There’s the Meta Quest Pro’s competitor, the HTC Vive XR Elite. And, we had the chance to try it out at CES 2023.
HTC Vive returns with a completely new helmet model. The latter is designed for transitional or mixed reality, halfway between virtual reality and augmented reality. This technology makes it possible to see and interact with objects embedded in the real world. Here, the HTC Vive is positioned directly opposite Meta Quest 2.
Technically, the XR Elite combines mixed reality and virtual reality capabilities in one device. HTC Vive announces that it is ” compact, lightweight, powerful and highly versatile, perfect for gaming, fitness, productivity and more. “. It is the main competitor of Meta Quest Proboth offer the possibility of realization pass through, what we call mixed reality halfway between virtual reality and augmented reality as this technology makes it possible to mix virtual and real. In other words: with this HTC Vive XR Elite headset, you can see and interact with objects embedded in the real world.
HTC is quite proud to have brought pass through Further, it ensures that the quality is high enough to read your laptop or phone screen without removing the headphones, it also has a depth sensor. This is useful for recreating the notion of distance when in mixed reality mode, but also for automatically meshing your room so that virtual objects can collide with real objects.
Although designed with a USB-C connection to connect to a computer, to use your computer’s computing power in large 3D games, the Vive XR Elite headset is a device IAO Where All in one. It’s standalone and capable of using Wi-Fi, even Wi-Fi 6E, with low latency. Versatility is one word that defines this headset, which has a well-thought-out modular design that can easily be converted into glasses – simply by removing the battery. Thus, it adopts different physical configurations to suit the situation you are in, be it at home, in the office or in… the car.
The redesigned hinge allows the headphones to truly mold to the shape of your head, front and back. There’s a USB-C connection cable on the right side, which you can plug into a power source, like a power bank.
The modularity of this helmet is its strong point, you can take it wherever you want. Which means you can fit a massive 300-inch screen wherever you go. If this is not the future…
The back module includes the battery which offers two hours of autonomy. It’s easily portable and has a 30-watt fast charge on USB-C.
A smooth experience, but far from perfect
In short, we were able to test the Vive XR Elite on CES 2023. In virtual reality, the helmet is working perfectly. The technology is now well-mastered, improving as screens improve, helmets become lighter, sensors multiply…
Here, the Vive XR Elite offers a smooth and lag-free experience that allows you to fully immerse yourself in the virtual universe without being disturbed by vibrations. The tracking of head movements is relatively accurate and fast, which makes immersion in the virtual universe very natural. As for the field of view, it is wide and deep, which gives the impression of being truly present in the virtual environment. In the proposed game, we were in a kayak at the bottom of a canyon. A total change of scenery. We were disappointed by the paddle reveal, which was very random.
We then had the opportunity to perform some experiments in the mixed reality mode. The first is Air Guitar, a type of instrumental playback. People watching me saw me imitating the gesture of a guitarist without the instrument in hand. It’s always fun to watch. The other experience consisted of putting yourself in the place of a virtual conductor leading an orchestra, a game created by a French studio and which it symbolically called “Le Métavers”.
In short, when you put the HTC Vive XR Elite in mode pass through, you see what is around you in real life. They are not real goggles, as the helmet films the outside using a camera and integrates it into the image you see.
It’s not entirely clear, the colors are washed out and the whole thing is grainy. It gives a vague sense of reality, but it’s possible to play content on your smartphone or chat with physical people around you. We position the hands well in physical space, which shows that the helmet is still capable of reproducing at least depth. This remains remarkably flawless, so much so that I nearly shot one of the HTC Vive employees.
The appearance of the HTC Vive XR Elite seemed important to us, as the headset resembles large glasses. It therefore gives us the impression to outsiders that they are real glasses, which of course reinforces the effect. pass through.
In any case, even if we only spent an hour with the helmet, it is clear that it can be improved. It’s a story of hardware compromise. It’s still smartly designed, but it doesn’t offer a serious alternative to Meta’s Quest Pro. Now, hardware is only one aspect of the experience, content is another. So let’s wait to see what HTC has in store for us in the coming months.
As a reminder, the HTC Vive XR Elite will be delivered in February 2022, for a price of 1,400 euros (with six games offered). It is not given at all.