HTC Vive Focus Plus Is A New Standalone Headset With 6DOF Controls And Improved Comfort

by Jamie Feltham • February 21st, 2019

It’s time to meet yet another new member of the HTC Vive family. Say hello to the Vive Focus Plus.

Announced today ahead of next week’s Mobile World Congress, Vive Focus Plus is the next entry in HTC’s enterprise-level standalone headset series. It’s got everything you need to jump straight into VR, just like the original Vive Focus. You don’t need a phone, PC or even external sensors thanks to inside-out six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking. The biggest additions here, though, are the new 6DOF controllers.

The original Vive Focus came with one 3DOF controller that allowed you to point in VR. This pair of new controllers, first announced last year, let you reach into virtual worlds just like on the original HTC Vive. Unlike the first Vive, though, Focus Plus uses ultrasonic technology for tracking. The controllers also sport triggers, grip buttons, a trackpad and home and menu buttons. Like the newly-redesigned Oculus Touch controllers for Oculus Quest, the tracking ring runs over the top of the kit.

Vive Focus Plus Controllers 6DOF

We went hands-on with the controllers last year and came away impressed.

HTC introduced these controllers as a developer kit for the original Focus. They shipped out to studios with a mount you needed to fit to your headset for tracking. However, HTC told UploadVR that it currently has no plans to bring the controllers to original Vive Focus owners.

“At this time, the new 6Dof controllers are not compatible with the Vive Focus,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “In working with our partners, they’ve expressed the need for both devices and we’re thrilled to offer a portfolio of standalone products which cater to different developer and company needs.”

The Vive Focus first arrived in China in 2017 but only released in the west in November 2018. That leaves just a three-month gap between Focus’ release and the announcement of this upgraded model.

Vive Focus Plus also improves comfort though you wouldn’t know by looking at it. At a glance it looks identical to the old model. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset powers the kit. That’s the same as the one seen in the original Focus. It’s also got a 3K display, which is what the original included, though HTC also says it has improved optics. It runs on HTC’s Vive Wave platform.

Vive Focus Plus will be launching in 25 countries in the second quarter of 2019. We don’t know how much it will cost yet. That said, the original Vive Focus cost $599 when it launched three months ago. Expect it to be higher than that.

Elsewhere, HTC is also set to release the Vive Pro Eye in Q2. Like the Focus Plus, it’s an upgrade to the original enterprise-level model that won’t replace it. Finally, the Vive Cosmos is also on the way this year. That’s a new consumer headset with 6DOF tracking of its own. We still have a lot to learn about it.

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