HTC unveils Vive XR Elite, the consumer headset that wants to play head to head with the Quest Pro

After persistent derision for several weeks, HTC is unveiling its new Vive XR Elite VR headset on January 5th for CES 2023. video”, similar to the Meta Quest Pro system.

In general, both in terms of technical characteristics and price, Vive XR Elite seems to be positioned as a direct competitor to Quest Pro. And unlike in previous years, it has at least one clear price advantage: a listing price of 1,399 euros (compared to 1799 euros for Quest Pro).

Vive Flow DNA

What do you get for this price? First, the DNA is very clearly inherited from the Vive Flow, with a similar front panel and the same compactness made possible by the use of pancake lenses. But where the Flow was intended for indefinite “lifestyle” use, the XR Elite is mainly aimed at gamers. This is HTC’s first all-in-one headset designed for the Western B2C market. Hundreds of apps will be available at launch, including Demeo, Hubris, Yuki, Maestro, Les Mills Body Combat, FigminXR, Unplugged, or Finger Gun.

In terms of hardware, the Vive XR Elite features “4K” (1200 ppi) LCD screens with a 90Hz refresh rate and the same built-in vision correction system (which corrects from 0 to -6 diopters, only supports myopia). The interpupillary distance adjustment wheel is located on the underside of the helmet for easy adjustment. The part in contact with the face is attached with a magnet and can therefore be easily removed for cleaning.

Sound is provided by speakers built into the branches, as usual. They are larger and have been redesigned to better direct sound to the user’s ears.

Color camera and depth sensor

Computing power is provided by a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1 chip (same as the Vive Focus 3, Pico 4 and Meta Quest 2). The controllers are the same as those of the Vive Focus 3. Four front cameras control the monitoring of the positioning of the headset in space, complemented by a color camera for the passage. A depth sensor (not available on the Quest Pro) comes as a backup to provide a 3D display of the environment and help with hand tracking. In addition to hand and controller tracking, the Vive XR Elite is also compatible with Vive Wrist Trackers.

The headset weighs 625 grams, the removable battery is located at the back and has a curved shape for comfort. Its autonomy is “up to two hours” when the headset is running alone, but “can go well beyond PC games streamed to the headset.” Because it’s removable, HTC thinks battery life isn’t an issue. It also supports 30W fast charging via USB-C Power Delivery.

Another aspect inherited from the Vive Flow is the ability to remove the battery and switch to glasses mode, such as watching a movie on an airplane. In this case, it is necessary to use an external battery, as for Flow, or simply connect the device to the aircraft seat (provided that the output power is sufficient). In this mode, the temples of the goggles have been modified from Flow to better fit the contours of the skull and be more comfortable.

No upcoming exclusive games

Pre-orders are now open for the Vive XR Elite, which will come with two controllers, a headset charging station and five free games with any purchase made before February 15th. The first deliveries are scheduled for February. In terms of games, it should be noted that Shen Ye, the brand’s director of product, commented during a press briefing that HTC “doesn’t believe in getting exclusives” and that “AAA games don’t move the market as much as people think.” “. On good terms.

The Taiwanese manufacturer is looking forward to opening up the ecosystem through the OpenXR standard. Added to this is the use of virtual reality games on the PC, either via a USB-C headset or via a wireless connection in Wi-Fi 6E. In addition, there is always the option to connect the headset to your Android smartphone to watch videos in a virtual cinema, similar to what Vive Flow offers.

HTC is also working on a “metaverse” through Viverse, a highly customizable social app that can be used as a highly customizable home environment, with a connection to Sketchfab to import objects, and a partnership with VRoid Studios to create unique VRM avatars.

By the end of the year, the Vive XR Elite version for business will be released, as well as an accessory that allows eye and face tracking. HTC explained during a press presentation that these features are not popular today and therefore see no interest in integrating them by default.

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