HTC and Valve’s Vive was the first virtual reality headset that really made me jump on the VR hype train. Not only could you escape into virtual worlds, but thanks to its motion tracking sensors, your movement in the real world was translated into the digital. You were literally able to walk around in a whole new environment.
But it wasn’t perfect. Like Facebook’s (FB) Oculus Rift, the Vive’s display resolution made individual pixels clearly visible in certain situations, killing any sense of true immersion. The headset itself wasn’t exactly comfortable for those who wear glasses, and often mashed them against your face. Then there was the cable that connected the Vive to your computer, which was a constant tripping hazard.
And that’s where the HTC Vive Pro comes in. Available sometime this year, the Vive Pro improves upon all of the original Vive’s shortcomings by adding a significantly sharper display and more ergonomic design. There’s even a new Vive Wireless Adapter that lets you cut the cord to your PC, so you can walk around without wrapping yourself up in a cord.
It’s an impressive upgrade, especially given the fact that the headset has been out for just under two years. But it still needs compelling VR content to go along with those enhancements if it’s to move the needle for the industry.
So long screen door
I loved the original Vive when I first tried it back in 2016. But after a number of gaming sessions and using other headsets, the Vive’s visual shortcomings became more and more obvious.
Like the Rift, the original Vive had a resolution of 1,080 pixels by 1,200 pixels per eye. That’s not terrible when you compare it to a television that you sit relatively far from, but when you bring that screen right up to your eye, those individual pixels become clearly visible.
Text, for example, always looked blocky and, at certain font sizes, was almost too difficult to read. Being able to see those pixels also creates what’s called the…