Hands On With The HTC Vive Pro

Field of view has remained the same across both headsets, as have the lenses — RoadToVR confirmed the same fresnel design has been used with the Vive Pro — which means you can expect the same auras around light objects in dark scenes.

Even without lens changes though, there’s no doubt from our hands-on time with the Vive Pro that the increased detail of the new AMOLED displays make a huge difference to the VR viewing experience.

Winner: Vive Pro

Controls and tracking

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When the HTC Vive Pro is released it will only be available as a headset, initially. That means that early adopters will need existing HTC Vive Lighthouse trackers and controllers, which will allow for roomscale tracking up to 15 x 15 feet and motion controller input. That setup would provide no additional functionality over the original HTC Vive, but at an unspecified date in 2018, we can expect that to change.

The Vive Pro is fully backwards compatible with HTC Vive trackers and controllers, but it also has full support for second-generation Lighthouse trackers and in larger numbers. Those new trackers can sync up four base stations, providing more accurate tracking with additional redundancy, as well as support for a larger tracking area up to 100 metres squared, or around 33 x 33 feet. There are unlikely to be many end-users who can support such a large area, but for those who can, the option is there. That will also be a major boon for those hoping to offer virtual reality gaming in large public spaces and for multiplayer scenarios.

Those Lighthouse 2.0 trackers will ship out with the full Vive set later this year alongside some new controllers too. These won’t be the ‘Knuckle’ controllers that Valve has been working on, but according to HTC’s Daniel ‘O Brien, the controllers are built in the same form-factor, but will have new sensors for compatibility with the new Lighthouse stations and a paint job to match the Vive Pro’s color scheme.

The other big change mentioned in the same breath as the Vive Pro, is HTC’s own wireless module, which untethers its VR headset(s) from your PC entirely. No more cables, just wireless input and output thanks to Intel’s low-latency WiGig technology. Wireless systems like TPCast have existed for a while now, but this is the first time that HTC has thrown its hat in that ring.

We don’t have much in the way of details for now, but in our experience, it adds no latency and was indistinguishable from using the headset while plugged in. The system will be powered by a USB battery pack and will be an optional extra for the HTC Vive Pro. Better yet, it will also be backwards compatible with the HTC Vive.

Despite the open support of the wireless module, the slightly upgraded controllers and the tracking system employed by the Vive Pro drastically improve the original Vive’s already impressive roomscale tracking system.

Winner: Vive Pro

Audio

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HTC Vive Pro

Luke Larsen/Digital Trends

For many people, one of the weaker elements of the HTC Vive, when it was first released, was its audio solution. It came with an easily accessible 3.5mm connector and bundled earbuds. They were practical, if inelegant, but did make it possible to use a third-party headset if required. HTC later rectified this with the release of its Deluxe Audio Strap, which added a firmer headband with built-in headphones. That now ships as standard with the HTC Vive.

For all of the Vive Pro’s improvements to the visual element of virtual reality though, HTC also made a big effort to update its auditory capabilities. Much like the currently available Vive, its headstrap has built-in headphones. However, its solution is Hi-Res certified and is powered by a digital amplifier for more nuanced and powerful sound. We also recently confirmed the headphones are completely detachable if desired.

Alongside the new headphones, the Vive Pro augments the original Vive’s single microphone for in-headset voice chat, with a dual-microphone array. That solution allows for active noise cancelling to help ward off the world outside, as well as the opposite in a new “conversation mode,” which makes it easier to hear the outside world while gaming in VR.

Other neat additions include a physical headset volume control, so you don’t have to open up the SteamVR dashboard to alter noise output and a physical mute button, making it quick and easy to shutdown your microphones for privacy reasons, or to converse with someone in the real world.

Although it’s likely that true audiophiles will want to leverage their own powerful headphones for improved immersion, HTC has made big steps with the Vive Pro’s audio that will make it hard to go back to the original.

Winner: Vive Pro

Performance and requirements

Virtual reality headsets need reasonably hefty hardware to be able to hit the 90 frames per second rate that is required for comfortable VR usage. The Vive’s specifications aren’t quite as strenuous as they were in 2016 and graphics cards and processors have come on a lot since then.

As it stands though, we don’t know what the requirements for the Vive Pro will be. With the increased resolution requirements of the display, it seems likely that they will be noticeably more demanding of your gaming system. With that in mind, we’ll give the nod to the HTC Vive in this category for now, until we learn more.

Winner: HTC Vive

Software

Both the HTC Vive and HTC Vive Pro have the full support of both SteamVR games through Steam and HTC’s own platform, Viveport. The Valve-managed platform has the largest library of available digital games anywhere in the world, whether you’re a VR gamer or playing on a more traditional display, which early on in the Vive’s life gave it a significant advantage over headsets like the Oculus Rift. Viveport isn’t quite as expansive, but it has plenty on offer and also has a Netflix-like subscription model, where for $7 a month you can download and play any five titles on the store of your choice, chopping and changing each month.

Although there may be games and experiences that are ultimately released which take advantage of the Vive Pro’s improved resolution, stereo camera system and dual-microphones, for now at least, the libraries of available titles for both headsets are identical.

Winner: Draw

Pricing and availability

The HTC Vive is 25 percent cheaper today than it was when it first released, priced now at $600 with controllers and lighthouse trackers. Considering the HTC Vive Pro will feature improved hardware, built-in-audio and an additional front-facing camera, it is likely to be more expensive — especially when it ships with the Lighthouse 2.0 trackers and new wand controllers later this year.

That may not be the case when HTC begins selling the headset standalone in Q1 this year, but it is still unlikely to be cheap. The original Vive is likely to be the more affordable VR option while it remains on sale. The fact that it’s available now while the Vive Pro is not, too, gives it a significant advantage in that respect.

Winner: HTC Vive

Overall Winner: Vive Pro

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HTC Vive Pro

Luke Larsen/Digital Trends

The HTC Vive will always hold a special place in our heart as being the first headset to truly introduce us to the immersive world of roomscale virtual reality with proper motion controllers. It’s been able to hold its own over the near two-years since its release as well, despite increased competition. With the Vive Pro though, it may well have met its match. Due to the way HTC talks about it, we wouldn’t be surprised if the original Vive is replaced altogether in 2019.

With improved audio, visuals, tracking solutions, and ergonomics, it’s hard to see the Vive Pro as anything other than a step up to the HTC Vive. Audio straps and wireless module backwards compatibility aside, the Vive Pro will ultimately supplant the Vive as the best consumer VR headset available when it debuts later this year, though pricing details could certainly change the

Source : https://finance.yahoo.com/news/htc-vive-vs-vive-pro-201544713.html

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