An apparent leak in HTC’s marketing material has revealed images of the upcoming Vive Flow VR headset ahead of its October 14th unveiling. The headset, which is rumored to target consumers with a casual approach to media consumption, is reportedly priced at $500, and said to begin pre-orders on October 15th.

Serial leaker ‘evleaks’ released a trove of images last night which reveal much about Vive Flow, although not every answer to all of the burning questions. We haven’t substantiated the images below, although they appear to be authentic given how they match up with the progressive teases HTC has done over the past two weeks.

It appears Vive Flow has onboard processing as stipulated in earlier reports, making it fundamentally a standalone headset.

Image courtesy evleaks

Here’s a look inside behind Vive Flow’s mirrored faceplate, which shows two optical sensors, ostensibly used for 6DOF positional tracking. If earlier reports can be believed, this may also include hand-tracking capabilities. No motion controller is seen in marketing info, and it was previously reported by Protocol that hand-tracking would be the headset’s main input method.

Image courtesy evleaks

As a side note, that Protocol report also maintained Flow’s onboard chipset would be less powerful than the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 found in Oculus Quest 2 and Vive Focus 3.

While active cooling is present, from the images it’s not clear where onboard power is supposed to fit in the whole package. On the right temple arm of the headset you can see a cable trailing off, which appears to be a USB Type-C port, possibly for external power.

Image courtesy evleaks

A top-down image showing off its snap-on facial interface reveals how thin the display and optics really are, something we’ve stipulated may be thanks to the inclusion of ‘pancake’ lenses like we saw on Pico’s VR glasses prototype at CES 2020. These typically shorten the distance between display and optics at some reduction of field of view.

Image courtesy evleaks

The only look we get directly at the lenses reveals it has built-in diopter settings, so near-sighted people can use the close-fitting headset without glasses. Dual diopter dials appear to show up to a -6.0 diopter focusing power.

Image courtesy evleaks

It’s still not clear what HTC is hiding with the cable. The marketing material shows phones that notably aren’t tethered to the headset physically, and are instead connected via Bluetooth.

Image courtesy evleaks

Some of the mystery of input seems to be revealed in the image below, which maintains that a user’s phone can be used as a VR controller. This would likely be 3DOF input only.

Image courtesy evleaks

In fact, a large set of lifestyle photos position Vive Flow as a consumer headset that’s focusing on casual media consumption, and possibly productivity as well.

With the tagline “Designed to fit into your life,” Vive Flow is definitely playing to its compact form-factor, positioning it as a good on-the-go solution for media consumption.

Image courtesy evleaks

The thermos-style carrying case is said to come as a free gift when pre-ordered, which is said to start on October 15th, with shipments said to come in early November. The MSRP of $499 USD is also said to get you seven free VR apps and two months of a service called ‘Infinity Vista’, which sounds like it may be a tuned-down version of Viveport Infinity for the standalone device.

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There’s still plenty to learn about Vive Flow. We’ll be watching on October 14th for HTC’s Vive Flow event to see what gaps they can fill in. We’re still waiting to hear about specs and what other capabilities it may have, which may better justify its $500 price tag to consumers.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • silvaring

    I’ll buy one of these… if it will actually work for 2D content like old games and movies. The only reason headsets like the Lenovo Explorer don’t work well right now for 2D content is you cant wear the damn things while lying down. Even old video glasses like the i-theatre ones could be used lying down and made playing console games amazing back in the day (large 100+ inch screen, with rubber inlays to prevent light leaking in). It’s about time we had a proper replacement for those old hard to find devices. Kudos to a new era of big screen wearables!

    • kontis

      The problem is no one was buying those cool sleek media viewers and the primitive bulky Oculus DK1 with 10x worse PPI sold better than any previous HMD in history despite being a “dev kit” available only on one website.

      • silvaring

        Well there’s a few reasons those media viewers didn’t take off and certainly it would make for an interesting discussion on why the industry never pushed them more… but I can definitely see resolution being a big one, as well as the entrenched social behavior of watching television as a social activity (which has now been eroded a lot thanks to smartphones and tablets right?)

    • Zubalism

      I currently use my Oculus go with a xbox controller for 2D games and watch anime on it. Since it is just a headband around the head, you can lie down with it.
      If this is a decent upgrade over the Oculus go, I might buy it.

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    • Kevin White

      Switch in bed would be kinda cool, though $500 is steep.

    • mepy

      While I watch a lot of Netflix, Prime and Youtube in VR I still think the resolution needs to be better for it really to replace TVs.

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    • Ad

      Who says this is good when laying down? Just get a projector.

      • Geoff

        And where would you put a projector to aim at your ceiling?

        • Ad

          Is this a joke? Literally turn it on its side, and they make ceiling projectors.

          • VR5

            I have a lamp on my ceiling. A projector isn’t as portable (not to mention you need another device wired to it, for source video). A projector also doesn’t work well during the day. And a ceiling doesn’t provide the best viewing angle. The distance is too short to get a real big screen with a projector.

            The Flow doesn’t have a strap on the back of your head, or a battery or other counterweight. It is ideal for lying on your back.

  • Joerg Balfanz

    500 $ is much money for a 3 DOF Media viewer…

    I will wait, the last Vive Product i brought was the VP 2 and it was only OK and was astronomic high Priced… isended it back and now i got a 8Kx, this was the price worth.

    a Price arround 350$ would be ok……

    • VR5

      This is assumed to be 6dof. Passthrough and hand-tracking were also mentioned.

      • mappo

        There are only two tracking cameras, so passthrough and hand tracking are unlikely. You don’t see anyone using their hands for interaction in any of those photos.

        • VR5

          Why would you need more than two cameras? That’s enough for stereoscopic passthrough and if the hands are out of your view, there’s no need to track them. Also, what would the cameras be for, other than position tracking or passthrough?

          Headsets that use more than two do so to get better coverage for controller tracking. Which this doesn’t need.

          • mappo

            Now we know: no passthrough, no hand tracking.

          • VR5

            Hand-tracking is still planned and was reported beforehand. Passthrough would have made this a much more interesting offer but that is apparently not part of the feature set.

            Anyway, lack of these features isn’t caused by the number of the cameras. HoloLense does hand tracking with two cameras and the Index does passthrough with two cameras.

    • MountainK1ng

      It says right in the article that it’s 6DOF. Then again, most media isn’t even made to take advantage of 6DOF, and I doubt it has great tracking for games. I don’t think it’s the product for me, but maybe it will fit someone’s use case.

      I’ll remain in the enjoying my PSVR while waiting for PSVR2 camp for now.

  • kontis

    If the phone app displays a fiducial marker then the phone could easily be tracked in 6DOF and even without it it’s much easier to track a rectangle than bendable fingers.

    I bet the first AR glasses from Apple will heavily rely on iPhone for the input and maybe even the entire premise initially will be “add virtual screens to your iPhone”, which would technologically leapfrog foldable smartphones. It could turn a phone into a portable workstation.

  • Tabp

    This looks really cool. The design concept gets an A, so now we just have to see whether they can deliver a high enough level of quality in the execution.

  • There’s just not interest for me in them going smaller if that means compromising on things like tracking and so on. So this isn’t an exciting news thing for me.

  • Cless

    Ech, I don’t know. I had 0 expectations, and it actually looks better than what I was expecting. Let’s wait to read the specs. If it has OLED/microLED displays it might even be worth it for some people.

  • VRFriend

    Good. Wall sized TVs will be less attractive now, when you can have a true, comfortable, 3D TV in VR.

    • Rhett Brodeur

      There are still other unattractive issues like eye fatigue, neck fatigue, you are only viewing it alone unless you have additional headsets, battery life and the over all uncomfortable experience of wearing a HMD for hours, though this looks like the comfiest one to date.

      • VRFriend

        I agree. There are some cons as well.

      • mepy

        Yeah, on neck-pain e.g. the Netflix app needs the ability to move the screen around.

    • gothicvillas

      I wouldnt mind that but that would need to be AR then. Perhaps all of this will become obsolete when proper brain interface is available

    • mepy

      Resolution is still not quite there imo.

    • Duane Aakre

      I have a 10-foot screen in my home theater. I find 80% of the things I watch don’t warrant my full attention, so most of the time I’ll be sitting there with my Ipad in my lap surfing the web and switching my attention between it and the screen. Assuming someone comes out with a VR headset that is comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time, I would still want to have the ability to display two simultaneous windows in it – one to watch TV/movies and one to surf the web.

  • This could be a good option for VR media production… Light weight and can be thrown in a bag with a VR camera. That said a Oculus Go can still server this purpose for cheaper…

    • Cless

      We’ll se how they compare specs wise, it might be a substantial upgrade… or not, I don’t get my hopes up with HTC anymore lol

  • 144Hz

    It looks like the pron glasses I’ve been waiting for.

    • dk

      expensive for that tho …and the phone needs to be plugged in

      • MountainK1ng

        It doesn’t plug into the phone. Looks like it has a connection to a battery pack though. Not sure if that’s just for longer life, or required. I would hope it has as least 30 minutes battery life on-board. Have a battery in a pocket or on a chair next to you while watching a movie wouldn’t be too bad.

        • mepy

          Could be it plugs into the phone through a wire also as an optiono, even though it’s a stand-alone and you can use the phone as a controller. HTC Vive talked about 2-1 devices before, which use the computing power of a phone. Could be there are two versions of the Vive Flow, one cheaper one that uses the phone or a PC, and one stand-alone.

        • dk

          it’s the same qualcomm platform as lenovo a3 …xr1 in the headset and using it with a phone saves the phone battery better than if it didn’t have the xr1 …..but we’ll see for sure tomorrow

      • John Bell

        Expensive? 500 bucks is a night at a strip club.

        • dk

          I mean it’s expensive compared to $300 headset with controllers and xr2 and stanalone/pc-wired-wireless connection

          …..not sure if u r joking but sure for plenty of people it’s not that expensive….. the other day I saw a video about a California woman spending close to that monthly if I remember correctly on food and insurance for her dog …..for her that is like nothing …for a lot of people it’s a nice car payment

          • JB1968

            Nope – $500 without Facebook account is always much cheaper than $300 with being stalked by Zuckerberg.

          • dk

            yes …and the price is still 40% higher than q2

          • JB1968

            Depends on if you see your price only as bunch of $ bucks or in more wider ethical point of view.

          • dk

            yes I was talking just about the price …the amount of dollars out of your pocket is 40% higher with the flow ….in both cases if u do or don’t care about facebook tracking u

    • DeanVega

      Ah yes the HTC Vive Flow porn guides are flourishing right now. Everyone who uses VR headsets only to watch porn was waiting for a moment like this. This type of design is clearly the future as the bulky headsets will become obsolete in a few years.
      I appreciate Vive’s approach with the Flow, I think it’s very useful and light. I mean, think about it – Oculus Quest 2 weighs half a kilogram, while HTC Vive Flow only weighs 200g.

  • mappo

    When your app library is so thin you have to splice the competition’s apps into your mockup pics: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FBimSO8XMAQh9BC?format=jpg&name=large

  • johann jensson

    Nothing about the most important aspects?
    1) Resolution?
    2) FOV?
    3) wireless PCVR support?

    • VRFriend

      4. Controllers? :)

  • Muckylittleme

    When will companies involved in HMD manufacture give us what we want instead of what they think a mythical mass market might want?

  • Ad

    This is embarrassing. I hate that a company like Lynx has hardware and nothing else, but HTC has everything but a product that anyone would want.

    • VRFriend

      Speak for yourself. Millions of people wait for such product, to replace their 65 inch tv with 200 inch 3D TV in VR.

      • Toto_Dot

        Millions ?
        I don’t anyone who wants to replace their big TV with VR.
        VR is a pain in the ass to watch movies. Eye fatigue, neck aches, edge-to-edge clarity still isn’t there with any headset. It’s a single user event, unless the whole family has the same, but then where is the family part, when you all have VR headsets on ?
        Sorry, but we’re all sticking to our 60″ LG OLED.

        • silvaring

          Nice to know you speak for everyone.

      • Ah yes, the ‘ole phantom “Millions” argument.

  • Lurene B

    I am wondering how this is going to work with steam VR

  • Sky Castle

    Feel like John Wick in VR. Look like The Fly in real life.

  • Wanker

    I’ll just say it. Am I the only one that thinks the #1 use for this is for a discreet unit that can easily be brought into more private places like the bathroom to casually consume all that media that you dont want to watch in the open in your main vr room?

  • tactfulgamer

    Interesting. If…

    1. Play stream service flat games (xbox live, amazon luna …etc) controller support required
    2. VR Desktop (Guy Godin)
    3. Some kind of *established* productivity apps
    4. creativity, akin to Spatial (my own brainstorming room where i can invite others)
    5. Strong resolution to rival or overtake TV or Tablets as a media consumption
    6. This has to be STUPID light to wear = comfortable wearing all day
    If a good amount of these mentioned above are covered, I might invest.

    Not seeing what I’m about to mention below… but if HTC were to commit to these Big Moves, increases chances of Flow gaining a deeper penetration into society and uncovering a market along the way.

    1. Hand tracking for hands on interactions
    2. Eye tracking with software to complement eye tracking features – would dominate in this form factor: reading books and turning pages or scrolling pages with eyes, comic books would get new life in VR, analyzing documents, using eyes to copy & paste excerpts within a document. use eyes to open menus within apps, etc.

    So much that can be done here

  • RoJoyInc

    why just to play movies/video? What res?

  • Till Eulenspiegel

    Looking at their marketing material, it looks like VR for Woman. Realistically mostly men will buy it for VR porn.

  • Toplite – LED3D

    It seems that the VIVI FLOW is using the same optical solutions with HUAWEI VR GLASS which can be regarded as a failure of VR product.