Since the HTC Vive first launched in 2016, the VR market hasn’t modified an entire lot. Standalone units just like the HTC Vive Focus and Oculus Go are coming to market to offer PC-less VR experiences and Sony’s PlayStation VR has proved there’s an urge for food for VR content material – so long as it’s accessible content material. But, on the entire, VR isn’t an entire lot additional alongside the street to mass uptake than it was two years in the past.
That’s in all probability why the HTC Vive’s room-scale VR setup stays, even now, the perfect system available on the market. Which, in fact, is why HTC Vive is selecting now to launch its second-generation headset: the HTC Vive Pro. With an elevated – close to 3K – decision, an additional chaperone digital camera, a comfier headband and sporting a brand new color scheme, the Pro is best than the unique in just about each means you possibly can assume.
Except, that is not fairly the mind-blowing change the business must push it to the subsequent degree. It merely feels how trendy VR ought to have felt when it launched again in 2016.
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HTC Vive Pro evaluation: Revamped hardware
On the hardware entrance, probably the most noticeable change between the unique HTC Vive “VR” (because it’s now referred to as) and the HTC Vive Pro is that it’s not boring black however a delicate, blue color. If you’re fairly observant, you’ll additionally discover that the Vive Pro now has a dual-camera setup for its Chaperone know-how, as an alternative of the only digital camera discovered on the Vive.
The headstrap on the Vive Pro can also be new, and just like the Vive’s Deluxe Audio Strap, full with low-slung, adjustable band. It’s significantly extra snug to put on than the stretchy webbing-based becoming of previous and, as a result of loads of the load distribution has been shifted in the direction of the again of the headset, you not really feel as in case your brow is being tugged in the direction of the ground any extra. The built-in headphone earpieces are sturdier and extra snug than on the Deluxe Audio Strap.
The largest technical advance with the HTC Vive Pro, nevertheless, is improved picture decision, new lenses and a brighter show. Instead of Vive VR’s 1,200 x 1,080-pixels per eye shows, the Vive Pro provides up 1,440 x 1,600 pixels per eye, supplying you with a close to 3K gaming expertise throughout each eyes. The new lenses have additionally been designed to sharpen the picture and soften the shutter door impact the common Vive VR suffers from.
It’s not simply the hardware that has seen enhancements, although. HTC Vive has made the Vive Pro lots much less fussy to arrange this time, with only a single cable main from the headset to the breakout field that connects to your PC. And, in the event you’re upgrading to the Vive Pro from Vive VR, you’ll be happy to know that HTC Vive has put collectively a “Headset Only” package deal that doesn’t include controllers or base stations, which means you possibly can change over to the Pro with out faffing round changing completely all the things.
Perhaps probably the most shocking information of all, although, is that, regardless of its greater decision show, the Vive Pro doesn’t require a extra highly effective machine to run than the unique Vive VR. If you’ve purchased a brand new gaming PC or laptop computer inside the final yr, you’ll probably to have the ability to run HTC Vive Pro on it.
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HTC Vive Pro evaluation: Experiencing “Pro” VR
Obviously, the HTC Vive Pro is not any worse than what got here earlier than. And, simply because the Vive VR was on the time of its launch, the Vive Pro is definitely the perfect VR gadget out there proper now. However, I dished out a Four-star rating for the HTC Vive and, regardless of Vive Pro’s quite a few advances, I’ve completed the identical right here as a result of it doesn’t fairly really feel just like the step up it wanted to be.
The improved optics and display decision are definitely spectacular. Jumping as much as 1,440 x 1,600-pixels per eye makes fairly a distinction, even when it’s initially solely very delicate. Small objects within the distance now seem sharper, with textual content and objects within the foreground remaining crisp and clear as your focus shifts, as an alternative of turning right into a blurry, ghosted mess. On Vive VR, navigating menus was an train in sample recognition if the choice you needed wasn’t instantly inside the headset’s candy spot. Now, although, the small textual content of menus are as crisp as studying phrases printed on a web page.
Combine these improved visuals with Vive Pro’s room-scale monitoring and also you’re in for a high-end VR expertise you’ll be able to’t discover anyplace else. But, when you’ve already sunk cash into an HTC Vive you may marvel the sensible level of upgrading is. With entry to the identical HTC Vive library and Viveport experiences, there’s there’s nothing that you are able to do on the Pro that may’t be achieved on the unique headset.
It’s comprehensible the producer didn’t need to cut up its consumer base by providing unique experiences for Vive Pro customers alone however, in doing so, it’s making it that bit more durable to influence present customers to improve.
HTC Vive Pro evaluation: Price and availability
Pricing across the HTC Vive Pro is a bit complicated, and that’s resulting from modifications to the best way the Vive Pro is packaged. On the floor, it seems to be as if the brand new headset prices the identical as the unique Vive VR: £799. In reality, that’s not the case. Unlike the primary Vive, the Pro does not arrive in a field full with controllers, baystations and every part else that you must get began in VR.
Instead, all you’re getting is the HTC Vive Pro headset and cables. This “Headset Only” package deal actually is the one package deal obtainable. It’s clearly a transfer to make it less expensive for these upgrading from the unique Vive VR nevertheless it’s definitely not excellent for newcomers who don’t have already got the required gear. HTC Vive’s answer is to supply a “Vive Accessory Starter Pack” containing two Vive controllers and two baystations. But that provides a cool £250, knocking the worth of a Vive Pro as much as a surprising £1,050.
Thankfully, the Vive VR is now simply £500 for the entire package deal, making it a nicer leaping off level for newcomers. HTC Vive can also be providing up a finance scheme that allows you to pay again the Vive Pro for £48 per thirty days over 24 months. So you’ll be ending paying it off, simply in time for the subsequent HTC Vive headset replace to reach, then.
HTC Vive Pro assessment: Verdict
It might sound like I’m not completely bought on the HTC Vive Pro however that isn’t the case. Sure, it’s much more costly than headline worth may recommend and it’s solely an incremental improve over Vive VR, nevertheless it’s undeniably the most effective VR headset available on the market proper now.
It makes VR experiences really feel extra plausible and practical than earlier than. It’s additionally a better-designed, and extra snug than the unique headset, which means you’ll be able to spend for much longer within the second.
Is it the transformative VR expertise that’ll transfer the business ahead once more? Not actually. But for those who’re keen about VR it’s completely well worth the funding.