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HTC Launches New VR Headset 'Link,' And It's Not A Vive

26 May 2017, 7:09 am EDT By Vincent Lanaria Tech Times
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HTC is changing the mobile VR headset scene with its new device Link. Not quite a Vive and not quite like the usual smartphone-powered headsets, as it's somewhere in between.  ( HTC )

HTC is rolling out a new VR headset called Link. Emphasis on "new."

In the VR scene, consumers can either go for high-end devices connected to PCs such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift or smartphone-powered headsets such as the Samsung Gear VR and the Google Daydream. HTC's new product sits somewhere in between, perhaps introducing a new type of way for VR experiences.

HTC Link, Not Vive

The name HTC picked out is pretty straightforward. It's not completely a standalone device, as it still needs a smartphone — the manufacturer's latest flagship U11, to be exact — to "link" to for it to work, which arguably makes it fall among the likes of the Gear VR and Daydream. However, the big difference is that it has its own display.

On that note, it's not quite as powerful as HTC's Vive offering or the Oculus Rift, but it's one notch higher than the other VR headsets that rely on smartphones. Again, it's somewhere in between the two types.

As mentioned earlier, it's still technically a smartphone-powered VR device, but it's capable of supporting six degrees of freedom or 6DOF tracking. In other words, this is the first mobile VR headset of its kind because of that feature.

Other than connecting to a smartphone, it relies on an external camera as well for tracking purposes, and this is seemingly evidenced by the lights on the headset itself and its two controllers, which is comparable with Sony's PlayStation VR.

(Photo : HTC)

HTC Link Specs

Since the HTC Link doesn't use a smartphone for a screen, it won't take advantage of the U11's 5.5-inch Super LCD display and QHD resolution (2,560 x 1,440). Instead, it'll push out VR experiences on two 3.6-inch LCD panels with a 1,080 x 1,200 resolution and a 90 Hz refresh rate, providing a 110-degree field of view.

It won't be cumbersome either, weighing in at 554 grams or 1.22 pounds. For a better idea, that's almost the same as the Galaxy S8 and Gear VR (2017) combo, which weigh 155 grams or 0.34 pounds and 345 grams or 0.76 pounds respectively and come to the total of 500 grams or 1.1 pounds.

The thing is, it's only available in Japan, and according to UploadVR, HTC doesn't have any plans to release this beyond the country just yet.

To sum things up, HTC is bringing a game changer to the table called Link, and VR enthusiasts can only hope for a wider launch — or perhaps get their hands on a kit from the country.

It's also worth mentioning that HTC is working with Google to release a standalone Vive headset, which was announced during the latter's I/O 2017 conference.

Interestingly enough, HTC is promoting the Link VR headset with the anime Ghost in the Shell, which Paramount Pictures made a movie out of that stars Scarlett Johansson.

(Photo : HTC)

With everything cleared up, what do you think of the HTC Link? Feel free to drop by our comments section below and let us know.

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