HTC has announced the Vive Pro 2, a new virtual reality headset offering a 5K resolution display with a 120-degree field of view and a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. This isn’t a standalone unit like the Oculus Quest 2 and instead is designed to be plumbed into your PC from the outset. You’ll need a beefy PC to be able to drive that 4096 x 2448 screen, too, especially if you’re aiming at that smooth high refresh.
The high-resolution screen means there’s almost no screen-door effect, something that is aided by the fact the new display uses proper RGB sub-pixels. The double-lens design, with two lenses for each eye, stacked on top of each other, is behind the upgrade in the Field of View and also helps ensure there is no blurring towards the edges.
|HTC Vive Pro 2||HTC Vive Pro|
|Display||IPS LCD||Dual AMOLED|
|Resolution||2048 x 2448 per eye||1440 x 1600 per eye|
|Refresh Rate||120 Hz||90 Hz|
|Field of View||120 degrees||110 degrees|
|Base Stations||SteamVR 2.0 Lighthouse||SteamVR 2.0 Lighthouse|
|Controllers||HTC Vive Pro Controllers||HTC Vive Pro Controllers|
HTC has worked with Nvidia and AMD to optimize Display Stream Compression, which is apparently a first for a VR headset, to ensure that image quality is maintained while still offering backward compatibility with DisplayPort 1.2.
HTC is keen to point out that it doesn’t want to lose its existing loyal PC user base, and so will be offering the head-mounted display (HMD) as an upgrade path on its own for those that already have base stations and controllers, saving a fair chunk of cash in the process.
Now for the deep breath moment, the pricing: HTC has a promotion for pre-orders that sees the headset-only version for $749 (£659, AU$1,229) on its own. If you need the full starter pack which includes the headset, a pair of second-generation base stations, and Vive controllers, then you’re looking at $1,399 (£1,299, AU$2,199).
That’s a lot of money however you slice it. Especially in a world where our pick for the best VR headset, the Oculus Quest 2, can be had for $299 (£299, AU$479). And even though that’s a different kind of headset, its success isn’t something that can be easily ignored. Or its ease of use to be honest. Let’s see if high-end PC-tethered VR can keep on fighting.
The Vive Pro 2 will more so be squaring up with the Valve Index at that price, which is yet another mammoth undertaking. The Index is the definition of high-end VR today.
The headset-only version of the HTC Vive Pro 2 is available for pre-order as of later today, with the full package available from June 4.