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Hands on: Vive Pro 2 Review

First Impressions

The Vive Pro 2 is a premium VR headset, offering the absolute best experience for gaming in virtual reality thanks to the boosted resolution and refresh rate. However, it also has an immense price despite the lack of wireless support out of the box, which limits its appeal to most regular buyers.

Availability

  • UKRRP: £659
  • USARRP: $739
  • EuropeRRP: €739

  • 5K resolution display:The high-resolution display ensures a more detailed picture.
  • Up to 120Hz refresh rate:An increased refresh rate improves the headset’s ability to display smooth fast-paced action
  • Requires a gaming PC:Unlike the Oculus Quest, the Vive Pro needs to be connected to a PC to function

The Vive Pro 2 is a new VR headset that promises the ultimate virtual reality experience. That’s thanks to the new 5K resolution display with a whopping 120Hz refresh rate. 

But unlike the Oculus Quest 2, the Vive Pro 2 is an extremely expensive VR headset and requires a powerful gaming PC to function, making it only worthwhile for serious gamers with plenty of cash. 

Vive sent me a Vive Pro 2 headset to determine whether it’s worth the steep price and can ascend our rankings in the best VR headset list. I haven’t spent enough time with it to reach a final conclusion just yet, but here are my first impressions. 

The Vive Pro 2 will officially launch on 4 June 2021. Owners of the original Vive Pro headset will be able to preorder the new headset right now, while also benefiting from a temporary discount. 

The full-kit Vive Pro 2 will cost £1299 / $1399 / €1399, which includes the new headset, Base Station 2.0 and a pair of Vive Controllers. 

For those upgrading from the original, HTC is offering the headset without the bundled accessories at a more affordable £659 / $739 / €739. However, this price is expected to increase after the preorder period. 

  • New 5K resolution enables an incredibly sharp and detailed picture
  • 120Hz refresh rate should make fast motion appear smoother
  • Still requires a wired connection to a gaming PC

The Vive Pro 2 has seen a significant spec upgrade, with the 2880 x 1600 resolution climbing up to a stonking 4896 x 2448 pixel count. 

That means you’re getting a significantly sharper display with the Vive Pro 2, with objects, text and environments appearing less fuzzy and more detailed. The improvements aren’t very noticeable for cartoonish games such as Valve’s The Lab, but I was in awe when looking at photo-realistic environments such as the mountain backdrop in Steam VR’s hubworld. 

I expect there to also be significant visual upgrades for the likes of Half-Life Alyx too, but I haven’t had a chance to try it out just yet. 

Vive Pro 2's goggles

The new 120Hz refresh rate is the second biggest improvement, rising up from the 90Hz specs of the former headset. This should allow for smoother motion in high octane games, while also reducing the risk of motion sickness. 

Since this isn’t an all-in-one headset like the Oculus Quest, there’s no internal CPU or GPU in the Vive Pro 2. Instead, you’ll need to connect it to a gaming PC with a high-end GPU. You’ll need at least an Nvidia RTX 20-Series or Radeon 5000 graphics card to get the very best resolution, so there’s little point in purchasing this headset if you don’t already own a high-end gaming PC. People older PCs will also likely need to upgrade their graphics card. Check out our best graphics card guide if you’re unsure which to get.

This also means you’re not getting access to a new library of games, unlike the jump from a PS4 to PS5, but simply improving the visual fidelity of existing ones, similar to upgrading a TV or monitor. 

Top view of the Vive Pro 2

Setting up the Vive Pro 2 is a bit of a tedious process, as you have to place two tracking sensors in either corner of the room and plug a few cables into an adaptor. You’ll need a DisplayPort to connect to your GPU, or a USB-C connection for a gaming laptop.

My biggest bugbear with the Vive Pro 2 so far is that it requires a wired connection at default, which means a lot of immersion-breaking tugs of the head as you stumble across your room. The Vive Wireless Adapter is available as a separate accessory, but that costs an additional £359 and caps the refresh rate to 90Hz which is not ideal. 

  • Same design as the previous Vive Pro headset
  • Comfortable to wear for long stretches of time
  • Bundled controllers haven’t been altered since OG Vive

While the Vive Pro 2 has seen a specs bump, the design is identical to the preceding version. I can see why Vive made that decision, as the design is top drawer. 

It’s a hefty headset, but the weight is equally balanced so it was never applying too much pressure to my neck when gaming for long stretches of time. 

There’s no velcro straps here to secure the headset on my head. Instead, I can loosen and tighten the headset with a physical dial at the back, which makes it far easier than the likes of the Oculus Quest 2 to find a comfortable fit. You even get an adjustable IPD to find the perfect position for your eyes. 

Vive Pro 2 hi-res headphones

A pair of Hi-Res certified headphones are integrated into the headset, but I’ve found the audio quality to sound quite harsh, especially at high volumes. Fortunately these headphones are removable, and you can replace them with any headphones (using a 3.5mm jack) you fancy. 

I think the black and blue colour scheme looks pretty swish too. That said, you’re never going to look photogenic with the Vive Pro 2 on your head as it’s a considerably large device. I’m looking forward to when technology allows for smaller VR headsets, but the Vive Pro 2 is as good as you can get right now considering the lofty specs.

Vive controller wand

The Vive Pro 2 uses the exact same controllers as the original Vive headset. They work perfectly fine, with buttons comfortable to press and within easy reaching distance, but they’re large and don’t feel as natural to use as the Oculus Touch controllers. It’s disappointing that Vive hasn’t bundled the newer wands from the Vive Cosmos, but it’s hardly a deal breaker.

To wrap up, the Vive Pro 2 is a very impressive headset, seemingly offering the absolute best VR experience for gamers right now, even if you don’t get wireless support at default.

But is it worth the steep price? That’s debatable. Games look sharper and smoother, undeniably making AAA games look substantially better. 

But with the Vive Pro 2 costing over a grand for the full setup, it’s only worthwhile for those who already own a gaming PC and are craving the best VR fidelity. And even then, you’re not gaining access to a new games like you would with the PS5 and Xbox Series X, reducing the incentive for upgrading. 

However, I need to spend more time with the Vive Pro 2 before giving it a final verdict, so keep an eye on Trusted Reviews for the full review.

Initial Verdict

The Vive Pro 2 is a premium VR headset, offering the absolute best experience for gaming in virtual reality thanks to the boosted resolution and refresh rate. However, it also has an immense price despite the lack of wireless support out of the box, which limits its appeal to most regular buyers.

A 'hands on review' is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it's like to use. We call these 'hands on reviews' to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don't give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

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