While HTC is planning to launch the Vive Pro headset itself starting in Q1, the full package including the headset, controllers, and new SteamVR Tracking 2.0 base stations won’t come until later in the year. Until then, here’s a glimpse that comes to us from Alvin Wang Graylin, HTC’s Vive China president, who recently took the kit to a Vive developer meetup in the region.

While the Vive Pro’s increase resolution is its headline feature for most, lurking underneath those iconic dots covering the headset and controllers are new sensors supporting SteamVR Tracking 2.0. The new 2.0 tracking is said to be better in several ways, including support for even larger playspaces of up to 33 × 33 feet if you link four of them together. While the Vive Pro headset and controllers are backwards compatible with 1.0 base stations (that ship with the original Vive), you won’t see the major benefits of 2.0 without the 2.0 base stations (which won’t be available until later this year, and won’t be backwards compatible with the original Vive).

SEE ALSO
Hands-on: The Vive Pro is Much More Than an Improved Screen

The new wand controllers appear largely the same as before, save for the 2.0 sensors. We learned earlier this month that HTC is not planning to launch the Vive Pro with Valve’s highly anticipated Knuckles controllers.

HTC told us then that the controllers would be “refreshed,” which we hoped would mean more than merely swapping out the new sensors, though there’s not much evidence of external change here (I’m still holding out hope that the grip buttons have been made easier to press and hold). We were able to confirm that the controllers pictured are indeed sporting the 2.0 sensors, but we’re still awaiting confirmation that they represent the final design.

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  • Slayin

    I’m really waiting to hear the price.

    • johngrimoldy

      I’m bracing myself… any predictions? I’m guessing $449 for the headset only as an upgrade for current Vive users. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not the LEAST BIT HAPPY about that. It’s just my prediction. I want (very badly) to be wrong. I’d be highly (and delightfully) surprised if it were $100 less.

      Sadly, being an early adopter comes at a price.

      • jarjarplinks

        I’m with you, I don’t believe they have any interest in rewarding Vive owners with a ‘value’ upgrade. The most dedicated Vive owners will pay the premium, as they did before as these customers demonstrated they have the money to buy the most expensive HMD in the first place. I’m a Vive owner, use it most days. I’d probably pay £400 for the Vive Pro HMD upgrade if those extra pixels really are as meaningful as the early reports suggest.

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      • NooYawker

        Won’t you need the 2.0 lighthouses as well? I doubt current Vive owners will get a discount. Maybe if Valve released the hardware but it’s HTC. It’s not worth buying a whole new set for a refresh. I won’t buy anything until I see actual 2nd gen hardware.

        • Brian Brown

          No. The new Vive HMD will work perfectly with your existing Steam VR hardware. That being said, the new 2.0 lighthouses will NOT work with the current Vive headset.

    • Blackfire1

      If I had to take an educated guess? Seeing as they fixed their manufacturing issues from 1.0. Managed to get better resource distribution. I’m going to say $399 for an upgrade. $699 for the entire 2.0 units. Since they will be getting back a massive amount of 1.0’s that will still be on sale. I wouldn’t doubt if they start a refurbished line for a discount.

      • PRGuy69

        700$ for the whole 2.0 kit would be awesome. I’m already putting some money on the side (not owning any VR gear besides a cardboard)

    • bliglum .

      $399 for new standard Vive package, or $399 for standalone Vive pro HMD, and $599-$699 for Vive pro package.

      • Brian Brown

        God, that would be great. I’m not holding my breath for those prices though……

  • ChrisVR

    Get your credit cards out guys HTC is about to rip us a new one. Two years of R&D and this is what they offer us. Lets not forget HTC dont even make half this stuff. It’s all VALVE and HTC take all the credit. By the same time this launches there will be more headsets using Steam tracking 2.0 and the Pimax 8k is set to look twice as good as this rubbish dev kit. There’s no way I’m paying up untill I see reviews from both!

    • johngrimoldy

      On the plus side, ChrisVR, the Vive is pretty well made. You gotta admit, there have been few complaints about quality. The damned thing works reliably. It’s easy to overlook that. Don’t. ‘Bought mine 14 months ago and new releases are STILL compatible. Often times, in early adoption, you’re not so lucky. To wit: Beta, Digitial Compact Cassette, HD DVD. It’s not like I want to release HTC from accountability, but I want to give perspective. This has been working out well so far, hasn’t it?

      Pimax 8K may look nice on paper…. So does the Hyperloop as a replacement for High Speed Rail in California (both of which are ridiculous pipe dreams).

      You’re VERY sensible in wanting to see reviews before ponying up for anything. I’m not yet going to dismiss the new Vive 1.5 as rubbish. I’m willing to wait and see. It seems the Pimax may have even bigger hurdles to clear.

      Regardless, I’m enjoying the ride while I wait. There have been some wonderful titles that look just fine on my Vive (I’m referring to you, Alien:Isolation and Google Earth VR).

      • daveinpublic

        Hyperloop was literally a pipe dream.

    • Raphael

      Ummm.. this isn’t 2 years of research.. It’s a refresh. An interim refresh is a good idea. You might not have noticed but OctopisVR don’t have a refreshed Octopus Rift announced. What are you ranting like a maniac for? Pimax has development issues to resolve and it’s doubtful whether those issues can be resolved for Q2. Pimax will be great when it’s finished but that ain’t happening for Q2.

      • M Rob

        I agree with everything you said……………………Wow there really is a first time for everything.

      • Get Schwifty!

        As you said “You might not have noticed but OctopusVR don’t have a refreshed Octopus Rift announced.” *yet*

        No question they are not going to release something improved.

        • Raphael

          Agree. It looks like they are very active in R&D on new VR hardware.

    • NooYawker

      The Pimax doesn’t look like anything. Everything looks good on paper. Until the Pimax is finally released it means nothing. You’ll be waiting at least another year if it comes out at all.

  • J.C.

    Mreh…a bit higher resolution screen really isn’t enough to get me to buy a new headset.

    • Miganarchine Migandi

      I agree, I would have liked to see a wider field of view, At the moment I feel I have lost the VR bug, I am hoping for some better games this year, fed up with all the dross on the Vive.

      • Jean-Sebastien Perron

        After playing all the interesting PSVR and PCVR games and experiences (over 100). I am now only playing with VR simulators like Project Cars 2 VR, Race Room VR, iRacing VR, IL-2 Sturmovik VR and Derail Valley VR full time.

    • NooYawker

      I don’t think is meant for people who already own a Rift or Vive. It’s for anyone looking to buy a VR set for the first time.

  • Brenton Michael Lindeboom

    hoping the battery life is better that’s why i love rift removable batteries

  • gothicvillas

    Why they didnt increase FOV is beyond me. Even from 110 to 120 would be an increase.

    • I find this odd too. We have lots of headsets under 110 fov and a few prototype headsets that have gone the full whack of 200+ fov. You would think somebody would try and do one between those values. I assume there is some technical factor that is holding this back. Maybe RoadToVR could do some research into this and write an article.

      • faaaaq

        If they increase FOV, they would need to increase pixel counts to keep the increase in pixel density with the wider displays necessary. Thats fine and dandy, but would further stress hardware in trying to keep all those extra pixels running at as close to 90fps as possible

  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    So it’s nothing than a more expensive Samsung odyssey imitation with a bulky look, ancient tracking technology and shitty sticks instead of proper controller with analog sticks. Old technology sold at a premium price.

    • It is more capable than the Odyssey imo.

      Odyssey has Outside-In tracking. That’s great unless your arms are out of view doing something. You could walk around a corner with it and the tracking keeps up but then you are still tethered by a cable so nobody will do that. If your arms go beyond the front facing tracking then you lose precision. The Vive also supports all the Steam tracking accessories so for people that want to do more than play games, they can (e.g. Motion capture).

      Vive uses Lighthouse tracking. which is considered the best out there for those who have the time to set it up and this is compatible with the the latest 2.0 version while being backwards compatible, you can now have 4 of them if you want bigger or more complicated play areas.

      They also announced a wireless module that is designed for it. Looks better than TPCast and then its cable free too.

      I agree the wands are a disappointment in 2018 when there are superior touch controller designs that have been out for ages. The Odyssey has wands too, ones that look like they could snap quite easily. No winners there. VR should be looking beyond analog input.

      As to the bulky look, well yeah but why is that an issue when you never see it when it’s on. It is function over design imo, even if it does look ugly. I bet the ergonomics and comfort are improvements over the Vive and Odyssey.

      The Odyssey looks like it uses the same panels and FOV so yup, you are right there. The optics might be a different matter though. Will have to wait and see for that one.

      The Vive Pro has dual cameras, dual microphones and noise cancelling headphones that are from all reports, better on paper too. High res audio etc.

      So it is everything the Odyssey is but more across the board and with native Steam support there is no waiting for patches either.

      As you mention, price will be a big factor for many but more choice in the VR world is a good thing. We need tiers.

      • daveinpublic

        “The Odyssey has wands too, ones that look like they could snap quite easily. No winners there.”

        I think Samsung may have the edge with the controllers, because it has the analog sticks – which some see as a requirement for high end gaming. I think the real toss up comes with the tracking. Samsung is less accurate but more convenient. Some hard core gamers won’t want to deal with the peripheral blind spots for the controllers.

    • PoTemos Comunismo

      People prefer outside tracking… inside tracking is for poor people only.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Ugh, i do hope they’ll also release it in black, the blue is sooooo ugly, and yes i do care about how it looks even though when i have it on i don’t see it.

    • Andrew McEvoy

      Quite like the blue myself.

      • Jistuce

        The blue makes me nostalgic. Get an old Wingman joystick to go with your new VR headset and party like it’s 1994.

      • To be honest, the new tested video makes the blue look a lot better imo. At first I thought urgh but it is growing on me.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usngKTUCB1E

  • I think that the controllers will be further upgraded

  • trekkie

    Without inside-out tracking this is hardly worth it.

    • Caven

      For something that’s tethered in some form anyway, I’d rather have fully tracked controllers than partially tracked controllers.

    • PoTemos Comunismo

      Hardcore gamer perfer outside tracking… thats why people prefer this HMD over the Samsung Odyssey.

  • theonlyrealconan

    It all depends on price and availability. Not to mention Pimax, since it works with Vive’s tracking as well. I was thinking of waiting for Pimax to come out and compare the two and upgrade my Vive accordingly. But if the pro is a decent price, I might not want to wait since Pimax seems a long way off. I guess if the standalone unit was $399, I would probably take the plunge right away.

  • Piotrek

    Is base station 2.0 compatible with Vive Trackers that are for sale right now?
    Can’t find any info on that and I would appreciate it if somebody can answer me.
    Thanks in advance.