HTC is opening preorders for a brand new digital and augmented actuality headset, the Vive XR Elite. The XR Elite is a $1,099 standalone headset that’s designed to compete with Meta’s Quest headsets and the rumored Apple AR / VR machine. Shipping in late February worldwide, it helps the gamut of shopper video games and software program HTC has supplied on previous VR headsets, plus blended actuality experiences utilizing full-color passthrough video.
The Vive XR Elite is aimed toward shoppers who need video games, passive media, and productiveness instruments in a comparatively light-weight package deal. HTC promised a small and light-weight design, and the XR Elite weighs in at 625 grams, making it heavier than the Meta Quest 2 however notably lighter than the 722-gram Quest Pro. It provides blended actuality with colour cameras and a depth sensor for extra situational consciousness, one thing Meta initially deliberate however reduce from its Quest Pro.
Most of the XR Elite’s different specs are respectable however not groundbreaking for a 2023 VR headset. It provides a display decision of round 2K pixels per eye, a 110-degree diagonal area of view, a 90Hz refresh fee, 12GB of reminiscence, 128GB of storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2, the identical chip that’s within the 2021 Meta Quest 2. It options 4 wide-angle cameras that permit it observe the consumer’s palms or a pair of movement controllers utilizing the design from HTC’s earlier Vive Focus 3. “We’re going to have a lot of consumer content, gaming, fitness, entertainment, but it will also do things like productivity,” says Vive normal supervisor Dan O’Brien.
But the headset additionally has a number of extra uncommon options, a few of which HTC teased in an interview with The Verge final 12 months. For individuals who put on glasses, there’s a lens diopter adjustment choice that’s presupposed to allow you to use the machine with out them along with an adjustor for the gap between lenses. The headset’s weight features a back-mounted battery that HTC guarantees will final round two hours. For longer durations of use, it’s hot-swappable — a small backup battery constructed into the principle headset will hold it working for round 10 minutes whilst you exchange the spent principal battery with a contemporary one. (The Vive Focus 3 had replaceable batteries, however the headset couldn’t run whilst you had been altering them.) The headset fees over USB-C, and its controllers are additionally rechargeable, providing a battery lifetime of nearer to 10 hours.
The XR Elite helps an extra “glasses mode” that’s presupposed to make the headset far lighter. Like the Quest Pro and Apple’s rumored headset, the default setup features a strap that matches across the again of your head. Glasses mode permits you to snap off the strap and battery and exchange them with a pair of plastic items that relaxation over your ears and — based on HTC — scale back the burden to 240 grams. That’s a little bit over twice as heavy because the Nreal Light AR glasses and about 50 grams greater than the Vive Flow, a glasses-style headset HTC launched in 2021. You can then plug the headset into an influence outlet or a laptop computer and use it for comparatively stationary experiences, like watching motion pictures or utilizing a digital big-screen show. In this mode, the headset folds up like sun shades and matches right into a carrying case, very like the Vive Flow.
As HTC hinted earlier, the XR Elite will even get two optionally available equipment: one enabling eye monitoring and the opposite enabling full face monitoring. It additionally helps the optionally available wrist tracker that HTC launched for the Vive Focus 3. The headset’s $1,099 package deal will ship with the headset, one battery, and two movement controllers — plus a video games / app bundle in some markets. An enterprise package deal can be introduced round Mobile World Congress later this spring.
The XR Elite gained’t exchange HTC’s present skilled headsets. O’Brien says the Vive Focus 3 will stay on sale and so will the Vive Pro 2 PC-based headset — and PC VR followers will apparently get some “interesting announcements” within the first quarter of 2023. But he says HTC will seemingly retire the consumer-oriented Vive Flow across the finish of the 12 months.
HTC may face a stiff problem in shopper and productivity-oriented VR since its previous success has been largely concentrated in simulation coaching, arcade-style location-based leisure, and industrial VR. The XR Elite prices greater than twice as a lot as the favored $399 Quest 2, and its advantages may appear optionally available to shoppers. Passthrough AR continues to be in an experimental stage, and whereas HTC has promised higher privateness inside VR than the data-hungry and ad-driven Meta, that’s a barely summary value-add.
But the XR Elite is concentrating on a standalone VR / AR market that HTC — in addition to Meta, Apple, and different firms — believes will flourish within the coming years. We’re wanting ahead to testing the XR Elite’s capabilities to see the way it stacks as much as the competitors.
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