HTC Vive Pro 2 VR headset review
Virtual reality has made great strides in the past couple of decades, one of the best being the shift into the consumer tech market. Now, there’s a handful of VR headsets available to the public that bring immersive experiences into the comfort of home — or, at least, a 6-by-6-foot space inside it. Yet it can be challenging to figure out which headset will deliver a truly premium experience.
HTC claims their newest VR headset, the Vive Pro 2, features design upgrades that take full immersion to the next level. Besides razor-sharp graphics, riveting sound and a high-resolution display, the Vive Pro 2 promises unparalleled multimedia experiences.
We wanted to see whether the HTC Vive Pro 2 delivers on its promise as a top VR headset for PC, so we decided to test it. Here’s what we found.
Testing the Vive Pro 2
We tested the HTC Vive Pro 2 with someone who has above-average VR experience. Besides having previously used the original Vive Pro, Oculus Quest 2 and Valve, they’re a VR UX (user experience) designer and former web developer.
The tester was initially drawn to VR headsets for gaming and has dedicated hours to popular VR games like “Beat Saber” and “Fantastic Contraption.” They’ve used VR headsets with experiential apps, such as Tilt Brush, a reimagined painting experience in 3D, and Google Earth VR. The tester currently uses the headsets for VR game development and UX design.
We asked the tester to use the Vive Pro 2 for several weeks in a 6×6-foot play space. They connected the Vive Pro 2 to a high-end PC with an Intel Core i7-11700KF processor, RTX 3080 graphics card and 32GB of RAM.
Overview of the Vive Pro 2
The Vive Pro 2 is a VR headset for PC that delivers immersive experiences through finely tuned visual and audio. Characterized as a versatile headset with limitless potential, the Vive Pro 2 is used for gaming, experiential apps and social experiences. The headset is often used in VR development too. Its website actually invites users to develop content for Vive and provides developer resources, including software development kits.
How to use the Vive Pro 2
The HTC Vive Pro 2 requires a well-equipped PC running on Windows 10 that meets minimum requirements. At the very least, it requires an Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD Ryzen 1500 processor, both of which are powerful and fast enough to support smooth, glitch-free VR gameplay. It requires a graphics card that renders VR’s high-quality graphics and movement, namely an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, AMD Radeon RX 480 or higher. The PC should have at least 8GB of RAM to run the Vive Pro 2’s software, as well as USB 3.0 ports for Vive Pro 2’s USB 3.0 cable.
How to set up the Vive Pro 2
Setting up the Vive Pro 2 is an involved process that requires patience and somewhat of a “debugging mindset” to push through occasional glitches.
The physical components were easiest for us to set up, as they were individually packaged and well marked inside the box. The instructions are user-friendly and include a casual troubleshooting guide that touches upon common questions and concerns.
Next, we set up the Vive Pro 2’s base stations. These peripherals are responsible for beaming infrared pulses that transmit the users’ spatial position to the headset. We had to attach the base stations to tripods we had on hand because the package didn’t come with mounting hardware, which was somewhat surprising considering the price of the Vive Pro 2. While the tripods were suitable for makeshift use, they didn’t place the base stations at ideal angles for optimal tracking.
When installing the software programs, we encountered a handful of error messages. At one point, the Vive Pro 2 Setup crashed, and later on, we were unable to download SteamVR. Ultimately, we successfully installed all software after looking up error messages online and troubleshooting them.
Key features of the Vive Pro 2
The Vive Pro 2 is full of premium features, many of which are notable upgrades not just from the original Vive Pro headset, but also comparable VR headsets.
The next-gen visuals are powered by 5K resolution with sharp, highly detailed images. It has a 120Hz refresh rate with smooth movement, particularly with fast-moving or rapidly changing visual effects. There’s a 120-degree horizontal field of view, which is only 15 degrees less than a human’s field of view in real life.
The Vive Pro 2 is equipped with dual Hi-Res certified headphones whose sound quality is superior to audio CDs. Sound is layered and full bodied, not to mention finely detailed to reproduce true-to-life noises like broken twigs and heavy breathing.
With regard to tracking performance, the base stations are sensitive enough to pick up movement efficiently, which in turn delivers smooth, uninterrupted user experiences. The headset supports finger tracking, and eventually, it may support eye tracking with an add-on device called the Droolon F2.
The Vive Pro 2 headset has a modern ergonomic design that features a plastic head mounting ring and padded rear strap. The foam-padded eye piece is uniquely designed to accommodate all users, including those with glasses. The headset is fully adjustable, and once it’s properly fitted, it stays put during intense, high-impact gameplay.
Other top VR headsets
A bestselling design, the Vive Pro Eye headset has precision eye tracking that adds another layer of immersive gameplay. Users dive into highly detailed simulations through dual-OLED displays with a combined resolution of 2880 x 1600 pixels.
Sold by Amazon
An all-in-one gaming VR headset, the Oculus Quest 2 features a high-resolution display with brilliant colors and contrast. Given its user-friendly design, it’s a popular introductory VR headset.
Sold by Amazon
Vive Pro 2 price
The HTC Vive Pro 2 VR Headset retails for $799.99. It comes with an 18W AC adapter, mini DP to DP adapter, DisplayPort cable and USB 3.0 cable. However, this headset-only package does not include controllers, base stations, mounting accessories or Vive wireless adapter. The total cost of the Vive Pro 2 and the necessary accessories is around $1,750.
Where is the Vive Pro 2 sold?
The Vive Pro 2 is currently available at Amazon.
Vive Pro 2 benefits
We were surprised how deeply the Vive Pro 2 pulled us into games compared to other VR headsets. One of our favorite gaming sessions with the Vive Pro 2 was with “Jet Island.” We played for nearly 3 hours straight and felt fully immersed as we learned the exhilarating movement mechanisms of piloting a frictionless hoverboard.
The Vive Pro 2 excels in tracking performance. Even using the base stations at less than optimal angles, we experienced infrequent loss of tracking. Overall, tracking was reliable and contributed to each game’s realistic feel.
The Vive Pro 2’s headset update is a high point of the updated model. It’s easy to adjust and has a well-balanced design that is conducive to prolonged VR gaming sessions. We also appreciated its elegant, curvaceous aesthetic.
Vive Pro 2 drawbacks
Although the Vive Pro 2 has realistic, rich sound, the overall audio quality could be better defined. The visual resolution is impressive, but like the audio, we felt the up-close visuals could be more realistic. Even when we moved the lens close to our face, we still felt somewhat far away from nearby surroundings.
Should you get the Vive Pro 2?
Based on our testing, we feel the HTC Vive Pro 2 VR headset lives up to its promise of immersive multimedia experiences with brilliant graphics and riveting gameplay. Given its premium price and exhaustive high-end features, it’s a great investment for experienced VR users who want to take gaming, flight simulators, social experiences and VR design to the next level.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.