus either constant switching or two monitors. I can't think of many other situation, even in web development, when one cannot make a good use window managers and testing components in isolation to avoid constant switching.

Despite having used 2 monitors in the past on occasion, I found that I've only used it to compensate for not taking the time to perfect my workflow or test-suite in such way that would allow me to be productive.

The only real use case where I can now personally justify the usage of two monitors is for in-person pair-programming: mirroring the display allows both participants to position themselves in front of the monitor rather than at an odd angle which over time strains both necks and eyes. Yet both can sit close enough to allow effective face-to-face communication.

Totally agree. If you have a reasonable window snapping feature via an app or the OS, one large monitor works best IMO. I like having the two windows right next to each other without two bezels in between. I also like the flexibility of positioning things anywhere.

It's nice that it works for you, some people work differently.

For me a laptop screen is simply not usable for more than 2 windows, and sometimes I would like to reference 3-4 windows. Sometimes even 2 is too much on the laptop screens.

Alt tab doesn't work because now one window is partially hidden behind the other.

I've also experimented extensively with tiling, which doesn't really help my issue at all, I simply need two monitors to be as productive as I can be.

I used a single monitor for a very long time with virtual spaces and windows switching. Over the years I found that having some windows displayed all the time in dedicated displays makes me more productive because I don’t have to switch all the time and transfer windows from a space to an other to share my screen. Everything is right under my eyes all the time and the more surface I have the easier it is to partition display with magnet app and the like. Two 32" 4K creates a real confortable workspace. Slack, Gather, VSCode, Datagrip, Figma, Terminals, Fork, Postman, multiple Chrome windows with search, hot reload, documentation, the sprint etc … All this in a constant switching on a single screen proved to be a real pain over the years. I switch less with more real estate and partitioning.

I recently switched from a 4k monitor+one/two 1080p monitors to a single monitor, and I prefer it now as well, but with one big caveat - it is a single 5k ultrawide monitor with thunderbolt 4. I simply connect my macbook to it using one cable, and I am done. That one cable provides power/charge to the laptop, outputs stuff on my big screen, and allows my laptop to use any devices connected to the USB hub built into the monitor. Zero fiddling around or setup required (aside from the physical space), and no bajillion cables requiring me to worry about managing them (as long as I want to keep my workspace neat and clean, which I do).

Even doing a single regular 4k monitor was stretching it for me, but my current setup satisfies me almost perfectly. The only upgrade I am planning to do in that aspect in the future is replacing it with an AR/VR headset that can emulate screens at a good enough resolution. While the current VR/AR tech isn't there yet, it is getting closer and closer, which gives me a lot of hope. I tried Quest 2 for that purpose, and I would pick it over a dual 1080p monitor setup even now. Sadly, it isn't quite as good as a single 5k ultrawide at the moment. There are other (very solvable) rought points with it currently too, like comfort (Quest 2 gets a bit tiring and sweaty to use after a couple of hours), but I heard Quest Pro has addressed that specific one, which is also awesome to see.

Given the leaps I've observed over the past few years, I feel like people are realizing the immense value of it, and the companies realize it too. So I am expecting something like this to be a fully viable solution for me within the next 5 years. And that's not even going into the portability aspect. As someone working from a hotel for the past 2 weeks, it would be amazing to have an AR/VR headset that would allow me to have the same setup everywhere, because I am not going to lug my 5k ultrawide with me wherever I need to work. Which is also why I prefer to work from home rather than the office, because my current home setup is much more optimal for my productivity that my office one.

I've been going down the 5k display research-rabbithole recently. Hope you don't mind me asking which monitor you're using and also do you know if Thunderbolt 3 can handle it?

I absolutely don't mind, and please feel free to ask more questions if you have any.

This[0] is the one I have. It is explicitly listed as thunderbolt 4, but, unfortunately, i dont't know if it supports thunderbolt 3. My hunch is that it does, but something wont work perfectly. Most likely, the usb hub won't, and the refresh rate will drop from 72hz to 60hz. Which is imo not a big deal whatsoever, as the main functionality that I personally value is still there.

LG also seems to have a thunderbolt 3 ultrawide monitor[1] that is very similar, and I recommend checking that one out. Only heard good things about it, and it is pretty much the predecessor of the one I linked in the beginning.

0. https://www.lg.com/us/monitors/lg-40wp95c-w

1. https://www.lg.com/us/monitors/lg-34WK95U-W-ultrawide-monito...

The 4% of us with Aphantasia can't do that at all. I need all the relevant windows open and readable for me to work.

I tried VR but found the resolution lacking.

Thank you for this comment! I never made the connection between my Aphantasia and my seven monitor setup!

Seven?! Do you work at a Mission Control Center? : - ) I'd love to see your setup.

I agree for a lot of activities multiple monitors doesn't help that much, but there are some. The most obvious is web dev. Whenever I get into heavy front end work I end up wanting 3 displays: (a) IDE/primary editor (b) actual browser UI and (c) the browser dev console. These all need to be on screen at once because of how iterative and feedback driven the process is ("nudge the button 2 pixels to the left, no 3, no 2, now click to invoke the dropdown, why is the padding wrong" etc).

They don't really need them, it's just that many people can't tell the difference between "prefer" or "need". It may be advantageous but not necessary.

It's nice to have 3+ source files + documentation open at once

Multiple workspaces on one monitor works great for me too (on Windows). Swiping the trackpad to move between them... works great.

I like being able to read both screens at the same time. I can type on one while reading off the other.

FWIW, one can also do this comfortably with a single HiDPI display.

I've only ever found this to be effective when I'm typing what I'm reading verbatim.

Are you able to type something other than you're reading? How do you scroll?

Alt/Super-tab + page down if I had to guess. I work on a single high resolution monitor and have a similar workflow, that's how I do it.

I recently switched from multiple displays to a single ultrawide screen (21:9). It's great for work -- wide enough to have a decent sized IDE in the center and two 120 column terminals on either side. I don't think I would go back to two monitors.

I’m getting there, but I stil need to share a actual screen in my workflow, and keep a screen private. I want to pass windows around without registering them and the laptop screen is too small.

But really I get the sentiment. A well organized high resolution single screen can be sufficient

When I traveled I would sometimes bring just one monitor and it was unbearable. I need to see the result of my work, logs and code at once to debug the code comfortably. Even more so when I'm tired.

Windows has "alt+tab"?

Are multiple desktops well supported on Windows now? It's been a while since I've explored it.

Yeah, they are great! I usually have like three virtual desktops with two monitors, so it's 6 screens. Switching between them is also much better than it used to be couple of years ago.

Win+ctrl+left/right arrow to switch between desktop. You may need to add a new desktop through the Task View app first though. Works in Win 10 and 11.

Yes it works fine, but I rarely use it though I also use just a single monitor.

I get upset when my workplaces don't provide me with a high DPI monitor. I feel every screen should be a "retina display" by now and we should accept no less. Needless to say I feel that working in VR is currently a sad joke. VR headsets simply don't have adequate PPI and optics yet. Text is barely legible unless it's blown up to ridiculous sizes.

VR pixel density is arguably on an exponential curve. Most headsets are within one tripling of "human eye resolution".[1] A few are within one doubling.

[1] https://i.imgur.com/Ml1dv3w.png

“Arguably” seems right. It’s definitely not obvious from the data points in that chart…

As noted elsewhere in this discussion, the Nreal Air glasses already offer 49ppd, which is way higher than the VR headsets on that chart. I haven't gotten to try them out yet, but they seem interesting.

The Varjo XR-3 has a PPD over 70. Sadly locked behind a subscription pricing model.

I like it.

I setup a login just for working in VR. I get MUCH more done as I'm totally distraction-free, and it's much better for my neck, as I'm looking at the screens in front of me, instead of down at my laptop. Looking down at my laptop for years has become a source of chronic pain, and working in VR removes it.

Setup is a Macbook Air M1, Quest 2, elite strap, and over-the ear headphones. I use Immersed, which is free, and put up a big screen in the middle to work on, with two narrow screens on either side for reference material.

> Looking down at my laptop for years has become a source of chronic pain

Why not use an external monitor at eye level?

Or elevate the laptop and use an external keyboard.

Because I can do VR anywhere with multiple screens and bigger screens. I also have a large 4k curved monitor on a high quality arm on my standing desk, but I prefer working in VR from my couch. :-)

Commenting because this somehow hasn't come up, but Quest Pro is not the headset that you're potentially looking for. (And not just because the Quest Pro only gets ~2hrs battery life.)

What you're really looking for is the Varjo Aero: https://varjo.com/products/aero/

The Aero has 35PPD, automatic IPD adjustment and incredibly good eye tracking. It is on an entirely different level than the Quest Pro.

It's also significantly more expensive, but it is the only VR headset that I've ever been able to work comfortably in (coding) for long periods. You can use it with a laptop that has a sufficient GPU.

The Quest Pro confuses me because I don't think the perfect customer exists. Anyone who needs it and can afford it is going to be 10x happier with an Aero.

The only thing more expensive [at this part of the market] than an Aero is buying a Quest Pro first.


If you spend $200 on a VR headset, expect to get what you pay for

Have experience with Quest 2, too low res and poor comfort. I assume Quest Pro will be vastly better and will probably work for work if you use it with the Immersed app.

It's going to depend 100% on the specific device. General experience is useless. Especially if it's not from a new model.

If you really just care about 2d monitor simulation then check out Nreal.

The Quest Pro has a better design than the Quest 2 (as well as many other benefits), but in terms of pixel density it only offers 10% higher PPD than the Quest 2 (which was already pretty low).[1]

(Disclaimer: I'm affiliated with Simula).

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28691358

> it only offers 10% higher PPD than the Quest 2

My understanding is that the optics are what destroys readability on the Quest 2, and in that regard the Quest Pro is in a completely different league with the pancake lenses.

I’ve been thinking about this lately (as are many people, I’d imagine, with all the Metaverse hoopla) and I think the adoption line for VR is text resolution. Once a headset is in play that can match out of headset text resolution, rapid adoption, tooling, etc. will follow.

Something I’ve been thinking about is tooling, though. Like if I had a browser and file storage in an environment with infinitely scalable windows/resolution I could do a lot of my work.

It’s hard to wrap my head around. Like an OS running in an OS. The answer can’t be just a horrific amount of manual labor porting a bunch of open source utilities over to some new VR based OS, right? I need to be able to connect my headset to my computer and use my existing tools in a VR environment. It’s almost like emulation. Unless Microsoft and Apple make VR compatible OS’s?

Step 1: Headset tech that doesn’t require horrific vendor lock-in (looking at you, metabook)

Step 2: Highly interactive, scalable browser (too many apps are Electron for it to be anything else)

I think with those two things I could migrate a lot of my work. Then you’d need to start fleshing it out. Creating your own little space, figuring out the tech to use your other tools in VR, creating VR focused Linux distro’s, self-hosting instances of your little corner of this new universe, giant statues of Neal Stephenson reciting passages from Snow Crash like scripture…

The good news is that you "just" need the window manager/display environment of an OS.

The bad news is that it is still a lot of hard work to nail down that kind of experience

I imagine some apps will be VR-optimized and others just flat

That’s very exciting, I think. Problems that can be solved by people outside of the ecosystem are exciting. I think as long as VR can be taken full advantage for display management, we can make due until more niche applications of the input systems can be developed.

So, you might be interested in https://github.com/SimulaVR/Simula . There have been a few examples of VR windows managers on Linux which don’t require an entire OS rewrite.

Is that the solution Meta will go w/? almost certainly not. But replacing a WM for a different “view” of your OS is a pretty common thing on Linux. (For some distros like Arch, replace isn’t the right word. You have to install whichever one you’d like from the beginning)

Oh this is very cool. I was thinking about game engines in this context, but couldn’t wrap my head around combining the OS and the engine. Browsers seemed much more accessible, but this project is kind if blowing my mind.

People ultimately need to be able to have choice. Their OS in their environment on their tech stack. I’m not sure how that happens, but open source operating system on an open source game engine seems like the right start.

Now we just need an open source headset…

Look into(sic) the Nreal Air AR glasses. They're 1080p micro-OLED displays and are sharper than the Quest 2.

They're lightweight, look like Sunglasses , and I've used them for productivity and watching vids for hours daily without eye strain.

In fact I've been using them for gaming on my Steam Deck too and its relieved my neck strain from not having to look down while playing.

With something like Samsung DeX on an S-series Samsung phone you can have a desktop environment, but they also just screen mirror USB-C DP Alt Mode compatible devices including some laptops and tablets, or you can use their AR Space for 3 floating (or pinned) windows.

They also work with M1 Apple laptops directly, and iPhones and HDMI devices in general via an adaptor.

Just note their AR Space feature doesn't work with many Exynos based phones, butnit does with some like the s10e and s21.

Example screenshots I took from Samsung DeX while using my Nreal Air's




Depends on software, was messing around with SimulaVR. It's cool though needs work. I was using the Index it could be better on resolution/text focusing.

I would not use it for productivity because it's a new environment/more distracting than useful. Also turning your head a lot to look at things.

I like my curved ultra wide monitor.

When the physical SimulaOne comes out I'll try it out again that one is not tethered/better quality eye display.

Thanks for your support.

RE resolution being low on the Valve Index: we absolutely agree :] The Simula One offers ~3x higher pixel density than the Valve Index, and 50% higher density than the Quest Pro. This dramatically impacts the extent to which you have to turn your head to look at things.

> Does anyone have any useful experience to share on working in a VR headset?

Tried it, returned it.

> Is it comfortable for longer periods of time?


> How is it on the eyes?


Any extra screen real estate VR gives you if is vastly outweighed by the negatives. It's a sweaty glowing device right in your face that causes significantly more strain than a laptop monitor. It's cool to think about but I think you already know the answer to this. Try it yourself if you'd like.

It's not quite as nice as a full desktop setup, but you can get portable 4K monitors in the 12 to 17 inch range.

Also you can build some small but high powered machines. I've got a mini ATX build with a 12900 ks, and a 3090. Fits in a carry-on, way faster than any laptop.

Also if you're spending that long in each location, it might be viable to just buy monitors at your location, especially if you think of it as the cost for enhanced productivity.

I'm in a similar situation so I've tried to build as capable of the travel setup as possible.

You can also throw desktop monitors in a checked bag, I'm usually only bringing one, but you can fit two to three.

It really depends on how frequently you travel, if you're going to the same locations, if you can store stuff there, and how much additional cost are you willing to pay for a better set up.

The luggage shipping services out there can be fairly reasonable, if you don't want to lug that much gear back and forth with you. Do you have a home base that you go back to, or are you jumping between locations? I used to be fully nomadic, I spent a lot of time optimizing.

12 to 17" 4k monitor is completely pointless.

At those sizes a normal FullHD or 1920x1200 panel will do you the same service - and cost much less and require much less powerful GPU to drive (battery of your laptop will thank you!)

My eyes aren't quite as sharp as they used to be, but there is still a substantial difference between a 1080p monitor and a 4k monitor, even at those sizes. Can't use it to display that much more, but text is smoother.(A retina ipad has higher dpi than a 4k 17", the dpi on a 4k 17 is identical to my old 13.5" surface book.) I do wish windows would let you scale different monitors to different custom dpis though. You can do it if you stick to the 100%, 125%, 150% etc levels, but not if you want to do something like 114%

My main issue is using a keyboard while in vr. Feels like a keyboard that senses when fingers are near would be useful, so you know what key you are about to press. Most of the time i can tell particularly if i am used to that keyboard but sometimes its trial and error. That or accessible hand gloves. I suppose brain impulse reading is still far off as that would solve most input issues with vr.

The quest now has a feature whre it can passthrough a user defined portion of the bottom of the screen so that you can see your desk while in VR. You can also passthrough physical items such as just a keyboard and a cup or everything bar your virtual screens in apps such as immersed.

As evidenced by the keyboard feedback so far, the experience has been upgraded several times in Quest 2. Currently there are 2 fully supported keyboards the Apple and a Logitech K830. With these you get full tracking of the physical board and a realtime perfect overly of hand fingers while typing so it is no different than irl. Poor lightning or poor contrast will degrade the experience. Supported by Infinate Office, Immersed, and vSpatial. Other keyboards are visible in passthrough so in Q2 this is not perfect but useable and should be much better in Pro although still not as good as using the main supported keyboards and more are being added at least in Infinate Office / Workrooms. Good luck I think the benefits today outweigh the difficulty involved.

Hmm thats interesting, thanks for sharing. Will give it a try.

It would be great if people posting opinions in this thread could share which headsets they are basing their opinion on.

Many seem to be discounting it entirely without qualifying their comments with the headset and tech setup used…

It's not ready.

It doesn't really matter which headset you use or what specs they have, they are all way to heavy and uncomfortable to use for work. And I say that as someone who enjoys gaming on them quite a lot.

John Carmack mentioned the concept of VR for work specifically in his latest presentation on the pro2... something he's clearly interested in and believes will eventually happen but in his words were something along the lines of "this is going to need a lot of painful dogfooding before it's useful". Once they are down to the weight of some very chunky sunglasses - then we can start to be a bit more serious about it. It will happen, in the not too distant future, but if you force it right now I believe you will be in for a lot of discomfort and ultimately bail.

I have done it while developing some VR apps. Only for quick code changes though via Virtual Desktop. It is definitely cool, and I could see it becoming a "thing" some day. But currently I have to say that the comfort and resolution is not quite there yet.

The Simula One (https://simulavr.com) was designed specifically for this use case (disclaimer: I'm a cofounder of the project). TLDR: it's a 100% office dedicated headset with bleeding edge pixel density that runs Linux Desktop natively. Everything from the hardware to the software rendering is optimized for VR Desktop and the clear display of text. We really pushed hard to make the Simula One specs as premium/bleeding edge as humanly possible. For example, our headset has more than 50% higher pixel density than the Quest Pro (35.5 PPD vs. 22.69 PPD), and our compute specs are comparable to a premium office laptop (Intel 12th Gen i7-1265U Processor, up to 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage).

For more discussion, here's a list of HN threads on the Simula One: https://hn.algolia.com/?q=simulavr.com. The most recent one discusses a comparison between the Simula One and the Quest Pro (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33318956).

Pros of the Simula One: it offers native VR computing (i.e. you put on the headset, turn it on, and get see an uncapped number of your Linux Desktop apps running in front of you). Compare this to the Questo Pro, which for VR Desktop provides WiFi streamed screens from your laptop (placing latency and bandwidth constraints on what you can do, and capping the number of screens you can use to 5).

Cons of the Simula One: it's still in preorder phase, and has a target ship date of ~Q2 2023. Our small scale makes the cost of the headset pretty high (though to be fair we're putting very premium specs into it).

Interesting, thanks for sharing! What’s the resolution and the size of the panels you guys are using?

Can't comment on what it's like with a modern headset, but I have used an old Oculus Go with great success, despite its low resolution. It's definitely uncomfortable and hard on the eyes for long periods of time, but the focus it affords makes it worthwhile for short bursts.

I set everything up to interface with my computer using a web browser on the headset, which might not match your use case.


Everyone wants to use VR to program on a few giant screens

but what if we changed the nature of programming and could represent it as something we could walk around and change things. Get back to working with our hands.

I tried with the Quest Pro. It’s cool to see the giant screens and set things up, but the pixel density and resolution is really not there yet. It’s like working off of a 65 inch 480p TV.

I would rather become a brick mason or plumber before I have to work with a VR headset on.

Zero doubts.

If this becomes any kind of norm for tech work I'm throwing my computer out the window.

Right with you. My city is desperate for bus drivers. I think that sounds pretty good compared to wearing one of those ridiculus VR goggles.

not a plumber--some contortions are sometimes involved to get into tight spaces (not as bad as my brother who is an auto mechanic when he has to get under the dash.) But I have put my name in for the position that drives the lawn mower for my wind down at the end of my career.

The technology isn't there yet. The resolution needs to be probably 6x what it currently is to be good for reading and productivity purposes. The strain on the eyes and weight on the head/neck from having VR headset on for extended periods is also significantly higher than the strain from just a viewing a monitor and that problem is not going away anytime soon.

VR Headset? Hard nope for me.

Lightweight AR headset? I would definitely give this a try.

To specify what I am talking about: If the device is much bigger|bulkier|heavier than thick eyeglasses, I won't use it. If the device relies on controllers (aka. something I have to hold), I won't use it (gloves would be okay as long as they don't prevent me from typing or using a pen and paper).

Have you ever used VR and tried to read small text? Feels like we're still far from from minimum viable resolution for that to me.

This is why VR pixel density (PPD) is so important for VR computing. It's the #1 thing that impacts how legible text and other fine details are when working. Here's a list of headsets for comparison:

- Valve Index: 11.07 PPD

- Quest II: 20.58 PPD

- Quest Pro: 22.6 PPD

(In full disclaimer I'm affiliated with SimulaVR, and we're working on a headset with 35.5 PPD.)

What’s the PPD equivalent for a recent MacBook Pro at a distance of “sitting on your lap”?

Well in excess of human eye resolution, around 100 PPD at 2ft distance with a 28 degree FOV.

Peak human eye res is 60 PPD.

You won't get virtual retina displays with currently affordable hardware but something that feels similar to a large 1080p display is achievable today. The plus side is you get as many as you want.

However good the software gets at providing a desktop / working environment, I simply couldn't handle shutting myself off like that, just wouldn't find it comfortable.

Unless you somehow know that wouldn't bother you, I'd recommend trying it first (or sufficiently within return window) before getting too set on the idea.

The Quest Pro has full colour pass-through mode I believe. So it shouldn't feel so much like shutting yourself off as it does with other VR headsets. Plus, they're not fully enclosed so you still have peripheral vision.

Would be awkward using them in public though...

I have used pretty much every VR and AR headset there is, and have many hundreds of hours in them dating back to the Oculus DK1. Even the Index and the new Quest Pro lack the resolution needed for extended work with text on virtual screens, not to mention that the weight and heat of the headset become increasingly uncomfortable after a few hours. I also suspect that extended use of a headset wasn't good for the health of my eyes. Certainly if you wear glasses it would be pretty uncomfortable, but I generally felt a lot more eyestrain in VR than I would after extended use of a monitor.

I think we are still quite a few years away from VR being a slam dunk for a virtual workstation, and it's going to require continued investments in optics, material science and display technology. There's a reason Meta is spending billions on this, it's an exceptionally difficult problem.

I have a friend who has been working (coding) using a Quest Pro for about a week and likes it.

I'm not a VR fan at all but I tried it for a few minutes and was impressed. The headset is comfortable and light and the tracking is flawless.

It was the first time I've thought VR might have significant applications outside gaming.

I've experimented with the Meta Quest 2 for work and for gaming. Despite continual adjustments and trying with or without glasses/contact lenses and using the glasses spacer, I was unable to comfortably use this device for any use case without experiencing headaches at approximately 30 minutes per session.

I've never figured out whether this was a user issue or if this hardware is simply crap. In the end, it makes sense that OSHA guidelines suggest that your monitor should be at least half a meter away from your eyes.

Because of this experience, I'm quite pessimistic about VR as a whole, and the Quest 2 is sitting in its box on my bookshelf. I'd like to sell it or give it away, but that would require me putting it back on and de-linking my Facebook account, and I can't be bothered to do that.

Has anyone tried doing this with a Varjo headset? https://varjo.com

I would love to try this, they have some of the highest resolutions that I've seen but a little $$$

As someone who has worked with Varjo products (XR-3, XR-1 and VR-3), my feelings about them are that the image quality is really good, but the accompanying hardware and software make the experience a PITA

I easily fit two 27" monitors in 1/2 of my normal sized suitcase. At first I was super careful how I packed them. But they've lasted so long I just throw some clothes around them for the past few years.

Full size mechanical keyboard too, and lots of cables and a power strip. I almost always have extra space and end up adding clothes I don't need just to keep stuff in its place.

Weight is the real consideration you might have to manage. One time I had to remove some items and put them in carry-on to meet a weight restriction. After which I bought a very cheap luggage scale.

I have tried it. Working in VR is much better than I expected it would be, with the right equipment. Still, I quit after a while mainly because of the quality of text rendering. It is so much better than it used to be, but still not good enough, at least not for me.

I also found it surprisingly frustrating that I couldn’t see the keyboard. Every time I took my hands off it I had to do this blind search for it and get my fingers back to the right starting position. Symbols I don’t know how to touch type because they are rarely used was also more frustrating than I would have thought.

What headset did you try? I imagine that text rendering would improve with the quality of the screens, which have been getting better.

I used the Quest 2. It wasn’t just the hardware though, something about the software too. The “main” display was a reasonably sharp and almost retina like. But the other displays were unable to keep up with that level of quality. Not enough bandwidth? Video encoding or decoding CPU bound? Not sure what it was. This was using Immersed

This is way far away from your specific question, but I've had a similar situation to yours (travelling constantly between cities).

What has worked for me (staying a couple of months within citiies) is to "buy" good used monitors in local pawn shops and re-pawn (sorry dont know the exact English term) them once I've finished using them. I end up paying around $50 usd or equivalent to "rent" a monitor for a couple of months.

I tried asking local internet cafes to rent me screens, but it is becoming less and less common.

With the Quest Pro I could actually see the feasibility. Just good enough to code in comfortably.

The color passthrough means you can actually have coffee at your desk among a million small things it adds.

According to Linus, the Text is still not clear enough


Could you quote where he says that? I watched this the other day and I recall him saying that text was very crisp with a hint of color on the edges. He said the previous gen was not up to snuff.

The Quest Pro is a great headset in many ways, but it only offers 10% higher pixel density than the Quest 2 (which was already pretty low).

For comparison: it offers 22.69 PPD. The human eye can distinguish up to 60 PPD.


He basically gushes about clarity.

Op: "According to Linus, the Text is still not clear enough"

I'm sure it varies from person to person but its only going to get better.

I've got a Quest 2 but used it for about a week barely used it since due to eye strain off it had the worst head ache ever after 1/2 a day on it, found it had some cool ideas certainly not ready for productivity but certainly on the way to it. Quest Pro sounds like it could be a game changer but whats it like on eye strain/ head aches? The continuous IPD adjustment sounds like a real improvement but I don't want to gamble on one at 1500.

It's hard to wear a VR headset for long periods. I use one(Quest 2) for gaming quite a bit, and the bulk gives you a bit of strain after a couple of hours of constant use.

Does that mean it's hard to use any headset, or hard to use that one? Have you tried Quest Pro or Vive Flow?

If you want to work in VR, I recommend getting the highest resolution possible. I love my Quest 2 for everything other than reading text. It was nausea inducing.

The Valve Index is better but the resolution still isn’t there

With HP’s reverb G2, it’s definitely possible since it has a higher resolution at a good price point. You can get used headsets for less than $300. It’s not great for games that require moving around since tracking is horrible, but it’s really great for work and sim games

I’ve tried the quest 2. I truly wanted it to work and was hoping I could find fixes when I hit roadblocks. I even invested in the most highly rated head strap and foam.

For me it’s a no go. The software is kinda ok, the headset are also kinda ok but heavy. Overall the experience was mediocre at best. I lost velocity for the two weeks I tried using it, it was clunky and often not working and needed just too many hacks.

Dude, get two AOC USB monitors... I have FOUR of them.


With the quest 2, no. With the pro, I'm inclined to say yes. I have the Q2 at home but I've only used the Quest pro for about an hour.

Not 100% on topic, but I got myselt a little wearable display (Vufine VUF-110) that straps on to my glasses, but it's not too bad as a second monitor. Of course, it's only 720p and could really only fit 80 characters wide on the screen, but that just keeps my line lengths short...

Had the same idea, tried Valve Index, resolution too low, not good for eyes. However I wonder if you could build a traveling case that includes two monitors like this: https://ibb.co/x2XDYms

What I will say is that it seems quite unsexy.

I would be quite hesitant to use it in public, especially in the office.

I use the Epson Moverio (1280x720 stereo):

comfortable reading is around the dozen lines of text.

Surely this tells you that you would go in the opposite direction of the desired one. They are excellent for other applications - as a memex-while-moving, for example. They do not replace a station.

I use an oculus quest 2 with the battery headstrap to play online shooters when the beamer is used by my gf. It works surprisingly well with vrdesktop. I still prefer playing on the beamer, but without the space i would consider it a quite good solution.

What is a beamer?

It's a projector, I assume he means his girlfriend is using the huge screen so he uses the quest as the backup "huge" screen.

One complaint about it is you need a fast router and ideally a wired connection to it from your computer. Otherwise it can be too laggy to use.

But virtual desktops are cool. The Quest Pro makes it nice because the pass through camera is quite good.

The ability to work comfortably in AR and take several large screens wherever you go is alleged to be a major selling point for the Magic Leap 2. We'll see, the company isn't known for delivering on its promises.

Physically it doesn’t work:

The headset is too clunky and heavy still, after a few hours you get a sore neck and I have trouble with lack of airflow on my skin (where it contacts my face gets sweaty and irritated after long periods)

More importantly: the resolution is too small. Using an IDE to edit text inside VR technically works, but the font size has to be so huge because the resolution inside is so poor, coding becomes an exercise in scrolling and navigation rather than an exercise in problem solving.

I’m the same as you, I like being portable, and when I was a travelling tech nomad for 2 years it meant hauling two monitors in the car everywhere.

One other option that actually worked well was getting a good quality 1080p projector and mounting it on a camera stand, I used this for a bit instead of monitors at the hotels/Airbnbs and it worked well, although that’s just a single 1080p monitor

> good quality 1080p projector

Good idea on the road. And you could set up two projectors for two giant monitors. Although one projector and laptop should be enough for most needs.

Laser diode projectors in particular are bright and uniform enough to project onto a clean wall. There's also the option of short-throw or regular projector. Flicker-free and reliable. Turning your hotel room wall into a big screen makes sense.

I would definitely choose a portable projector over VR if I needed the equivalent of a large monitor on the road. The other thing is, you can have the screen on and do "normal life things" like read physical documents, gaze out the window, use your mobile phone, pace around the room, scratch your head, play with your hair as you think... and your screen remains stationary and separate.

Do you realize that there are many different headsets, some very new, different resolutions and different types of lenses? Because you seem to have taken one experience and written off the entire concept indefinitely.

Not too much on the usability, but here is a Common Lisp REPL in VR:


VR is not yet and may never be at the place where you want to spend a full workday in it. It’s good in a pinch for traveling etc. but honestly it’s just not what it’s best at.

It's not good enough yet. The strain on the eyes is apparently really bad in VR. My husband needs glasses again due to doing VR 1-2hr a day.

From working in VR or playing games in VR? I spend just as much time in VR as your husband and it hasn't hurt my eyesight at all, but I'm not spending that time reading.

I'm interested in how you were able to determine that VR was the cause vs age or just eye strain from using a regular screen in suboptimal conditions.

I don’t believe GP’s assertion. High more likely the the husband is 40-50 years old and at the point where he had vision changes or the focus muscles in the eyes aren’t working as well and he would need reading glasses… with or without VR use.

He plays a lot flatscreen to vr conversions. I'm guessing it was VR, because after the VR sessions he said his eyes feel tired.

There's just so many insurmountable physical limitations to VR. I wonder what Facebook are thinking will mitigate for that

Just a warning that I can see all kinds of people relating very personal takes on it, esp based on last-gen hardware like the Quest 2.

The key thing is that effectively, there has never really been a VR device released with this as its primary purpose until the Quest Pro. So all the complaints of clunky software, lack of comfort, visual clarity, etc are all in part side effects of people repurposing tools that were simply not meant for the job.

I've always been interested in this space and my conclusion with Quest Pro, which I've had for a week or so now, is that its borderline usable for specific tasks. However it's still not quite there for me as a primary working mode. I think about 50% of the issues are software addressable and it will be a big test of Meta to see if they managed to actually address them or not.

The main issues for me are display resolution and refresh rate I think. When looking at black text on white background, it still has a "shimmering" type effect. It's very subtle and not something obvious at first but if I try to work hours in there (like I did yesterday), it eventually affects me. This seems addressable to me but I'm not 100% sure if the approach being taken (compressing the video feed) can solve it completely - we really need something more like RDP where it draws windowing primitives natively in the headset so that there's no "refresh" at all. The resolution would be "ok" if everything else was perfect but literally any other problem makes it an issue.

However, my biggest suggestion here is that this is very personal - both to your own visual / perceptive / comfort context AND what you exactly do. Even within a specific application, "how" you do it matters. Which is all to say, you just need to try this out. I'd guess that prior to Quest Pro something like 5% of people would have found working in VR viable. Quest Pro probably brings it to 20% or so - a huge improvement but nothing like mainstream. The next gen should bring that way up to 50% or so I think - and we'll have line of sight on this, if not actual devices within 6 months - rumors are there will be an announcement from Apple in Jan/Feb (but likely not shipping until June) and then Simula is working hard on their device. If you are in the Apple ecosystem it'd be pretty crazy not to wait until their announcement (I deplore the closed ecosystem that is going to result from this but there's no chance it won't be awesome).

Finally, you'd definitely want to consider the light weight options like Nreal Air [0] if truly all you want is a giant floating monitor or two.

[0] https://www.nreal.ai/air/

I’ve seen people use the Nreal Air AR Glasses Currently sold out. But I’d be interested to hear how these work for programming.

If you're using it with a supported Android phone it is incredible The Nreal Air is easily the best/most fun thing I've bought all year.

I am surprised how intuitive the Quest Pro MR Workstation stuff is. So far everything else is not worth the $1.5k price.

Can't you rent displays when you move? More practical than carrying them around or being restricted to using cars.

Have you tried a VPN connection to your powerful workstation? What didn't work?

all the fun lag of trying to use X forwarding, now in 3D :)

I wonder if this might improve over a more modern transport, if you were using an IPSec VPN.

Wireguard is enabling us to re-think what's possible over a VPN. Here's an example of what I mean. The network stack is based on Wireguard, with https://github.com/tonarino/innernet providing the topology and identity provisioning. https://tonari.no/

something I've wondered, how does any of this work with glasses/vision correction?

Depends on the headset or glasses. Quest Pro designed for glasses. Quest 2 can work but you need spacers if you use it a lot otherwise they get scratched.

Anyway I would consider Quest Pro or Pico 4 or something new rather than Quest 2.

> Is it comfortable for longer periods of time?

Absolutely no

> How is it on the eyes?

Like staring at a tv from 4cm away for extend periods of time

This just isn't true, optics really do work, the focal point is not close to your face and it doesn't feel or effect you like the screen is close to your face in anyway.

I'd give all my belongings to anyone who can work full time for a year with a VR headset instead of screens and who wouldn't complain a single time about it

I've used VR headsets, nothing is comfortable after even an hour of use, we're just not designed for that

See the article linked in my comment - before you first posted here - for information on who to send your belongings to.

I don't think it is possible to not complain about ANY modern development system a single time in a year.

> I've used VR headsets, nothing is comfortable after even an hour of use, we're just not designed for that

There seems to be something specific about VR that invites people to vastly over-extrapolate their personal experience. I find it really difficult to believe you've tried the Quest Pro or NReal Air [0].

Current hardware have lots of other flaws but what you mention (comfort) is mostly solved for most people (there are always exceptions).

[0] https://www.nreal.ai/air/

To clarify my post, I was not trying to claim that the current vr headsets are comfortable, just that it isn't remotely like having a screen inches from your face.

May not be for you, but personal experience and hearing stories from others makes it clear this is far from universally true.

I used a Quest 2 once at a conference exhibit booth demo -- so maybe 10 mins max in the headset, probably less -- and it left me dizzy, disoriented, and unable to focus my eyes correctly for at least as long after taking it off. Had to sit on the floor in the exhibit hall to clear my head.

If you were unable to focus your eyes properly afterwards it means the headset you have tried has been likely poorly adjusted and/or damaged. Typically the interocular distance was likely set incorrectly for you (there is a slider on the headset physically moving the displays & lenses), forcing your eyes to strain in order to see clearly.

Another aspect causing discomfort is for the headset lenses to be sweaty/greasy/fogged up slightly - again very common when doing mass demos on exhibit floors ...

The dizziness and disorientation depend very much on the content you are working with. This is not universal! So the fact that some demo you have tried made you very dizzy and feeling uncomfortable only means that that demo was poorly made and not that all VR content will feel like that.

In addition, the feeling of dizziness and motion sickness will diminish over time for most people. So don't judge the entire concept on your poor 10 minutes experience that you had in less than ideal conditions.

(I have worked over 20 years on VR/AR, both as a researcher and commercially)

A friend showed me his VR setup. For me, 30 seconds of wearing that headset in a flight sim meant 30 minutes of fighting against nausea. It was quite hilarious how badly my body reacted to it.

That's likely the flight simulator application causing it, not the VR headset. Those things are extremely performance intensive even without VR, with VR it gets only that much worse. Unless the application & the setup is very high end and extremely well tuned, it is going to be a barf fest due to lag, poor frame rate and other issues. Your friend is likely used to it (most people lose the feeling of nausea and motion sickness over time) but for you it was likely too much.

Ask your friend to show you some of the basic demos that came with the headset they have. I bet you will have much better time.

That's how it felt for me as well the first time I got a VR headset. Felt super sick within like a minute or two of trying it. I actually felt stupid for going with the hype. I gave it another go anyway and my body started to adjust to it, though. After a few days of playing Blade & Sorcery I was no longer getting sick at all. My eyes would still feel weird after a gaming session, though. B&S is such a fun game, btw. It's one of the weirdest stress reliever games I've ever played.

It's a horrible experience. The weight of the headset, the vertigo, the motion sickness.

Personally, I am waiting for eyeball implants.

I heard that Elon Musk is working on something like this, so I might give that a go when it's ready. I look forward to paying hundreds of dollars to restore my vision every time he has a tantrum and shuts off the service on a whim.

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