VR Headsets - what's the consensus on this?

Had a quick look on the forum but didnt see anything current - but looking to view a model in VR on PC.

Whats generally the best method? ie hardware and and software/extensions…

Any advice much much appreciated.


You could try an HP Headset or Oculus Quest 2 as lower cost options. I believe the Quest 2 works wirelessly which you might find nice.

In the higher cost range, the Meta Quest Pro is pretty nice (this is what I use now). I haven’t tried the HoloLens 2, but I have a HoloLens 1. The (HL2) could be an option if you want “AR”/‘Passthrough’ (best for indoor use only). There may be a Meta Quest 3 coming out in the near future that is mid-range in price. I’d consider one of those if your uses/needs justify a little more expensive headset.

Otherwise, head over to a Big Box electronics zoo like BestBuy and see if they have any on display (may be less headsets expensive only). You might happen to like the feel of one controller vs. another or be able to get a better idea of the headset fit, the display quality, etc. by going hands-on. I’m not a gamer but if games or other apps appeal to you, take a look at what Microsoft has vs. Meta/Oculus.

SketchUp has some Viewers that will work with most of the headsets out there. VR Sketch looks very nice but I’ve stuck with the SU Viewers. There are a couple of other apps that people have recommended in the forums… maybe someone will mention those as I’m drawing a blank at the moment.

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So download Sketchup Viewer, and should work on any headset?

And many thanks @3DxJFD for the in-depth reply. Much appreciated.

My pleasure, @barry1 .

There are several ‘SU Viewers’. I’ll just paste snippets of what’s accessible from my account to give an overview. In general, some Viewers run on your computer and some run on the device.

Screenshot 2023-07-22 195158

Screenshot 2023-07-22 195226

Screenshot 2023-07-22 195236

Screenshot 2023-07-22 195245

This one has the Trimble Connect Visualizer, accessible from within Trimble Connect.

Screenshot 2023-07-22 195305

There are viewers available from the Oculus store and (if I’m not mistaken) the windows store. I believe those are usually the same ones you have access to from the “My Products” page of your account.

My preference now would be to go with a Meta/Oculus headset. That’s because they have passthrough video (a feature I prefer) and are supported in Unity (not necessarily relevant to you, but a software that allows you to create apps). Microsoft may have reduced support for the Mixed Reality Toolkit (another programming ‘thing’ in Unity) and that doesn’t bode well. HoloLens also achieves this ‘XR’ effect (your model in the ‘real world’) but sometimes doesn’t work that well in very bright conditions (hence my preference for passthrough video).

Bear in mind that the Viewers generally have reduced functionality compared to SU Pro.

Some people have reported having trouble getting the headset viewers to work (especially launching through the Oculus app). You don’t have to launch that way, but if that’s what you want you may have to trouble shoot a bit.

Hopefully this clarifies more than it confuses. If you describe what you want to do and your set up other might be able to point you to headsets they like for that purpose and which apps they use.

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I am curious… how does any non SketchUp user with an META Quest 2 view SketchUp models in VR?

eg a client,
someone looking a 3dwarehouse models…
a non subscription sketchup license holder?

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You could build a project specific app in Unity and have the client install it.

I can’t test right now, but can the View VR feature of 3D Warehouse open in a headset? 3D Warehouse AR View: See your models in a whole new dimension (sketchup.com)

Maybe Arkio or VR Sketch can open .skp? Otherwise, you might be able to export to .obj and have the client open that with whatever app they use (maybe something from SteamVR).

Good question… I’m puzzled and wonder what others are doing.

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If you’re planning doing it only once in a while, I expect the SketchUp viewer for Oculus (or any other brand) would be the way to go.

If you like to add VR to your daily tool set I would suggest learning Unreal Engine (or Unity or Twinmotion). I have been doing this since 2016 for all my projects and its great for clients to help them understanding the designs. It also helps me as an architect for evaluating / refining designs.

For software, I use UnrealEngine. Its free for most uses and you have total control in adding new features yourself. Twinmotion looks fine as well but it’s more a ‘closed box’ so if you need some functionality it doesn’t support you’re out of luck. I have no experience with Unity so can’t comment on that.

For hardware, any modern 4/6 core PC would do (depends on the complexity of your designs) with a dedicated graphics card (3070 and better) for a smooth viewing experience.
For the headset, I use a Oculus Quest 2 and a link cable to connect to the PC/laptop.

You could also build apps for the Quest itself so you wouldn’t need the cable but you probably will have to spend quite some time optimizing your 3d model to have it run smooth on the Quest (internally it’s almost like mobile phone hardware which is nothing compared to a 3070 in gfx power). I only go this way when clients want to have it run on their Quest and don’t care about top of the bill gfx quality. Mostly I just connect to my pc/laptop and use all the high-end goodies and real-time lighting.

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Hi everyone,

It is great to see how quickly our community comes up with answers and support fellow members so thank you @3DxJFD and @maxB for providing these great tips and insights to @barry1’s questions.

As they both correctly pointed out SketchUp Viewer is available for the following devices/platforms:

  • Rift, Quest, Quest 2, and Quest Pro devices through the Rift Store. These devices will need to be connected to a Windows machine via cable for Rift, and Quest 1 or AirLink in the case of Quest 2 and Quest Pro devices. You can download the Viewer application here or install directly through the Rift Store

  • HTC Vive - download through the same link.

  • PCVR headsets via SteamVR (these are VR headsets that connect to a Windows machine and run SketchUp Viewer via SteamVR by downloading and installing the Viewer through the same link. You can find out a list of SteamVR-compatible devices here

  • HoloLens 2 - To install and use in SU Viewer on HL2 you will need to open the Microsoft Store inside HL2, search for SketchUp Viewer and install it on the device. You can find detailed instructions here

  • Windows Mixed Reality headsets again via SteamVR or directly through the Microsoft Store (see list of compatible devices here)

Having said all that, you should be aware that some older VR devices might require relatively complex set ups with base stations, and a capable windows machine with a powerful GPU. It is hard to give you minimum specs as each headset might have different requirements.

Your decision on what headset to buy should be based on on whether you want to go for quality, ease of use, easy set up, and future-proofing your purchase by going with the latest and greates. As @3DxJFD and @maxB said, it is true that the latest Quest devices (Quest 2, Quest Pro, and the Quest 3 that is shipping later this year) offer the passthrough technology (mixed reality) and can go wireless which is a plus for many users. Having said that you should know that our Viewer does not currently support the Passthrough technology.

Also, the VR Viewers are currently available only for Pro and Studio subscribers, so users without a subscription (like clients) will have to rely on their designers with a SU subscription to be able to experience a model in VR.

While I cannot publicly talk about our future roadmap and devices that we will support or continue supporting in the future, I would encourage you to fill out this form to join our XR Alpha/Beta testing program to make sure you are aware of the latest developments.


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so a client of mine (or anyone logging into 3d warehouse ) with an Quest 2 cannot view my Sketchup models in VR (not AR)… as they don’t have a licensed SU pro subscription and neither can I as I only have a permanent (not) lic since 2003…?

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Hi @gsharp,

Well, here is a happy coincidence; I could not talk about this earlier but this just went public so this might work for you and your customer.

SketchUp Viewer is now available for Meta Quest through the App Lab, and it currently free to use for all, including Free users. All you need is a Trimble ID.

You can download the app through the App Lab page here:

The new Viewer includes (among others):

  • Compatibility with Quest 2 and Quest Pro untethered!
  • New UI
  • New Sign In via Device Authentication
  • Improved navigation using thumbsticks and the grip buttons
  • Presentation Mode (via Scenes)
  • Improved performance (faster loading and loading of larger files)

Keep in mind that all Free users also get access to Trimble Connect so you can also share your projects with them via Trimble Connect!.
The Personal (free) TC account includes:

  • Create one free project
  • Join up to 5 projects
  • 10GB of free space in Trimble Connect.

Feel free to forward this information to your customer too.

I hope this helps, and I cannot wait to hear your feedback!


Great news… considering hundred of thousands of SU users contribute millions of models to SU warehouse for free I think that is a fair trade…

Thanks for the heads-up! will test it later today…

regarding AR… it is fine for looking at small 3d models… but not much good when i want to wander around a new house, or a boeing 747… etc they are hard to fit in my living room… your new navigation tools and scenes will be a huge benefit in that regard

@gsharp I agree with you that VR is sometimes better for viewing houses, planes and all sorts of smaller things as well. But just to offer a counterpoint regarding AR (and/or XR). I have used the HoloLens to layout (spray paint and flag) edging around houses, to practice excavation (snow test!), to grade hills, and excavate base for retaining walls while driving a CAT machine. The utility of AR (and the future of XR) depends on getting a few more things right. For example, anchoring models so they don’t shutter or shift, using passthrough video to solve the problem of ‘fighting with the sun’/brightness.

The new SketchUp Viewer may be poised to open the XR door pretty soon (if people can see the utility of it). Exciting times!

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Hi @Aristodimos

Well just setup my Quest2 and loaded the new SU viewer onto it and here are my first bits of feedback…

1 - It works, it is smooth and quick :smile:
2 - it insists on me having a subscription license :worried:
3 - walking navigation was impossible for me … left thumbstick could only move forward… I would intuitively expect the stick would control all x,y movement… and collision detection seemed flaky…
4 - Scene navigation worked well
5 - Floating menu box interaction was clumsy…( a bit in your face) with no obvious and quick way to toggle on or off, and no way to have it float above model… sometimes was hidden by the model surfaces…

Now. I do recognise that this is a beta… its difficult to note things with a headset on and my test was pretty short ( headsets get pretty hot ) and I had no manual :slight_smile:

I could not access my 3d warehouse models… only the two demo projects

I really don’t understand why Trimble insist on only subscription license holders only having access… a real slap in the face to millions of users who have supported Sketchup both with annual support payments and amazing contributions to your 3d Warehouse… if this is some marketing technique to convince us to roll over to subscription licenses a much better technique would be to provide us with annual value for money improvements to the core software!

I know you indicated that it should be available to all free (and maybe there is some internal mis-communication with Trimble) … but that is not the case in the version I downloaded and I even if it was I have little faith it would stay that way in the long term given past history…

I am also curious why the Viewer even has to be a META app… you already have 3d Warehouse with AR viewing capabilities… why isn’t VR just built into 3d Warehouse browser and Sketchup software… it is a trivial process to view this on my PC with my Quest 2 … it all seems so complicated for what is meant to be a universal medium for 3d data! Chaining yourself to the META platform seems rather shortsighted in a rapidly evolving area … with APPLE now becoming involved and VR headset technology trending to PC fed lightweight glasses…

Bigscreen VR headset

Building for Quest is more like an Android build. The SU VR Viewer for Quest 2/Pro is platform specific like the SU Viewer for HoloLens 1 (which is a Univeral Windows Platform build).

AR, in this use case, is mostly for phones and tablets (devices with forward facing cameras). Models can be placed in the environment. Most headsets don’t have good passthrough yet so AR was focused where most people could use it.

You’re right. It’s because that’s a windows app.

It’s complicated because there are so many devices. I’d say they are more ‘chained’ to the HoloLens than Meta, since Trimble sells its own version of the HoloLens. I’m glad Trimble is targeting Meta because Meta has passthrough. Quest Pro can do VR and AR. The functionality of the Phone/Tablet/HoloLens AR and the VR of plain ol’ VR headsets is coming together in a single, portable, device.

I used to stuff my laptop into a backpack so I could run a plugged in Oculus Rift with a Zed Mini camera strapped to the front. I could take advantage of a more powerful processor and use passthrough on site… but it wasn’t great!

Just my 2 cents, Gary. :slight_smile:

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Hi @gsharp,

Firstly thank you so much for taking the time to try out the app, offer your honest feedback, and voice your concerns. It very much appreciated, and please know that we are taking into account everything you tell us in this forum

Me and the team will run some additional tests, but the full version of the app should be available to all users with a Trimble ID regardless of their subscription entitlement.

I understand though that the wording of our messaging might be confusing. Currently the first time a user with a Free entitlement launches the app they will see this message:


What that really does is bringing to the user’s attention that

  • They can use this app to view any file that they have in the Trimble Connect account (even the free Trimble Connect account)
  • They can view the demo files that are included in the app
  • If they want to author 3D models then they will need to use another SketchUp client (Web, Mobile, or Web) for which they will need a subscription (*this admittedly is not true for authoring with SketchUp Free).

If you find the above confusing please let us know.


In fact if you are interested to offer feedback on how we are trying to improve some of these interfaces sign up for our Alpha/Beta program here

Working on that; I will soon make a forum post with description of the features and what to test.

With regards to the whole platforms conversation I think @3DxJFD makes some valid points but overall I would look at the whole XR platform landscape more like a journey rather than a destination.

Thanks again for everyone’s contribution!

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More on the release and an introduction to the various features in the post below: