HTC revealed the Vive Pro at CES this week and we went hands on with the upgraded headset in a pair of demos.
Games Editor David Jagneaux tried the Sansar Ready Player One experience and I tried a super high-end racing simulator by CXC Simulations. With a stated total resolution of 2880 x 1600, we found ourselves unsurprisingly very impressed by the crisp visuals in Vive Pro.
It’s hard to compare to the Samsung Odyssey since we didn’t have it on hand in Las Vegas for a side by side demo, but we confirmed with HTC the panels used in the Pro are Samsung OLEDs — so it seems likely the panels are the same ones used in the Odyssey. Both headsets provide visuals notably more crisp than Oculus Rift, and we believe Odyssey and Vive Pro have the best overall visuals we’ve seen in VR headsets yet.
According to HTC, the headset uses the same Fresnel lenses as the current Vive. The racing demo put together by CXC Simulations delivered what was easily the most immersive time I’ve ever had in the driver’s seat of a virtual car. A large part of that presence-inducing effect was the rig itself, which offered an incredible amount of haptic feedback.
The increased resolution, however, invited me to repeatedly marvel at the detail inside the car’s cabin. Small letters for various buttons on the steering wheel were very easy to read. Overall, I found myself less frequently noting the rings of the lenses compared with the current Vive and there’s a dramatically reduced screen door effect.
The headset fit well and we both noted the improved balance of the Vive Pro — with more weight in the head strap giving the impression of a lighter feel on the front of the face. David’s demo used 1.0 base stations and mine used 2.0 base stations — neither of us noted a single hiccup in tracking. We were both receiving instructions from outside VR so evaluating the sound quality is difficult, but David noted a comfier feel compared with the Vive’s Deluxe Audio Strap.
An HTC representative told us the system should have the same minimum specifications as the current Vive and we’re anxious to hear more details — especially price. The system is expected to sell alongside the original Vive throughout 2018 and will be available in Q1 this year as an “upgrade” option.