There may have been no better—or worse—case made for AR glasses than the experience I had trying to take meetings in large headsets in the days leading up to Microsoft Ignite. In order to give journalists (myself included) advance access to some of the features Microsoft planned to showcase Tuesday morning, Redmond shipped out a large, hard-shelled flight case filled with computer equipment. This included a HoloLens 2 ($3,500), which is “untethered” and doesn’t require a separate PC; an HP Reverb G2 VR headset ($600); and a 15-inch HP Omen laptop ($1,200 and up), which is what the Reverb headset plugs into. The gear overwhelmed my desk, and I had to move some into the kitchen.

Microsoft recommended that I spend an hour setting up the devices, ahead of a 15-minute run-through on Microsoft Teams with a public relations representative, ahead of an hour-long briefing—in HoloLens—with Kipman. To help steer the setup, Microsoft provided a QR code, which I scanned with my smartphone’s camera. This prompted a password-protected site, which led to a One Drive folder containing a PDF setup guide. “4 Steps,” the PDF read. There were 17 steps.

This was all so I could eventually watch an advance preview of the Microsoft Ignite keynote in VR; the HP Reverb G2 VR headset is powered by Microsoft’s mixed reality platform. But first, I had to take the hour-long meeting on HoloLens 2, in an app called Fenix. This part was easy, although “easy” is relative, as I have used HoloLens 2 before and am familiar with its user interface and some of the required hand gestures. I spent most of the meeting with Kipman pressing him on what was new about this Mesh software, and privately marveling at how wild it was to have a cartoon Kipman, his avatar’s hair coiffed in the same careful manner as real-life Alex, in my apartment.

A couple of days later, a group of journalists were asked to meet in VR to get that early look at the Ignite keynote. The HP Reverb G2 VR has incredibly high-resolution eye pieces, making it one of the most immersive VR headsets on the market (i.e., it should not induce nausea). The casing feels cheap, though, and I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when HP decided that the charging port for the headset should go inside the eye frames, buried underneath the magnetic face cushion.

Before we met in VR, though, we all met on Microsoft Teams again, on our own, non-HP laptops, where a Microsoft public relations representative guided us through a necessary software update on our HP laptops. This involved going into Microsoft Outlook, downloading and extracting zip files, and installing the new bits. Finally we could all meet in VR, in an app called AltspaceVR, which Microsoft acquired in 2017.

Except, as with real-life meetings or those in 2D video apps, people meandered. We were now in the latter half of our hour-long VR meeting, and we had not yet seen the presentation. We floated around each other as cartoon avatars in the audience section of a virtual keynote stage. In real life, I leaned on my kitchen counter, so I wouldn’t stumble into anything and hurt myself. My headset volume was low; someone told me to press the Windows button on my hand controller to adjust the levels, but all that did was crash AltspaceVR—twice. I rejoined the group in the virtual world, and overheard someone say, “It’s so nice you can see the time of day in here,” referring to a tiny date and time display in the virtual world, which doesn’t seem very innovative if we’re being honest here.