When you consider the features of a virtual reality headset, what do you look for? Field of view, lightweight design, and high resolution are at the top of most users requirements.

The virtual reality headset fits, obviously, on the head, much like sunglasses or a visor. It will have either one small display lens to cover one eye, or two to cover both eyes. The lenses will display in 3D the elements of the virtual reality environment.

Eye tracking technology is used to note where the user is looking and bring that area into better focus. For this reason, the average inter-pupillary distance in humans is used to coordinate the eye trackers in the virtual reality headset. There are many types of headset available on the market, but choosing the best for them is not a tough task nowadays.

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HTC VIVE PRO

The original HTC VIVE VR headset broke the virtual reality mold, offering the ability for users to walk freely within their environment and interact with it as they wished. It ushered in a new era of VR games and virtual reality experiences. With the new enhanced HTC VIVE Pro, everything gets even more amazing with a professional-grade VR experience.

The Vive Pro boasts a much larger 2,880 x 1,600 pixel HD AMOLED screen and the difference is quite impressive. There is only so much that can practically be done with anti-aliasing settings, so the screen upgrade makes a large difference. This makes virtual reality experiences feel so much more immersive, as the screen can pick up detail further away more similar to how our eyes can naturally, making it easier to forget that you’re looking at a screen.

For our 3D Artists, this is of massive help to identify improvements they would like to make; only adding further to the polish to our experiences.

Design

The front of the Pro headset is dotted with the strategically placed photo-sensors surrounded by wells of varying depth so the Lighthouse sensors can track the headset. The lone bottom-mounted camera has been swapped out for a centrally-located pair. On the lower left side of the headset, you’ll find the power button and a small black knob to adjust the interpupillary distance, which is the measurement in millimeters between the centers of the pupils of your eyes.

HTC kept the wide top-mounted head strap but added a large, adjustable blue sideband that’s every bit as functional as it is cosmetic. You’ll find a large earphone on either side of the headset, so you don’t have to go looking for a pair of headphones to plug in anymore.

Specs

The Vive Pro doesn’t just have a new look, it has improved specs starting with the screen. The headset has a pair of 3.5-inch AMOLED screens with 1440 x 1600 per eye or 2880 x 1600 combined. The original Vive displays have a resolution of 2160 x 1200 or 1080 x 1200 per eye. That’s a 78 percent resolution increase, which definitely makes a difference. Although the resolution is considerably higher, the refresh rate and the field of view remain the same at 90 Hertz and 110 degrees respectively.

Games and Apps

There are currently more than 3,000 titles available for the Vive Pro according to HTC. And while most Vive users started out getting their games and apps from SteamVR, HTC is pushing VivePort as the destination to get your VR fix.

Cameras

The original Vive featured a single camera that worked in tandem with the Chaperone system to let you look out into the real world when you got to close to walking into a real-world object. And while Chaperone worked, for the most part, the depth tracking was off, leading to some potential kerfuffles.

Phone Syncing

HTC really doesn’t want you to take the Vive Pro off. That’s why the Phone Sync feature from the original Vive remains. Connected via Bluetooth with the free Vive app (Android, iOS), you can now get texts, calls and other notifications while you’re plumbing the depths of VR.

You can control which notifications get into your VR world in the settings menu.

Pros

The high-resolution display produces crisp detail

Comfortable to wear over long periods of time

Works with original Vive gear

Integrated high-res, 3D spatial audio

Cons

Expensive

Doesn’t come with base stations or controllers

In some ways, this is a potential cost-savings strategy for HTC and a boon for those of us who’ve already invested in the original Vive, as we can just carry over the hardware from the original headset. To experience this next step in the evolution of VR, you have to shell out $799 from your pocket.