WE tested the HTC Vive Pro 2 for two weeks and we reckon that, despite its hefty price, it is one of the best virtual reality (VR) headsets you can buy right now.
Read on for our full review of the HTC Vive Pro 2.
- Amazing display
- Good support software
- Accurate tracking
- Great audio system
- A bit tricky to set up
- Heats up during long sessions
- HTC Vive Pro 2 VR headset monitor, £718.98 on Amazon – buy here
The Vive Pro 2launched on June 3rd and is available either as a head-mounted display (HMD) device (for those who already own a Vive VR ecosystem) or as a full kit including base stations, controllers and other accessories.
There is a hefty price difference between the two options, with the HMD by itself costing £719 by, and the full kit £1299.
Despite the substantial price, however, the Vive Pro 2 is a beast of a VR headset, and if you can afford it, we believe it is worth the price.
With a gorgeous 5K display and substantial 120-degree field of view (FOV), this headset delivers a substantial improvement on its predecessor, and this shows particularly in games with high-resolution textures like Half-Life: Alyx.
The controllers' tracking is also quite accurate, and the Vive software platform is mature enough to guide you fairly intuitively throughout your gaming sessions.
However, the Vive Pro 2 is not perfect, as finding the "sweet spot" (the ideal distance between your eyes and the lenses,) is not always easy.
The headset also tends to overheat a bit during long gaming sessions, and is slightly gimmicky to set up.
Is the Vive Pro 2 the right headset for you, or should you go for something cheaper and less powerful like the wireless Oculus Quest 2?
We're here to help you decide.
It may have been three years since the release of the first Vive Pro, but HTC has not made any big changes in terms of design.
Both models feature the same adjustable straps, cable management system, and ergonomics.
The Pro 2 also shares with its predecessor the built-in, adjustable headphones, the USB-C connectors, and a button dedicated to IPD (inter-pupillary distance) physical adjustments between 57mm and 72mm.
Pupillary distance refers to the distance between the centres of a person pupils. In VR, setting the correct IPD will help you find the "sweet spot" and avoid blurred vision.
The Vive Pro 2 does come with a couple of design upgrades over its predecessor, including the padding that has been improved to make the headset more comfortable, and the default colour of the headset's faceplate that has been changed from blue to black.
The display of the HTC Vive Pro 2 is undoubtedly its main selling point.
With a 120Hz refresh rate, a 120-degree field of view, and a whopping 4,896 x 2,448 pixels resolution, this is one of the best displays available in commercial VR headsets today.
For context, the original Vive Pro offered a 2880 x 1600 pixels resolution, and the Oculus Quest 2's is 3,664 x 1920.
To improve the display further, HTC has also replaced the Dual AMOLED panel of the Vive Pro with a dual-stack RGB low persistence.
This enables the higher resolution and wider field of view of the Vive Pro 2, but at the expense of colour vibrancy. It also causes the headset to warm up quicker than the original Vive Pro.
In addition, the Vive Pro 2 is also the first VR headset to offer display stream compression, a feature designed to automatically scale down the resolution when connected to less powerful PCs.
The built-in, directional headphones of the Vive Pro 2 are simply great.
They are basically the same as in the first Vive Pro model and can be easily removed and replaced with third-party options.
However, we personally found these high-fidelity earphones not only excellent in reproducing both sounds and dialogues, but also very easy to adjust.
In fact, you'll probably move the Vive Pro 2 around quite a bit in the initial phases of your gaming sessions, to make sure it is sitting comfortably on your head.
The built-in headphones will easily adjust to your movements, and always provide clear, immersive sound thanks to HTC's 3D spatial audio technology.
They can also be placed closed enough to your head for you to hear quite clearly, without actually touching your ears, thus making the VR experience even more immersive.
Controllers and Tracking
As mentioned above, the Vive Pro 2 uses the same accessories as its predecessor, including the controllers.
Since they haven't been updated in three years, the controllers do feel a bit bulkier and less functional than the Quest 2 controllers, for instance, and even the Valve Index has arguably better ones.
That being said, the Vive Pro controllers are still pretty good. They are tracked almost flawlessly by the Base Stations (when placed properly,) and they are compatible with a lot of games.
They are also easy to use and come with quite a few handy features, including a multi-function trackpad, dual-stage trigger, HD haptic feedback and a rechargeable battery.
If you still prefer the Valve Index Knuckle controllers, however, you can still buy and use them with the Vive Pro 2, as they are fully compatible with HTC's latest VR headset.
Since the Vive Pro 2 is built to work with accessories from the original Vive Pro, the headset retains the same satellite setup.
If you purchase the complete HTC Vive Pro 2 kit, you will then find inside the box the headset, two first-generation controllers, and two Base Station 2.0 satellites.
Setting up the Vive Pro 2 takes some time, as the satellites need to be placed diagonally and above head height, ideally more than 2 m (6 ft 6 in).
Luckily, they come with wall mounting brackets, which is possibly the best option in terms of placement and 'adjustability'.
In addition, the whole Vive Pro 2 setup requires a total of three power sockets: two for the Base Stations, and one for the headset breakout box.
The headset also needs to be connected to the breakout box, which in turn connects to your PC via both USB and a DisplayPort 1.2.
One the physical set up is all done, the software picks up quite nicely.
HTC's setup app is pretty straightforward and makes sure everything is up and running before transitioning to Steam VR for the final configuration.
Since it's compatible with Steam VR, the Vive Pro 2 has access to a substantial library of VR games.
Given its powerful hardware, the headset can run virtually any game, though the ageing controllers may potentially constitute an hindrance to compatibility with future titles.
In any case, at the time of writing, the Vive Controllers are compatible with the vast majority of Steam VR games.
These include Half-Life: Alyx, SUPERHOT VR, and Beat Saber.
Remember, however, that you need a quite powerful PC to use the Vive Pro 2.
Minimum requirements include an Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 processor, 8GB RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX1060 or AMD Radeon RX480 graphics card, and a DisplayPort 1.2.
- HTC Vive Pro 2 VR headset monitor, £718.98 on Amazon – buy here
HTC's Vive Pro 2 is a powerful, tethered headset that pushes the boundaries of the VR experience to the limit.
It also offers excellent tracking capabilities, as well as a solid software interface, and compatibility with Valve's past and future accessories.
This remarkable device is not cheap, however, and if you're on a budget, you may want to consider the wireless Oculus Quest 2 as a potential alternative.
If you already own Vive accessories and you have a powerful PC, however, the Vive Pro 2 could present a worthy opportunity for an upgrade without breaking the bank.
Still undecided? Then you can have a look at our pick of all the best VR headsets you can buy right now.
Are you looking for extra accessories for your gaming setup? Here are our reviews of the Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk and GTplayer Gaming Chair review.
And if you're in the market for a new tablet, you should check our article about the best tablet deals you can get right now.
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