I still think the HTC Vive was a groundbreaking device. I bought it, returned it, missed it, and purchased it again as I realized how much I was missing. But as groundbreaking as the device was in 2o16, it was still only a niche product.
A lot of people I had over to try the HTC Vive were fascinated at first, but the excitement soon wore off once they complained about the wires, the heavy headset, the lack of accurate tracking, etc. Last October, I moved. And I haven’t found time (or at least was excited enough to make time) to set up the HTC Vive in my new place.
But when the HTC Vive Pro was announced in January, it showed some promise. The new VR device has a sharper lens (2880 x 1600 pixel resolution), built-in headphones, two microphones for noise cancellation, and dual front-facing cameras. But the four star reviews just aren’t coming in.
“If you have both the financial and hardware resources for it, the HTC Vive Pro is a thing of beauty. It offers a higher resolution than the standard Vive and can take games from ‘good looking’ to ‘gorgeous’,” states Tech Radar in a three-and-a-half star review, adding that, however, the Pro doesn’t always work as expected.
PC Mag only gives the Vive Pro three stars.
“The HTC Vive Pro is the most technically impressive tethered VR headset we’ve tested, but it doesn’t offer enough over the standard model to justify the steep increase in price.”
The review notes that the $799 price tag doesn’t include the base stations and motion controllers it requires to function. One can buy a full package for an additional $300. But you’ll also have to own a very powerful PC in order to operate the HTC Vive PRO — one that usually costs around $1000.
One user on Reddit pointed out how he excitingly bought the Vive Pro, but ended up returning it. At first, he was impressed with how comfortable the headset was. He was also happy with how much crisper things looked, although the Pro still has the screen-door effect. However, the honeymoon period soon wore off.
“After about 30 minutes I noticed how although the Pro relieves a lot of pressure on the cheeks, it starts to put a lot of pressure on the top of my forehead. Other things I noticed: the headset felt pretty creaky. When grabbing it to readjust during game I would regularly hear the plastic crack/snap.”
However, the most notable part of the new HTC Vive Pro is the lack of hype. It’s certainly a lot less than the hype for the regular Vive two years ago. It’s true that the Vive Pro hasn’t differentiated itself enough from other VR headsets on the market, including the Samsung Odyssey “Mixed-Reality” headset. But the fact that the release has been pretty much forgotten already spells trouble for the VR industry. Perhaps VR really has become the new 3D.