After years of waiting, HTC finally launched its two VR headsets – the HTC Vive and HTC Vive Pro – in Malaysia. But retailing from RM2,999, these are very costly VR headsets, especially in comparison to other products of its kind.
That being said, there are good reasons to get the Vive or Vive Pro, depending on what kind of VR experience you want to get. Their prices may be steep, but they’re certainly worth it for folks who like the VR headsets’ feature set and hardware.
Let’s start with the standard Vive headset. Although it was launched way back in 2016, it’s still plenty capable. It has a 3.6-inch dual AMOLED display with a combined resolution of 2160 x 1200, 90Hz refresh rate, an HDMI input, and a USB 2.0 port.
The higher-end – and considerably more expensive – Vive Pro, on the other hand, comes with several notable upgrades. It has a sharper – though a tad smaller – 3.5-inch dual AMOLED screen with a combined resolution of 2880 x 1600, the same 90Hz refresh rate, a DisplayPort 1.2 input, a USB-C port, as well as support for high-resolution audio.
On top of that, the Vive Pro also has a redesigned head strap, which is more comfortable and supportive than the Vive’s standard strap. In fact, it’s pretty similar in design to the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap, which costs RM599 in Malaysia.
These specifications are pretty respectable, but the Vive and Vive Pro’s most impressive feature is their ability to do room-scale tracking. However, this setup requires the use of base stations. Thankfully, the Vive Consumer Edition bundle in Malaysia includes the headset itself, two SteamVR base stations, and a pair of Vive Controllers.
In retrospect, the RM2,999 price tag for the bundle doesn’t sound too bad – it lets you immediately set up the Vive for room-scale tracking. Compared to “traditional” VR setups, where you’re either sitting down or standing up, room-scale tracking makes a lot of difference in your VR experience. The ability to “roam around” in VR games (depending on which title you’re playing) really helps with immersiveness.
But that RM2,999 bundle is only for the standard Vive headset. If you want the higher-end Vive Pro instead, that will set you back a whopping RM6,099 in Malaysia. For that kind of money, the Vive Pro Starter Kit includes the headset itself, two SteamVR base stations – the 1.0 version, unfortunately – and two Vive Controllers, just like the Vive Consumer Edition bundle.
It’s a high entry point, that’s for sure, but that’s the price you’ll have to pay for a room-scale VR experience. There is the Oculus Rift, of course, but even that isn’t particularly affordable or available widely; especially in our region.
Nonetheless, there is another reason why you’d want to get the Vive or Vive Pro: access to HTC’s Viveport app store. It’s one of the biggest digital stores for VR content, and if you’re keen, you can even sign up for Viveport’s subscription service. Every month, you can select five different paid titles to access for free. HTC said that there are over 500 titles in the digital store now.
However, note that the Viveport app store is also available to Oculus Rift owners, but not all titles are compatible with the VR headset. Needless to say, this isn’t much of an issue with the Vive and Vive Pro.
The HTC Vive and Vive Pro are expensive VR headsets, but if you want the best possible VR experience, they are arguably the best offerings in the market now. There are more budget-friendly offerings like the PlayStation VR system, but it doesn’t offer the same level of polish or immersion as HTC’s VR headsets.
Whether or not you should go for the Vive or Vive Pro, however, is an entirely different question. The Pro model will definitely offer better experience with its better hardware and features, but whether or not these are worth paying double the price of the standard Vive headset is up to each individual consumer to decide.