I doubt I’ll ever stop being impressed by VR. Since assisting a game design student back in 2013, testing out his prototype maze and rollercoaster demos, I’ve been fascinated by its potential. Most look to Oculus Quest 2 with virtual reality’s recent success - and there’s good reason for that - but Meta’s not lacked for competition. Valve Index, PlayStation VR, Windows Mixed Reality, you name it, but HTC Vive’s been there since the start.
Vive’s often seen as a mid-range VR option, but you’d struggle to call Vive Pro 2 anything other than a heavy hitter. It doesn’t change Vive’s core design significantly, yet this PC-only headset boasts some impressive specs, offering 5K resolution, 120° field-of-view, and 120 Hz refresh rate. It’s not the most accessible wired headset for newcomers, but if you’re one of the hardcore faithful, you’ll find a strong pick here.
Tracking Takes Time
Unfortunately, setting up a Vive Pro 2 isn’t quick. HTC’s latest headset utilises SteamVR’s exterior tracking tech, which requires setting up base stations across your play area for wider room coverage. Accordingly, there’s less latency than inside-out tracking seen with Vive Cosmos and Oculus Quest, but they aren’t convenient. Finding ideal locations across my flat required significant trial and error, which wasn’t entirely practical for my personal setup.
Once I found a good spot, the Pro 2 worked really well, even with Vive’s admittedly outdated wand controllers. Their design remains unchanged since 2016, still featuring a large trackpad and somewhat clunky handling. They still do the job but fortunately, Pro 2’s versatile, and if you can afford to, I’d recommend swapping these out for Valve Index controllers, a more modern option with improved button mapping.
The head-mounted display (HMD) felt comfortable too and its fully adjustable to fit numerous head sizes. Using a hard plastic head strap, adjusting this simply requires cranking the dial at the back, and while the Pro 2 feels a little top heavy, HTC’s assisted this with some padded cushioning. For anyone wearing glasses, you’ll be pleased to know there’s plenty of space to fit them inside the HMD, and it also packs an external IPD adjustment dial to better suit your vision.
A Small Price To Pay
Once everything was in place, I tested it out between Beat Saber, Pistol Whip, a few other SteamVR games, and they looked incredible on the new LCD screen. While Pro 2 lacks the colour depth the original Vive Pro’s OLED screen offered, the 5K resolution and high refresh rate left gameplay felt significantly smoother than what I’ve previously experienced. The improved graphics add a lot to VR’s immersion, and it’s easier on the eyes for those prone to motion sickness.
You can buy a Vive Wireless Adapter for additional convenience, removing some messy wiring requirements, but that’ll provide a reduced refresh rate of 90 Hz and costs £359. It’s an issue which underlines Vive Pro 2’s wider pricing problem. If you’ve previously invested in a Vive headset and don’t mind using the same controllers and base stations, the HMD alone costs £719, which is already rather high. For the full kit though? Just under £1,300.
It’s a steep ask and to put things into perspective, a complete Oculus Quest 2 set costs less than the wireless adapter alone. Granted, these are two separate beasts aiming at different markets, and the Vive Pro 2 contains significant advantages over its rival. However, for the more casual VR player, when you can spend £1k less for an experience that works out of the box – which also connect to PCs and offers (limited) 120hz support - that’s a much tougher sell.
Vive Pro 2 – Should I Buy It?
If you’re a PC player searching for a high-end VR headset, you’ll find a suitable pick with HTC’s Vive Pro 2. Thanks to 5K resolution, 120° field-of-view, 120 Hz refresh rate, and a comfortable HMD, there’s a fine improvement upon the Pro line’s predecessors. Though you’ll need a powerful PC to take full advantage, it ran VR games beautifully during my testing, and I’ve never seen better visual quality in virtual reality.
Unfortunately, several flaws prevent Vive Pro 2 from truly becoming the best high-end option around. Cost and convenience are undeniably its biggest drawbacks, so it comes down to where you draw the line. Personally, I’d struggle to recommend it to anyone beyond hardcore VR players but make no mistake, what we’ve got here is certainly a capable device. It’s a good choice for anyone looking at futureproofing, you’ll just need some deep pockets.
Full hardware kit provided by publisher. Games tested on a PC using these specs.
Buy Now: Vive Pro 2 at Amazon