HTC has announced the Vive Pro 2, a new high-end VR headset aimed at PC gamers who crave the best quality gaming experience possible.
The new headset has seen a boost to various specs, with the display resolution climbing to 5K and the refresh rate increased to 120Hz.
However, the Vive Pro 2 will require a wired connection to your gaming PC to function, unless you own the Vive Wireless Adapter. The new headset will also need to use the existing Base Stations and Vive controllers to track your movement.
Vive has also retained the same design as the original headset, featuring a resizing dial at the back, adjustable IPD and integrated Hi-Res headphones.
For more details on the new VR headset, keep reading on.
The Vive Pro 2 will officially launch on 4 June 2021.
Owners of the original Vive Pro headset will be able to preorder the new headset right now, while also benefiting from a temporary discount.
The full-kit Vive Pro 2 will cost US$1399(~S$1853.11), which includes the new headset, Base Station 2.0 and a pair of Vive Controllers.
For those upgrading from the original headset, HTC is offering the headset without the bundled accessories for just US$739(~S$984.92). However, this price is expected to increase after the preorder period.
The original Vive Pro headset already had a stellar spec list, but the new Vive Pro 2 looks to be setting a new standard for high-end VR headsets, featuring a whopping 5K resolution (2.5K per eye) for a far more clearer and sharper display.
With so much pixel density, Vive suggests it virtually eliminated the screen door effect. This is a distracting mesh-like appearance that occurs when the distance between pixels is visible. Such an effect is more obvious with VR headsets since your face is so close to the screen.
While it’s generally recommended to opt for one of the latest and greatest graphics cards to support such a high resolution, Vive has worked with both AMD and Nvidia to ensure the Vive Pro 2 is compatible with every PC that supports the original headset.
By using Display Stream Compression, older GPUs will be able to hit the same resolution as the likes of the Nvidia RTX 3080 and Radeon RX 6800XT, but will inevitably see a drop in graphics quality. This means the best graphics cards will ensure the optimum performance, but they’re not essential.
Vive is also hiking up the headset’s refresh rate from 90Hz to 120Hz, improving the picture quality when displaying fast motion. A higher refresh rate can also help to reduce the risk of motion sickness when playing VR.
The LCD screen’s field of view (FOV) is also being increased to 120 degrees, so you should be able to view in-game objects from the corner of your eyes.
The new VR headset is unfortunately still wired by default, requiring the sold separately Vive Wireless Adapter accessory in order to liberate yourself from the cord. HTC claims there were a number of reasons why it decided to keep a wired connection, but keeping the price down seemed to be the number one motive.
The Vive Pro 2 will also require Base Stations to track your movement, and so will not be adopting the Vive Cosmos’s inside-out tracking technology. These will be the same Base Stations used with the original headset, which means you’ll be able to use existing accessories with the new headset.
While Vive has boosted the internal specs for the Vive Pro 2, it’s retained the same design as the original headset.
This means the Vive Pro 2 will feature the resizing dial at the back, the adjustable strap and the configurable IPD so you find the best fit for your eyes.
The integrated Hi-Res headphones are also making a comeback, although Vive will continue to offer users the option to use third-party headphones thanks to the inclusion of a 3.5mm jack.
It’s a shame that the Vive Pro 2 will not have a wireless adapter or face tracker built into the headset at default, but given the specs upgrade, we can understand that Vive would be hesitant with pushing the cost up further. Especially as price has been a key factor stopping Vive headsets earning a place as THE best VR headset.
The Vive Pro 2 looks to be a big upgrade on the original headset, pushing the resolution up to 5K and the refresh rate up to 120Hz. This should increase the appeal for PC gamers who want the ultimate VR experience to play the likes of Half-Life: Alyx and Microsoft Flight Simulator.
It’s hard to ignore the price though, with Vive asking for over US$1000 if you don’t already own a Vive headset. Owners of the original Pro will at least be able to purchase the new headset separately at a discounted price, but they’ll still need to be a big VR enthusiast to spend this much cash.
That said, with the Oculus Quest 2 dominating the entry-level VR market, it makes a lot of sense for Vive to concentrate on the higher end of the market rather than taking on Facebook directly. But Vive will still need to rely on game developers to continue launching high-end VR experiences to make the most of these boosted specs.
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