As Facebook corners the consumer-grade VR market with its Oculus headsets, HTC is sticking to its enthusiast and business customers with the newly announced Vive Pro 2 and Focus 3 headsets. Launching in June for $750 and $1,300 respectively (or $1,400 for the full Vive Pro 2 Kit), both new headsets feature 5K 120Hz displays, a 120-degree FOV, and real RGB subpixels for a life-like image.
HTC Vive Pro 2
HTC struck gold with the original Vive Pro. It’s one of the most comfortable VR headsets on the market, with several ergonomic features and adjustable parts. To that end, the HTC Vive Pro 2 is mostly a rehash of its predecessor, with most of the changes going to its display.
The new HTC Vive Pro 2 packs a 5K 120Hz display with a 120-degree FOV, a major improvement from the previous model’s 2880 x 1600 90Hz screen, which had a narrower 110-degree FOV. It also supports Display Stream Compression (DSC), a lossless standard usually found in computer monitors and, until now, never used in a VR headset.
According to HTC, the Vive Pro 2’s upgraded display greatly reduces motion blur and the dreaded screen-door effect. You’ll have to take the company’s word until people start reviewing the Vive Pro 2, but for what it’s worth, cheaper headsets like the Oculus Quest 2 have made considerable progress against these common VR problems.
While the HTC Vive Pro 2 is slightly smaller and sleeker than its predecessor, it’s design remains virtually unchanged. It still has adjustable straps, sizing dials, and IPD settings (the distance between your pupils). The new Vive Pro 2 still has integrated headphones with Hi-Res Audio Certified with 3D spatial sound, but you can use your own headphones if you’d like.
HTC Focus 3
Unlike the new Vive Pro 2 headset, the Focus 3 features a brand new ergonomic design along with its upgraded display. Previous models in the Focus series are notorious for their uncomfortable, sweaty build, so HTC rebalanced the headset (moving the hot-swappable batteries to the back is a big win) and installed a new cooling fan in front of the screen.
The Focus 3 also features a new set of gamepads that look similar to the Oculus Quest controllers. You can also connect a Steam VR controller to the Focus 3 for robust or highly-customizable controls, though the included gamepads will work fine for most people.
Internally, the Focus 3 features a powerful new Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chip (but supports tethered VR via Vive Streaming Cable). Like the Vive Pro 2, it also sports an upgraded 5K 120Hz display with a 120-degree FOV. Previous models of the HTC Focus used the same display as the original Vive Pro headset.
The Vive Pro 2 ships June 4, but pre-orders for the headset available now starting at $750. But if you don’t have controllers, you’ll have to wait for the $1,400 Vive Pro 2 Kit to launch June 4th. HTC’s $1,300 Focus 3 headset isn’t available for pre-order just yet, but ships June 27th.