HTC Vive Professional 2 VR Headset

HTC’s follow-up to its business-level HMD, the Vive Professional 2, targets each skilled and high-end gaming customers.

Whereas the unique Vive Professional was aimed particularly at industrial and industrial customers, the Vive Professional 2 can also be being marketed as a premium VR resolution for avid gamers. And I actually cannot blame them for doing that. The alternative for the unique consumer-oriented Vive, the Vive Cosmos, improved the visuals however fell brief on a number of different elements.

You will not discover the brand new Vive Professional 2 at your native shopper electronics retailer. For shoppers, the one option to get the Vive Professional 2 is thru the Vive web site. Even so, it is solely obtainable as a headset within the ANZ area – not one of the retail packages embrace the required IR base stations or controllers. They’re obtainable individually, however I suppose HTC anticipates the Professional 2 as an improve for current customers who have already got the equipment.

Out of the field, the Professional 2 seems virtually equivalent to its predecessor. It is a bigger headset, weighing the identical as the unique Vive however lower than the Vive Cosmos (with a monitoring faceplate).

After I picked it up the very first thing I seen was how robust it was. The unique Vive and Cosmos really feel like they’re made from eggshells compared. Whereas I do not suppose it is going to bounce, the Vive Professional 2 appears constructed for some abuse.

The entrance of the headset homes two pass-through cameras and a full vary of sensors (versus the lesser quantity on the Cosmos monitoring faceplate). There’s an on/off button on the left aspect of the headset and a button to regulate the gap between the lens and your eyes. Simpler for individuals with larger glasses (although I might nonetheless put on the glasses and hold the lenses proper up with out rubbing in opposition to them). There is a dial on the suitable to regulate the IPD (interpupillary distance), that’s, the gap between your eyes. Adjusting this dial additionally reveals a cross that helps discover the candy spot when it’s utilized.

The built-in audio headset has quantity controls on the left aspect, whereas the mic mute button is on the suitable. Audio elements might be eliminated and a third-party audio headset can be utilized as an alternative. This consists of some plastic discs which can be used to cowl the headphone connectors, if they’re eliminated, to maintain issues tidy.

Not like the Vive Cosmos, Oculus Rift S, and myriad Home windows combined actuality VR headsets, the Vive Professional makes use of SteamVR infra-red lighthouse base stations for very exact monitoring. These aren’t low cost and require a excessive degree of technical experience to place and stand up and working. As OG Vive/Cosmos homeowners, we already had base stations mounted on workplace partitions and a pair of Vive controllers. Whereas a ache to arrange initially, this additional effort pays dividends in that base stations monitor the headset and controller to a a lot increased constancy than every other technique.

Placing on the Professional 2, like most VR HMDs, it took some time to seek out the candy spot—the purpose at which you might want to hold your eyes on the lens to see the show clearly. It regarded smaller than the unique Vive however was just like the Cosmos. Slightly cautious adjustment, and I used to be good to go.

The Professional 2’s declared 120-degree extensive field-of-view was brighter than what I am used to with the Vive Cosmos. Cosmos has a 110-degree area of view on paper, however that interprets to about 90-degrees in observe. With the lens as near my eyes as potential, the Professional 2 introduced me with a breathtakingly detailed vista.

Checking Horizontal and Vertical FOV with ROV Check FOV – Decision The SteamVR atmosphere steered that the horizontal FOV is like 110-degrees horizontal and 80-degrees vertical. In any case, virtually talking, each horizontal and vertical FOVs are fantastic in regular use. The standard human horizontal line of sight is 124-degrees, and vertical optimum eye rotation is 55-degrees (which explains why I actually needed to pressure to see the Professional 2’s 80-degrees).

The Vive Professional 2, like all of HTC’s HMDs, makes use of a Fresnel lens to maintain the lens thickness down. The smaller concentric rings (that are raised on the within of the lens) improve refraction with out the necessity for a thicker lens. I am not a fan. The draw back of this method is that shiny objects can typically trigger glare. Becoming the HMD correctly reduces the influence, and also you get used to it.

It sounds unusual, however I believe the lenses are too far aside. In case your eyes get drained, or your lenses are positioned away out of your eyes, you may even see a round shadow in the midst of your view because the binocular impact is disrupted. This occurred to me many occasions.

The Vive Console software program defaults to an computerized decision and show frequency, which is probably not optimum. The Vive console has a alternative of one in every of 5 settings that may be utilized manually: Show (2448×1224 @ 120 Hz), Balanced (3264×1632 @ 90 Hz), Excessive (3672×1836 @ 90 Hz), Extremely (4896×2448 @ 90Hz), and Excessive (4896×2448 @120Hz). I do not know why there is not 3672×1836 @ 120Hz. These resolutions are the mixed decision of each eyes, the Vive Professional 2 has a pair of 2448×2448 low-persistence LCD panels.

At first, I used to be unable to realize decision above 3672×1836. The 4896×2448 decision requires using Show Stream Compression (DSC). It’s a visually lossless compression for the DisplayPort 1.4 customary that permits the switch of the huge quantity of knowledge required for 5K decision. Meaning you not solely want a beefy GPU to entry Extremely and Excessive settings, however you additionally want one which’s suitable with DSC. In fact, the Vive Professional 2 is backwards suitable with DisplayPort 1.2 to be used on older units at decrease resolutions.

After some back-and-forth between the Vive Bowfins in Taiwan, I discovered that I wanted to disconnect one in every of my three displays (which was overloading the GPU driver) in an effort to get to the Professional 2’s prime efficiency settings. . I used to be already very impressed with the Professional 2 working at 4K 3672×1836 decision. Switching to 5K (4896×2448) broke my thoughts.

I had my first attempt on Vive Professional 2 Blue. This immersive underwater VR expertise was additionally the very first thing I attempted on the unique Vive. Standing on a cliff about 20 meters under the ocean’s floor, I noticed life like wanting fish working round me. It was as superb as the primary time I noticed them, however this time with out the pixelated display screen door impact.

With fashionable graphics playing cards in favor of upper resolutions, the excessive constancy picture afforded by the Professional 2 on the Excessive setting did not give me the efficiency hit I anticipated. The crisp visuals had been complemented by a framerate that did not miss a beat in most VR functions.

The improved pixel density meant that gauges and readouts in Microsoft Flight Simulator had been clear with virtually zero degradation in efficiency utilizing the sim’s default VR settings. Searching from my airplane over California, each the scene and the airport appeared effectively outlined and photoreal.

In Digital Fight Simulator (DCS), not solely was the gauge straightforward to learn, however attempt as I’d, I could not hassle myself doing the spin and loop as a result of the framerate was rock stable. It was thrilling to see the UH-1 helicopter fly over Las Vegas.

It is not nearly video games. HTC is eager to level out that whereas the corporate appreciates that the expertise is demanded by the high-end gaming neighborhood, the Vive Professional 2 is meant as a industrial/industrial VR resolution.

Higher decision and wider area of view is like watching motion pictures in free bigscreen app. Beforehand I’ve discovered that watching motion pictures in VR, particularly 3D motion pictures, with washed out particulars is a really compromised expertise. The Professional 2 modifications all that. Once more, utilizing BigScreen, I discovered it potential to render in a hosted room utilizing the desktop, rendering it crisp and readable in VR for potential viewers.

The Professional 2 additionally has removable earphones that do a good job of reproducing audio. Nonetheless, it wasn’t fairly as loud as earlier Vive HMDs. The deluxe audio strap for the OG Vive virtually deafened me. The provided assessment unit additionally had a quiet AC hum when there was no different sound. Not likely a dealbreaker, however I might positively hear it. The twin microphones are ok for chatting, however I am not utilizing them to stream or produce skilled audio.

For many customers, the Vive Professional 2 will likely be an overdrive. At AU$1299/NZ$1449 for the headset solely, it is fairly costly. In case you’ve already invested within the OG Vive or Vive Professional and have a base station and controller, the Vive Professional 2 is prepared for a good improve.

Vive Professional 2 homeowners can choose to make use of their current Base Station 1.0 and Vive controllers if they’ve them, or go for the up to date Base Station 2.0 which might be bought individually. If you will discover them, you possibly can even use Valve’s Index Knuckles controllers for absolutely immersive per-finger monitoring.

HTC’s Vive Professional 2 is the transfer I anticipated the Vive Cosmos to be. It is probably not low cost, however it needs to be very interesting to avid gamers in search of the very best VR expertise. The unit is sturdy and makes use of a flexible industry-standard VR system. I can see the Professional 2 turning into de rigueur not solely in VR arcades but additionally in lots of industrial and industrial VR installations.

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