The world of modern technology is a competitive world that has to keep on developing new and improving the existent. With the year 2018, The HTC Vive Pro upgrades their original headset, which had been improved on pretty much every possible level.
The HTC Vive Pro Design
Despite the fact, that the color of the headset does not affect the functionality or comfort while wearing it in any way, it is the very first thing you will notice. Now the color of the set is a shade of metallic blue and it is easily noticed next to the other headset available in generic grey/black.
Another noticeable change is the inclusion of a second camera; a second front-facing camera for which the company itself hadn’t revealed what it can be used for yet. HTC has implied, that with another announcement in the future, the mystery will become unraveled. And let us not forget to mention the dual microphones and the new built-in headphones on both sides of Vive Pro for a better experience.
What must be one of the most impressive improvements, when it comes to the design upgrade of the Vive Pro, it is probably the head strap. The head strap has been supposedly completely redone; the light is not such a disturbing factor anymore, as the strap blocks out the majority of it, and the best part is, that the neck is not under so much tension from the weight you put on your head on, what could be, daily bases. The Vive Pro headset is far more comfortable than the original headset, and the weight is quite evenly spread across the headset unit; it makes the whole VR experience much more enjoyable when you do not have to think about the small but highly disturbing features.
If it’s the numbers that tell you anything, then the Vivo Pro is 78% better than the original. And here are the words, to help you understand why;
The Vive has a 2880 x 1600 resolution (1440 x 1600 per eye) the resolution of the original Vive is 2160 x 1200 combined, so it is safe to say, this is quite a step-up. There was a question whether the higher resolution will cause any issues, such as lags, but the surprise is positive because it works perfectly fine. While the upgrade to higher resolution may not drastically transform your VR experience, the overall picture really is much more detailed and undoubtedly easier on the eyes.
The built-in headphones and the dual microphones. Not only the headphones make the headset easier to wear, it is the support for 3D audio is what makes a difference in your experience. The dual microphones allow for active noise cancellation just as good as they enable Alert Mode and Conversation Mode. This way you can clearly hear your surrounding while being in the depths of any realities without the need of taking off the headset.
SteamVR Tracking 2.0; Valve gave a new announcement where they stated that the Vive Pro will support the Steam VR Tracking 2.0.. Every gamer knows Valve, but in case you don’t; this is an American video game developer and the very creator of Steam.
So according to Valve the newly updated Vive Pro will now support up to four base stations (the previous support was made for only two) and with it a support for the much bigger area. The new, comfortably larger area is now as big as 100m2 (10m x 10m); probably much bigger than the room you are playing in, which should be more than enough.
The wand controllers. To make the most of the new tracking, there is a slight improvment on the horizon for the wand controllers too.
The wireless adapter
Another outstanding change, for a lot of people may be the most exciting one, is certainly the new Vive Wireless Adapter. It is not 100% cable free because there is still a wire running from the headset to the battery pack, which you can simply put in your pocket. But most of the VR headsets are awkward just because of those cables lying on the floor, perhaps even making you stumble across the room while you are trying to enjoy your game. The Vive wireless adapter allows you to forget about the wires and totally commit to the VR experience.
As for the batteries; the duration of a battery is unknown for the time being, but fortunately swapping the battery in and out is quick and easy; you can just pick up a spare and do not forget to keep one charging while you play. The only downside to this is, you will have to purchase the adapter separately, as the Vive Pro does not include it in the package.
The conclusion on the Vive Pro is that the upgrade doesn’t actually transform the whole VR experience. But the improvements that come with this upgrade are above noticeable, solid and very important; the product kind of feels more accomplished. What really takes the Vive Pro to the level above the other headsets is the adding of the wireless adapter. This part takes care of one of the biggest and most irritating obstacles you can come across on most VR platforms.
The HTC has not announced any release date yet, but as it looks like it should launch this year, maybe as soon as within the first six months. The pricing information of the Vive Pro also remains unknown for now; what is most likely safe to say is that the price will be higher than with the original headset, which at the moment cost around £599 (€699).