HTC decided to refresh its Vive virtual reality headset and presented the Vive Pro model at the international electronics exhibition CES 2018 today. The original Vive headset appeared on the market almost two years ago, and the new one is designed to solve the shortcomings that were associated with the earlier version of the headset. The main feature of the updated model is the increased resolution and built-in headphones.
The resolution of two OLED displays in the new headset was increased to 2880 x 1600 pixels (1400 x 1600 pixels per eye at a pixel density of 661 ppi). This is almost a 78 percent increase in resolution compared to the original 2160 x 1200 (or 1080 x 1200 pixels per eye) pixels. Increased resolution will improve the quality of the picture and make the text more legible and readable. Oculus Rift and Microsoft's mixed-reality headset quietly weep at the side.
In addition to increasing the resolution, HTC also updated the design of the strap, with which the device is fixed to the head, making it more comfortable and equipped with built-in headphones. As noted by the owners of the original Vive model, one of its main disadvantages is the difficulty of an optimal fit on the head and weight distribution. In addition, the use of third-party headphones not only adds weight to the head, but also leads to the use of additional wires that can interfere with the overall perception of the virtual world. Vive Pro also has a convenient size adjustment system, so it's more balanced and now will not put pressure on the forehead, as it was with the previous version.
A dual front camera and two microphones were added to the updated headset. HTC is confident that developers of applications and games will be able to find them a worthy application. In general, the device now looks less awkward, compared to the original version. Two front cameras look like digital eyes, and this is perhaps one of the most noticeable external differences from the first model, except that now the headset is presented in a blue-black color scheme. The company did not disclose either the release date or the price of the updated device, but promised to inform about it in the near future.
It should be added that the HTC Vive Pro headset is backwards compatible with the SteamVR tracking system versions 1.0 and 2.0, and for one headset can be used up to four base stations. HTC said that sales of the original model will continue throughout 2018, and Vive Pro will enter the market during this quarter. The cost of a full set and bundle will be announced later.
In addition to announcing the new headset, HTC also introduced updates to the Viveport store, offering various content for virtual reality. Most Vive users, of course, most often buy apps and games via SteamVR, but the introduction of the VR Previews function into the store, allowing users to evaluate the content before purchasing, will likely attract some Vive and Vive Pro users.
In conclusion, we should also mention the announcement of the wireless module Vive Wireless Adapter – a separate device that will work with both standard HTC Vive, and with Vive Pro, and will make the headset completely wireless. Vive Wireless Adapter will be available in the third quarter of 2018. The price has not yet been reported.