HTC has officially unveiled the new standalone virtual reality headset Vive Flow. The device was a logical development of the early Project Proton prototype, which was announced back in February 2020. The novelty is built on the Qualcomm XR1 mobile chipset, and is also equipped with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of permanent memory.
The device is very light and is made in the form of glasses. Its weight is only 189 grams. The gadget is equipped with two 2.1-inch screens with a resolution of 1600 × 1600 pixels per eye and adjustable optics. Both screens have a 75Hz refresh rate and a 100-degree viewing angle. The device has received replaceable face and temporal pads. The headset also includes a pair of stereo speakers with surround sound support and dual microphones with echo and noise cancellation. An active cooling system is used to cool the internal components, which includes one small fan.
The novelty has two external front cameras built-in 6DoF trackingused to define a user in virtual space. With these, the device will also be able to recognize gesture controls. However, this function will not be available at the start of sales of the headset and will appear with future updates.
Unlike other VR headsets HTC Vive, the new Vive Flow comes without controllers. Instead, the device is proposed to be connected via Bluetooth to an Android smartphone (Android 9 and higher supported) and use the latter as a control device. Vive Flow also supports Miracast technology, which allows you to capture and broadcast an image of your smartphone screen inside the virtual space. The novelty does not work with iOS.
In early leaks showing a VR headset, it was also possible to replace an obscure small black box next to the gadget. Some thought it was a headset computing unit. It’s actually a $ 79 external battery pack that lets you use the headset for four to five hours.
Technically, the Vive Flow VR headset is hardly standalone. Although it has a built-in battery, it only lasts for a few minutes of device operation – enough to find an external power source and plug the headset directly into it. Thus, to use Vive Flow, you will need either the above external battery, which will be sold separately, or any external 10,000 mAh power bank that supports a USB Type-C cable connection. For the novelty, the company also offers to purchase a hard case for $ 49, which can be used to safely transport the device.
At the start of sales, the company wants to release 100 different applications for Vive Flow, and by the end of the year add support for another 150 different programs. The device can be used in the environment of various social virtual spaces such as Vive Sync, watch TV with a headset and stream online broadcasts. In addition, the company will offer Vive Flow customers a subscription for access to a special version of the Viveport Infinity store for $ 5.99 per month, which will contain applications optimized specifically for this headset.
The company has priced the Vive Flow VR headset at $ 499. Pre-orders for the device will begin to be accepted today. Deliveries of the gadget will begin in November this year.