HTC’s Vive Pro gets sharp enough to read text, goes wireless

The HTC Vive is big, expensive, the resolution isn’t great, and with the recent price cut its competitor the Oculus Rift has seen, it’s not as appealing as it once was. Luckily for HTC adherents out there, there’s going to be a new HTC headset with a number of improvements over the original — according to the official CES 2018 announcement.

The HTC Vive Pro Headset

htc vive pro announcement mvimg 20180108 133556

The new HTC Vive Pro headset, as it will be called, features an improved resolution of 2,880 x 1,600 — the original headset only had a max resolution of 2,180 x 1,200. That’s a 78 percent increase in overall resolution, with 615 pixels-per-inch. HTC claims the resolution is now high enough to comfortably read text on the new headset. It features built-in headphones, like its competitor the Oculus Rift. It will also feature built-in dual microphones.

One improvement that will be music to the ears — and nose — of anyone who wears glasses. The new Vive Pro features a lighter overall weight, and it’s been redesigned to be more comfortable while wearing corrective eyewear.

The new headset is backwards compatible with the original base stations, and features a 10m x 10m tracking space.

The new Vive Pro headset will not supplant the original Vive headset, but they’ll be sold as contrasting options — like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, the basic model and the premium model. What that means is the Vive Pro will likely be very expensive, and the original HTC Vive might see a price cut similar to what we saw out of the Oculus Rift earlier in 2017.

The Vive Wireless Adapter

HTC Vive Wireless Adapter

On top of that, Vive Pro will support a new “Vive wireless adapter” that will finally let you experience VR without being tethered to a computer. The wireless adapter mounts to the top of the headset, like a set of high-tech antlers, and it will use Intel’s WiGig to minimize interference from other wireless devices and deliver a seamless experience. A battery pack is included, too.

The new Vive Pro headset could go a long way toward addressing two of the key complaints about the HTC Vive’s current headset — that it’s starting to show its age with such a low resolution, heavy screen-door effect, and that being wired to a computer isn’t exactly the most comfortable way to immerse oneself in the virtual realms.

The brand-new Viveport

There’s another big change coming to the Vive platform, but this one is software-based. The Viveport platform, HTC’s store for VR content and experiences, is getting a major overhaul. According to the announcement today, Viveport will now feature a fully VR interface, like a virtual storefront you can explore, instead of the simple layover it featured before.

This is a move HTC describes as a VR-first storefront model. It sounds a lot like how the Oculus’ Store has worked since launch.

“Viveport is moving to a VR first experience model, and with the all-new Viveport VR, we are changing the way consumers discover, experience and acquire VR content,” said Rikard Steiber, president, Viveport.  “Until now, there has not been a shopping and browsing experience that takes advantage of the full functionality of VR. Available in early access today, Viveport VR increases interaction with content and offers developers a preview that showcases the quality of their titles and experiences.”

Though the announcement was leaked earlier, the official press release features a bit more information about what we can expect from the changes to the platform going forward. The HTC Vive Pro is scheduled to hit store shelves sometime in the summer of 2018.

Updated 1/8/2018 to fully reflect information in the HTC Vive Pro press release. 

Computing

Oculus shows off the Rift S, plans to phase out its original VR headset

Oculus plans to phase out its flagship Rift VR headset for its newly created Rift S. The Rift S made its debut this week at the 2019 Game Developers Conference and is expected to be released in spring 2019.
Gaming

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Gaming

New Sony patent suggests a wireless PSVR headset could be on the way

Images and documents in the Japan Patent Office appear to suggest that Sony is planning a wireless version of the PlayStation VR headset. It isn't clear which system it will be used for.
Computing

Give your MacBook Air some added style with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers, and padded sleeves priced from $10 to $130. Happy shopping!
Computing

Intel teases 9th-generation Core i9 mobile processors at GDC 2019

Intel teased its new 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processors at GDC 2019. The company offered few specifics about the hardware, but a leak from late February provides insight into what the new processors might offer.
Computing

Intel Command Center lays foundation for next year’s ‘Arctic Sound’ GPU

Intel revealed its new Command Center driver software at GDC 2019. The updated interface will control current Intel integrated graphics and also lays the groundwork for next year's Intel video card.
Web

How much!? British Airways glitch results in $4.2M quote for family vacation

Website errors sometimes cause flight prices to display at way below the correct price. But British Airways recently experienced the opposite issue when it tried to charge a family more than $4 million for a vacation in Mexico.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

G-Sync and FreeSync can make your games look better, but which is best?

There are some subtle differences between the two adaptive refresh technology offerings, and they affect cost, performance, and compatibility. Nvidia may have released it's feature first, but in recent years AMD has stepped up to the plate…
Computing

Problems with installing or updating Windows 10? Here's how to fix them

Upgrading to the newest version of Windows 10 is usually a breeze, but sometimes you run into issues. Never fear though. Our guide will help you isolate the issue at hand and solve it in a timely manner.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Computing

Get the Surface Pro 6, with keyboard included, for $1,000 at Microsoft

Thinking of buying a Surface Pro 6? Microsoft is currently running a deal on its latest Windows 2-in-1, letting you bring one home for $1,000 with the keyboard included in the price.
Product Review

Acer Predator Triton 500 review

Nvidia’s new RTX 2080 Max-Q is the fastest GPU you’ll find in any laptop, but it usually comes at a steep price. Acer’s Predator Triton 500, starting at $2,500, makes it a little more affordable. But what must you sacrifice in the…