The absolute best VR experience today, with great industry support

Highs

  • Quality industrial design
  • Very comfortable, easy to put on and remove
  • Excellent visual quality

Lows

  • Priced for a professional market

Rating and Price

  • Rating: 9/10

The HTC VIVE Pro has landed and brings significant improvements in key areas such as display resolution and general ergonomic improvements, two hot items in the wish list of any VR enthusiast. In this review, we will go over the new features, and assess their quality, and value, for different user profiles. Is the HTC VIVE Pro right for you? Read this before getting one.

Industrial design

The industrial design of the HTC VIVE Pro has much improved since the first HTC Vive came out a couple of years ago. The most visible (superficial) difference is the Blue color of the Pro, versus the black tint of the VIVE.

The second most visible change is how the earphones are integrated, along with a new strapping system. Previously, most VR headsets used a few velcro straps as a retaining mechanism. They were “OK”, but not the best in hindsight, because the material was too elastic and kept things a bit too loose, leading to a “front-heavy” feel. The HTC VIVE Pro weighs 1.22Lbs and most comparable headsets over within spitting distance.

Very comfortable, not front-loaded

The new design is much more comfortable because it has three different surface areas all designed to provide upwards support. People can carry very heavy loads on their heads if the weight is going directly downwards, because the spine can support the counter-action. The same ergonomic principle is at play here, and the HTC VIVE Pro feels much more comfortable because of this design tweak.

The industry understands this, and recent VR Headsets have evolved with better, more comfortable, retention systems with a dial at the back. The horizontal strap is tweakable, but not elastic at all and this is the real game-changer in VR headset design. At the top there is an adjustable velcro strap, which is elastic.

The HTC VIVE Pro has enough space for many types of glasses, if you wear some. Your luck may vary, and I don’t wear glasses, but for the sake of this review, I tried the headset with the RAY-BAN
RB3530 sunglasses
, which are quite large — they fit within that space.

The headset is still made of a very strong, high-quality plastic and everywhere you skin your skin touches the headset, there is a thick padding (~16mm) to maximize the comfort. It also allows for things to get pretty tight, without feeling too tight.

Once the headset is firmly on your head, you can adjust the Pupillary Distance, using the small knob on the lower-right side of the headset. This will move the lenses to match the horizontal distance between your two eyes. This way, the lenses are placed properly, and the 3D rendering can better match your eyes.

The HTC VIVE Pro also has minimum light leakage, which means that outside light does not come into the headset, thus watering down colors and black levels. How much leakage will depend on your head shape, btu the thick padding and nose cover do an excellent job of blocking light, and I felt that a couple millimeters more padding would have yielded a light-sealed headset.

Integrated Headphones are highly convenient

The integrated headphones are extremely convenient, and remove a lot of friction when dealing with VR and audio. If you prefer using your own headphones, you can remove them, but The fact that you can just push away the headphones when you need to hear what’s going on is super convenient. Also, it is one less wire dangling around when you are trying to set up.

The headphones don’t look super-fancy, but they are quite powerful and get the job done very well. I played with a 30% volume, because it was getting a bit too loud beyond that (for me). They don’t really apply pressure to the ears, and you would probably won’t really feel them as you play.

Can you get better headphones? Sure you can, but these are very decent and the level of convenience is just too high to ignore. People should be able to use VR within a minute or two, and many details contribute greatly to reduce friction in the user experience. For professionals who put the headset on and off many times per hour, it’s ideal.

Overall product rating: 9/10

Filed in Gaming >Reviews. Read more about Editorspick, HTC and Virtual Reality (VR).

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