The HTC VIVE XR Elite has just been unveiled at CES 2023. Available for pre-order right now at $1,099 ($300 less than the Meta Quest Pro), it’s clear that the company is gunning hard to beat Zuck at the Metaverse game.
This is a seriously full-featured VR and AR pair of specs that brings a fresh approach to design, comfort and modularity.
In the VIVE XR Elite, you’re getting a wide 110-degree field of view with 4K resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. While the refresh rate is the same as the Meta Quest pro, HTC pips it to the post in terms of FOV and resolution. Plus, with a built-in-fine-adjustable IPD slider on the outside of the headset, you can make micro adjustments to the picture.
Alongside this, there are four wide FOV cameras, a depth sensor, hand-tracking and capacitive sensing for finger movements, for both enhanced hand-tracking and improvements to the physical controller sensing too.
As for battery life, you can expect to get up to two hours out of one charge, with the support for USB-C fast charging to get back into the game quickly.
Of course, one of the main pain points for a lot of headsets like this is the comfort of wearing one over long periods of time. HTC has addressed this with a lightweight design of just 625g (nearly 100g lighter than the Meta Quest Pro), and a modularity that means you can alter it easily based on your needs at the time.
For example, the fabric face gasket is easily removable, as it’s connected by magnets — meaning it's a cinch to switch out or clean. The lenses within the VIVE XR Elite are also adjustable too, so you can use them without the need to wear glasses. And the battery pack on the back is removable and hot swappable (meaning you can remove it and connect directly to a PC via USB-C for featherweight VR gaming).
Oh, and the headset is made from 99% recycled materials and is 100% recyclable too!
Plenty of stuff to do
Tackling the big ole library Meta sports, HTC is armed with a huge range of launch titles — from new games to classics. Beyond the USB-C connectivity and wireless PC streaming with WiFi 6E to get Steam games on here, you’ve got the likes of Demeo, Hubris, Yuki, Maestro, Les Mills Body Combat, FigminXR, Unplugged, Finger Gun, and more to look forward to.
Plus, with the ability to stream content wirelessly from an Android phone to a personal cinema screen of 300 inches (paired with connecting a bluetooth controller to your phone), you can play and binge watch much more.
Could the HTC VIVE XR Elite beat the Meta Quest Pro in its search for flagship headset supremacy? Everything is in place for it to do so. However, I’ll leave any proper impressions for when I do go hands-on with the Elite later this week.
Spec wars aside, the main reason Meta has had such a stranglehold on the market is its huge app library and expansive content platform. For example, I’m enjoying the Pico 4 (review coming soon), but while it does have a handful of games, it pales in comparison to the Meta Quest 2’s massive selection.
HTC has a better opportunity to strike on the content front, however. And with the innovations in comfort, performance and a lower price point, this could be the window to the Quest Pro-beating portal to the metaverse that enthusiasts have been craving for.
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Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.