The HTC VIVE Pro VR Headset is among the most impressive VR options on the market today. Its comfortable design and high end specifications make it a perfect option for those looking to test the limits of virtual reality. The Best Buy Blog already has a review of last year’s HTC VIVE (thanks to Brad Moon). Here’s what you can expect when bringing home the HTC VIVE Pro.
Initial Setup of the HTC VIVE Pro
The first step in setting up the HTC VIVE Prois to download the installation software from the product’s official website. Once this is completed, the on-screen setup guide will walk you through each step involved in preparing the VIVE Pro hardware. It will also verify proper installation and compatibility with your PC along the way.
Next you are ready to prepare the hardware itself, beginning with the two base station sensors. Each base station has a viewing angle of 180 degrees, and should be mounted diagonally from each other to ensure maximum and complete coverage of your intended play area. The base stations should be mounted roughly 6’6″ (198 cm) high, and angled to face each other while tilted downward at a 45 degree angle.
Hardware to PC connection
Next you will need to connect the link box, which is the hub between the VIVE Pro headset and your PC. The link box has three rear input ports—one for its power source, and two that provide a connection to your PC.
The first link box-to-PC connection is a simple USB cable that shouldn’t warrant much thought. The second connection however is a DisplayPort mini-to-DisplayPort connection, running from the link box to your PC’s GPU output respectively. This connection MUST be made using DisplayPort, and cannot be adapted to the more common HDMI output on your PC or laptop.
The reason I bring special attention to this fact is because as a laptop gamer, I was unable to setup the HTC VIVE Pro using the included DisplayPort cable, as none of my gaming laptops have a full-size DisplayPort output—only DisplayPort mini.
My first attempt at resolving this issue was to try using a DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter, allowing me to connect the cables DisplayPort end via the HDMI output port on my laptop. As noted above, this does not work. Instead, I ultimately had to purchase a separate DisplayPort Mini-to-DisplayPort Mini cable. Only then was I able to make a successful connection via my laptop’s DisplayPort Mini output port.
Headset and Controllers
Finally, the last step in setting up the VIVE Pro hardware is simply connecting the headset and motion controllers.
The headset connects very easily using the long cable running from the rear of the device. After plugging this cable into the front end of the link box, press the power button located to the right of the input port, and your headset should be powered up and ready to go.
Each motion controller also has a power button on the front face of the device. Holding the power button in for a second or so will wake the controller and sync it to your setup. When properly synced, the light on the front of the controller will turn green.
The controllers should be set to sync to their respective VIVE Pro setup right out of the box. However, if you need to re-sync a controller this can be done easily by connecting it to your PC via the included USB cables. These are also used for charging the controllers.
Experiencing the HTC VIVE Pro
As for the product itself, I must admit I find the HTC VIVE Pro very impressive. Compared to other VR headsets that I have spent time with in the past, it really sets a new benchmark for what can be achieved in virtual reality, both in comfort as well as immersion. Here are a few of my thoughts after some extended play sessions with the VIVE Pro.
HTC VIVE Pro key specs
If the headset fits, wear it!
The HTC VIVE Pro features the most comfortable VR headset rig that I have ever worn. The Velcro strip along the top of the headset makes size adjustments extremely easy. The soft padding on its underside rests comfortably on top of the head and distributes the overall weight of the headset well.
The foam padding around the front and rear of the headset rests like a dream on the face and the back of the head. Compared to some VR headsets which use rubber lining, the VIVE Pro fits significantly more snug and softly. I love how the headset rests firmly in place without feeling like it requires extensive tightening around the head.
High resolution viewing
The VIVE Pro features a dual AMOLED 3.5″ screen with a 90 Hz refresh rate. Even more impressively, it has a resolution of 1440 x 1600 pixels per eye, or 2880 x 1600 combined. This makes it among the most robust VR rigs on the market.
With a powerful PC behind it to put out the necessary processing power required to take advantage of these specs, the HTC VIVE Pro is truly immersive. I really lost myself while floating around a space station in the first-person adventure game Adrift. The detailed resolution combined with a steady frame rate creates an incredibly realistic experience.
No more headphone wires
One of my favourite features of the VIVE Pro is its integrated headset. Fumbling around with all the extra hassle and cables of external earphones is a huge downside of VR. They tangle up, ruin the immersive experience, and make it difficult when you need to communicate with the real world around you.
HTC solves this problem nicely with hi-res 3D spacial audio earpads built directly onto the headset. They hang comfortably from the side of the headset band and are easily adjustable. When you need to cut the sound for a moment, they flip upward (think like the doors of a DeLorean sports car) making jumping in and out of VR so much easier. I can’t overstate how superior this setup is to that of a VR headset that relies on external audio.
A heavy hitter in virtual reality
The HTC VIVE Pro VR Headset is the most impressive virtual reality rig I’ve had the pleasure of using. Its premium identity fits the bill in both comfort and performance. It leads the pack with captivating optics thanks to its high resolution and dual AMOLED screen.
The headset is lightweight, and distributes its heft evenly. The soft foam cushioning fits snugly and allows for extended sessions of use without aggravation. Its built in headphones create a wireless and subsequently more immersive experience without compromising audio quality.
Overall, the VIVE Pro is an excellent option for those looking to get on board with the bleeding edge of virtual reality technology available to consumers today.