HTC Vive Professional 2 evaluate: The last word VR expertise

(Pocket-lint) – When the HTC Vive Professional 2 arrived you would simply be forgiven for pondering it was just about the identical VR headset that the corporate launched again in 2018. That is as a result of outwardly it hadn’t modified a lot from the unique, other than some color modifications on the entrance faceplate.

Nonetheless, below the hood issues have been beefed up fairly considerably. A lot in order that HTC is now claiming to have the best-in-class show and ‘true’ 120-degree area of view too. 

Evidently HTC has deserted its efforts with the HTC Vive Cosmos – which we discovered underwhelming anyway – and has chosen to construct on the foundations of the frankly superior HTC Vive Professional as a substitute. A smart transfer in our thoughts.

However is an upgraded Professional sufficient to deal with the now sturdy competitors from HP and Oculus? We have been experiencing what the Vive Professional 2 has to supply to digital actuality followers in search of the most effective of the most effective.

Our fast take

There is not any denying that HTC has as soon as once more returned to type with the Vive Professional 2. It delivers a high-end VR expertise and affords the perfect expertise due to spectacular visuals, satisfying audio, and excellent consolation. It is an utter pleasure to sport on.

But it surely does come at a value – actually. Its asking value is over 3 times the Oculus Rift S’s launch value, and about double that of an HP Reverb G2. We additionally can not help however begrudge the trouble of the bottom stations and the setup required.

However if you would like best-of-best then you have to pay for it. The HTC Vive Professional 2 is undeniably the present chief within the digital actuality headset area. So for those who’ve received cash burning a gap in your pocket otherwise you’re a Vive fan and wish the upgraded expertise then there’s nothing else that may compete.

HTC Vive Pro 2 review: The ultimate virtual reality experience

HTC Vive Professional 2

4.5 stars – Pocket-lint beneficial

For

  • Superior visuals
  • Improbable consolation
  • Nice audio
  • Higher monitoring than the competitors
  • Passthrough cameras make life simpler
  • Backwards appropriate
Towards

  • Prices a bomb
  • Extra trouble to setup than its rivals
  • Will bake your face

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Finest-in-class show?

  • Quick swap LCD IPS panel, 2448 x 2448 pixels per eye (4896 x 2448 whole)
  • 120Hz refresh charge, ‘true’ 120-degree area of view
  • Twin-stack lens setup with RGB Subpixel design
  • 57 to 70mm IPD (interpupillary) adjustment

Probably the most vital improve to the Vive Professional 2 over the earlier era comes within the type of the visuals on supply. This headset has a show that includes the “highest decision thus far” – with 2448 x 2448 pixels per eye, totalling 4896 x 2448 seen pixels.

That is a big leap over the earlier Vive Professional – which had a 2880 x 1600 pixel show. It is also superior to the Vive Cosmos (2880 x 1700 pixels), HP Reverb G2 (2160 x 2160), and naturally the Oculus Quest 2 (1,832 x 1,920). And it actually reveals too.

That top pixel depend means you get a surprising VR expertise. Throughout our gaming classes, we had been struck by how spectacular the graphics are on this headset. The display door impact is basically a factor of the previous, too, and you will simply end up getting misplaced within the expertise. 

HTC additionally has used a dual-stack lens design this time round, with two lenses redirecting the picture for a wider area of view. That is mentioned to have a much bigger candy spot and a extra lifelike view of the world round you. That is additionally how the corporate claims to have a ‘true’ 120-degree area of view. 

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There are some niggles although. For some purpose, HTC has determined to vary the form of the lenses. Now the highest and backside of the lenses have a flat, straight edge to them, whereas earlier than they had been rounded. Which means prescription lens adapters for earlier headsets do not match the Vive Professional 2. It additionally implies that the view is totally different. We shortly seen we might see the sides of the lenses extra simply when enjoying and we sadly discovered this fairly distracting. 

One other small gripe is the rubber nostril shields on the backside of the headset. We discovered these saved flapping up and into the view of the display whereas we had been gaming, once more interfering with our view. 

Other than these minor issues although, there is no denying the Vive Professional 2 appears nice. We revisited classics and our favorite VR video games to present it a radical testing. That included Creed Rise to Glory, House Pirate Coach, Half-Life: Alyx, Superhot VR, Skyrim VR, LA Noire and Medal of Honor: Above and Past. We quickly discovered that not solely do these video games look and sound nice on the Vive Professional 2, however additionally they deal with properly too. 

In fact, you want a fairly vital gaming machine so as to run it at this decision and on the 120Hz out there refresh charge, however for those who can handle it from that perspective then issues will actually look magnificent. 

What spec PC do I must run a HTC Vive Professional 2?

In case your PC cannot fairly deal with such a high-end show then there is no must panic. HTC has labored with Nvidia and AMD on one thing referred to as Show Stream Compression. It is a system that permits the Vive Professional 2 to run at a lesser decision on much less highly effective gaming methods, that means you’ll be able to nonetheless get an ideal expertise. The corporate says in case your PC can run the unique Vive Professional, then it may address the Vive Professional 2 as properly. In different phrases, it is backwards-compatible and can work with DisplayPort 1.2. 

The minimal required specs to run the Vive Professional 2 headset are:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 (equal or higher) / Reminiscence: 8GB RAM (or extra)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX1060 or AMD Radeon RX480 (equal or higher)
  • OS: Microsoft Home windows 8.1 or Home windows 10
  • Video out: DisplayPort 1.2 (or newer)
  • USB ports: 1x USB 3.0 (or newer)

The beneficial specs for the Vive Professional 2’s full 5K decision and 120Hz refresh charge are:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 (equal or higher) / Reminiscence: 8GB RAM (or extra)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 or AMD Radeon RX 5700 (equal or higher)
  • Video out: DisplayPort 1.4 (or newer)
  • USB ports: 1x USB 3.0 (or newer)
  • OS: Microsoft Home windows 10

It is value noting that you just do want a DisplayPort connection in your gaming machine or laptop computer so as to run this headset. You need to use a DisplayPort Mini adapter or DisplayPort-to-USB-C adapter if required, however for those who solely have HDMI then you definitely would possibly come unstuck. 

Pocket-lintHTC Vive Pro 2 review the equipment photo 5

Like earlier Vive headsets, the Vive Professional 2 connects first to the Vive Hyperlink field after which to your machine through DisplayPort and USB connection. That field additionally wants energy, so be ready with plenty of empty plug sockets. 

New visuals however an old-school setup

  • G-sensor, gyroscope, proximity, IPD sensor, SteamVR Monitoring V2.0
  • Eye aid with lens distance adjustment
  • Adjustable Hello-Res licensed headphones
  • Built-in twin microphones

So the HTC Vive Professional 2 has had some severe enhancements when it comes to graphical efficiency. It is primarily the most effective headset available on the market in that division, however in different methods, the Vive Professional 2 remains to be caught previously. 

With the Vive Cosmos, HTC tried to tackle the Oculus Rift S by including inside-out monitoring cameras to permit customers to ditch the traditional base stations and go for a better setup. Alas, the Vive Cosmos had lacklustre monitoring due to it (in contrast to the Rift S) and so HTC has gone again to what it is aware of finest – SteamVR monitoring base stations. 

This feels old fashioned at this level – with the necessity to have monitoring stations arrange in your play area, ideally in reverse corners of your room, plugged into the mains energy and monitoring your motion. These monitoring stations guarantee correct monitoring and only a few issues in that division, however they seem to be a faff as they should be mounted up excessive. This implies both wall-mounting, discovering a spare tripod, or precariously balancing on a shelf or one thing else.

We’re so used to inside-out monitoring now that going again to base stations is an pointless annoyance in our thoughts. Nonetheless, for those who’ve been utilizing an unique Vive, Vive Cosmos Elite or Vive Professional for all this time then you definitely in all probability will not care. There’s additionally loads to be mentioned for correct monitoring, however we would nonetheless choose the liberty provided by inside-out monitoring. 

Pocket-lintHTC Vive Pro 2 review headshots photo 5

Nonetheless, the Vive Professional 2’s monitoring logic means you should utilize Vive Tracker 3.0 to trace additional issues, together with your whole physique. You may as well add on a facial tracker to seize your facial expressions in VR and upgrade to go wireless too (although that’ll imply successful in decision and efficiency). 

Nonetheless, regardless of our complaints, there are lots of different issues the Vive Professional 2 does properly.

It is snug for a begin. Effectively, as snug as having a big chunk of plastic strapped to your head will be anyway.

HTC has labored to steadiness the headset to take care of consolation. The general design is similar because the Vive Professional, however that is no unhealthy factor because it means you could have that simple adjustment wheel on the again, a stable headband design, snug padding, and a comparatively easy on-off setup too. 

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The padding is definitely one of many essential options we loved concerning the design of this one. It is delicate and plush, that means you have no pointless strain in your face, nostril or eyes when enjoying. It additionally blocks out lots of surrounding gentle and allows you to give attention to the VR expertise as a substitute. 

Vive headsets have additionally come a good distance since we first performed on the unique Vive. The Vive Professional 2 offers you entry to much more settings proper within the headset itself. That features entry to {hardware} as properly.

These two cameras on its entrance, for instance, will be activated as passthrough cameras. With a few clicks on the settings menu you’ll be able to activate a digital camera view that pops out out of your controller and allows you to see your actual world. This implies you need not take the headset off to re-orientate your self or speak to family members who’ve wandered into the room. 

A triple-click of the menu button on a controller additionally prompts one other passthrough system which lets you see the room round you with a inexperienced haze. These two methods are nice for not falling over objects in the true world and make VR life simpler on the whole.

There’s additionally the choice to click on on the menu to see your desktop so you’ll be able to work together with different apps immediately in your PC. Whether or not that is checking for emails, recording with OBS Studio, or doing one thing else.

It is a nice enchancment because it means you hardly ever should take the headset off so as to fiddle together with your PC to do one thing easy like launching a brand new sport or comply with a firewall change. 

One other characteristic that hasn’t modified is audio. The Vive Professional 2 has built-in adjustable Hello-Res licensed headphones which will be repositioned till they’re in a cushty spot. They’re properly padded and ship an ideal sound when gaming. You may alter the amount simply with buttons on the earcup and mute the microphones from there too. 

Pocket-lintHTC Vive Pro 2 review Headset photo 12

We’ve a love-hate relationship with these headphones although. Sure, they provide nice sound, are simple to place, and block out a shocking quantity of surrounding noise. However we simply get a bit scorching whereas utilizing them. We choose the liberty provided by the back-facing audio system on the Quest 2 or the off-ear audio system on the Reverb G2. Usually talking, we get scorching whereas gaming in VR anyway, however the Vive Professional 2 is especially steamy due to each the headphones and the copious quantities of snug padding. 

Handy management

At this level it is value us speaking concerning the Vive Pro 2’s two options of purchase:

  • Simply the headset (for upgraders who already personal the HTC Vive or Vive Professional) – out there to pre-order at a reduced value of £659 / $749 / €739.
  • The full package (which incorporates the headset, base station 2.0, and Vive Wand controllers v2) – out there from 4 June for £1299 / $1399 / €1399.

When you’re shopping for the complete package deal then you definitely’ll get the traditional Vive controllers. These now sport a nifty blue color scheme that matches the Professional 2 headset, however in any other case, they management the identical as ever. That is no unhealthy factor although, as we have all the time preferred these controllers. They’re stable, sturdy, simply recognised by most VR video games, and have by no means allow us to down. 

Pocket-lintHTC Vive Pro 2 review Headset photo 16

They’ve built-in batteries and cost through Micro-USB. One draw back, nevertheless, is that the controllers solely final for just a few hours – roughly 5 hours primarily based on our testing – earlier than they want charging once more. So you should be sure you’re charging them between classes to keep away from disappointment. HTC has made a degree of claiming that the Vive Professional 2 will work with Valve’s Knuckle controllers in its place although. 

To recap

HTC has as soon as once more returned to type with a high-end VR headset that delivers the perfect expertise – however at fairly the associated fee. 

Writing by Adrian Willings.