Set to launch this week, on the two year anniversary of the original Vive, HTC’s Vive Pro shows the progress the company has been able to make on their VR headset in the same span, though it isn’t being positioned as a ‘Vive 2’. Bringing a number of welcomed improvements, but also a steep increase in price, the headset is only likely to make sense to enterprise and commercial users, and a tiny fraction of the VR enthusiasts that have already bought into HTC’s VR ecosystem. Even then, with SteamVR Tracking 2.0 base stations and controllers still not available to take advantage of new sensors on the headset, the value proposition isn’t yet entirely apparent.

HTC impressed us with its debut headset, the Vive, back in 2016. Offering a room-scale experience with motion controllers out of the box, its $800 all-in price was plenty premium even at the time, though through competition with Oculus and others, you can now pick up a brand new Vive system for a quite reasonable $500.

So when HTC launches a new headset two years later and asks for more than twice the price (including base stations and controllers), you could be forgiven for expecting it to feel like a next-generation device. Alas, the Vive Pro brings a number of welcomed improvements, but its awkward rollout (you still can’t buy the SteamVR Tracking 2.0 base stations or controllers that the headset is optimized for) and high asking price make it an odd play by HTC.

Photo by Road to VR

That said, without considering price, it’s a headset you’d reach for every time over the original Vive thanks to its notably sharper image, and a few new features which make it more convenient and comfortable to use.

As usual, we’ll start with a general summary up top, and then expand into a deep dive further down.

Vive Pro Headset Review Summary

Photo by Road to VR

The Vive Pro is a hop but not a leap from the original Vive. The increased resolution makes everything notably sharper, and amplifies the stereoscopic effect. Smaller text is much more legible which is great for certain use-cases like virtual desktops and text-heavy games like Elite Dangerous. Textures are that much sharper and the extra resolution really stands out with highly optimized, well made VR experiences that are able to run at full settings. The screen door effect is also reduced (but not invisible), which further increases clarity.

Because the Vive Pro is using the same lenses as the original, everything (good and bad) carries over. It’s the same 110 degree field of view as before, same God Rays and Fresnel ring artifacts, and unfortunately the same small Sweet Spot. The latter is especially unfortunate because the heightened resolution almost seems to make it more noticable. It becomes apparent that the blur introduced when you aren’t looking perfectly through the center axis of the lens is making much of that extra resolution useless. The small Sweet Spot won’t spoil VR gaming too much, but for use-cases where finer details are important (like virtual desktop usage, text-based apps, and design), it becomes an annoyance. Make sure to get your IPD measured and dialed in precisely to avoid the pitfalls of the small Sweet Spot as much as possible.

Photo by Road to VR

At first glance, the Vive Pro’s design looks a lot like a simple reskin of the original Vive and Deluxe Audio Strap accessory. Looking closer, it’s actually a more substantial redesign. The sensor placements have been tweaked, there’s now a dual-microphone, and the mechanism for adjusting the lens-to-eye distance has been substantially improved. There’s also now a stereo camera pair, though its functionality is sorely lacking, as it doesn’t even yet support stereo passthrough video, let alone hand-tracking, or any other interesting functions.

The redesigned head mount is more comfortable than ever, and I had no problem (after experimenting with the fit to get it just right) comfortably using the headset for multi-hour VR sessions. Compared to the original Vive’s default soft headstrap, the Vive Pro headmount is a major improvement especially thanks to the on-board audio. Unfortunately, the Vive Pro headphones are presently crippled with a “known issue” which has them missing out on a lot of bass tones. HTC says a fix for that is in the works, and you can remove the Vive Pro headphones and substitute your own if you wish. I hope the headphones get fixed sooner rather than later, as the volume and mic-mute buttons on the back of them are a useful touch.

One of the biggest draws of the Vive Pro, and perhaps the only element of the headset that truly makes sense of the “Pro” branding—SteamVR Tracking 2.0, bringing support for much larger tracking areas—still isn’t available since HTC isn’t yet selling 2.0 base stations or controllers. They plan to make them available later this year, but the price is unknown. In the meantime they’re asking people to instead drop $300 on 1.0 base stations and controllers, presumably to be replaced later down the road. That means that they’re asking $1,100 for a not quite fully-functional version of the Vive Pro.

The Vive Pro brings nice improvements, but when you zoom out and look at the (current) difference in experience between the original Vive and the Vive Pro, it’s hard to make sense of the asking price—even for the enterprise/commercial demographic, since they can’t currently make use of the headset’s (eventual) larger tracking volume.

Photo by Road to VR

A ‘pro’ headset should definitely have best-in-class resolution, but it should be paired with ‘pro’ lenses too. Unfortunately the Vive Pro feels held back by the limitations of the original Vive’s lenses (which it borrows).

Maybe I’m just caught up in the regular progression of other sorts of consumer electronics devices, but two years after the release of the original Vive, the Vive Pro feels like expected progress which seems like it should have been priced—for the complete system, with 2.0 tracking base stations and controllers—no higher than the original Vive’s launch price.

– – — – –

Vive Pro Headset In-depth Review

Photo by Road to VR

Display and Lenses

Resolution & Screen Door Effect

The biggest improvement to the Vive Pro is its new displays, which have been updated to 1,440 × 1,600 per eye from 1,080 × 1,200. That might not seem like a big change when represented that way, but if you consider the figures in Megapixels, its 2.3MP per eye vs. 1.3MP, roughly a 77% increase in the number of pixels in each eye.

Looking through the headset, it’s a hop—but not quite a leap—in resolution. Everything looks notably sharper and clearer. Text is one place where the improvement is very tangible, with text becoming legible at distance where it would previously look like a shimmering mess. Jumping into Bigscreen to feel how the resolution would benefit the ‘headset-as-a-monitor’ use-case, I was quite impressed with how close the Vive Pro’s resolution is coming to the experience you’d get from a 1080p monitor sitting on your desk. The resolution isn’t there quite yet for a full monitor replacement, but it’s becoming increasingly realistic to work in VR at such resolutions.

Another place where the Vive Pro’s new resolution really shines is on highly optimized and well textured content. I was tempted back into Valve’s The Lab (2016) and felt like I was looking at some of the game’s subtle details with brand new eyes, like the wall of gauges in ‘Aperture Science Robot Repair’ (next to the drawers) and the birds flying high over ‘Vesper Peak’.

The boost in resolution doesn’t just make textures and text sharper, it also enhances the 3D effect. Since well defined edges are such a strong queue for our stereo vision, and the increased resolution sharpens the edges of geometry, it’s easier for our eyes and brain to see what’s in front and what’s behind, leading to an increased sense of 3D that doesn’t go unnoticed.

Screen Door Effect and Mura

SEE ALSO
Understanding the Difference Between 'Screen Door Effect', 'Mura', & 'Aliasing'

The Screen Door Effect on the Vive Pro is reduced, but not gone. The reduction feels roughly in line with the increase in resolution. The reduced Screen Door Effect means that you won’t see quite as much of that black grid-like appearance across the image, though, as always, it will stand out on some colors more than others, and in dim or dark scenes you’ll hardly be able to tell that it’s there. Generally speaking, where you could pick out individual sub-pixels on the original Vive, they are just about gone now on the Vive Pro. On the Vive Pro, individual whole pixels are about as about as difficult to see now as sub-pixels were on the original Vive. That is to say, you’ll see be able to see clumps of pixels if you look intently for them, but they’re getting harder to see, and won’t bother you much unless you’re looking at solid color textures.

Mura on the Vive Pro is mostly unobtrusive, but not invisible. It’s most visible in darker scenes. The amount of mura feels about equal to what you see on the original Vive, so no major regression or improvement there.

God Rays and Sweet Spot

Given that the Vive Pro is using the same Fresnel lenses as the original Vive, it’s not surprising that the God Rays are just as present as ever. They look like streaks of fuzzy light that extend out of brightly colored objects and move relative to your head. When visible, the God Rays also frequently illuminate the ridges of the lenses, worsening the artifact. God Rays are most visible in scenes when there’s a mix of high contrast bright and dark elements. Lower contrast scenes (either mostly bright or mostly dark) hide the God Rays better.

Photo by Road to VR

Again due to the same lenses, the Vive’s notoriously tight Sweet Spot (the area of maximum visual clarity through the lens) returns to the Vive Pro. Outside of a small area toward the center of the lens, the image becomes increasingly blurred. If you don’t carefully align the headset to your eye, you’ll see a blurrier image than you should, and even turning your eye slightly during use may have you looking through a blurry part of the lens. During typical VR gaming this isn’t too much of an issue, but for tasks requiring more detail (especially reading text), the small Sweet Spot becomes quite apparent.

Keeping both eyes in the respective sweet spot of each lens is particularly challenging, and with the Vive Pro I found myself regularly making small adjustments to try to keep my eyes in the right position. Knowing your IPD (the distance between your eyes) and dialing it in on the Vive Pro’s IPD adjustment is essential to achieving maximum image clarity, so next time you’re at the optometrist, ask for a precise measurement. HTC says that the IPD adjustment range on the Vive Pro is identical to the original Vive (about 60mm to 73mm). If your IPD falls outside of that range, you’d be especially prone to being bothered by the small Sweet Spot.

The increased resolution of the Vive Pro almost has the effect of amplifying the tiny Sweet Spot because the resolution through the center is sharper than before, but the blur makes clarity drop off quickly any time you are looking off-axis (which everyone does naturally). When I was testing the Vive Pro by using Bigscreen as a computer monitor, I was naturally inclined to use my eyes to scan along a line of text, but found that I had to to turn my head (to center my eye to the Sweet Spot) to achieve the clarity I wanted even when I was looking just a few degrees away from the center of the lens.

Field of View, Flicker, and More

Given the same lenses, the field of view on the Vive Pro is unchanged at 110 degrees, according to HTC. If you’ve used a Rift, Vive, or PSVR—the Vive Pro is right in that same class. If not, you can expect an immersive view that’s far wider than what you’d expect from a typical TV or computer monitor. It’s enough to get you well immersed in the virtual world, though it won’t completely encompass your vision.

As for flicker, I couldn’t spot any, and I never could with the original Vive either. Both use a 90Hz low-persistence display, so not too much surprise there. Persistence blurring was hard to assess because it was overcome so quickly by the blurriness of the small Sweet Spot, though again, at the same refresh rate and low-persistence display, expect the same as the original Vive. As with the original Vive, the Vive Pro does a great job of sealing off all light coming into the headset.

Continue Reading on Page 2: Design & Ergonomics »

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  • JesperL

    No upgrade for me. 2 reasons:
    1: Price is too high – Duh!
    2: I have TPCast for Vive1, that will not work with pro. And im NOT going back to cable.
    So waiting for full package with wireless, and that will probably be way too overprices too, so waiting for the real Next Gen.

    • Mopar Onine

      I agree, I won’t be going back to cable. Tpcast might have it’s setup issues, but once you set it up correctly, it works great. I have mine for the oculus and couldn’t be happier.

  • NooYawker

    Price. Nuff said.

    • theonlyrealconan

      If they would have upgraded the FOV and lenses, i might have paid the premium pricing. Maybe.

      • NooYawker

        Value. Nuff said :D

      • KUKWES

        I believe this unit has less god rays but I would rather see FOV increase instead of res increase.

  • theonlyrealconan

    Have the Vive. It is decent for version 1. But i am looking forward to upgrading (tired of the limited rez, fov, controllers, and especially the lenses). The Pro did the bare minimum and over priced it as well. No thanks. I will gladly give Pimax or Oculus 2 my money now. Good job losing a customer (and i am guessing i am not the only one).

    • NooYawker

      I don’t think this is Vive’s gen 2 release. It’s their 1.5 or more like 1.3 release. I think we’ll have much more choices in the next couple of years

      • Andres Velasco

        annnnnd…look at how much they are asking price wise

      • VRfriend

        Wait til May. F8 with Facebook announcements for big VR plans and Google is also announcing something big in May for VR OLEDs i think as well.

        • Rogue Transfer

          Oculus Go’s release will be the big focus for F8 in May, and they’re unlikely to overshadow that launch with any other big announcements relating to VR(apart from more ongoing Santa Cruz prototype demos on the side-line). They’ll be pushing big for their first, cheap stand-alone device instead for the masses to drive towards their “1 billion VR users” goal.

          New PC VR hardware won’t be on the horizon from Facebook for quite some time. They have content designed for the Rift 1(as their focal point), planned for up to 2019. Oculus believe the Rift 1 has “long, long legs” and there’s really nothing pushing them currently competitively or market share-wise(Pro’s release with that price certainly isn’t going impact their low~mid-end market desires).

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Maybe they’ll have a pricedrop of the original Rift again, that might increase the sales again. They are already the most used headset (according to the march steam report).

          • David Herrington

            I like to save money as much as the next guy, but if Oculus are already the most used headset, what incentive would they have to drop their prices?

            We need true competition to drive price drops and innovation.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Well, maybe the incentive is the imminemt release of the pimax and the news from Google. Also it’s in their interest to have people buy their headset if only for the their own oculusstore sales. Windows MR headsets and the Sony PSVR also just had some pretty nice pricedrops which might be another incentive.

          • Ramón

            My fear is that all this google and facebook thing is getting away from Steam VR… Honestly I expected the VR for Pc gaming to be much better at this time.

          • ummm…

            yeah me too ramon. i though we’d having something new in two years. and we do, but i was hoping they wouldnt have pretended it would be new controllers and wireless integrated, and the outside possibility of gen 2 tech. im not upset about this. looks like i may be on more of a console cycle in my new hmd purchase as i was a vive consumer at launch. ill wait for the new controllers, integrated wireless, and higher fidelty all in one package. im doing just fine with the vive right now as it isn’t anywhere near obsolete, and i dont see the pro making it so – at all.

          • ummm…

            psvr is the most used headset…..right?

    • gothicvillas

      No you are most certainly not alone. We are in the same boat. Maybe next year Oculus 2?

      • Sandra

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    • ummm…

      i dont feel the same way. vive is a premium headset even more so than the oculus. in fact, the oculus has had so many misteps and still do when it comes to roomscale. htc needed to stay in the news and appear to move forward. oculus got to do that just by giving wht they should have done a year prior. so, i wont be buying the vive pro because there is little value added, but im not going to throw my toys out of the crib over this. ill wait for all companies to come out with gen 2 before i spend THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS again.

  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    They priced it so out of reach, it cannot succede. Why go Vive with deprecated bulky tracking technology with PSVR immitation sticks without analog thumbsticks for movements? Samsung Odyssey is better than that at less than half the price.

    • JJ

      no its not. only you think that.

      • Jistuce

        Let’s be fair. Even he doesn’t believe half the things he says.

    • gothicvillas

      Troll alert

    • Harry Cox

      I was thinking ‘what on Earth is this person saying?!’, until I read the authors name.

      Jean-pool strikes, yet again

    • Andres Velasco

      True, they both use the same displays

    • Andrew Jakobs

      tracking of Windows MR headsets is really not as good as the lighthouse system, especially if you want to use controllers (line of sight of the HMD isn’t good controller tracking). And let’s not forget the Samsung Odyssey isn’t available in many countries.

      • Fabian

        The tracking of the MS mixed reality headsets works very well. I own one by Acer and there’s really no problem with the tracking. It’s the low resolution, the field of view and the narrow sweet spot of the lenses that needs improvement, just like the vive.

        • jj

          Well I have the Acer, the odysey, asus and more. The vive tracking is superb compared to windows headsets. My FAVORITE combo is the odyssey paired with the leap motion so that I dont have to use their controllers, but obviously only a few things work with that. Plus not only does the tracking of wmr controllers suck, but getting them to pair is a pain for everybody.

          • Fabian

            What is your problem with pairing the controllers? That is done once, I don’t even remember the procedure, it took a minute on day one and just works since then. Maybe the vive tracking is even more precise, I don’t care because it’s good enough, but the WMR headsets are definatly the easiest to set up.

          • Fabian

            …and maybe you should also update to the Windows 10 spring creators update. I can’t remember one single issue with the tracking since then (but was working good before too)

  • Andres Velasco

    Good review, but there was plenty cut and paste in the article. Ill get one once the price gets to below 500$ for the HMD. Ill wait for the Pimax 8k

    • benz145

      What parts are you describing as cut and paste, other than the conclusion (which is noted to be used at the end of both the summary and the full review)?

  • ale bro

    Any insight into GPU performance compared with the original Vive?

    Is there any point in upgrading a GPU to squeeze the most out of the HMD?

  • Leonard Cachola

    What’s “mura?” I’m assuming you mean moire?

  • Raphael

    I predict the twats at HTC will price drop by 100 around about december when they realise sales are poorer than expected. Of course since they only care about pro market they might generate enough sales in that sector.

    • Zachary Scott Dickerson

      I think price would stand for a year but maybe they will add in the tracking and 2.0 controllers etc. They old model is the entry/consumer version, this is enthusiast/business.

      • Raphael

        Agree. A year seems likely.

  • So does the “Pro” come with business class support? As one major feature is it can use base stations for commercial settings, one would assume it replaces the HTC-Vive Business Edition? Or will there be a HTC Vive Pro Business Edition?

    • Jistuce

      The Vive Pro doesn’t come with business support. And I’m hoping the business version of this is called the Vive Pro Professional.

      • Guest

        Microsoft used to advertise “NT Technology”

  • Rodgerroe

    The Vive Pro is so overpriced, it pathetic. No VR headset is worth $800 unless it has:

    1. 4k per eye
    2. Built-in wireless, no cables or pocket packs.
    3. At least 200 degrees FOV
    4. 90hz minimum
    5. Non Fresnel lens
    6. OLED panel

    Anything less and it is an overpriced piece of crap. I’ll check out VR again in four years. Charging so much for a pitiful upgrade is not good for the industry.

    • Rogue Transfer

      No pocket packs? You want to have to re-charge your headset every 3 hours or so?! I think not, a replaceable power-pack is much more desirable and convenient when you really think it through. With double the displays(for that FOV) consuming twice the power, an onboard battery is not going to last long with today’s battery tech(not to mention the extra weight on the face/head isn’t pleasant).

      • Rodgerroe

        Having to wear a pocket pack is far less pleasant. And I don’t use a headset any longer than 2 hours at a time. So yes, I would rather recharge the headset.

        • There’s is nothing hard with implementing detachable battery on HMD, and adding an option to have second pocket battery if you want. At least for electronics point of view, I don’t know about few hundret grams hanging on one’s head, but I’m sure it can be done.

          We can do some math.
          According to this page: https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/comments/51ir1h/vive_power_draw_test_results/
          Vive draws 5,9W at max, so now we can take dimensions, weight, and capacity of random battery which were listed on one of the first, random site in google:
          http://www.batteryspace.com/polymer-li-ion-cell-3-7v-2500-mah-544792-2c-9-25wh-5a-rate—un38-3-passed.aspx
          We can extrapolate this data about the battery, because this kind of batteries is most efficient in capacity to weight and dimensions ratio, and it is used in nearly every portable device where battery life is important.

          First sorry for my english, at least math is uniwersal. :D Second excuse my style, I was forming my thoughts and doing math as I was writing this comment.
          So we know, that Vive draws 5,9W at max, and we have the specs of battery:
          5.4mm thick x 47mm(width) x 95mm( length )
          weight: 51g
          minimum capacity: 9.25Wh
          Capacity C = P[W]*t[h], so
          t = C/P
          t = 9,25 / 5,9W = 1,56h, so we can estaminate that Vive will run 3h on 100g battery, but we have to remember that wireless Vive will have to have additional electrionics to do wireless reciving, but on the good side Vive could be designed from scratch with low power consumption in mind. Not that bad, also I don’t know if the power draw was tested from electrical outlet, or from output of the power supply, in first case we can squeze a little bit more juice form this 100g battery.

          But I want to know how much power will wireless electronics draw. Tpcast claims on ther website to have up to 5 hours of play on thier 20 000mAh(20Ah for short) battery, but they have one unnecessary power regulator in powerbank, which can be skipped when designing electronic as one unit from scratch, and second one in tpcast unit which converts 5V to 12V(9V? I don’t remember exacly) for Vive. We can accept that power regulators have 90% efficiency, so we have lost 10% energy to power tpcast unit, and 19%(90%*90%) of the energy powering Vive unit, as we have second power regulator in tpcast unit to power the Vive.
          So the Vive now draws 7,3W thanks to unneseccary regulator, let’s see what is with tpcast power draw
          t = C/(Pv+Pt), Pv – Vive draw, Pt – Tpcast draw
          Pw+Pt = C/t
          Pt = C/t – Pv
          Pt = 74Wh/5h – 7,3W, 20Ah*averge voltage of 3,7V is 74Wh, so it’s fine
          Pt = 14,8W – 7,3W = 7,5W, but we have to remember about one “unnesseccary” power regulator, so it’s 7,5W*90% = 6,75W
          So taken 5h of play on 20Ah battery from tpcast, we can estaminate, that tpcast electronics draw 6,75W, there could be more efficient way to recive data, in fact I’m sure there is, but those are pesimistic numbers, in conclusion when we skip those 2 voltage conventers by building one HMD with integrated wireless stuff the unit should draw no more than 6,75W + 5,9W = 12,65W, now:
          t = C/P
          t = 9,25Wh / 12,65W = 0,73h from single 50g battery, so
          50g – 0,73h
          xg – 3h
          xg = 3*50/0,73 = 205g

          In the end, battery that sohould be enought to power HMD build for wireless from scratch will add somthing about 205g of weight to the unit. Is this to much to wear on head? I don’t know, probably fine for some people. Please search for errors and replay to me, I will upturn informations.

      • HybridEnergy

        I just want to note that I also don’t like the pocket pack solution. I don’t walk around or play VR in my home in a pair of jeans. That sounds uncomfortable, I wear sweat pants at the most and that shit is gonna pull my pants down. lol

    • JJ

      Nobody is making you stay.

    • 200 Fov needs to be proved yet. I know about Pimax but lets wait and see if that extra peripheral creates any long term use issues (I really hope not though).

      As to Fresnel lenses, they are not used because they are cheap, they are used to make the headset lighter and allow more distance between components because they are thinner. This is why a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera is heavy, now add another one and you get an idea.

      I agree with the other points though. For wireless, I would like the HMD to have both power and battery just like other portable electronics out there.

      • David Herrington

        The idea behind Fresnel may be to save weight but that is debunked by people taking out Gear VR lenses and putting them into their Vives with improved results, and not adding much if any weight.

        • Jerald Doerr

          Great thread! I missed this one… Time to get my Gear VR back from my friend who never uses it and get to work on the CNC machine… Ug it just might wait and see how Pimax comes out.

          • David Herrington

            While CNC machining would be nice, people have already come up with 3D printed lens enclosures and have provided the models if you want to create your own. (make sure to read further in the thread for the latest models)

            https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/comments/86uwsf/gearvr_to_vive_lens_adapters/

            A few people have even taken to doing this to their Pro’s as it is still a decrease in God Rays.

          • Jerald Doerr

            Yeah well, this might make you laugh but I have a $15,000 CNC but no 3D printer. I’ll definitely get one of the models that are already done and make some tool paths and cut it out of delrin, crap might even get fancy and make some adjustable lens mounts if need be…

    • thirsty

      4k and wireless? HAHAHAHAAAA maybe by 2030, dreamer

    • Peter K

      The 4K 90Hz OLED panels alone will probably cost more than 800$ in 2018.

  • Gato Satanista

    I will wait more and keep my rift. Too overpriced.

  • Aahzzy

    I’m guessing they are charging twice the price to help pay for all the free sets they gave to YouTubers who would have been the few paying customers. Good plan HTC. I bet you’ve sold, oh, gosh, dozens by now.

    • HybridEnergy

      Some puzzling channels got them for free. Like Effin channels that have barely 10k subs? like what the hell is that, might as well just give me one for free cause I got a channel with two subs.

  • Lucidfeuer

    The price is not a problem for me. The fact that it’s incredibly ugly, idiotic in ergonomics and anecdotical of an update, is however a no-go even at 500€.

  • brandon9271

    You can buy a Vive 1 AND a Samsung Odyssey for less than the $1099 they’re asking for the Vive Pro kit.. that’s completely bonkers

  • brubble

    Man, the “buts” sure seem to completely eclipse every 1/4 measure improvement HTC attempted with this one. What a complete joke that may only be adopted by the very, very few hardcore “gotta have it” VR enthusiasts. Pity.

    Cant wait to see the real tech advances from other companies.

  • bliglum .

    Ugly color.. Different for the sake of differentiation I suppose.

  • Luke

    my true hope is a new HMD from sony, for PS5 and PC.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Don’t count on Sony to provide native drivers for PC, it’ll have to come from the community. BUT I do hope they will have a new headset when the PS5 is released, as the PSVR is really great (even with it’s lower resolution screen, it seems sharper/better than the regular vive).

      • JJ

        I know sony paid a lot of studios to exclusively develop for them and that allowed a lot of room for polish and the ability to employ people. While some other companies developing for vive/rift/wmr were doing it out of pocket until their game sold. This clearly had an impact on the quality because bigger companies were able to get into vr that wouldn’t have because of the risk of losing money.

  • Bryan Ischo

    Thank you for so clearly pointing out the fact that the terrible Vive lenses have not been updated for the Vive Pro. This is the single factor which prevents me from buying the Vive Pro. It’s almost an insult that they wouldn’t include improved lenses in such an expensive refresh of the HMD hardware. The Vive lenses are the worst of the “generation 1” headsets (Rift, Vive, PSVR), and to not have improved them at all two years later … pathetic effort, HTC. I could afford a Vive Pro but won’t buy one with the same terrible gen 1 lenses.

  • Tyrus Gail

    Ahh – another classic from VR industry:) They don’t care about consumers, or VR development. They know that there is no big base of consumers, so they want to make more money by overpricing product.
    But their will be not a lot or VR consumers with those prices. Chicken-or-egg dilemma. And – as a consequence – developers will not make good quality (expensive) software for VR.
    And for those who’s waiting for Pimax – you better stop dreaming about small company satisfying global demand for hi-quality, and affordable HMD.

    And VR dream (good quality, for masses) is slowly dying.

    • Andrew McEvoy

      Lol! Sure mate.

    • alboradasa

      Butthurt much? I think you are confusing HTC/Valve, who are making the highest quality vr available for a niche market, with Oculus, who are clearly targeting mass adoption and profitability at the cost of sub-par vr experiences. Pick one cos you can’t have both, at least not for a few years. Sure the price is disappointingly high but to accuse them of money grabbing and “not caring about VR” is just stupid. Anyone expecting high resolution vr at competitive prices at this early stage of the industry is deluded. You need a state of the art PC with the most expensive video card available just to run it and you expect it to be cheap?

      • Tyrus Gail

        My butt is fine (my wife says it’s great), and you agree with me. “Sure the price is disappointingly high “. Thank you.Making VR gear so expensive, that it is now available for average consumer, is (in this period of time) murdering VR as a whole.
        Iit’s not the time to cut off coupons from old technology. Today VR looks like crap, that’s why sales is so low. And after 3 years of development, we have this? Basically the same gear for insane price. So YES, I’, accusing them of money grabbing, Thank you.

        • alboradasa

          No I am not agreeing with you. Stop cherry-picking and read again. Why on earth do you expect manufacturers to make a loss on hardware like this when there isn’t a consumer market for it, or even a software or hardware ecosystem to support it yet? Like I said, the lowest spec to run the Vive Pro properly is the most powerful consumer GPU available. Oculus knows this which is why they are focusing on shitty low-res VR, which if you ask me poses a far greater threat to VR in general, as it underwhelms first time users who don’t have the ability to see its potential. Maybe a year or two after Volta there will be sufficient demand to produce affordable high res VR, but I’m pretty sure HTC knows a thing or two about markets, supply and demand, and making products economically viable- if you want to call that money-grabbing then good for you.

          • Adam Broadhurst

            Theres no chance the Vive pro costs anywhere remotely near its retail price to manufacture.

          • alboradasa

            I don’t think manufacture costs are the only thing to consider when pricing a niche product like this.

          • Tyrus Gail

            We do not understand each other completely. This IS a basically CV1 (similar res, same fov, nothing better from consumer point of view) but for double (triple?) price, after years of development. You see any logic in that (beside ‘sell less-for more’ rhetoric – as I stated: deadly for VR)?
            If it was done by any other equipment manufacturer (smartphone, gpu, etc) he would be slammed all over the internet. But here we have no competition, and this is about ‘holy’ VR, so I (as a consumer) can’t say anything? No sir.
            This is bad (monopolistic) behavior and it should be stigmatized.

  • Eugene Panich

    “It’s the same 110 degree field of view as before, same God Rays and Fresnel ring artifacts, and unfortunately the same small Sweet Spot. The latter is especially unfortunate because the heightened resolution almost seems to make it more noticable. It becomes apparent that the blur introduced when you aren’t looking perfectly through the center axis of the lens is making much of that extra resolution useless.”

    Exactly the problem we solve with Digital Lens technology http://blog.almalence.com/almalence-digital-lens-technology-enables-high-resolution-wide-fov-vr-hmds/

  • Ax

    It’s just a premium product for professionals and early adopters, people. Prices will go down before a year has passed.
    You don’t want it? Fine. I fully understand. But I also like that the option is there. I personally didn’t expect higher resolution so soon so for me it’s ahead of it’s time, so for me, worth the price in 2018. Won’t be in 2019 probably. But in the meantime, once 2.0 base stations are out, I’m gona probably go for it.

    • theonlyrealconan

      It is not commercial or prosumer. It does not come with business license or warranty. It does not have better/stronger parts that would hold up to commercial use. Name one thing that makes it for professional/business/prosumer? Guess we could call the Odyssey professional as well then?

      No upgraded lenses, fov, or controllers either.

  • Jose Ferrer

    Thanks for this review. I use the Rift right now basically for IL-2 Sturmovik and some few demos. Since there is nothing expected from Oculus for PC in the next 12 months I was considering to sell the Rift and buy the overpriced Vive Pro, but although IL-2 Sturmovik uses OpenVR I still don´t know if it will work well with Vive Pro. (Other WindowsMR devices supporting OpenVR suffer from IPD issues in that sim). Ben, if you have IL-2, could you confirm if it works? Thanks.

    • Jose Ferrer

      No need to check, I have just read in the IL-2 forums that it works fine with IL-2

  • Andrew Jakobs

    “Make sure to get your IPD measured and dialed in precisely to avoid the pitfalls of the small Sweet Spot as much as possible.”
    That’s something you should anyway, setting the IPD correctly already lessens the problem of motionsickness, now if you could also actually set the focus it would almost eliminate it for most people.

  • Nads

    This is clearly been released for businesses.

    Such a shame cause i would have upgraded if it was a decent upgrade and a reasonable upgrade cost, HTC had such a good system going on. I love the base stations (just require a power socket and not a stupid USB connection to PC like the badly designed Oculus Rift), i already own the Oculus Rift but always tend to use my Vive instead mainly because i know the tracking will be much better with room scale. I only have two sensors with rift and they are just sitting on a table somewhere, cant even be bothered with a third sensor cause i dent have any more USB slots on pc and also wherever i put it, it would have to run back to my pc which is an issue in itself.

  • alexp700

    Just received the Vive Pro – had a original Vive. Its pricey, but then so is having to buy a £500 graphics card to drive the thing (plus another £800 or so for a half decent PC base…). Bleeding VR is not for the poor unfortunately, but then there always has to be a “best” for those with the means. Visual quality is a big step up – I can actually read text now. Comfort is up. Still a bit bulky, but much better balanced. Would I recommend upgrading? For personal use if I was someone wielding a 1080Ti – in a heartbeat. If I was someone like me with a late 980GTX, probably not. I can see stutters on Steam Menus, and things feel a bit janky in a few (but certainly not all) games.

    I am going try to wait for the next Nvidia refresh before upgrading my GPU ;-). Only then will it feel worth it, but the Pro is literally the best VR headset you can get. What’s not to like?

  • Ramón

    You give the perfect words in the analysis. The Pro is the natural progression of the original Vive and 3 years later the overprice is not justified. Very good analysis according to my thoughts. 300$ for the Basestations and wands 1.0 like ‘come later and pay more’ is… atrocious.

  • I wrote a review some weeks ago and basically wrote the same things: great product, but not worth the price for the average consumer

  • HybridEnergy

    I have the massive audio bug or whatever it is. These headphones sound awful, quiet, hollow, and with no low end. Come on HTC, better be software, if you shipped broken headphones that would really suck .

  • cyberqat

    Too little too late.

    MIcrosoft tech based MR headsets from a host of companies do arbitrarily large room scale without lighthouses or anything else by leveraging Hololense tech.

    And a nice middle of the line one with Oculus level video from HP can be had for less then $250 on amazon including two controllers.

  • Gary

    Pimax is the best