Apple's groundbreaking mixed reality headset will land in stores this Friday, with a starting price tag of $3500. While a select group, including tech reviewers, received the device ahead of its official launch, the reviews are mixed.

Tech writer Andy Ihnatko wasn't among the early recipients but he told Boston Public Radio that the Apple Vision Pro is not necessarily worth the big price tag.

Ihnatko said that when Apple announced the headset last year, “They didn't show enough of it to make me convinced that they had solved any big problem or that they had figured something out about VR that no one else had.”

He compared the Vision Pro to Meta Quest 3, which starts at a significantly lower price point of $499, and has similar basic features — but significantly upgraded.

Some of those big upgrades he said, include processing power that is equivalent to a MacBook, and a significant leap in video quality.

“So it's very, very, very, very fast at processing,” Ihnatko said.

He explained that the Vision Pro, “fools you into thinking you're there and also is moving around fast enough, catching up with you enough” so that a user would feel fully and truly immersed in the virtual world.

One key difference from Meta Quest 3 is that the Vision Pro can track eye movements, hand positions and gestures without the need for external controllers, unlike the Meta Quest's reliance on physical hand controllers with buttons.

“All you have to do is simply look at a button and it tracks your eyes. And so it basically knows that you're looking at this button. And when you just simply tap your two fingers together, either in front of you or just by your side, it registers that as a click.”

Ihnatko said that wearing a virtual reality headset “really does feel like you're in a 3D environment.”

“It really is kind of magical.”