There's a new contender for the best VR headset crown, and it could cause a few swears over at Meta HQ: the new HTC VIVE XR Elite offers very similar specs to the Meta Quest Pro with an even more portable design and without any of the negative connotations of Meta/Facebook ownership. And at $1,099 / £1,299, it's likely to be a lot less expensive than Apple's AR/VR headset too.
Like the Quest Pro and (reportedly) the Apple headset, the VIVE XR Elite is designed for both VR and mixed/augmented reality. It can connect to your PC via its USB-C cable to access content from Steam and VIVEPORT, and it has WiFi 6E for streaming – including from an Android phone, enabling you to get a virtual 300-inch screen for your TV and movie apps or for playing Fortnite.
HTC VIVE XR Elite: key specifications
Specs-wise you're looking at 4K resolution with a 110-degree field of view, adjustable lenses so (some) glasses wearers can take off their specs, and a comparatively featherweight 625g total weight. The battery is hot-swappable for extra-long sessions and there's built-in hand tracking for effortless control in apps and games. HTC says it's working on modules for better eye and face tracking. The processor here is a Qualcomm XR2, compared to the XR2+ in the Meta headset.
As ever, the big question with VR isn't really the hardware; it's what you'll be watching on it. And HTC promises over 100 new launch titles including Demeo, Hubris, YUKI, Maestro: The Masterclass, Les Mills Body Combat, FigminXR, Unplugged: Air Guitar and Finger Gun. More titles are promised post-launch.
At this price we're still very much in early adopter territory, but it's fascinating to see how quickly the hardware is improving as the prices are falling. VR might not be quite ready for prime time just yet, but it's getting there fast.