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Is HTC’s Vive Pro Worth Buying?

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HTC Vive Pro Title Image

After introducing a wireless and stand-alone version of the virtual reality headset, Vive Focus, a few weeks ago, HTC pushes forward with the Vive Pro. The HTC Vive Pro was unveiled at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, and is being represented as a considerable improvement over the original Vive. The new design corrects some perceived flaws in the make-up of the original Vive.

With the advent of the HTC Vive Pro, those VR enthusiasts who already have the original Vive are wondering if they should spring for the new one, while those who’ve been waiting for the release of the Vive Pro to make their advent into the world of VR are wondering whether this is the time to make their move, and buy the Vive Pro. Let’s answer everyone’s questions by telling you what advantages – or disadvantages – the Vive Pro might have over the original Vive, and whether you should buy now.

As the name implies, the Vive Pro is a new version of the original HTC headset, designed for VR enthusiasts and businesses. A headband for this new headset and a wireless module compatible with the classic Vive should come out a little later this year.

HTC Vive Pro 1

How much better is better?

The Vive Pro forges far ahead of the classic in terms of resolution, with each eye screen developing a resolution of 1440 by 1600. That gives a combined resolution of 2880 by 1600 pixels, which is far ahead of the classic Vive headset. This brings the resolution to 615 dpi, an increase that should allow a certain gain in display definition. Such an improvement also demands considerable processing power for a perfectly smooth experience. Optimal results can only be expected with a GTX 1080 or 1080 Ti graphics card.

Moreover, the Vive Pro has integrated headphones

The original Vive could be blamed for lacking an integrated audio system. A user had to use his or her own headphones. The Vive Pro incorporates a set of headphones that provide for Hi-Res Audio, and which provide for immersive 3D sound. HTC has decided to integrate active noise reduction, for even more complete sound immersion. A ‘conversation’ mode nevertheless allows one to hear a person outside one’s ‘virtual world’ if necessary.

What’s more, unlike various headsets with integrated headphones out there, these are detachable, so you could use your own if you wanted to. Not that you need to, as a rule – the integrated headphones deliver exceptional quality.

HTC Vive Pro 3

Redesigned ergonomics provide more comfort

Beyond the lower resolutions of the first Vive, we felt that it just wasn’t comfortable to wear. The Vive Pro has changed this by using a new arch system, both simpler to adjust and with better weight distribution. The foam padding on the face has also been changed, with the contact area increased by almost 25%, allowing for less pressure over a larger area. The light insulative capabilities of the headset have been improved to allow the user to be better immersed in the virtual world.

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The HTC Vive Pro also has 2 front cameras

For the moment, HTC has not focused too much on their possible utility. However, the new cameras would provide for not only better integration of the real world with the virtual world, but also allow the headset to be used in ‘augmented reality’, where the virtual world and the real world merge. The applications for professionals in innumerable fields are… well, innumerable.

HTC Vive Pro 4

An adapter for wireless play

In addition to its new VR headset, HTC has lifted the veil on a fascinating new accessory. Since the Vive first came out, users have complained about how the cables that connect the headset to the PC get entangled in just about everything, including user’s legs. HTC’s new Wireless Adapter is compatible with the Vive Pro, and will finally allow the headset to be used wirelessly. It relies on Intel’s WiGig technology, putting the connection back on a 60 GHz frequency.

Price. Price. Price.

The price is one thing that many purchasers might balk at, since it costs about 880 euros in Europe. The price in the US will be $799. Note that this price only covers the basic headset and the connectors and such. Just the basic package, in other words.

The Vive Pro does not include controllers or base stations, which really do represent a significant extra cost, with a single controller costing 145 euros. And that’s roughly what the base stations cost as well, so if you add up the cost of the HTC Vive Pro with that of two controllers and two base stations, you see that the cost of getting an HTC Vive Pro operational is far too high.

The Vive Pro is only cost effective if you already own the Vive, since the classic Vive’s base stations and controllers are compatible. As a matter of fact, if you’re set on buying a Vive Pro, the most economical way to get a Vive Pro operational, is to buy both it and the original Vive, which is considerably cheaper as of now. Then you can simply use the Vive’s controllers and base stations for the Pro.

HTC Vive Pro 2

Advantages of the Vive Pro

The Vive Pro is more of a stage in the evolution of the original Vive than a brand new avatar of the headset. Nevertheless, the resolution of the new headset’s screens represents a seventy percent increase in definition compared to the resolution of the classic Vive. That’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s good, because the massive increase in resolution means levels of immersion and realism far beyond the classic Vive. However, the increase in resolution also means that the Vive Pro requires a proportionally more powerful PC, which should be planned for when purchasing the Vive Pro.

Is the Vive Pro the ultimate gaming platform?

HTC and Oculus are two opposing protagonists in the virtual reality market. They fight to gain market share, yet partner in convincing the general public to interest themselves in VR. The Vive Pro could shift the gaming industry to favor the Vive, to the detriment of Oculus. The diversification of Oculus, which served them well at once point, is now completely overwhelmed by the premium experience that HTC wants to offer. This could well make more and more developers shift to the HTC Vive Pro, so we can look forward to tons of titles, making the HTC Vive Pro a MUST BUY for any dedicated gamer.

To buy… or not to buy?

Buy it, of course… if you can afford it. If you have money to spare, buy the Vive Pro now. If you don’t have money to spare, wait till you can get your hands on a wireless adapter, and then buy the Vive Pro. It’s expensive for the price, but delivers a premium experience that sets a new bar in the VR industry, one you might not want to miss out on.

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How to Prevent VR Headset from Fogging Up?

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Virtual reality headsets nowadays provide more realistic and immersive experiences than ever before. However, if the lenses on your VR headset start fogging up, the opportunity to enjoy high-quality virtual reality goes down the drain. And this isn’t an issue you can simply ignore. It forces you to take the VR headset off, clean it, sit down and cool off so it doesn’t start fogging up again, all that really annoying/immersion breaking stuff.

Why is this happening? Is there anything you can do to prevent your VR headset from fogging up?

Let’s break it down!

Why is my VR headset fogging up?

Just as your VR headset lenses are fogging up, any glass surface fogs up as a result of moisture in the air condensing on it. This effect mostly takes place in situations when the warm, moist air comes in contact with the cooler air – it condenses. You’ve probably noticed this very effect, albeit on a bigger scale, when first starting a car on a cold winter morning.

In your very case, the high body temperature rapidly warms the air engulfed between your face and the VR headset, which causes the fogging up, as the moisture is condensed on the significantly colder lenses.

The very design of many VR headsets provides the perfect conditions for fogging up to occur, considering that the air mostly remains enclosed. This is especially annoying if you’ve stored away your VR headset for some time, as it may take a while for the headset lenses to warm up, and catch up to the temperature of your body.

What should I do to prevent my VR headset from fogging up?

Classy storage solution by VRGE: Virtual Reality Docking Storage System

Acting beforehand is probably the best way to prevent the VR lenses from fogging up. As you can probably already conclude, the idea is to keep the temperature of your VR headset closer to that of your body. Clearly, there are other solutions too, which don’t involve taking precautions, but can eliminate lens fog as effectively.

  • Warm your VR headset up before using it

For the most headsets, just turning them on before use will do the trick. It may take a while, so maybe go and grab a drink and wait for 10-15 minutes. If you want to get into the action more quickly, put the headset over your head for a couple of minutes. This will help it the cold lenses acclimate faster and reach the temperature closer to that of your body.

Some users report that turning on a hair dryer and blowing hot air onto the headset did the trick as well. Creativity goes a long way, you may even come up with some DIY quick fixes. Just make sure to let us know!

  • Store the VR headset in a warm place

Now, this can be problematic, especially if you own a PC, tethered headset. This depends entirely on how your living space is organized.

Obviously, you want to avoid extreme temperatures.

It comes down to how you store the VR headset, so while keeping it in a nice cozy place may not completely prevent a VR headset from fogging up, it will significantly decrease the temperature difference, enabling your headset to pick up heat more quickly.

  • Anti-fog sprays and wipes

These are the solutions which skiers may be familiar with. Now, the effectiveness of sprays and wipes often vary depending on the brands and situations. I myself prefer being patient rather than frustrated, so before immersing into VR sessions I warm the headset up and have the wipes just in case.

Check out Anti Fog Spray on Amazon

Check out Anti Fog Wipes on Amazon

Awesome HTC Vive Headset & Controller Skins

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It is a fact that the HTC Vive has only grown in popularity since it first came out in 2016. This has lead to the creation of a huge amount of side accessories and covers that let you customize your virtual reality headset as you most like.

As for the covers, you can find sticker-like packages that decorate controllers, the headset, and even the base-stations; however, these don’t have any functionality other than to make your gadgets more visually appealing.

Similarly, silicon skins can also be found. Among these, the HyperkinGelShell skins are the most commonly bought as they come in different colors and are quite affordable. Here are some of the best and worst aspects of these HTC Vive Skins, as well as other tips you should keep in mind before buying them.

General Features

The HyperkinGelShell skins for the Vive can be bought to either cover and protect your controllers or the main VR headset. The controller package comes with 2 separate skins in the color you chose, which can be white, gray, red, green, or bright blue.

These HTC Vive controller skins will easily add durability to your gadgets while also making sure that the sensor is clear enough to connect and not interfere with the games. The skins are made of a thing yet high-quality silicon and they are specifically designed to keep your wands from breaking apart when they fall down.

Likewise, the material used for the construction of these skins offers a nice, secure grip, letting the user feel safe even when their hands are sweating from the excitement of playing. After all, Virtual Reality games are normally very active and will frequently end up in sweat.

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Price

These HTC Vive Skins are super affordable and cost a little over $20. The box brings 2 skins and they will not only make sure that your wands are not scratched but they also prevent dust from getting into the small, open places in the controllers.

Design

They fit the Vive controllers perfectly. They are harder than you might expect and will definitely add a sleek and sci-fi vibe to your wands. Depending on the color you choose from, you can also buy the skin for the headset and make them match or mismatch on purpose.

Installation

Covering your wands with these HTC Vive Controller skins couldn’t be easier. There isn’t anything that you should know before simply doing it. They just need to be pushed over the controllers and the will immediately fit around it. Everything goes right in place and it feels like a secure skin that won’t fall off anytime soon.

Comfort and Grip

The skins are not thick enough to cause any discomfort. In fact, they are quite soft to the touch and will prevent sweat from making the controller slide down to the floor. These HTC Vive skins also cover the buttons on the wand safely while still letting you press them freely.

As for the grip, these might not be the perfect skins and they could still slip around the controller but it will never slide off the controller.

Check out Hyperkin GelShell HTC Vive skins on Amazon

The Best

  • Affordable price to protect your wands from dust, scratches, and bumps
  • Several colors to choose from let you customize your HTV Vive controllers and headset however you want
  • The HTC GelShell skins fit nicely and prevent the controllers from falling down. Particularly good for those who play active games where sweating could happen
  • They have been designed to allow the sensor to read your controllers as they don’t interfere with the signal

The Worst

  • The skins cover the buttons on the controller so if you are a beginner in the HTC Vive world, you will lose some time before remembering which button does what
  • Some might consider that the color range is too small yet
  • They won’t protect your controllers from the worst accidents, only from daily wear and tear

Conclusions

The HyperkinGelShell HTC Vive skins are a great addition to your Vive accessory collection. They are super soft, lightweight, and affordable enough to convince you to try them out, and with them, you can rest assured that you won’t see as many scratches on your controllers as you would if they weren’t covering them.

Sure, there might not be too many colors to choose from and not everyone will like the bright blue, but the white and gray will undoubtedly make your wands look better and feel better when playing, as the grip improves once they are on.

In conclusion, these are a great pair of Vive controller skins that you can buy if you are on a budget: they will do the work effortlessly and take care of your wands, too.

Check out Hyperkin GelShell HTC Vive skins on Amazon