New hardware and business-focused software announced during the first-ever Vivecon 2021 event.
During today’s inaugural Vivecon 2021 event, HTC announced not one, but two new VR headsets alongside a new suite of professional tools that promise to change the way we work, create, and play in VR.
The HTC VIVE Pro 2 and the VIVE Focus 3 are designed to appeal to professionals such as architects and designers, as well as gamers who expect top-tier VR experiences.
There’s a lot to cover so let’s just dive right into it.
HTC VIVE Pro 2
The first thing you’ll notice about the HTC VIVE Pro 2—besides the new black and blue color—is that it features a similar design to the original HTC VIVE Pro. After all, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Those who’ve had the pleasure of using a VIVE Pro headset are already familiar with the well-balanced 45-degree arm design, allowing you to wear the headset comfortably for extended periods of time. Outside of looks, the VIVE Pro 2 features several impressive spec upgrades.
One big improvement is that HTC VIVE worked closely with NVIDIA and AMD to take advantage of Display Stream Compression, a first for any VR headset. Display Stream Compression ensures maximum visual quality and is also backward compatible with DisplayPort 1.2, so even graphics cards that support VIVE Pro will see a benefit with VIVE Pro 2.
The VIVE Pro 2 offers a larger 120-degree FOV thanks to a new bespoke dual stacked-lens design, a noticeable upgrade from the 110-degree FOV featured on the first VIVE pro. Not only will you have a better view of the virtual landscape, but your head and eye movements will feel more natural. This also eliminates that pesky “screen door effect” while simultaneously reducing motion blur.
The VIVE Pro 2 gets a big boost in graphics with an awesome 120Hz refresh rate at 5K fidelity. You’ll be able to put on your VIVE Pro 2 step into fantastic worlds brought to life with vibrant colors, or enter a training experience where you can see small details like words on an instrument panel. Altogether, the VIVE Pro 2 should deliver an ultra-sharp resolution.
Audio-wise, HTC’s VIVE Pro 2 headset will use 3D spatial sound with Hi-Res Audio Certified headphones and supports third-party headphones.
All VIVE SteamVR ecosystem accessories are compatible with the VIVE Pro 2, including the new VIVE Facial Tracker, Base Station 1.0 and 2.0, the VIVE Wireless Adapter, VIVE controllers, and even controllers and gloves like Valve’s Index ‘knuckle’ controllers.
If you already own Base Stations and controllers, you can pre-order the Pro 2 headset-only version right now on the HTC website. VIVE is also running a special promotion during the pre-order period, offering a discount for those who want to upgrade—making the VIVE Pro 2 headset available for $749. The full-kit VIVE Pro 2 (includes Base Station 2.0 and VIVE Controllers) will be available in August for $1399.
HTC VIVE FOCUS 3
HTC’s VIVE Focus 3 all-in-one VR headset is designed specifically for business use-cases. Like the HTC VIVE Pro 2, the VIVE Focus uses the same 45-degree arm for maximum comfort. The headset itself uses a 50/50 weight distribution with the guts of the headset built into the front, and a quick charge swappable battery pack in the back. Each battery can deliver up to 2 hours of heavy VR use and take only an hour to recharge. The headset will come with one battery. You can purchase additional batteries directly from HTC; that way you’ll be able to work longer in VR without having to wait for your battery to charge.
The VIVE Focus 3 features a larger FOV than competing standalone headsts such as the Oculus Quest 2. The VIVE Focus 3 has an ultra-wide 120-degree FOV and boasts the largest IPD range available at 57mm to 72mm which can be changed on the fly.
The Focus 3 uses 3 sub-pixels vs 2 sub-pixels, making pixel density much cleaner. The headset also offers a 90Hz refresh rate thanks to a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 and has 8GB of RAM with an SD card slot built into the front, which can generate some serious heat. To help keep things cool, HTC created a venting system – thanks to a copper heat pipe and cooling fan that pulls air from the bottom of the headset and blows it out through the top.
The VIVE Focus 3 is lightweight. As a matter of fact, it’s 20% lighter than the previous VIVE Focus. That’s because the chassis is made from magnesium alloy, which also makes the headset 500% stronger.
There is also a quick release so you can easily get in and out of VR. The Focus 3 fits anyone wearing 150mm glasses, which is good news for all your spectacle-wearers out there.
The dual-driver speakers built into the headset lets you maintain “environmental awareness”. So if you’re on a factory floor using the VR headset, you’ll still be able to hear your real-world surroundings. On the flip side, the Focus 3 has a privacy mode to prevent sound leakage. So, if you’re using VR during a work meeting, you won’t have to worry about people next to you listening in on any confidential information. Of course, you can always plug in your own headphones thanks to a built-in audio jack.
The controllers that come with the VIVE Focus 3 resemble the controllers that come with the Oculus Quest. The Focus 3 controllers, however, are much lighter in comparison. They’re actually the lightest 6dof controllers available for any VR headset. You’ll get precision tracking thanks to an AI-powered inside-out tracking algorithm with privacy at the forefront as all tracking data is stored in an encrypted format on the headset. A fully charged controller can last for 15 hours on a single charge. Hand tracking support will be released in the future.
If you need to run a PCVR experience, the Focus 3 can easily connect to any VR-ready PC thanks to HTC’s VIVE Streaming Cable.
Cleaning your VIVE Focus 3 should be easy thanks to washable cushions that can easily pop off thanks to magnets that hold them into place when they’re in the headset.
The VIVE Focus 3 will be on sale starting June 24 for $1300, which also includes 24 months of VIVE Business Warranty and Services.
For more information check out the HTC website.
Feature Image Credit: HTC