Software Experience

Vive Pro 2 works with SteamVR, but unlike HTC’s earlier headsets, it requires some additional companion software from HTC called the Vive Console which will be installed when you run through the setup process. This little app manages a few of the headset’s functions—most importantly the display resolution and framerate: It isn’t clear exactly how the resolution options interact with SteamVR’s own Render Resolution setting, but in my testing the best practice seems to be to first max out the Vive Console resolution (if you can), and only then if your games continue to perform well should you consider raising the SteamVR Render Resolution setting above 100%. Interactions between the Vive Console and SteamVR can be a little awkward at times—SteamVR will sometimes crash when you’re trying to make changes that require restarting the Vive Console, and the Vive Console doesn’t seem to offer any automatic audio switching between the headset and back (normally this is handled by SteamVR, but Vive Pro 2 doesn’t seem to abide by those settings). Fortunately, HTC’s own Viveport app store is entirely optional to use, even if it installs itself automatically during the setup process. HTC has also built a handy little Viveport dashboard which allows you to view your Viveport apps right inside the SteamVR dashboard. While Steam is probably going to be the go-to store for most users, it’s worth giving the Viveport Infinity free trial a spin, which grants you access to a large catalog of VR games on a subscription basis. You won’t find nearly the same range of titles there as you would in Steam, but there’s some quality picks for sure.

SEE ALSO
You Can Now Sideload Oculus Quest Apps with Your Phone – No PC Required

Disclosure: HTC provided Road to VR with a Vive Pro 2 headset.

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  • Kevin White

    Well that’s disappointing. Any thoughts as to testing with wireless?

    • James

      Who cares about wireless when all you can see is a blurry screen and godrays through a letterbox. I don’t get the intense desire for wireless for PC. Theres so many other problems to solve. Its not like people carry their 3000 dollar PC around with them and every wireless headset requires line of sight and few metre range. Wires just arent enough of a problem to warrant the effort and expense until we have decent visuals.

      • mepy

        This is just negative hyperbole. And wireless is awesome.

        • James

          Sure. I will say when playing flight sim wires are largely insignificant issue. Almost every other aspect of a headset is more important. But even with wireless the latency will never be better than wired. Another issue.

        • Yes Vive Pro wireless was very liberating

        • Toto_Dot

          Then how are you going to transmit 2,448 x 2,448 pixels, at 120hz, plus audio, over a wireless connection without falling back to compression, resulting in latency, artefacts, etc…

          Wireless is a stick used by Quest owners to beat the heads of every wired VR user, it’s all you have in arguments. When, at the end of the day, being wired only triggers Quest owners, it doesn’t bother actual wired owners.

      • Kevin White

        I disagree in every way possible. My buddy has a very stable wireless Vive Pro setup in a large area and after using that it is oppressive and immersion-breaking to go back to the heavy, omnipresent tether. His system started with the Vive in April 2016, then Vive Pro, wireless, Index Controllers, 9900K + 2080Ti, and all the SteamVR upgrades and games.The wireless is trouble-free and any latency difference is not noticeable (good latency tests are Longbow from The Lab and “whack-a-mole” from the nVidia Funhouse, and I can tell you the Vive Pro Wireless has MUCH better latency than, for example, the Samsung Odyssey).

        Anyway, heard there are restrictions on resolution on Vive Pro 2 with wireless so for those who can never go back to tethered this is a factor in considering the 2.

        • LionelHut

          From what I understand, the Vive Pro 2 is going to be a fairly significant step back in wireless resolution at launch with a patch forthcoming that will make it comparable to the current Vive Pro. No word on whether any further improvements are expected in the future. Pretty disappointing.

          I’ve started looking at the VR WIRE II to see if I can transition back to a tethered system. Wireless is great, but we may be at a point where the performance tradeoff is simply not worth it.

  • Rogue Transfer

    Some notable omissions and errors in the article. Most importantly, when providing your personal measurements for FOV, you should state your IPD and whether you use glasses or not, and what FOV measuring software(plus version number) you used, as there have been some faulty versions that miscalculated vertical FOV.

    Secondly, you failed to mention that Facebook’s camera passthrough is only black & white(and low resolution too) and whether the Vive Pro 2 is using colour cameras or not. The notable benefit of Facebook’s passthrough is the 3D view reconstruction, which Valve attempts to do similar, but in colour. I presume the Vive Pro 2 is like the Vive colour passthrough, flat? Or does it have depth?

    Thirdly, you made an error referring to Oculus still as a producer, when that company was dissolved back in 2018 and the last three Oculus brand products have been’from Facebook/Facebook Technologies. As shown on their product boxes and website for the last three years. Oculus is now just a platform/brand name from Facebook Technologies.

    • Charles

      Just read this review and was disappointed, but then realized that other reviews are much, much, much more positive about the headset than this review is. So, people should read all the reviews before rendering judgment. Do a search for “vive pro 2 review”. The MRTV review is particularly informative.

      • VirtualRoyality

        mrtv is known for giving false information. This dude made a comparison about index en hp reverb, he even said the controllers of the reverb was better.. U can’t take that guy serious..

        • james

          No he didn’t. He has always said the Valve ones are the best controllers on the market. He reiterated this recently in a debate on his next dimension podcast.

          • Kevin Brook

            It’s a frustrating irony that posters who claim exaggeration, misinformation and lies in another’s point of view nearly always have to result in using all three themselves to make their point. Truly, these comments reveal more about the poster than the person they defame.

        • Charles

          I wouldn’t say “false information”. He gives his opinions, and I’ve disagreed at times. He has a tendency to not notice when contrast is bad, based on past reviews. But several different reviewers of the Vive Pro 2 say things to the effect that the black levels are greatly improved, at the expense of less maximum brightness.

      • Dave

        To be honest Charles I take MRTV with a pinch of salt these days. He does over hype things, I like the guy but you are right it’s best to shop around. I don’t believe VirtualRoyality comment about miss-information but Seb does have a tendancy to ommit or not see stuff which everybody else can see!

        The reviews are mixed, I definately wouldn’t say they are positive. I think RoadToVR has done a great job here on balance. Checkout VoodooDE and Mike from the Oasis – they are inline with RoadToVR’s views. Sounds like you are trying to convince yourself you need the headset?

    • Sharon Bedoya

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  • Witness

    I find it odd that the author of a vr headset spent pretty much the entire article complaining about the headphones, mic, pass through camera, and strap, but nothing on the main draw: the display.

    Whats up with that?

    • wheeler

      There’s a “Displays” section on the first page where pixel density, refreshrate, SDE, mura, etc etc are covered. But you’ll notice Ben focused more on optical characteristics because I think the main point here is that the displays are bottlenecked by the lenses. You can have the best display in the world but it doesn’t matter if e.g. the angular resolution of the lenses doesn’t allow you to effectively resolve it, everything but the central area is blurry, the image is distorted, and its FOV gives the impression of something that is cropped.

    • benz145

      Wait what. Did you read the full review?

    • LionelHut

      There isn’t “nothing” about the display in this review, but I do agree that far too much of the global coverage for the Vive Pro 2 has been focused on extraneous nonsense. I really don’t care that HTC didn’t improve the camera that I never use, or the microphone that I never use, or the wands that I rarely use, or incorporate eye tracking which has absolutely no practical gaming application whatsoever. If the display is the only thing that’s changed then that’s literally the only information I’m looking for.

  • Gonzax

    Disappointing. A much bigger FOV, both horizontal and vertical, or at least keeping the vertical height of Index, is what I would call a good upgrade and it’s obviously not the case here.

    • Cless

      Damn, didn’t notice that abysmal vertical FOV… how could they make it worse than in the OG Vive or OG Pro…?

      • Shy Guy

        Probably because the displays are square now. In the OG Vive and OG Pro the vertical dimension was taller than the width. Only 10:9, but it makes a difference. 1200×1080 for OG Vive. 1600×1440 for OG Pro. Now 2448×2448 for Pro 2.

      • James

        Vertical FOV is important for flight sims when looking at gauges and sky above. I like the OG vive vFOF for this (and the oled). That this is worse is a joke. I won’t be getting the upgrade I planned. I also prefer 16:10 monitors to 16:9. It means my taskbar is free of charge. Tired of the letterbox brigade.

  • dk

    damn looking at the reverb numbers …your head shape/eyes position must be very similar to Tomas from voodoodevr

  • Interesting to see your review, currently using index but it’s never been very comfortable for me and the display could benefit from higher resolution to reduce screen door effect, as the display diffuser has its limits.

    However the edge to edge clarity, geometry stability and field of view are excellent and I’m not willing to give that up.

    Got Vive Pro 2 on pre-order delivery end of June, but was concerned HTC wouldn’t build a good lens because it’s difficult, very expensive and they don’t have a good track record with optics

    After reading your review, is it even worth bothering continuing with my pre-order? Had to pay up front….

    • wheeler

      I’ve read in other reviews that the Vive Pro 2 also suffers from bad pupil swim. I don’t see Ben comment on this much in his reviews so I’m not sure if he’s sensitive to this aspect of VR displays. But it seems like HTC tried to copy Valve but ended up with lenses that have the downside of the Index (glare) without the benefits (FOV, edge to edge clarity, minimal pupil swim). HTC really should have just continued working with Valve.

      Personally I’m just going to hold out for Index 2.

      • Just imagine the potential of Valve and HTC working together again!

        Lenses are so easy to get wrong, and really difficult to get right.

        One of my favourite lenses was the 2017 Daydream, Google spend stupid money and supercomputer time running million of ray simulation, very impressive end result.

        • Zantetsu

          I just don’t understand why “it’s so easy to get lenses wrong”. Do they not use the headset during testing? It would be obvious that the lenses are terrible, just like HTC lenses always are. So you iterate. Is it really impossible to iterate on lenses? Do you just spec a lens, have it made, and then just live with whatever terrible optics you get? You do if you are HTC I guess …

          • Development cost isn’t inexpensive; require tooling and sample manufacturing, assessment with widest user range, redesign, retooling, more samples and testing.

            If you followed Pimax you’ll recall the number of lens designs they produced and altered to improve the experience, and how much money this burns

          • mepy

            The lenses in the Vive Pro 2 is not any different to the lenses in the Valve Index, they are both fresnel dual stack lenses.

          • The devil is in the details….

          • mepy

            Supposedly the Vive Pro 2 lenses have marginal less glare and god-rays than the Index lenses.

          • Those are the Index lens achilles heel, unfortunately Valve never published their third”Deep Dive” (optics and clarity) always wanted to know more/why.

            “Hello and welcome to a series of posts about Valve Index®. To kick things off, we’ll be talking about Field of View (FOV) with more information on Extensibility & Mod-ability and Optics & Clarity comings soon.”

      • benz145

        I didn’t spot any obvious issues with pupil swim on VP2, though I’ve definitely seen when it’s bad on other headsets (Reverb G1 had this issue. It’s possible that I’m less sensitive so it than others.

        In my experience, pupil swim is not a well defined and people are sometimes talking about different things.

        In my case, when I’m looking for pupil swim I lock my eyes onto an object and then move my head around (so that my eyes look through different portions of the lenses). As I do this I’m looking for objects to remain spatially and geometrically consistent no matter which part of the lens I’m looking through.

        • Kevin Brook

          Hey Benz. I saw that both Mike from VROasis and Sebastian Ang from MRTV said that their experience hugely improved when they swapped out the foam pad and put a slim VRCover one in there.

          I think I read that you didn’t do that? If you had, and it had given you a larger FOV, and maybe better edge to edge clarity as I assume it would, given that you’d be closer to the lens center, would you consider the display to be a lot better do you think?

          Let’s say instead of 102 78 the new FOV was 110 90, and the edge to edge clarity was now better, would you have a much better opinion of the headset?

        • @benz145

          Please can you confirm your experience with stereo overlap on VP2. I’ve read it reported at 72 degree, which is considerably less than Index, and especially less than original Vive.

          • Charles

            Where did you get these numbers from?

          • Charles

            I just looked into this and determined the Vive Pro 2 overlap is most likely close about 90 degrees when using a thin facepad. This is better than the Pimax 5K+ (86 degrees), which was fine when I tried it, and much better than the (uncomfortable) Rift CV1 (70 degrees). Not quite as good overlap as the original Vive Pro (100 degrees), but not bad.

            The spreadsheet I think you got your numbers from is inconsistent with whether each headset was measured with default foam or thin foam. It says the VP2 is 79.9 degrees. But it also says its horizontal FOV is 98.1 degrees, which is approximately what the RoadToVR review shows for the default horizontal FOV. Therefore, the spreadsheet value must have been measured with the default foam. The spreadsheet also says that on the original Vive Pro, the thin foam makes a difference of 10 degrees. Therefore, the VP2 overlap should be 79.9 + 10 = 90 degrees.
            https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1q7Va5Q6iU40CGgewoEqRAeypUa1c0zZ86mqR8uIyDeE/

          • The spreadsheet shows maximum rendered values; as far as I can determine from the notes it’s all measured with stock face gasket (as it should be).

            It’s not surprising people are getting such varying results; fitting new display system with different lens geometry into existing chassis designed for completely different display system, could never be optimum

          • Charles

            The numbers listed for the Vive and Vive Pro 1 are for not for the stock face gasket. The wording of the comment next to it is a bit ambiguous about which it’s saying is which, but another tester measured the Vive’s default overlap to be 90 degrees:
            https://community.openmr.ai/t/vrman66-pimax-5k-review-impressions-and-measurements/18527

          • Charles

            After reading the notes on the spreadsheet more carefully, and looking at the RoadToVR numbers again, I realized I was wrong. The spreadsheet says they were all measured to be the theoretical maximum, and the numbers match up with the “total horizontal FOV” listed in the RoadToVR review. So, the VP2 does have a 79.9 degree theoretical maximum overlap. Still a lot better than the Oculus CV1 overlap of 71.1 degrees, but I just read a review with someone complaining about low overlap. I hope he was an outlier case and that it won’t be particularly bad.

          • Thanks for your update. CV1 reduced overlap was immediately noticed after using Vive for months.

          • Charles

            Got my Vive Pro 2 in the mail today. It was respectable all-around, except I couldn’t settle for the low stereo overlap.

            All the other things people complained about, no big deal. Black looked like black, though not deep. Contrast was respectable, though far from OLED. But the overlap… can’t do it.

          • Very interesting to hear, it’s something I noticed using Index compared to original Vive, but further reduced by 13 degrees would be very noticeable.

          • Charles

            Yeah. The original Rift CV1 was the worst at 71 degrees. Had to return it. The VP2 is 80. My go-to headset is the Odyssey+, which has about 93 degrees, which is no problem.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    102° H FOV? How the F did HTC come up with advertising 120 HORIZONTAL FOV? And only 78° V FOV? That’s just bad… really, really bad. Just one more disappointing news after NGreedia’s announcement of 3080TI’s MSRP being a whooping 1200 bucks. The way things are headed consumer PCVR market has no future or will stay limited to a Quest link/wireless experience in the best case scenario with some half baked VR mods of PC pancake games. I mean how many ppl can realistically afford $1400 hmd coupled with +1200 bucks GPU (assuming mining craze ends some day) and all that just to get a marginally better experience than a 300 bucks Quest owner?

    • Cless

      I thought it was a typo… but realized it wasn’t after reading… I did hear on other reviews that having a thin face cover will make the FOV significantly bigger though.

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        Yeah Sebastian from MRTV used thin Quest cover on it to get Index like horizontal fov (even a bit better), but it’s still a mod with all the comfort problems that come with it. Why the hell can noone copy lenses of Pimax Artisan? It has real 130 H FOV and 100 V FOV with no visible distortion (at least for me). The problem with it is that resolution is just not high enough and contrast/colors/black level of it’s panels suck big time.

    • Zantetsu

      With US dollar inflation, $1200 is the new $600. Get used to it.

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        yeah right…

  • Cless

    No surprises here then, well, no good ones at least. I’m happy I didn’t get dragged up by the hype. No OLED, and slightly superior FOV than the original Pro… Basically means to me “Hey, do you want to pay 300 extra bucks for twice the resolution at higher refresh rate… while butchering the contrast and partially the colors?”. But again, that its just my personal opinion. I know many people here would give a kidney for more resolution, and that is fine hahaha

    • Elite-Force_Cinema

      And why do you want LCD screens to die? Is it because you think it has terrible contrast and colors just so that you can make OLED the only display available in the entire world? Cause it sounds like you are!

      • Cless

        YES, EXACTLY MUAHAHAHAHAHAAA

        You aren’t far from the truth lol
        There is dozens of us… DOZENS!!

        I’m just salty that for this generation of new headsets, we just don’t get ANY OLED choice, its LCD you want it or not.
        At least before, we did have a choice, like, you could choose the Index with LCD, or the Vive Pro with OLED, and well, it wasn’t the only OLED headset around either.

        So… I think I’m just going to keep my Vive Pro… and wait until they start making some OLED Headsets again, or we might even get mLED around… We can only wait and see!

        • Zantetsu

          Yeah I prefer OLED, too bad for me. I also prefer glass non-fresnel lenses. OLED with glass “real” lenses have colors and contrast like you would not believe.

        • xyzs

          OLED is great !
          but RGB LCD vs ugly Pentile OLED is tough choice.

          I could not stand the Pentile Matrix crap: 1080p Pentile = 720p RGB sharpness, so basically you waste performances/sharpness.
          All the colors are not the same quality (red/white are ugly because of missing subpixels).

          I would like that OLED+RGB matrix become the norm and period.
          Or even better RGB MicroLED but that’s not for tomorrow.

          • Cless

            I mean… yes, but no. The reason they use pentile on phones is because the ppi is so high, you basically can’t notice the difference, which means, if the pixels are invisible on the 2K display of the Pro 2, a pentile of the same resolution with a similar anti-sde filter like the odyssey+ makes pixels pretty much as invisible.
            RGB matrix has really high diminishing returns after 2K resolution panels.
            I would have liked better for the pro 2 to have RGB oled and 1600p, with anti+sde, HDR and 120hz… instead of a mediocre high resolution LCD… but yeah, not gonna happen.

          • xyzs

            I mean no… I work in this field. I know a bit.
            Whatever the pixel size, if a tech like Pentile wastes sharpness for a given input, it wastes sharpness (and it is mathematically proven because the screen miss sub pixel content). Period.
            Then your 2k Pentile will just look as detailed as a 1.3k RGB equivalent and you will just waste a lot of computation by running your games in 2k for a mediocre display result. Period.
            You may not see the pixel because they are thin enough but with RGB and the same input, you would get simply a even better display.
            Period.

          • Cless

            Yeah, you are completely correct. I might have not written my comment properly. Nothing that you said really goes against any of what I said, does it?
            The thing is, like you definitely already know, its like putting 2160p resolution on a 6inches display on a phone. People can’t already tell 1440p from 1080p on those sizes baaarely. So putting 2160p is objectively unnecessary, even if like you said, the screen will be factually better and indisputably superior.

        • Elite-Force_Cinema

          Yes! I do want LCD screens just so that OLED can die as a thing, like, right now, you OLED shill!!!

  • Ivan Ivko

    Hi!
    Could you please write, what was your steam vr SS (and, what is more importnat, what resolution was with it in steam vr), when you where comparing clarity between G2 and Pro2

    • Ivan Ivko

      Also, i have explanation, “how the resolution options interact with SteamVR’s own Render Resolution setting”.
      It would be a long one, though.

      At first, let’s speak about some older HMD.
      Let’s take Vive Pro 1 as example.

      Vive Pro 1 doesn’t have any upscaling chip in it. It means, that if he had panels with 1600*1440 resolution per eye, it needs to get picture in the very same resolution, to display it on the panel – output is the same as input.

      Also, as we know, hmd uses lenses, to distort picture from panels, to increase fov, and make it surrounding us.
      But, as we also know, during this process picture loses it’s proportions, and so on.
      So, to make it look “realistic”, we need, that source picture (displayed on panes) was already distorted, but backwarsd. So after distorting by lenses, it became “normal”, with normal proportions.

      So, according to this, HMD is displaying on its panels picture with its native (1600*1440) resolution, but distorted. So the same picture should be sent to it through display port.

      Now let’s talk, how PC is creating this picture.
      We have 2 actors here. First is game engine. It know, what image needs to be rendered, but knows nothing about, what hmd is connected to PC, how picture need to be distorted. So it just can’t render picture already distorted, only “straight” one.
      And also we have Steam VR, who interacts with hmd, and knows, how to distort picture.
      So process here is, that Steam VR knows native resolution of HMD, knows, how it need to be distorted. So it gives to game engine another resolution, rendering resolution, which is higher, than native. For Pro1 it is about 2k*2k roughly.
      And after that how he gets this bigger image from game engine, it can distort it, and after that – take crop of it, with native resolution of HMD, and send it there.
      So the reason, why even 100%SS rendering resolution is higher, than native resolution of HMD is necessity of distortion compensation.

      Now, let’s talk, what if SS!=100%.
      As it is said before, HMD can only display image with native resolution. So, if we set SS different, than 100%, for example, more, than 100%, game engine will render it, but then steam VR will distort and downscale it ro native HMD resolution. But, due rendering specificity, resulting image will look more sharp, than if it would be rendered in the 100% resolution from the begining.
      The same applies for the SS<100% – but you get less sharp image as a result.

      Now, at least we can get to the Vive Pro 2.

      As we know, it has upscaling chip inside it. They did it because ,they wanted to give owners of older HMD's possibility to use it – because even DP1.4 (without DSC) cannot handle native resolution.
      So, options in the vive console are options, in which resolution videocard should send image to HMD.
      If you choose Ultra or Extreme modes – picture will be sended to HMD in native resolution, and all the process will be the same, like it is described above.
      But you need to check, what is rendering resolution in Steam VR – HMD is new, and it is possible, that 100% SS gives wrong resolution, which is actually a downsampling. And that is possible reason, why you get more blurry image, than in G2. It seems, according to previous HMD's, that distortion coefficient is about 1.4 (2000/1600 for pro 1 or index). So, resolution in Steam should be about 3428*3482, to get native, and not downsampled, image in Pro2, and compare it with G2 on clarity correctly.

      Now let's talk about other modes in Vive utility.
      As i said, this are modes for upscaling in HMD. So, the picture, created on PC, will be downscaled to this resolution, before sending to DP, to meet requirements of older DP's. Than it will get to HMD in this, lower resolution, and then upscaled to native resolution on HMD itself.
      And this doesn't have ant connection with resolution, which you choose in steam VR. You can set Steam VR SS500%, but picture still will be downscaled and upscaled after transfering, and you'll loose almost all of thes SS clarity – just because down and upscaling isn't comression/decompression, it loses quality.

    • benz145

      SteamVR Render Resolution setting was set to 100% for all headsets when looking at objective acuity tests.

      • Ivan Ivko

        Thank you! Please, read my second comment, i tried to explain, why we need to look at absolute value of resolution, not %
        May be, if you still have Pro2, you can look, what are absolute values of rendering resolution for both HMD’s, when comairing them for clarity?

        • benz145

          Thanks for the info. I’m going to run some additional tests to triple-check my conclusions on clarity.

          • Ivan Ivko

            Great, thank you! I’ll be waiting for it!)

          • benz145

            Rather than “100%” in SteamVR settings for each headset, I went back and re-did acuity tests with each headset set to 3672×3672 (which is 1.5x the resolution of VP2) to ensure that all headsets were working with the same number of rendered pixels.

            I would say the gap between VP2 and RG2 is less pronounced with this approach, but RG2 is still a bit sharper. In the Snellen acuity test (your standard eye-doctor test), I measured 20/45 for VP2 and 20/40 for RG2.

  • mepy

    The reported FOV and sweet spot seems to vary a lot between people on this headset, seems you have to find the right adjustment, and it depends on the face form. MRTV reports the sweet spot is good with the correct adjustments and not blurry, also a perceived FOV H 114 / V 90, and with changing the face pad to a 10mm version a FOV of H 116 / V 96 (6mm versions are also possible to find).

  • Gus Smedstad

    The discussion of the displays is poorly thought out.

    Yes, the Reverb G2 is clearer. That’s because it has a smaller FOV, packing the pixels into a smaller space. If you’re going to compare apples to apples, compare it to either the Index OR the G2, not both at once. There’s no HMD on the market that has both the FOV of the Index _and_ the pixel density of the G2.

    For example, I’d expect that it’s noticeably sharper than the Index, while having a comparable horizontal (if not vertical) FOV. If you’re given the choice between the Index and the Vive Pro 2, which would you rather have?

    Similarly, would you rather have this, or the G2? You’ve said the G2 is clearer, but is the smaller FOV a major limitation? I already feel like I’m wearing restrictive goggles with the Vive Pro 1. The reduced vertical FOV of the Pro 2 concerns me.

    Just don’t try and compare it to a HMD that has the best features of both. It doesn’t exist, and you can’t buy it.

    • @Gus. Have you had the opportunity to try Index yet?

      • TechPassion

        Index weights 800 grams. G2 under 500 grams. I would never like to wear a brick on my face. This crap also looks like it weights 800 grams or more. No no. All future headsets need to weight 200-350 grams, not more.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Except due to how the headset is balanced the weight isn’t a problem, you can have a lower weight and still have it feel much heavier on the nose due to poor balancing.

        • Think of balance, not weight:-

          -Quest 2 503 gramme with original headstrap

          -Index 809 gramme with headstrap

          Which is often mentioned as being uncomfortable, because it’s front heavy (despite being a lighter device)?

    • benz145

      Fair points, but it isn’t always clear cut when prices are so different and everyone’s priorities are different.

      For simmers, I would probably recommend Reverb G2 for the clarity. If that’s your use-case, it’s a great value for the price.

      For gamers it would be a toss-up between Index and Vive Pro 2 based on what they value most. Vive Pro 2 is not a clear upgrade other than resolution, and in some other cases it’s a downgrade. To put this a bit more succinctly, if Index had the same resolution as Vive Pro 2, I’d take Index in a heartbeat.

      For professional users, Vive Pro 2 because of HTC’s enterprise friendliness.

      • Bob

        “To put this a bit more succinctly, if Index had the same resolution as Vive Pro 2, I’d take Index in a heartbeat”

        Let’s be honest Ben, this is basically what we’re all waiting for. Index with the screen resolution of today’s top headsets. That plus OLED and the case is closed :)

        • Kevin White

          Needs wireless.

      • Sam

        That’s what I am waiting for in vain: A Rift CV 1 with the resolution of the Pro 2…

  • xyzs

    1400 for a 5 years old headset with new screens. Pass.
    Obviously the only successful RnD they achieved was the one made with (by?) Valve and since then, they either fail either they reuse their old designs forever.

    I like good competition between multiple companies but I also like seeing a minimum of efforts and value (and here HTC is failing severely again), so: screw them.

    It’s easy to brag on twitter about cgi concept saying they are “”prototypes””, but when it comes to making a real product, it’s back to reality…and to middle age.

  • Arashi

    Ben, you should use Risa’s hdmq tool in your reviews. It measures the rendered FoV, so that gives the theoretical maximum. This is a very interesting number next to your personal measurements.

    • benz145

      Thanks, I actually did use them throughout the process and pulled the numbers for Vive Pro 2 to compare against. Initially I didn’t include them since I didn’t want to get into a deep discussion about theoretical maximum vs. what users can actually see based on the headset’s design combined with their specific face shape. However, given the surprisingly low FOV of Vive Pro 2 compared to the theoretical maximum, I’ve added the values for all headsets as a point of comparison. In the future I’ll aim to write a succinct explanation of the differences.

  • Doon1

    Isn’t it time for Samsung to come hit one outa the park?

  • J Smith

    Controllers with Trackpads!!??… a big step backwards… As a game dev, I think the hardware manufacturers need to stick to the Index/Cosmos/Rift controllers with buttons, rather than the ‘Trackpad’ which is not as conducive to many game types. Both hardware manufacturers and game devs need to help ‘streamline’ the VR user experience if they they want to help VR to become a great experience, and thus better compete against other gaming platforms.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      I would agree for VR games. Games require a lot more functionality from controllers, which means “more buttons” (and a steeper learning curve). I really love the Valve knuckles controllers, and for gamers they are the much better choice for the VP2.

      But the simplicity and near indestructibility of the Vive controllers make them a very valid option for the VP2 commercial target audience. It is quite possible that many VP2 user have never held a gamepad in their life. I’ve demonstrated industrial VR apps to non-gamer, non-technical audiences on different HMDs, and for these settings I prefer the idiot proof Vive controllers. It reduces interaction to index finger and thumb (ignoring the horrible side buttons), and the thumb button also acts as a trackpad if this is even needed. No need to ever find another button without being able to look at the controller.

      Pretty much everybody gets this instantly, while many people have a lot of problems with e.g. the Oculus touch controllers with joysticks, multiple identical feeling buttons, two trigger like buttons etc. They are simply overwhelmed. If people use VR apps a lot, the restrictions will quickly outweigh the advantage of “easy to grasp” in both the figurative and literal sense. But industrial apps are often of the “occasional visualization with limited interaction for untrained users” kind.

      • J Smith

        Valid points, but Playstation and Xbox don’t seem to be ‘dumbing down’ their controllers for those new to gaming for a reason. People quickly learn, and the majority of their gaming time should be with a quality controller, rather than being ‘stuck’ with a basic controller designed for total beginners with no gaming background.

        • Xbox and playstation not targeting enterprise sector.

          Vive wand is ideal input for enterprise, and public events/demos where onboarding is limited and previous experience isn’t assumed.

          • J Smith

            That’s a sad loss for the gamers then….

          • Vive Pro 2 Full kit is ideal for enterprise market, system in box.

            For gamers wanting Vive Pro 2 its actually cheaper to buy Index base stations and controllers. Beauty of SteamVR ecosystem….

            However wands are still valid for many earlier games, applications, experiences, and actually preferred by some for Beat Saber and Pavlov

          • mirak

            I just can’t play pavlov with index controller, i always use the wands.

          • It’s great to have both index and wand if possible..

          • Andross

            meanwhile HTC is releasing touch-like controllers for business and wands for gamers…

  • Ad

    It would be cool if you could compare the experience to the Reverb G2 + Knuckles experience.

  • Ad

    While pretty much all PC VR headsets are behind-the-times on pass-through compared to what Oculus has done,

    How is this at all true? The quest is low resolution and black and white. Maybe compared to the Reverb.

    • benz145

      It might be black and white but it is far from low resolution compared to the competition. It also activates instantly and with easy shortcuts. The latency and depth-mapping is also good enough that you can comfortably use the pass-through view as your full-time VR background, which is a huge convenience that makes for a smoother transition in and out of VR (I always start by putting on my Quest first and then picking up the controllers with passthrough, much more comfortable than dangling them from my wrists or trying to hold them while also holding the headset).

  • Very informative review, as always! Regarding passthrough, it seems that HTC is not investing much in it. There was the Cosmos XR with a great passthrough, but… who knows what’s its status now

    • benz145

      I believe they cancelled Cosmos XR and the other Cosmos variants that were previously announced.

  • oomph2

    HTC should have learnt from its smart phone biz.
    Product improvement can only go to a certain extent but not forever.
    Should learn from Quest, that is the right way.
    Also tried thin & light VR as of nreal.
    I would prefer a self contained headset , or connected to pocket based cell phone type instead of being tethered to desktop.

    • Tabp

      They released a self contained headset too. Go use that instead of trying to remove everything else from existence. The smart phone business has been completely dominated by continuous product improvement, so you’re completely wrong about that. Stagnation in quality is death for a tech company.

  • Jose Ferrer

    Thanks for providing additional details for the FOV measurement.

    In the article it seems that when you use the word sweetspot you refer to the edge-to-edge clarity. It seems that there is two definitions of sweetspot in the VR world , one is how easy is to find the right position of the headset to be focused, the other is the edge-to-edge clarirty once you are focused.

    The edge-to-edge clarity is a very important aspect of VR headset, specially for flight sims where you just move your eyeballs (not the head) to read a gauge. But it seems there is not an objective way to measure how big is the edge-to-edge clarity.

    IMHO the Index has the best edge-to-edge clarity, much better than G2, and much much better than G1 or previous VivePro.

    There is a tool called LensTestRov which allows to draw the size of the sweetspot (edge-to-edge clarity) and then been able to compare it with other devices. Just in case you do additional tests of the VivePro2.

    It would be also worth if you try to remove the original pad and put a thiner pad so you can increase FOV or improve the edge-to-edge clarity.

    • benz145

      Thanks for the info. Yeah, unfortunately there’s not a lot of precision in the terminology, I’ll try to be clearer in the future.

      ‘Eye-box’ is the technical term for ‘where your eye needs to be positioned to get the ideal image through the lens’. Unfortunately even this isn’t the most precise term because rarely is an eye-box actually a… box… it’s more of a zone with a gradient.

      Also the ideal eyebox for clarity may not exactly overlap with the ideal eyebox for field-of-view (ie: as you get closer to the lens it’s possible that the FOV grows but the image becomes more blurry).

      There’s a lot of conflation between eye-box, sweet spot, and edge-to-edge clarity because they’re all closely linked in terms of optical performance.

      In any case, I’ll aim to be more consistent with explaining which thing I’m talking about.

      In the case of VP2, the headset has both a small eye-box and poor edge-to-edge clarity. If you don’t get your eyes in just the right spot, much of the image will be blurry. If you’re in the right spot and roll your eyes just a bit, things get blurry fast. Even when looking straight forward, that blur even reads in your peripheral as a sort of tightness around your view.

      I definitely agree with your assessment that Index has the best edge-to-edge clarity of the bunch. I’d say Index > Reverb G2 > Vive Pro > Vive Pro 2.

      • Jose Ferrer

        OMG, the VP2 is worse than VivePro! I thought that nothing could be worse than VivePro in terms of Edge-to-edge clarity.

        Thanks for your explanations, I get a “clearer” picture now.

    • benz145

      Apologies, I also meant to ask, is the LensTestRov app different than the TestHMD app from RoV?

  • doug

    So FOV is dependent on how close you can get your eyes to the lenses. The people buying thinner face cushions are overlooking an opportunity to take a razor blade and trim down the thick stock cushion, in the places where it places the most pressure on their face, creating a face cushion that is both thinner and customized to their face.

  • Index cameras are surprisingly capable, I’ve been using HTC hand tracking software on my Index and it’s considerably more capable than expected, it even tracks my fingers whilst wearing my Index controllers.

  • Whoa. Thanks for this review. Canceled my preorder.

    • mepy

      I would give changing the face cushion a try first. MRTV reported a personal measurement 114 H / 90 V, and 116 H / 96V with a 10mm face cushion. This is only the second review out of several that has reported a slimmer FOV, it seems to depend on the face form factor a lot.

  • Rapid Hagrid

    It’s rare to see journalists who still have a critical approach to reviewing products. This is hands down the best Vive Pro 2 review I’ve seen, and doesn’t go out of its way to “hide” its issues. It seems others are either too caught up in the hype, or afraid of being blacklisted by the manufacturers to really call it as they see it. This was a refreshing read.

    For a $1400 product released two full years after the Valve Index, I’d expect it to beat the Index in every measurable way. Instead, this product falls short of it in almost every parameter, ships with *the absolute worst controllers* currently on the market (meaning people still have to purchase the $300 Index controllers separately, totaling at $1700), and cheaps out on the microphone and cameras.

    This is inexcusable for a $1400+ investment and I’m glad there’s at least one journalist out there who has the consumers’ best interest in mind. Keep up the great work Ben!

  • mepy

    Well I’ve now tried my Vive Pro 2. I previously own the Vive Pro and Quest 2 for comparison:

    – The resolution is good, no screen door effect and the clouds in the sky looked good in Fallout 4. Better than the Quest 2 and quite a lot better than the Vive Pro.
    – The colours are good and vibrant, much more so than the Quest 2.
    – The black levels are great and space looked properly black in the screen behind Virtual Dekstop. I think thus it will also look great in Elite Dangerous. It’s much blacker than the greyish Quest 2. In fact it is also quite a lot blacker than my desktop screen. I won’t be missing OLED at all.
    – The FOV is good and I quickly forgot there were any edges, literally within minutes, and I have not yet tried it with a thinner face pad. There was no “Kylo Ren” or “postbox slot” view so anybody saying so are uttering complete nonsense.
    – The sweet spot is good, not narrow at all, and easy to dial in with quite a lot of margin, I didn’t notice any sweet spot problems while initially trying it out. I had to strain my eyeballs to look outside of my forward focus to notice any blurring, and this isn’t how I use mye eyeballs in real life or VR anyway. My IPD is somewhere around 61-67 (62,5) it looked good in all those ranges, and really outside those ranges also without any really bothersome blur.
    – I can’t say I found any glare issues, ghosting or god rays in Fallout 4 at all. Glare in Virtual Desktop wasn’t that far off how glare is on my desktop screen IRL. Sure if you really look hard and focus at the edges between white and black there is a very thin line of glare. Or if turn around really fast from a bright white screen to black and roll your eyes some there is a little bit of dark greyish ghosting, but it’s not something I noticed unless I looked really hard for it and tried to provoke it.

    So I must say the negative reports about these “issues” are severely blown out of proportions, it’s a good headset.

    • mellott124

      How is this possible. My experience has been pretty much the opposite of yours. Maybe they have build problems and some are OK and some are not. God rays all over the place. I’d argue the resolution looks similar to the Quest 2 after all the blurring. And yes I’m adjusted correctly. My IPD is 64mm. Overall I’d pick up my Index or Vive Pro way before choosing Pro 2. And clarity of the HP G2 is so much better.

      • mepy

        I really don’t know. I have no idea what you are on about when you talk about blur? Maybe something is wrong with your graphics card and settings? Maybe it’s the lenses in your eyeballs or astigmatism or something like that makes you see glare? Maybe it’s an emotional thing causing you to react? Maybe it’s a bias over price or something else?

        – The resolution of the Vive Pro 2 is better than the Quest 2, that’s both a fact and experience.
        – I haven’t seen any god rays in the Vive Pro 2, are you sure you are using the correct term?
        – The Quest 2 has comparable glare to the Vive Pro 2 imo, the only difference is that the Quest 2 usually has grey whites in the menus and browser etc. to minimize this.
        – The black levels of the Quest 2 are terrible compared the Vive Pro 2 and simply put grey compared.
        – The colours are also better on the Vive Pro 2.
        – The FOV is of course better on the Vive Pro 2 both on paper and in reality also.

        • mellott124

          LOL. Don’t think its any of that. I own most of the current HMDs. If I was price sensitive, I wouldn’t have bought a Pro 2.
          Resolution of a panel is not the only thing that defines resolution to the eye. The lens has a huge factor. That’s what we’re discussing here. On paper Pro 2 should kill it… but it doesn’t… why is that? Lenses. I’m not concerned with black levels either. I know the difference and it never bothers me. But a 2448 panel that looks about the same as a Quest 2, does bother me. Well, mostly makes me sad. I guess I’ll continue to wait for the Index 2.

      • mepy

        Well people complaining about glare really should adjust the headstrap, I find it’s possible to get glare issues if the headset is too low or high on the head. Adjust the top strap and where the back end of the headset is on the back of the head. If the headset is wrongly positioned on the head there certainly is substantial glare, however I find that if it’s positioned correctly on the head the glare is really comparable to the glare of the Quest 2.

        • mellott124

          Head straps… wish it was that simple. My Vive Pro 2 has far more glare than my Index or Quest. Those look quite clean compared to this one. I’m really starting to think there’s build quality issues coming up and causing differences in units.

          • mepy

            I mean of course there is a bit of glare, but when the headset is adjusted correctly in IPD and head straps they aren’t really bothering me. I don’t notice any glare in most games or in Virtual Desktop, but I do notice it when there is bright white text on black, but only if I also try to move my head around while reading said white text on black, which there really is no reason to do unless you are trying to make glare happen.

            In e.g. Fallout 4 I had no glare issues at all as it was a well lit environment. But also in e.g. Brookhaven Experiment which is a dark environment zombie shooter I didn’t notice any glare. While in the space station in No Man’s Sky I did notice a bit of glare because it has a black floor and white shiny lines on it and I was moving around. It really depends in the game.

            I doubt the Vive Pro 2 has worse glare than the Index, people have stated both that it’s better and worse, but really it’s the same type of lenses so the difference is because they have not yet found the right headstrap, back of the head positioning and IPD adjustments for the Vive Pro 2. E.g. I tried resting the back end of the Vive Pro 2 on my neck and not the back of my head, and that caused significant more glare.

            The Quest 2 has glare issues also, but they grey out whites in the browsers and menus to make you not notice it.

  • Ajay Nair

    I have an IPD of 74mm. I did not buy the index or reverb g2 because of my high IPD. Will the VP2 work for me or because of its small sweetspot index would be better?

  • mellott124

    Just got mine. Wow, disappointing. HTC Vive Pro 2 looks only somewhat better than Index resolution wise. Pro 2 has no screen door effect that I can see. Smaller vertical FOV than Index. But HP G2 is totally kicking its butt in image clarity. The Pro 2 has too many god rays blurring everything out. They have much more than Index or G2.

    Standing in the same place in my home environment and looking at text on the wall for a game, the HP G2 has so much more clarity than the Pro 2. I think I may even prefer the Index just because there are less god rays and its lighter and more comfortable to wear. HTC definitely screwed up the lenses for sure. I think this review was spot on.

    • VR Cat

      Are you certain? Mine is as clear as the Reverb G2. With much larger clarity across the lens. I got 114°/94° FOV in test hmd!
      Have you set Display settings to Ultra/Extreme in the Vive Console? Then ramped resolution up to at least 1.4 of panel resolution? That’s 2448×1.4= 3400×3400, make sure to check SteamVR.
      There are no godrays – you mean glare! That’s only in SteamVR Home and on its dashboard, automatic display dimming. Try playing games with it! Where is the glare now? :-)
      It’s crystal clear then. Double check your SteamVR resolution again too. If you can’t run that, yeah, send it back or keep undersampling till you get an appropriate GPU (that’s difficult atm I totally agree). You’ll want a 3080/3080ti/3090/6900xt.
      This thing demolished both my G2 and 8KX!

      • mellott124

        Interesting. Yes, I’ve done most of that except the auto dimming. I have a 2080Ti Hybrid. It can run Ultra in Alyx. I’ll look for the dimming stuff. There are moments in Alyx where Pro 2 shines, but it never looks as clear as my G2.

  • Jon Pollock

    I got my Vive Pro 2 yesterday, and here are my thoughts so far. Spoiler: changing the stock face foam for a 6mm VRcover turns this HMD from an insta-return to a pretty decent setup.

    These observations are specific to my head shape and my eyes. I’ve noticed the reported experiences are vastly different from person to person for this HMD in particular. I used 4896×2448,90Hz in Vive console, and 100% SS in SteamVR (SteamVR reports 3112×3112), motion compensation was turned off.

    Stock face foam:
    1. I read the comments about pupil swim, and was like “what’s pupil swim?”. Now that I have a Pro2, I fully understand the term. WOW! It’s the first thing I noticed. White text on a black background is crazy awful. The text ‘smears’ outwards towards the edges. When I move my head the direction and magnitude of the smear changes. In a game like Skyrim it’s not as obvious, but instead makes anything off center appear blurry as the pixels smear all over each other.
    2. The horizontal edges have so much blur and warping that it makes my eyes water, and it’s enough to make me dizzy and stumble if I turn too fast. Fresnel ridges are distinct and distracting
    3. Regarding contrast – I was worried about the black levels of the LCD screen, and I have to say if anything the screen is too dim. The ‘ambiance’ to me is very much like the Vive Pro, and I’m happy for that. To me the Index and G2 just feel washed out. However the numbers tell the opposite story. TestHMD shows the contrast of Vive Pro 1 and 2 to be 0.48 and 0.49. Index 0.54 and G2 0.59 – again that’s my eye balls – your mileage will vary.
    4. FOV – vertical FOV is small, and personally it doesn’t bother me all that much. I measured 72 vFOV. Horizontal FOV is ‘ok’, but is ruined by point #2 above. I measured 92 hFOV
    5. Chromatic aberration is awful just off center. In the ‘egg test’ I was able to read 9 lines out in the horizontal direction (at 1M), and I chalk this up to pure pixel density because the blur and rainbow effect was immense.
    6. In the Snellen test I could read line 7 at 5M. This is the same as the G2, but the Pro 2 is blurrier at dead center. With Pro 1 and Index I can only read down to line 5.

    6mm VR cover face foam:
    1. Pupil swim stays the same
    2. Fresnel ridges disappear entirely. There’s no longer any warping of the image at the horizontal edges and the blur is reduced
    3. No change to contrast
    4. FOV grew as expected, but the perceived FOV jumped from unusable to something that I doesn’t really distract me anymore. vFOV=80, hFOV=104. For comparison, in the Index I got 108 in both directions.
    5. Chromatic aberration is still there, but MUCH better. I made it to line 10 (counting from center) on the egg test at 1M
    6. Same result in the Snellen test, but it seemed like the center was just a bit clearer. Just for fun, I raised SteamVR to 200% (reported res 4404×4404), and I was able to read Snellen line 8.

    I do feel like the interaction between the Vive console and SteamVR isn’t quite right yet. For example when I change the Vive console to ‘extreme’, which according the label only changes the refresh to 120 compared to ‘ultra’, the SteamVR res drops to 2688×2688 at 100% (how does that make any sense?)