HTC’s Vive Pro 2 pushes the boundary when it comes to resolution and frame rate, but how does the rest of the experience stack up against a more entry-level, do-it-all VR headset? Let’s talk about some of the differences and similarities between the Vive Pro 2, which costs $800 just for the headset, and the standalone Quest 2 that comes in at $300. Be sure to hit the video below to see all of the details.
What is it compared to the Quest 2?
If you’re unfamiliar, Vive Pro 2 is a completely different beast than the Quest 2 when it comes to VR. While the Quest 2 works as a standalone device, Vive Pro 2 is a PC VR system that requires a computer to run the headset as well as base stations to track the headset and controllers.
While this means that the Vive Pro 2 is much more powerful than a standalone unit like the Quest 2, it requires a lot more hardware to get up and running. And, you’ll probably want a pretty beefy graphics card to be able to use the full graphic potential of the Vive Pro 2. Vive recommends an RTX 20 series or newer for full resolution mode.
So with the Vive Pro 2, you have access to Steam VR’s library of games and higher resolution graphics but are tethered to a computer to play them. With the Quest 2, there are plenty of games available on the Quest store, but some of the biggest titles in VR like Half-Life: Alyx and Star Wars: Squadrons aren’t available. Unless you connect the Quest 2 to a PC, which you can do.
What do you get?
What you get depends on what package you purchase. If you already have a Vive and you’re upgrading to the Vive Pro 2 headset, you get the headset and the new link box for $800. There are also a handful of other accessories like a mini DP to DP adapter and the required cables. Otherwise, if you’re starting from the ground up, you’ll need to get the package that includes base stations and controllers for $1,400, which should be available in August.
Vive sent along base stations and controllers with the headset along with a VR-capable laptop featuring an RTX 2070.
Vive Pro 2: Video
How’s the comfort?
Comfort is a bit of a mixed bag for me with the Vive Pro 2. There are aspects that I like and aspects that I don’t. One of my favorite parts is that the headset feels well-balanced from front to back. The Quest 2 has all of its weight in the front so it can feel like it flops around a little bit. The headset is pretty light so it’s not terrible, but the balance found on the Vive Pro 2 is a nice change.
Adjusting the Vive Pro 2 for both size and IPD is also a breeze. There is a dial on the back of the headset to tighten or loosen the headset, while a dial on the bottom right side of the lens lets you dial in the IPD. On Quest 2, you need to remove the headset and manually click the lenses between three settings while the Vive Pro 2 has micro adjustments from 57-70mm.
Having a wire going from the headset to a computer, though, does make for a less enjoyable playing experience. Completely wireless on the Quest 2 is definitely more fun. The cable on the HTC headset is about 15 feet or 5 meters, so there is some room for movement, but it can be easy to run into the cable.
There are accessories like HTC’s own Vive wireless adapter that can make it an untethered experience, but it limits the resolution, which is one of the biggest features of the Vive Pro 2.
Another option is cheap systems that will keep the cable overhead and out of the way when moving around. At just $19, this might be the best way to avoid tripping over a VR cable.
Vive Pro 2: Visual specs
Most notably, Vive Pro 2 has been upgraded with some incredible visual specs for VR. A resolution of 2448 x 2448 per eye with a refresh rate of 90 or 120 Hz makes for a crisp display. That sharp picture and smooth motion definitely help to make the Vive Pro 2 a more immersive experience when playing VR games.
Quest 2 can reach 1832 x 1920 per eye with a refresh rate of 72 Hz, which is still pretty commendable for a $300 standalone VR headset.
Vive Pro 2: audio
Audio on the HTC’s headset is also a highlight. The headphones are adjustable to get in the right position and sit right against your ears. This is absolutely an improvement over the Quest 2. While the Quest 2 still sounds good with the stealthy speakers built into the arms, the HTC’s headset is on another level with more immersive audio that doesn’t require headphones unless you really want them.
In addition to the wireless adapter mentioned above, there are some other notable accessories for Vive Pro 2. The Vive Facial Tracker does what its name would suggest and tracks facial movement for compatible titles. This way, when used with compatible titles, you can have accurate lip and facial movement on your VR avatars.
Vive Pro 2: in-use
Coming from the Quest 2, the Vive Pro 2 does looks sharp. Visuals are great in Half-Life: Alyx and Star Wars: Squadrons. But, for me, the ergonomics of the headset kind of ruin the experience when compared with the Quest 2. You can play PC VR games on the Quest 2 as well with a compatible PC and an Oculus link cable, the new wireless Air Link feature, or another app called Virtual Desktop.
I played through all of Half-Life: Alyx on the Quest 2 and while it can be glitchy and laggy if you don’t have a great wireless connection, the ability to play the game wirelessly is a great way to experience it. Though the increased visual quality on the Vive Pro 2 was pretty fun as well. It felt like a remastered version with the enhanced graphics and FOV. If I was able to keep the Vive Pro 2, I’d definitely look into one of those cheap systems for rigging the cable overhead.
With Star Wars Squadrons, because you are seated and usually facing the same direction, having the tether wasn’t much of an issue. And the visuals and built-in audio made the game a blast to play on the Pro 2.
One other thing is that the Vive controllers are not my favorite. But, you can use other controllers like those from the Valve Index. The Vive controllers are quite large and can get in the way with some movements like reloading weapons in VR and I found myself having a bit of trouble reaching some of the buttons. Maybe if I spent another 10 hours with the headset I’d get more used to them, but I prefer the ergonomic design of the Quest 2 controllers.
If you’re in search of the best visual experience, you’ll absolutely want to consider the Vive Pro 2. The resolution matched with refresh rate and wide 120-degree field of view make it a great-looking display. But if you’re used to an untethered experience, the ergonomics of the Pro 2 might hinder gameplay somewhat. Vive Pro 2 is also quite an investment when compared to a capable all-in-one headset like the Quest 2. And for me, because you can still play PC VR titles on the Quest 2 with a free feature like Air Link, that makes it even harder to justify the Vive Pro 2. That’s probably just my frugal thinking, though, because the visuals are great if you have the hardware.
While I enjoyed the experience of playing on a great-looking display, comparing the two headsets have also resolidified how impressed I am with what the Quest 2 has to offer for just $300.
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