After months of teasing (including some great demos at CES), HTC’s Vive successor, the HTC Vive Pro, is finally on sale. It’ll cost $800 for the headset alone and ship beginning April 5th. While the upgraded dual-OLED displays and integrated headphones capable of 3D spatial audio are cool, the high-end Vive Pro won’t actually include the best part—the Vive Wireless Adapter. In January, HTC said the adapter would ship in Q3, or around the end of summer.
Wires are the most annoying and limiting element of the current VR experience. Freedom of movement isn’t exactly an option when you’re wearing a vision-restricting headset connected to a box connected to a computer connected to your TV or monitor. And if you’re going to charge $800, it should do what the cheaper ones already can. Now that I think about it, it should also include, you know, the controllers and base stations needed to actually use the damn thing. But that’s just me.
Right now, Lenovo’s Mirage Solo is the only completely wireless standalone VR headset, making the Vive Pro’s wireless adapter all the more important. The Mirage Solo offers a smartphone-equivalent experience, but the sense of liberation along with the increased degree of freedom (six degrees compared to the three offered on current Google Daydream-friendly devices) is the next step needed to further VR adoption, and one that should be the new default in the next generation of high-end VR headsets. At $800, it’s a shame there’s only a headset in the box.
But HTC seems to think spatial audio and improved resolution are more than enough to compete with cheaper headsets like the Samsung HMD and Lenovo Mirage, at least until its adapter is available. We won’t know if that’s actually true until we get to review it ourselves. So stay tuned.