HTC Vive Professional assessment: Eye-popping VR, with a worth that is a bit of too actual


in nice form , Blue is the brand new black.

Kyle Orland

headset glasses
HTC Vive Professional HTC Vive
present 2880×1600 (1440×1600 per eye) AMOLED panel 2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye) AMOLED panel
refresh fee 90 Hz 90 Hz
subject of view 110 diploma 110 levels
Audio Built-in adjustable earcups with 3D directional audio help; built-in microphone audio extension dongle for plugging generic headphones into the headset; built-in microphone
PC connection Customized Single-Piece Cable With PC Junction Field Three-part multi-cable (HDMI, USB, POWER) with PC junction field
Included Equipment none Two wi-fi motion-track controllers with rechargeable 960mAh battery, two SteamVR 1.0 room-scale monitoring stations
video games concerned Six-month Viveport subscription (supplied till June 3) Fallout 4 VRTwo Month Viveport Subscription
value $799 ($1,099 with two monitoring stations, two controllers) $499

With the consumer-level digital actuality “revolution” now two years previous, it is time to begin excited about what the second era of high-end headsets may enhance. However HTC’s first true shot on the “subsequent era” has made us assume much less about enhancements and extra about value.

HTC’s Vive Professional, launching this week, comes with a reputation and a price ticket ($799 for an improve from the unique Vive, or $1,099 for brand spanking new Vive house owners), which marks a revelatory leap within the VR expertise. Suggests, which already impacts us. Originally of 2016. However in follow, the Vive Professional seems like a refined refinement of present concepts somewhat than a real next-generation follow-up.

Briefly, the brand new headset removes most of the greatest troubles with the unique Vive: a extra comfy headstrap, built-in “spatial audio” headphones, and a higher-resolution display that makes particulars pop in digital actuality. These enhancements make the Vive Professional the most effective VR headset at the moment accessible for common client use.

Companies and location-based leisure venues will not assume twice about paying a number of hundred {dollars} extra for top-of-the-line VR expertise. For the remainder of us who’ve to think about the worth of these enhancements in comparison with their value in actual {dollars}, the calculus turns into way more tough.

strap in

The usual headstrap that comes with the Vive Professional shall be acquainted to anybody who invested $100 within the deluxe audio strap HTC launched for the unique Vive final yr. Each are an enormous enchancment over the flimsy, poorly becoming, fabric-and-Velcro strap that was by far the worst a part of the unique Vive package deal.

Just like the Deluxe Audio Strap, the Vive Professional’s built-in headstrap encompasses a agency, plastic wraparound band that may swivel 90 levels upwards, permitting you to slip it out of the best way extra simply to place it on the headset (and offer you ease of entry to the headset). Permits the eyepiece to be briefly flipped from) to see the true world throughout use. After you slide the strap down, a handy twisting ratchet on the again of your cranium permits you to modify the scale by about 4 inches in circumference, guaranteeing a cosy match round any cranium form. A thick strip of Velcro runs over the pinnacle, however it barely appears needed to attain a cushty grip.

The Vive Professional is definitely a contact heavier than the unique Vive with an extra deluxe audio strap, however it does not really feel that manner. That is as a result of the Vive Professional’s new strap rebalances the headset in a manner that feels extra comfy on the scalp. Final yr’s Deluxe Audio Strap did not repair the awkward top-of-head binding place that all the time left the unique Vive feeling too forward-heavy. Due to a very redesigned clasp on the facet of the headset, the Vive Professional Strap can rotate 20-25 levels nearer to the neck—and it provides sufficient back-of-head padding that feels comfy, constrained. No.

Minimal PC Specs
GPU Nvidia GTX 1060 / AMD RX 480 equal or increased (GTX 1070 / Quadro P5000 / AMD Radeon Vega 56 or higher beneficial)
cpu Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350, equal or higher
to hit 4GB
OS Home windows 8.1 or later, Home windows 10
Output DisplayPort 1.2 or newer; 1x USB 3.0
different No less than 1.5m×2m of open area for “room-scale” experiences.

Consequently, the load of the unit lastly feels evenly distributed between the front and back of the cranium. The headset by no means feels liable to falling at excessive speeds, because it did with the unique Vive Strap. A redesigned and reinserted connection cable places a much less annoying tug on the highest of your head, changing it to a single cable as an alternative of the earlier mannequin’s three-cable combo—however nonetheless the dangling sensation of the wire. Do not get round together with your head down on the ground. (We’re nonetheless ready for the worth and launch date of this yr’s Vive wi-fi adapter, to not point out how properly it should work.)

The Vive Professional mimics the unique Deluxe Audio Strap accent in including two drop-down, over-ear headphones on both facet of the unit, and these relaxation on a swiveling slider for correct positioning. The earcups ship robust, direct-appropriate sound with out fully blocking the true world and may be shortly flipped over if you should hear one thing unobstructed. (HTC representatives have advised Ars that the Vive Professional’s earcups embody noise-canceling expertise, however we did not see something past the feeling of our ears being coated.) Buttons on the again of the earcups allow you to mute the microphone and open the microphone. Permits you to modify the pc. Quantity up shortly with out leaving VR, which may be very handy for switching between video games with very completely different sound profiles.

Whereas certainly one of our reviewers discovered that the earcups match simply fantastic on his head, one other discovered that they did not fully cowl his ears, regardless of the changes. Nonetheless, even when seated lower than flush, each testers confirmed high-performance audio, even within the tough high- and low-end spectrum. Music-heavy VR experiences like rage And blatant lie,

Nevertheless, regardless of the enhancements, the Vive Professional nonetheless options a few of the similar fundamental design issues of the unique. The eyepiece housing (which now permits additional room for glasses, toggled by a simple button press and slider) continues to be tightly pressed in opposition to the entrance of your face, making a thick seal that traps warmth and Places important stress on the sinuses. Any decently lengthy VR session threatens to show your face right into a sweaty, pink mess that may result in important steam buildup on the lens. Even worse, the front-of-face foam padding feels decidedly non-pro. HTC is displaying it at press occasions with a customized leather-based face cushion, and for this worth, we want they’d supplied the identical possibility as the buyer default.

PlayStation VR, which suspends the eyepiece housing proper in entrance of the eyes, stays the winner of consolation. However the Vive Professional headstrap additionally feels a bit over-engineered in comparison with the light-weight, skinny, spring-loaded strap on the Oculus Rift, with out providing a lot enchancment when it comes to total consolation.

The Vive Professional is actually a needed step up from the fully extravagant band that got here with the unique Vive, and it is also a slight step up from the deluxe audio strap that HTC has already rolled out. However essentially the most tangible enhancements within the HTC Vive are discovered internally, not externally.



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