The HTC Vive Pro 2 is here to replace the 2018 HTC Vive Pro – it's a little more advanced (and expensive) than the Oculus Quest 2 headsets of this world, going head to head against the likes of the Valve Index at the premium end of the virtual reality market.
You might also remember the HTC Vive Cosmos, which gives you a cheaper and simpler way into virtual reality, and that's something to consider if you can't quite afford the Vive Pro 2. There are now more VR headsets out there than you might have realised.
In our detailed HTC Vive Pro 2 review we'll be bringing you all the details and information you need to know about this VR device – what you need to use it, how much your going to have to pay to get it, and whether it's worth considering as your next gadget purchase.
HTC Vive Pro 2 review: design and setup
The HTC Vive Pro 2 is not what you would call the most lightweight and svelte of virtual reality headsets, but it's by no means uncomfortable to wear. It tips the scales at 850 grams (1.87 lbs), but fits snugly around the head, with the adjustable rear plate and the foam padding doing a good job of keeping the device in place. It doesn't feel weighty to wear, and you're not going to have to cut your VR sessions short because the headset is beginning to chafe.
As with the previous Vive Pro, setup does take a while, though to be fair to HTC there is a straightforward set of instructions available on its website that guide you through everything. As well as the headset itself, you've got the link box to connect it to your PC, a couple of base stations for tracking your movements around the room, and two controllers. All the cables you need are included too, including a DisplayPort one to connect the link box to your Windows computer, and the headset comes with some good quality headphones built in (though you can use your own if you prefer).
Which brings us neatly on to system requirements, starting with a DisplayPort socket (you need a DisplayPort 1.2 or higher one, or DisplayPort 1.4 or higher with DSC for full resolution mode). HTC recommends an Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD Ryzen 1500 equivalent or greater CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480 equivalent or greater, at least 8GB of RAM, and at least one USB 3.0 port. Those are pretty decent specs, but also pretty reasonable – you don't need the most powerful gaming PC for the HTC Vive Pro 2.
It only took us around 20 minutes to get everything connected and set up, and we do like the tripod mounts underneath the base stations – it means you can use any spare camera equipment to get them into position if you don't actually want them on the wall. When everything is in place, you'll be guided through the process of marking out your playing area, which again went smoothly. If you don't have much room to play around with, you can use the headset in standing mode.
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HTC Vive Pro 2 review: performance and games
The HTC Vive Pro 2 lenses offer a 2,448 x 2,448 pixel resolution per eye, as well as a 120Hz refresh rate (with a wired connection) and a 120-degree field of view: it all adds up to an impressive, high fidelity visual experience in virtual reality worlds, with graphics quality on a par with something you'd expect when sat in front of a gaming PC. We should also mention the adjustable IPD (interpupillary distance) of 57-70mm, so you can get it focused just right for your eyes.
Top titles like Beat Saber, Superhot and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners all look fantastic, with detailed audio to match. The HTC Vive Pro 2 is more than capable of keeping up with your head and body movements, while the bundled controllers that come with the device feel intuitive and responsive in use. For even more reference points in VR (virtual weapons and so on), you can invest in additional Vive Tracker devices.
Some of the best VR experiences are adaptations of existing titles, such as No Man's Sky and LA Noire: The VR Case Files. Exploring vast alien worlds or 1940s Los Angeles in a completely immersive, computer-generated environment is something that can't really be described in words – you have to try it out for yourself. We also enjoyed exploring the free VR version of Google Earth, flying across the globe and zooming down into street-level settings and well-known landmarks.
The selection of VR games and apps for the HTC Vive headsets and other competing devices is definitely better than it's ever been, but it still feels like there's room for improvement – a few more top-tier titles would certainly add to the appeal of the HTC Vive Pro 2. That's more the responsibility of developers rather than HTC itself though, so we can't mark down this headset too much for it.
In some cases we did notice some blurriness around the edges of the field of view, but overall the HTC Vive Pro 2 offers a sharp and stable image, with the headset doing a fine job of keeping out external light and the rest of the world. There was very little in the way of ghosting (graphics leaving trails behind them as you move your head), while we didn't notice any breaks in play caused by connection problems with the controllers or the PC (even if being tethered to another machine isn't ideal – a wireless adapter adds £359/AU$599 to the overall cost).
HTC is also encouraging companies to invest in the Vive Pro 2, and it's possible that professionals – working in 3D design or planning – might get even more out of the headset than gamers. Again though it depends on the software rather than the hardware: certainly if there are apps available for the HTC Vive Pro 2 that you know you're going to make extensive use of, then you won't be disappointed by how well they run.
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HTC Vive Pro 2 review: price and verdict
There's no getting around it: the HTC Vive Pro 2 costs a lot of money. At the time of writing the headset alone will set you back £719/$799/AU$1,299, while if you need the controllers and the base stations as well (so you're not upgrading from an earlier version), then you're looking at around double that. Plus you need a decently specced PC as well. It may have better visuals and offer more immersive experiences than the Oculus Quest 2, but the price jump can be over £1,000/$1,000/AU$1,000. Even for a jump from mobile quality to console quality gaming, that's a lot.
Nothing has changed in terms of the SteamVR tracking system that the previous HTC Vive Pro used, so if you already have a setup in place and some controllers you can use then you can just buy the headset. Whether or not the HTC Vive Pro 2 is going to be worth the investment really depends on how keen you are to experience the very best virtual reality experiences available right now – and how much time you reckon you'll spend in VR. If you're gaming every day, then you might well feel the price is worth it.
We're still finding that we start to feel a little nauseous during extended periods of gameplay in VR, as the disconnect between what the eyes are seeing and what the rest of the body is experiencing starts to grow. However, we can't comment on whether that's going to be the same for everyone, or whether you'll get used to it over time. We can tell you that the high-end graphics resolution and high refresh rate certainly help in keeping the brain tricked for as long as possible.
The HTC Vive Pro 2 offers one of the best virtual reality experiences around at the moment – games like Star Wars Squadrons and Half Life Alyx really can take your breath away, giving you a feeling of awe that you don't get from most gadgets on the market right now. The equipment is well built and precise in use, and if you like the look of the titles in the Steam and HTC libraries then we can guarantee you'll have some fantastic sessions to look forward to. The only question is whether you can justify the cost.
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