HTC Vive Pro Review: Improved and Impressive but Pricey

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HTC Vive Pro sneak peak reveals an impressive upgrade of the hardware from previous version but the overpriced gadget fail to justify the improvements.

I’ve always thought of Virtual Reality as the future and as time goes by, it only keeps getting better and better. With the emergence of so many players in the VR industry with the likes of PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear, you simply cannot go wrong making an investment in this new trend.

VR content is on the rise be it watching 360 degree videos on YouTube or playing simulation games on a PlayStation. Recently Dubai based real estate and hospitality giant Emaar launched the VR park where audiences are treated to multiple experiences from shooting games to climbing up the Burj Khalifa, so you can be sure, the industry is headed in the right direction.

On the 11th of April, HTC invited the media to an extravagant launch at the Burj Khalifa to release their new HTC Vive Pro Headset, sequel to the HTC Vive headset launched in 2015. Featuring unprecedented Hi-Resolution and 3D spatial audio, the new headset is filled with a lot of surprises.

We were given an exclusive sneak peak of what was to come in the near future.

Specs

  • Dual AMOLED 3.5inch Screen (2880×1600) combined
  • 90 Hertz Refresh Rate
  • 110 Degrees Field of View
  • USB-C 3.0, DP 1.2 and Bluetooth
  • SteamVR Tracking, G-Sensor, Gyroscope, Proximity and IPD Sensor

Vive Ready Recommended Computer Specs

  • Intel Core i5 – 4590 or AMD FX 8350 Equivalent
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290
  • 4GB RAM or More
  • DIsplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • 1 x USB 3.0 Port
  • Windows 7 SP1 or later

Likes

  • Definitely a lot more comfortable to wear than the previous generation HTC Vive
  • Higher Pixels Per Inch (PPI) 615 vs 448
  • Developers seem to be embracing VR Technologies more hence resulting in a better collection of games
  • Less Straining on the Eyes
  • In Line Amplifier
  • Redesigned Link Box

Dislikes

  • Still a pricey investment
  • Not a packaged deal. Accessories are to be purchased separately
  • Not a big fan of their wand controllers

Design

The new HTC Vive Pro isn’t just an internal spec boost. HTC has definitely made the headset a lot more comfortable to wear given the prolonged exposure to the screen directly in front of your eyes. The weight of the headset seems a lot more balanced. There’s also in-built earphones which sort of ensures the audio quality is strictly controlled by HTC and the overall experience isn’t compromised in any way.

Performance

What better VR experience could we have asked for than to be on top of the tallest building in the world – The Burj Khalifa. The VR Experience simulated the feel of scaling 160 floors and reach its top most point. You basically have a scenic view of downtown and next thing you know it, you’re parachuting down like a total ninja.

The HTC Vive Pro does not fail to impress. Though it would be too much to call it a complete overhaul, I’d go for something like a Vive 2.0 instead of calling it a Vive Pro. Similar to Apple’s Tick-Tock upgrade cycle. The refresh rate of 90Hz seems to be a little bit of a downer for me as VR experiences still lack the life like quality. To put it in familiar terms, you feel like you’re inside a Playstation 3 game and not a PS4 one.

The in-built audio means lesser wires to play around with and easier setup. Definitely delivers good quality high fidelity audio.

Conclusion

As mentioned in the beginning of the article, it is a very pricey investment to make. However with the emergence of more and more VR content from developers all around the globe, eventually you will have to jump the bandwagon and embrace VR for the greater good. If you’re a beginner and simply want a decent VR experience, the first generation HTC Vive is still pretty solid and shouldn’t dig too deep of a hole in your pocket. However if you’re more of an impulse buyer who likes have all the latest gizmo, the HTC Vive Pro will not fail to disappoint. Of course, you have the likes of PlayStation VR when it comes to console gaming. But when it comes to PCs and Virtual Reality. There are only two players you need to consider. The Oculus Rift and The HTC Vive series.

HTC has announced that the Vive Pro will retail for USD 800 (AED 2937.52 approximately) for just the headset and bundled packages are to be announced later this year.

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