While early adopters of the HTC Vive may feel a financial stab in the gut, the changes HTC made to the headset provides a lighter experience for new owners.
Let’s get real here: The HTC Vive virtual reality headset isn’t exactly like wearing sunglasses. It’s big and bulky, not to mention it drags a really long cord across the floor. If anything, the HTC Vive could roughly have the same weight as a decent-sized ceramic bowl. But the Vive was heavier at launch than it is now, so there is hope that the head-mounted experience will get even lighter in the next generation.
When Vive arrived in April 2016, it weighed 555 grams (1.2 pounds). But after a year of refining the overall design, HTC’s most recent Vive headset weighs around 470 grams (1 pound). That is a reduction of 85 grams just in the headset alone, which equals to three ounces. While that does not seem like much of a reduction, your face will likely disagree.
“We are always looking to improve the core Vive experience in terms of comfort and durability,” HTC’s Patrick Seybold told Digital Trends. “We’ve made several improvements since launch including a new 3-in-1 cable. We’ve also made smaller improvements to the weight due to component swaps and improvements in manufacturing. This has resulted in a 15 percent decrease since the Vive Pre.”
The Vive Pre, of course, was the near-final, pre-retail version of HTC’s VR headset. The updated 3-in-1 cable Seybold refers to seemingly made its appearance in August and is now part of the current HTC Vive package. However, owners of the older models can take the “upgrade” plunge by replacing the previous cable for the new $40 version right here. It measures 16.4 feet long, so continue to watch your step.
That said, with the combined weight reduction in the headset and the refined cable, the latest Vive retail package sold on the market today is significantly lighter than the one sold at launch. Product refinement and weight loss should only increase as the headset moves into toddler territory.
Another improvement to the HTC Vive experience will be the upcoming Vive Deluxe Audio Strap, which retails for $100 this June. It replaces the current strap packed in the retail box while eliminating the need for the annoying ear buds. There is nothing like jerking your head left or right and the earbuds suddenly rip out, disrupting the immersive experience. The “deluxe” strap providing built-in headphones will eliminate that audio disruption.
HTC’s “deluxe” strap will also throw out all the Velcro in favor of an adjustment dial to easily meet the needs of every skull size. Even more, users will have the option of placing the cable path off to the side rather than across the top of the user’s head. The built-in headphones are capable of vertical adjustments too.
Vive Day took place on Wednesday, celebrating the headset’s first birthday. As part of the celebration, Steam is currently offering a load of discounted Vive-compatible games and experiences until Monday. These include the Serious Sam VR bundle ($69), Arizona Sunshine, ($34), Raw Data ($32), and more.