HTC Vive Pro Review: An Expensive VR Upgrade

The HTC Vive continue to be aging gracefully over the previous 2 years, but there is room for improvement in terms of its sound & screen capabilities.

That is the place that the Vive Pro comes in.

This virtual reality headset has more jagged screens, high quality built I headphones, dual outward facing cameras, in addition  a much more comfortable and protected design.

It is much better compared to the Vive in every way, except for one particular major flaw: Its $799 price tag does not include the base stations as well as motion controllers it needs to function.

A bundle can be obtained for an extra $300, but which means you are having to spend more than $1,000 before even considering the PC of yours, that better be pretty effective in case you would like to use the Vive Pro.

credit : Amazon

HTC Vive Pro price and release date

The HTC Vive Pro started to be available on its own – with no Lighthouse sensors as well as controllers – on April 5, 2018. A complete bundle is promised for later on this year, with pricing to be announced, however,we are still waiting for it.

If April 5 rings a bell, by the way, that is because the first HTC Vive launched on April 5, 2016. On its own, the HTC Vive Pro costs $799 or perhaps £799 (around AU$1,045).

HTC Vive Pro design

While Other VR evangelists and htc may concentrate their focus on the Pro’s uptick in visual fidelity – a native resolution of 2880 x 1600 (615 dpi) versus 2160 x 1200 on the first Vive – the Vive Pro has a number of design modifications which are equally beneficial as the Dual AMOLED display.

Firstly, the HTC Vive Pro now comes with built in headphones which sit right atop your ears.

They are adjustable in height, as well as include volume controls which would mean you will don’t need to take off the headset to re adjust the volume between game sessions.

There is additionally the brand new harness which can hold the headset much more firmly than the velcro straps did on the first HTC Vive.

The harness will keep the headset from moving during specially extreme moments in video games as DOOM VFR or maybe Arizona Sunshine, and wards off the infamous head strain which can occur after using the first HTC Vive for a long time.

Spin the headset around to the back and you will notice the brand new turn knob -a carry over from the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap that HTC released last year.

You are able to use it to tighten up the headset for a far better match, or maybe loosen it to take the headset off with no undoing the top strap.

There is additionally the new and improved cable which slims the triple wire cable on the first Vive to a manageable single wire.

When you do not want to shell out for the latest $299 / £299 wireless adapter, it is absolutely ok.

In the headset itself, you will find brand new rubber nose guards which stop light from filtering in the crack between the nose of yours and the headset, while a more durable, plushy foam pad cushions see your face for much more comfy lengthy play sessions.

HTC Vive Pro specs

credit : Amazon (htc vive pro spec)

On the front side of the headset you will now locate a 2nd front facing camera that will provide much better tracking for developers looking to make AR experiences.

If there is some disadvantage to the HTC Vive Pro’s design it is the headset uses the exact same peripherals as the first HTC Vive, which means absolutely no new base or controllers stations.

In a few ways, this’s a possible cost savings strategy for HTC and a boon for those people who have previously purchased the first Vive, as we are able to simply carry over the hardware from the first headset.

That said, at the same time using the HTC Vive Pro with the first gen trackers as well as controllers are able to make the headset look like a half step improvement instead of a fully featured step up from the first Vive.

It is a small problem, obviously, and one that HTC will probably remedy sooner rather than later.

credit : Amazon

Headset

The Vive Pro looks as an overbuilt, navy blue model of the first Vive.

It’s the exact same basic form, with a rounded, pock covered visor marked with a number of reflective nodes for the external sensors to pick up.

The visor is now designed with 2 cameras rather than just one, for outward facing 3D tracking stereoscopic vision like on Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

Instead of a 3.5mm headphone jack for use with your own headphones, the Vive Pro has integrated on ear headphones very similar to the Oculus Rift, oculus quest and oculus quest 2.

The headset is better quality than the Rift and Rift S, with very helpful controls and faux-leather earpads such as a volume rocker on the left earpiece and a built-in mic mute button on the right.

Additionally, they seem a bit better, however, apart from entirely replacing the headband with a non audio version, there aren’t any alternative options like Rift’s in ear Oculus Rift Earphones.

The Pro seems more heavy-duty, with thicker plastic hardware of the visor’s face mask, the mounting points in which the headband connects to the visor, and the rear head support on the headband.

The horizontal part of the headband is supported by blue plastic and well padded, especially over the back part you are able to tighten against your head using a dial.

A vertical strap runs from the top of the visor to the upper part of the rear support, and is adjustable with hook-and-loop fasteners to keep the headset steady.

HTC Vive Pro screen resolution(screen specs)

Dual 3.5 inch 1,440-by-1,600 AMOLED screens drive the Vive Pro’s display screen system, sporting the identical 90Hz refresh rate and 110 degree viewing angle of the first Vive‘s 3.6 inch 1,080-by-1,200 AMOLED screens.

The result is a significantly sharper picture with an extremely high density of 615 pixels per inch. It is the identical jump you would get at the Oculus Rift or Oculus Rift S, that has the identical screen numbers as the Vive.

credit : Amazon

Link Box

Just like the Vive, the Vive Pro links to your PC using a link Box, a little device that can serve as the connection hub.

The headset itself links to the front side of the link Box through a proprietary connector at the end of any length of cable hardwired to the top left corner of the visor.

The front panel of the Link Box also offers a round blue button that toggles power to the headset, indicated by a green LED on the top.

The back of the box has a micro USB port and a mini DisplayPort for linking to the pc of yours with the provided wires, in addition to a barrel connector port for the included power adapter.

The link Box does not have an HDMI port, that could be a problem based on your PC.

We were not able to get the Vive Pro working with our typical VR test system, a Razer Blade Pro notebook, using a mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI cable.

Rather we’d to discover anothe test system with a DisplayPort connection.

Even in case your PC is otherwise VR ready and fulfills all of the other technical needs for your Vive, you need to ensure that you’ve mini DisplayPort or a DisplayPort (with adapter).

credit : Amazon

Base Stations and Controllers

The Vive Pro uses the same 2 external base stations and the same 2 motion controllers as the first Vive.

When I say the exact same, I mean you should have a Vive on hand so that you are able to use its controllers and sensors in case you do not want to spend another $300 on the Vive Pro.

Despite the headset’s $800 price tag, it does not come with its own motion or sensors controllers like the $500 Vive does.

HTC announced a SteamVR 1.0 tracking bundle for $299 which contains 2 base stations and 2 motion controllers, cutting the a la carte cost of those accessories significantly.

It is still a pretty huge add-on for an already costly headset, however.

While we still love the Oculus Touch because of its ergonomics and a lot more conventional gaming controls, the Vive motion controllers are reliable and functional.

credit : Amazon

Setup

The setup process for the Vive Pro is the same to the first Vive.

Place the base stations apart from each other in your room, dealing with the center of the play area of yours.

Plug them in and ensure the LEDs on the base stations indicate they are synced.

Plug the headset into the Link Box, then simply plug the link Box into your PC with DisplayPort and USB, as well as plug in the electrical power adapter.

Charge the motion controllers with micro USB cables.

Finally, install the Viveport software package and also SteamVR (in case you do not have already got Steam installed, the Viveport installer will walk you through setting up that as well).

With everything plugged in as well as installed, pressing the button on the link Box as well as opening Viveport VR will load SteamVR and also the headset will begin displaying a VR environment.

It’ll hopefully prompt you to create your room, but in case it does not you are able to simply go through room setup through the SteamVR interface.

The room setup walks you through identifying the base stations as well as motion controllers, drawing a boundary around your play area using one of the motion controllers to set up a glowing border which shows up in your VR experience in case you get much too close to leaving the cleared space.

You are able to also create SteamVR to simply provide a stationary sitting/standing VR experience without a boundary, however, you will need to be cautious of not bumping into the table of yours or perhaps a wall in case you use it.

If the software application does not walk you through pairing the motion controllers, you are able to pair them while the SteamVR and Viveport software are up by holding the 2 buttons above and also below each controller’s touchpad.

credit : Amazon

VR Experience

I triedsome different games on the Vive Pro, and was pretty impressed.

The higher resolution of the screens can make the games seem to be clearer compared to quite similar demos I tried with the first Vive, and also the on-ear headphones offer powerful sound which blocks out external noise quite well.

Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay is a short, game which is free based on Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

It places you in the task of a droid mechanic on a Rebel cruiser and walks you through fixing various BB-8-style droids by leading them to a pedestal, opening them up, replacing components, and helping them all over the repair bay.

It looks crisp and nice on the Vive Pro, and the movement controllers function as intended for manipulating the droid electronics.

Silicon Valley: Inside The Hacker Hostel is one other free experience determined by the show Silicon Valley, putting you in the shared living room of the shows’ main characters.

It is an amazingly well realized, detailed room with a few basic physics games and objectives, like drilling holes in drives which are hard as well as discovering notes.

The motion controllers are not quite as precise as I’d be interested here, particularly when adjusting the power drill, however, everything about the game is enjoyable and engaging.

I additionally tried VRChat.

The software could be used without a headset, which happens to be part of the reason it is very popular.

It is a fascinating experience, wading through various worlds created by users appealing to different proportions of nostalgia and trolling.

Graphics appear clear and crisp and uncomplicated}, and voice chat comes through the headset easily.

Most of these experiences really feel much like other VR experiences on the HTC Vive, because effectivelythat is what the Vive Pro is offering.

It is the Vive, with exactly the same motion sensing capabilities and general characteristics, simply with a much nicer screen and audio system.

The sharp point of view of the droid repair bay as well as hacker hostel are a little better compared to other scenes on the Vive,however, it is not a great leap in clarity which tends to make everything suddenly seem a lot more realistic or perhaps engaging due to the hardware.

It looks and sounds much better, but not by a massive quantity, so the headset does not actually try to do more than that.

Want other choices? Here is our list of the best VR headsets.

#vr-headsets review

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