Brink Traveler: Virtual Travel

5-star rating
PCVR, Quest, Link
Meditation, Travel
Comfortable, Roomscale, Stationary

Review updated December 2023 to include updated functionality and new locations.

Brink Traveler immerses you in virtual picture postcards of natural wonders that you've always wanted to visit and helps relive memories of places past. All in solitude. Without the crowds that you'll usually find at these popular locations. Not content to simply place you within expertly captured photogrammetry and 3D modeling, Brink Traveler also adds animation to waterfalls, birds in the sky and other surprises while surrounding you with a realistic audio experience.

At the time of this updated review the app features 20 locations around the world and an additional 7 locations for the Quest version. Head to the bottom of this review to see a list and map of all the locations, most of which feature natural spectacles as their focus. We're told that the PCVR update will include the 7 additional locations and will be available in January 2024.

Walking around each location is possible either by pressing on the joystick or by walking around in your actual room. Though confined to a small viewing area, it's fun to maneuver around the available space to appreciate the landscape in three full dimensions and to peer over ledges into chasms below.

Brink Traveler screenshot of Iceland's Haifoss.

Presentation is also very good. The elegant menus are easy to operate and additional functions are available by pressing on a watch on your off-hand. A compass in your dominant hand helps you explore several points of interest hidden in the landscape, offering a little more interpretation of the scene around you. There's also an option to frame your fingers in a rectangle to take a photo – this takes a little getting used to, but then quickly becomes second nature. We also appreciate the simpler touches, such as describing the time of year, temperature and wind speed at each location.

Brink Traveler also offers a social feature. Share each location with invited guests using a room code, or mingle with random strangers on the internet. Each user must own a copy of the app. When we tried connecting with strangers, unlike the Wander app we rarely found anybody available.

Audio narration is presented in English and includes immersive effects, such as an echo when you're standing deep in a slot canyon. Unfortunately the interpretive descriptions of each location are rather light on content, and if you've already read the description on the loading page while downloading a new location, then the audio narration is just a frustrating repetition.

We found some the over saturated colors to be unnatural and occasionally an animated model added to the scenery – such as a cruise ship passing through a Norwegian fjord – was distracting to the point of breaking immersion. It would be great if these could be turned off. Also, though it's good to see the support of multiple languages (listed below), and as far as we could tell this support doesn't extend to audio narration. When using the app in a language other than English, the narration was absent and the additional content for the POI feature wouldn't even show up as text.

Our original review expressed disappointment with the limited availability of interpretative content, but for Quest owners at least this has been addressed to a degree an the AI assistant. Access the assistant via a walkie-talkie in your hand and it will respond audibly to your spoken questions about the destination in which you're currently location. This feature isn't available in the PCVR version at the time we updated this review.

Elegant menus. This notebook lists the POIs you've found.

The graphics on the PCVR platform are better defined than on the Quest 2 version, though with the late 2023 update there are now improved graphical updates available for Quest 3 owners. Below we offer some actual screenshot comparisons.

Brink Traveler is an excellent way to experience a good selection natural world landmarks if you can't travel there yourself. Having spent time exploring the world of Google Street View from inside the Wander app we do find the limited area of each Brink location to be confining, but Brink Traveler is unsurpassed in graphical detail and immersion. Another option is Blueplanet VR Explore which features good photogrammetry and contextual information over a greater number of locations but feels less polished.

Horseshoe Bend: Quest 2 vs PCVR comparison.

Late 2023 update includes Greece's Navagio Beach.

USA Destinations:
· Antelope Canyon · Arches National Park · Bryce Canyon · Crystal Crag · Death Valley · Glen Canyon · Goblin Valley · Horseshoe Bend · Lone Pine Peak · Mt Morrison · Mt Whitney · The Wave · White Pocket

European Destinations:
· Cirque de Gavarnie, Spain · Dune of Pilat, France · Haifoss, Iceland · Pulpit Rock, Norway

Rest of the World:
· Ulsanbawi, South Korea · Mt Sunday, New Zealand

Quest only Destinations:
· Aoraki & Mt Cook, New Zealand · Bardenas Reales, Spain · Landmannalaugar, Iceland · Marseille, France · Navagio Beach, Greece · Peña Ezcaurre, Spain · Red Rock Canyon, USA

✅ Excellent immersive experience.
✅ 27 (Quest) or 20 (PCVR) diverse world locations.
✅ Elegant user interface is easy to use.
❌ Limited opportunities for exploration.
❌ Interpretative content could be better defined.

• Languages: Cantonese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish
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