“A deep mental involvement in something”
I am sitting in my small living room, rereading this definition in the faithful flayed dictionary that I have never returned to my high school library. I’ve been in VR for an hour at this point, and the real, bleak world pales from the blaze of colorful VR.
For me, the Vive Pro 2 is the definition of immersion. I got my hands on the all-new HTC Vive Complete Kit Pack ahead of its commercial launch to determine if it really is the ultimate VR experience we’ve been promised.
What is the HTC Vive Pro 2?
So first of all, an explanation of the whole complete kit. If you are a first-time Vive user, this is what you are looking for. The Vive Pro 2 Complete Kit includes everything you need to enjoy virtual reality. This includes the Vive Pro 2 headset, which on its own sells for £ 719. A key difference between this headset and its main competitor, the Oculus Quest 2, is that it won’t work on its own. Fortunately, the complete kit contains all the necessary accessories in one convenient package.
The complete kit retails for a tempting price of £ 1,299. For that price, you’ll get the headset, two controllers, and two base stations, plus all the necessary adapters and guides.
My first impressions were a bit fragile at the start. I had easier setups – the instruction manual wasn’t the clearest. It also left me with a bitter taste in my mouth that the sensors work best when fitted, but they are not included in the full kit. The wall mounts are not optimal for rental, which I appreciate is not the fault of the Vive Pro 2, but it is frustrating and something to consider if you, like me, cannot mount sensors permanently. The sockets are also huge which is something to consider if you have limited space.
Let’s talk about graphics
However, despite a slightly frustrating setup, the graphics and styling of the HTC Vive Pro 2 were worth it. If you love virtual reality, or just have the cash to spend, this headset is breathtakingly beautiful. While the exterior hasn’t changed from its original design in 2018, it does feature a 5K 120Hz display to deliver the crispest desktop VR experience I’ve ever had, top of the line. hand. It’s worth mentioning that it doesn’t come with a bezel inlay, which I was initially hesitant about. I’ve had bad experiences with VR headsets crushing my glasses (the joys of being a fashion icon… or rather needing incredibly thick lenses). However, the helmet is lightweight and comfortable to wear, with adjustable straps to make it perfect for you.
The most impressive thing about the HTC Vive Pro 2 is its new 120-degree field of view. If you’ve tried VR before, you might notice that some games look like you’re looking at them through a telescope. The expanded reach of the HTC Vive Pro 2 is revolutionary – the world of virtual reality has never been so immersive or detailed. I started with a classic – Beat Saber – and the particle effects were so vibrant and all-encompassing that I was distracted by the surroundings and ended up failing the song. So be warned. Of course, this higher resolution also has its drawbacks. A word of warning – I have worked in VR so much that I have become very susceptible to motion sickness. Your tolerance might be different, but I was only able to spend 30 minutes or less in the headphones.
The immersion is only enhanced by its incredibly clean sound. I launched Paper Beast VR, a game I’ve played on PC before, and I was able to notice tiny details that I had never understood before. Sound effects like the crumpling of paper as giants towering above you, the whistling of the wind, the thud of glowing creatures as I tear them off the ground.
The challenges of accessibility in virtual reality
The idea of a mass-market and accessible virtual reality is certainly a tempting prospect. Unfortunately, companies still have a long way to go before technology at this level is available to everyone. It’s not an entry-level device, and the suggested retail price of £ 1,299 lets you know that.
I mentioned earlier that all VR headsets are struggling to cater to a growing audience that doesn’t own their home. This is an industry-wide problem, but the HTC Vive Pro 2 requires more setup space than its competition. My living room is not small, but it is certainly not large (1.8m x 1.8m, with furniture). I had to spoof the room-wide system to actually use the equipment.
The controllers also still suffer from the same ergonomic design issues as the 2018 version. I found them uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time, even though I didn’t have any pre-existing conditions. The button layout is heavy; I kept grabbing the menu buttons while playing Beat Saber, which really had an impact on the immersion.
One thing I like, however, is the fact that these controllers are charged and last around 6 hours. Their direct competitor, Oculus, uses batteries. A loaded controller is more environmentally friendly and, over time, would become more profitable. Of course, that doesn’t mean much when the Oculus Quest 2 sells, at the time of writing, for around £ 299. That price includes the headset, controllers, and everything else you’d get in the HTC Vive Pro 2 Complete Kit for £ 1,299.
Is the HTC Vive Pro 2 worth your time?
I can say for sure that the HTC Vive Pro 2 is the ultimate VR experience. Its immersive and crisp graphics are unlike anything I have ever seen before.
You’ve invested some time in reading my words, so now I think it’s time I got blunt with you. I’ve been an Oculus fangirl for 5 years, even going so far as to produce my own VR documentaries. It’s fair to say I’m a VR fan.
When I was looking to make that first purchase of my own headset in 2017, the first Vive headset actually threw me off the concept with its bulky controllers, nauseous display, and awkward setup. But the HTC Vive Pro 2 Complete Kit is the ultimate VR experience.
Unfortunately, its exorbitant price, abundance of cables, and outdated controller design leaves a lot to be desired for mainstream users.
HTC Vive Pro 2 has been provided by PR for review.
Featured Image Credit: HTC
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