Over the course of three days at CES 2018, we were introduced to the latest products and innovations on the market. Now, with the largest consumer electronics trade fair behind us, we can say that virtual reality has once again taken centre stage. Let's look back on one of the most anticipated new releases: the new HTC Vive Pro VR headset. In addition to a bigger display, the Taiwanese electronics giant has delivered a number of improved features for us. How does the HTC Vive Pro compare to its predecessor? Our article is here to let you know!
The biggest - and, perhaps, even most important - upgrade in the HTC Vive Pro is the pair of integrated AMOLED displays. The original model feautures a resolution of 2160×1200 pixels, while the HTC Vive Pro delivers 2880×1600 pixel resolution. Although this might not appear to be a significant change, the exact opposite is true.
Due to the higher resolution, the HTC Vive Pro display has almost 170 more pixels per inch (ppi) than its predecessor, at 615ppi. According to the first reports, this difference is definitely visible - especially if you play some games first on the original HTC Vive and then switch to the Pro. Allegedly, if you do so, you'll quickly notice that the visible but unobtrusive black spaces between the pixels seem to completely disappear at first glance. Most of the HTC Vive community have been calling for better display resolution for a long time, so the wait is finally over.
|HTC Vive Pro||HTC Vive||Oculus Rift|
|Pixels per inch (ppi)||615ppi||448ppi||456ppi|
|Field of view||110°||110°||100°|
On the contrary, the slight flaw in the display's beauty is the lack of upgrade in the field of view (FOV) - something that the premium, high-end HTC Vive Pro headset certainly deserved. However, we'll have to settle for "just" 110 degrees - that of which may, unfortunately, be a bit untrustworthy in some instances. However, the crowdfunding startup Primax revealed the future of FOV at CES with their revolutionary Pimax 8K, which can produce a field of view up to 200 degrees wide.
HTC Vive will always be the first choice for anyone who wants to get acquainted with virtual reality, but the Pro version is designed for gamers, developers, and enthusiasts who want the best possible VR experience. In addition, the HTC Vive Pro headset is compatible with HTC Vive's current hardware and will only be sold separately - meaning the controllers and base stations won't be included in the package.
As we saw at CES 2018, attempting to get the highest resolution possible (even 4K, in some extreme cases) into most modern VR headsets is a major trend in virtual reality right now. But this goes hand in hand with the rising power needed to display such detailed content. That's why the announcement of the HTC Vive Pro also raises an important question - will a more powerful computer be required for gaming and other higher resolution activities?
At present, it looks like the minimum requirements for the hardware components will remain unchanged. Although no recommended specifications have yet been set, according to several statements from the Las Vegas fair, we can be fairly certain that these limits will change. So if you just barely meet the HTC Vive minimum requirements, switching to HTC Vive Pro is unlikely to be the right choice for you - the higher resolution will just put more demand on your machine's graphics card.
The HTC Vive Pro is slightly larger than its predecessor, but that doesn't mean that it's worse in this regard. On the contrary, the new HTC headset promises better ergonomics, greater stability, improved balance, and, above all, convenience - all of which should guarantee an overall improved experience. They also took users who wear glasses into consideration during their re-design - there are controls on the bottom of the headset to adjust the distance between the the lenses and the user's eyes.
Just as the HTC Vive Pro seeks to impress your eyes, it will also delight your ears. The headset now has built-in headphones with their own amplifier and 3D surround sound support, which should be powerful enough to eliminate the need for users to purchase additional, expensive audio equipment for the headset.
Still, HTC has preserved your ability to choose, as the integrated headphones can be tilted away or even completely removed so that you can plug in your own. For better communication with the real world, the Vive Pro headset is complemented by a pair of dual-mode microphones with active noise suppression, as well as two front-facing cameras - that are deliberately reminiscent of eyes - for augmented reality.
The Vive Wireless adapter maximises your ability to move freely in virtual reality. This adapter, also introduced for the first time at CES, can be attached to the top of the HTC Vive Pro headset, as well as to the original Vive. Intel's high-speed and wireless WiGig technology then takes care of transferring data between your computer and the headset, so you'll no longer have to suffer from getting tangled up in the unpleasant cables lying on the floor. It is not yet clear whether the adapter will be available at the same time as the headset or if we will see it become available later.
The exact price and release date of the new HTC Vive Pro headset has not yet been officially announced. However, based upon much speculation, it seems that we can expect the price to be around 899 euros for foreign markets and for the first pieces to go on sale at the beginning of March, at the earliest; however, this is merely precursory information that can change at any time.