Arms-on: Vive XR Elite is Light-weight & Compact, However Shares Quest Professional’s Woes

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At CES 2023 HTC revealed its new Vive XR Elite headset which is positioned as a Quest Professional competitor. When it comes to options and {hardware}, the headset is essentially a refinement of formfactor over anything; and whereas it’s undoubtedly compact and light-weight, it might be hampered by an unclear worth proposition and a few ergonomic particulars that went missed.

For an in depth have a look at Vive XR Elite’s specs and options, try our announcement article

Everybody’s head form, nostril measurement, and eye positions are totally different. That stated, the primary time I placed on Vive XR Elite it was clear to me that there wasn’t practically sufficient room for my nostril… one thing that I’ve no concern with on virtually each different main headset in the marketplace (even HTC’s different VR headsets).

It’s not that it’s unimaginable to get the stress off your nostril—the elective top-strap (which HTC well included) makes this straightforward sufficient—however the issue is that if I increase the headset as much as get weight off of my nostril, my eyes are now not within the candy spot of the lens, making the view via the headset sub-par. Extra padding across the nostril would have an analogous concern of transferring the lenses out of the candy spot.

Whereas I didn’t get to make use of the headset for an prolonged time period, I’ve a powerful suspicion that the nostril factor goes to be a literal and figurative ache level on this headset. And as somebody who doesn’t have a very massive nostril, I can’t think about I’m going to be the one particular person with this concern.

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The nostril factor isn’t the one ergonomic oversight that was instantly obvious. There’s additionally the truth that the rear pad, which is designed to cup the again of your head, doesn’t cushion your head sufficient to forestall contact between your cranium and the battery on the again. That implies that as you tighten the headset you’ll be able to really feel a giant, flat, plastic floor pushing towards your head. That’s in comparison with one thing just like the Quest 2 Elite Strap (which the rear of Vive XR Elite seems to emulate), the place I can solely really feel the pads hugging the again of my head, however by no means the battery behind them.

Picture by Street to VR

Past these worrying ergonomic subtleties, the headset’s fundamentals really feel stable throughout the board, making the Vive XR Elite the corporate’s most refined standalone to this point. However from a characteristic and efficiency standpoint, the headset feels extra like Quest 2 than Quest Professional, which places it in a clumsy place with its $1,100 pricetag.

Visually, Vive XR Elite’s pancake lenses are fairly good on the readability entrance, with good edge-to-edge readability, although falling wanting the superb lenses on Quest Professional. Using non-Fresnel lenses means a discount in glare and god rays in comparison with Quest 2, although the decision and visibility of the display door is about the identical between the 2 headsets (1,920 × 1,920 vs. 1,920 × 1,832). And whereas the peripheral discipline of view feels a bit tight, the added dioptre management (for altering the main focus of every lens) will probably be welcomed by these with glasses, and even these with out will probably be served nicely by the continual IPD adjustment (which incorporates an on-screen measurement readout and calibration pop-up).

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Inside-out head-tracking feels fairly good and is unquestionably ‘ok’, although the instantaneous rotational latency doesn’t really feel as tight as Meta’s bar-setting inside-out resolution. Importantly, the monitoring feels higher than Vive Stream, which in my expertise has an excessive amount of latency for long-term consolation. Controller-tracking on Vive XR Elite additionally feels stable, and with cameras on all sides pointed virtually fully to your left and proper, protection must be good (probably surpassing Vive Focus 3).

Because the identify implies, the HTC is pushing the XR Elite as a headset that does passthrough AR along with VR. The headset’s shade pass-through view isn’t stellar. Just like Meta’s headsets, the XR Elite makes an attempt to rebuild the depth of the actual world just about to offer geometric correction and depth cues, however even with a depth-sensor on-board (which Quest Professional lacks), my expertise with the headset’s passthrough AR confirmed lots of warping on account of incorrect depth-mapping.

With out having the ability to do a direct side-by-side comparability, my impression was that XR Elite wasn’t fairly as sharp as Quest Professional in the case of passthrough AR. Granted, the passthrough AR on each headsets headsets is positively in the identical approximate ‘class’ (not sharp sufficient to learn textual content out of your smartphone and fairly poor dynamic vary at that).

Picture by Street to VR

Identical to with Quest Professional, the standard and software of passthrough AR feels fully undercooked, with the handful of AR apps I attempted on the headset not sufficiently answering the query ‘why AR?’. However now that one other headset in the marketplace is embracing and enhancing this functionality, maybe the solutions to that query will come a bit sooner.

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Picture by Street to VR

Contemplating its efficiency and options, Vive XR Elite appears to share the identical core downside as Quest Professional—and that’s the worth proposition. Even when we ignore any potential ergonomic mishaps… at finest Vive XR Elite is akin to a considerably extra compact model of Quest 2. And even when we ignore that Quest 2 has a way more intensive content material library… it’s tough to see how, for most individuals, Vive XR Elite can justify an $1,100 price ticket in comparison with Quest 2 at $400.

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