HTC’s new virtual reality headset is so small and lightweight you might actually want to use it

Technology

Virtual reality might have a bright future, but the path to get there is still bulky, heavy and uncomfortable.

Now, HTC is making a VR headset that’s so small and lightweight it’s more like wearing a pair of glasses than a giant pair of goggles.

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The HTC Vive Flow isn’t as powerful as a giant headset, but it’s a indication of where things could go with virtual reality. The easier it is to put on the technology, the more people will want to use it.

I checked out the HTC Vive Flow at a private meeting space in Santa Monica. There, the company explained that they are positioning this more as a health and wellness device as opposed to a serious gaming headset.

I tried out two experiences: a snake-style game and a meditation app called Tripp.

The snake game took some getting used to as you use your smartphone as a controller. It’s not something I would spend a whole lot of time playing but it’s a good example of the casual games this headset is good for.

The meditation app was interesting, although it was a bit tough to fully get into it amid the gazes of half a dozen developers and corporate types at the location.

Still, I get the gist of this new style headset. It makes VR approachable, convenient, and always available.

You could simply come home from work, put on the headset and escape to the (metaverse?) in no time. The HTV Vive flow is powered by a 5G Android smartphone and requires an external battery back.

The device can mirror content from your phone, like Netflix or YouTube (think your own private viewing theater) or there will be an HTC app store that runs $5.99 a month for a subscription.

At $500, it’s not something the average consumer should rush out and buy just yet, but a few versions down the line could usher in a new form of personal entertainment.

Listen to the Rich on Tech podcast for answers to your tech questions.

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