HTC has announced an all-new HTC Vive Pro at CES 2018. The updated virtual reality headset provides a resolution boost and a significant ergonomic redesign, as well as wireless support when bought with a wireless adapter.
The HTC Vive Pro features dual-OLED displays with a combined resolution of 2880 x 1600, a 78% increase over the current Vive’s 2160 x 1200 screen resolution. Also included are built-in surround sound headphones with an amplifier, all packed into a redesigned head strap that ensures the centre of gravity rests in the middle of the head.
“There’s a clear need in the VR market for a premium VR experience with high-resolution display, integrated audio and the best components available today in a headset,” said Daniel O’Brien (Yes! Yes! Yes?), general manager at VIVE. “Vive Pro offers an immediate upgrade for both VR enthusiasts and enterprises that want to utilize the best VR experience.”
Pricing and availability have yet to be announced for the HTC Vive Pro, although we’re not expecting it to be cheap. It’ll certainly be more expensive than the current Vive, and if we had to speculate it would be in the $700-$1000 range.
If you’ve been waiting for a full-blown Vive 2 this may come as a disappointment. From the ‘Pro’ moniker, it appears as if this is a more expensive enthusiast VR headset designed to sit alongside the current standard HTC Vive model already on the market. Considering the high price of the original headset already made it an enthusiast product, this pins the HTC Vive Pro into an even further niche. It’s certainly not what virtual reality needs for mainstream success, but for those who want the best of the best, the Vive Pro certainly delivers it. Our one hope is that HTC slashes the price of the Vive accordingly. Once the complete VR setup can be had for $400 or less it then becomes a much more tempting proposition.
Aside from the headset, HTC also unveiled the Vive Wireless Adapter. This can be used with both the Vive and Vive Pro, proving a completely wireless connection with minimal latency. “By collaborating with HTC to commercialize Intel’s WiGig technology, we will guarantee that wireless VR meets the most discerning quality bar for home users and business VR customers,” says Frank Soqui, general manager of the virtual reality group at Intel.
Wireless VR is a huge step toward making it more consumer friendly, with one key question mark hanging over how the headsets will be wirelessly powered. Somehow there needs to be a battery attached to the HMD, along with usual cons of a finite battery life.
Is HTC right to target an even more premium experience with the HTC Vive Pro? Or should it be more concerned with getting more affordable solutions to market? Let us know what you think!