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Back in 2016, I bought the original HTC VIVE when it was released, and used it for popular VR games, such as Beat Saber and Fantastic Contraption. I also used it for creative and experiential apps like Tilt Brush and Google Earth VR. Because of comfort issues, I never really got into 360-degree video, but I did dabble, watching a few events from the 2016 Rio Olympics in 360-degree video and attending a handful of live concerts. I wanted to find out if the HTC VIVE Pro 2 offered a better VR experience.
What is the HTC VIVE Pro 2?
The VIVE Pro 2 is, without question, the highest resolution VR experience that is currently available in the consumer market. The headset offers 5K resolution (4896 x 2448 per eye) with a 120-degree field of vision at a 120 Hz refresh rate, which is remarkably impressive. By comparison, the Oculus Quest 2 only features 1832 x 1920 resolution per eye with a 90 Hz refresh rate supported. The VIVE Pro 2 is upgradable and backward compatible, making it suitable for either recreational home use or business applications.
How the HTC VIVE Pro 2 works
To use the VIVE Pro 2, you will need to install two base stations. These tiny units should be mounted at least 6.5 feet above the floor (higher is better) on opposite corners of your gaming space. The purpose of the base stations is to provide 360-degree coverage of your movement so it can be tracked down to the millimeter.
After downloading all required software to give the headset functionality, you must physically connect it to your gaming computer using the link box to have access to gaming content.
The last step is to connect your controllers and define your gaming space so the system knows your play area boundaries.
What you need to know before purchasing the HTC VIVE Pro 2
Setting up the physical components of the VIVE Pro 2 couldn’t be easier: The cables are labeled and the ports feature unique shapes, making it nearly impossible to get the connections wrong. If this is your first foray into VR, mounting the base stations will require use of basic hand tools, which is on a difficulty level similar to hanging a picture.
The software, on the other hand, was challenging to install. It required troubleshooting and multiple reboots to eventually get everything up and running smoothly. In the end, it all worked great, but if my experience is typical, an individual who is not tech savvy might be tempted to throw in the towel, or call an expert for help.
Regarding the actual VR experience, the VIVE Pro 2 is excellent in every way. I had no eye strain or motion sickness after a 2.5-hour session with Jet Island. Since the system has a wired connection, battery life is not a concern. For me, the biggest improvement over the original VIVE is the ratcheting head-mounting system coupled with the flip-down headphones that allow for vigorous gameplay without the need to constantly readjust the headset.
Where to buy the HTC VIVE Pro 2
You can buy the HTC VIVE Pro 2 headset on Amazon. While the typical retail price for the headset is $799, you can often find it on Amazon for a reduced price. The full system — which includes two base stations, two controllers and a link box, plus all cables and adapters — costs $1,399.
Other products worth considering
If you like the VIVE, but would like to save a little money and are OK with having the previous model, this is a good option for you.
Sold by Amazon
The Oculus Quest 2 is not quite on the level of the VIVE Pro 2, but it’s not far behind. On the plus side, it offers the option of a wireless gaming experience, which can be enough to make it a top choice for many.
Sold by Amazon
For the individual on a budget who wants an entry-level VR experience, the Pansonite VR headset offers the user a number of impressive features, such as a wide field of view and technology that reduces eye strain, at a low price.
Sold by Amazon
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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.