HTC has struggled to sell Android phones amid the continued dominance of Samsung and the growth of new players like Huawei. The one bright spot in its business may be the Vive virtual reality headset, but even that device hasn’t sold as well as HTC and other purveyors of VR products had hoped. HTC is now gearing up to launch an improved version of the Vive with sharper displays and some design changes. Meanwhile, the current Vive is getting a $100 price drop.
The new Vive Pro was unveiled at CES earlier this year, but HTC was intentionally light on the details. Now we know this new VR headset will retail for a whopping $799, which is the same as the original Vive at launch. However, that’s only for the headset. You don’t get the “Lighthouse” towers or controllers with it. HTC says a bundle version with all the accessories included will come later. Pre-orders for the Vive Pro are live today, and it’ll begin shipping on April 5th.
Since the Vive is essentially a fancy display that attaches to your face, it makes sense the main improvement is the display resolution. The current HTC Vive offers 1080 x 1200 per eye, but the Vive Pro boosts it to 1400 x 1600 per eye. You might think the original sounds plenty high, but keep in mind the displays are just in front of your eyes. At that distance, 1080p doesn’t look so hot.
In addition to the new display, the Vive Pro has a few ergonomic improvements. The strap tightens with a dial rather than velcro, making it easier to get a proper fit. The location of the strap has also been adjusted to be more comfortable and make way for the new integrated headphones.
To sweeten the deal, HTC is offering a subscription to its Viveport service if you buy the Vive Pro early. Just buy the Vive Pro before June 5th, and you get six months of Viveport. This service offers access to five games of your choice in the Vive game catalog each month. There aren’t as many titles in the Vive store as you’ll find on Steam, but it’s grown steadily since its 2017 launch. Subscriptions are usually $6.99 per month, but you can purchase games individually as well.
If you don’t want to drop $800 on the latest and greatest VR headset from HTC, you can get the original Vive for a lower price. The already reduced price is dropping by another $100 to $499. This is still a bundle with the Lighthouse trackers and controllers, unlike the new Vive Pro. This is also still $100 more than the PlayStation VR or Oculus Rift.
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