Speculation about a sequel to HTC Vive ran after the company teased a possible upgrade via Twitter, captioning it with the phrase "new year's resolution," which led many to believe that the new headset will come with 4K screens for each eye.
They're both right and wrong. There's indeed an upgraded Vive headset called the Vive Pro, just announced at CES, but it doesn't go as far as 4K. However, it does have a 78 percent higher resolution display than its predecessor — 2,880 x 1, 600 vs. the original Vive's 2,160 x 1,200. Better yet, it's the same great OLED quality bumped to 615 ppi.
HTC Vive Pro Revealed Featuring Higher-Resolution Displays
The increased resolution isn't simply a numbers thing. In fact, the immersive quality of virtual reality headsets relies on high-resolution displays, because low-res ones give off visual kinks, like the screen-door effect or some such. The Vive Pro's increased resolution should help with clearer text rendering and overall graphics, and it advances the headset several steps ahead of the competition.
Apart from the improved resolution, HTC has also given the Vive Pro a slight aesthetic revamp, redesigning the headstrap and adding built-in headphones. One of the complaints about the original Vive was that it was cumbersome to adjust and wear because of its weight, and users had to plug in headphones, adding to the whole messiness of the setup.
To improve that, the Vive Pro's headstrap now includes a sizing dial so the headset is a lot more balanced, and hopefully it won't feel as heavy as the previous one. This of course remains to be tested.
New Features On HTC Vive Pro
Elsewhere, HTC has added dual microphones and two front-facing cameras on the headset, which should mostly benefit VR developers. On the software side, it supports SteamVR tracking including versions 1.0 and 2.0, and gives users up to four base stations from room tracking.
HTC will begin selling the Vive Pro as a standalone headset to existing customers this quarter. A full bundle, along with official pricing, is coming later.
"There's a clear need in the VR market for a premium VR experience with high resolution display, integrated audio and the best components available today in a headset," said Daniel O'Brien, Vive's general manager. "Vive Pro offers an immediate upgrade for both VR enthusiasts and enterprises that want to utilize the best VR experience."
Check out the reveal trailer below.