HTC announced its new virtual reality device at CES, which competes directly with Meta’s Quest Pro. The new device is quite similar in design, but comes with a more compact body and the ability to be worn like a pair of glasses. Of course, there are accessories that secure the new Vive XR Elite to your head. The advantage of this model, however, is the price, which is significantly lower than the Meta.
Vive XR Elite has a modular design
The Vive XR Elite is a virtual reality device that can serve multiple niches. It allows you to run VR and AR apps locally, directly on the device, but also offers connectivity to a PC to run more complex apps and games. Its cameras, used for 3D positioning, also allow pass-through of the video signal to the internal colour display.
HTC boasts that this device is small and lightweight at 625 grams, nearly 100 grams lighter than the competition. Hardware-wise, however, it doesn’t fall too far behind. It has a depth camera, a 4K display that provides 2K resolution on each eye, 90Hz refresh rate, lenses that provide 110-degree field of view, 12GB RAM, 128GB internal storage, and a Snapdragon XR2 chipset to control all these components.
The latter is a bit disappointing, as this processor, already several years old, is integrated into the 2020 Meta Quest 2, which is 50% less powerful than the new Meta Quest Pro.
The “glasses” mode allows you to reduce the weight to just 240 grams by ditching the battery and normal grip system. Power can be via USB-C cable, giving you computer VR with a lightweight device, or wireless VR with power from a battery you can keep in your pocket.
Performance not up to the competition
However, HTC doesn’t seem to be worried about the Vive XR Elite’s performance. The company is pitching this device as much for entertainment and gaming as for productivity. However, it does have a few advantages over the competition: for example, it can be used by glasses wearers without glasses, offering the ability to set lens diopters. Then, the battery is mounted on the back, and can be changed during use. The promised battery life is two hours, and the internal battery offers 10 minutes in which you have time to swap the external battery for a charged one. The controllers are also rechargeable, with 10 hours of battery life.
HTC is also offering other accessories for the Vive XR Elite: a wrist tracker, and an eye tracker. These can be used to enhance VR experiences, depending on software support for them.
The base package starts at US$1,099 and includes the Vive XR Elite, a battery, and the two e-controllers, and in some markets will also include some games and apps.