HTC, the company that gave us the first-ever Android phone, is jumping back into the consumer market with its brand-new standalone headset dubbed the Vive XR Elite. Described as a new premium all-in-one XR headset, the XR Elite manages to do what so many before it have failed to so – wrap all the bulky VR stuff into a pair of regular-looking goggles. Good job HTC! The company revealed the headset at CES 2023 and is touting the Vive XR Elite as “a powerful, convertible, and lightweight headset that conforms to you.”
The headset is designed to take on the reigning VR champ Meta Quest 2, which already packs in a great deal of power and is currently the best VR headset that money can buy. Speaking of money, the HTC Vive XR Elite sports a premium price tag of AUD$2,009 or USD$1,099, which is a hell of a lot more expensive than the Meta Quest 2 and the rest of the competition. But does it have what it takes to back that number up?
Well, on paper, Vive XR Elite surely looks to be a powerful VR and passthrough mixed reality (MR) headset and has plenty of new tricks up its sleeve to help users feel fully immersed in whatever they’re doing. Right off the bat, the VR headset’s distinctive miniature design makes it feel like an everyday device that can be easily carried around. Weighing in at just 625 grams, the Vive XR Elite is fairly lightweight and can achieve 4K resolution (2K per eye) at 90Hz with a 110-degree FOV. Four wide-angle cameras allow the headset to track the user’s hands, while there’s even an external camera for mixed reality. The back headrest can be disconnected to allow the headset to be folded like a pair of sunglasses to be carried around.
The Vive XR Elite gets all its juice from a Snapdragon XR2 processor and comes with 12GB RAM and 128GB of built-in storage. The headset can be plugged into PCs to run SteamVR or HTC’s VivePort software, or can even be connected to Android smartphones. HTC claims that the headset features oversized speakers that support directional audio.
The Vive XR Elite has the ability to connect wirelessly or via a USB-C cable to enjoy PCVR games from Steam or Viveport. Users even have the freedom to stream content from a compatible Android phone to the headset. The headset supports Bluetooth as well, allowing you to sync your controllers or gamepads.
HTC’s VR headset comes with an expected battery life of approximately 15 hours and features 30W fast charging (charges over USB-C), which capable of getting the battery to 50 per cent capacity in about half an hour. Vive general manager Dan O’Brien says that the company will be offering plenty of content in the coming days to keep users engaged.
“We’re going to have a lot of consumer content, gaming, fitness, entertainment, but it will also do things like productivity,” says O’Brien. The Vive XR Elite headset is nothing like we have ever seen before. This all-in-one VR device can be easily folded and carried around, which solves one of the biggest problems of VR devices. However, whether it’s worth its ridiculous asking price is something we will have to see when the HTC Vive XR Elite releases. The headset’s up for pre-order and the shipments are said to kick off on 25 February.