At CES 2023, manufacturer HTC officially unveiled the new top model in the VR headset segment. The HTC VIVE XR Elite is a modular standalone headset intended for AR, VR as well as MR applications, features hand tracking and is said to be characterized by a particularly lightweight, comfortable design.
HTC VIVE XR Elite in detail
The HTC VIVE XR Elite marks the manufacturer’s new all-in-one flagship in the consumer segment, combining mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities in a compact, powerful and versatile device. It is said to be suitable for gaming as well as productivity, office or fitness applications.
“This advanced yet compact device offers consumers the best of all worlds and represents the ideal physical entry to the universe of new experiences: VIVERSE, our version of the Metaverse, with diverse content offers the very latest standards such as WiFi 6E,” reveals Cher Wang, co-founder and chairman of HTC Corp.
For example, the VIVE XR Elite features a full-color RGB pass-through camera and hand tracking, which should open up a whole new range of possibilities, especially in mixed reality scenarios.
As an example, the manufacturer cites games in which characters move across the user’s home furniture or real-time overlays on musical instruments such as a piano that can help you learn the instrument. In the office segment, for example, virtual workstations with multiple monitors are conceivable while you fall back on your real mouse and keyboard.
Many areas of application
Around 100 new MR and VR contents are to be offered at the launch of the HTC VIVE XR Elite, including brand new games as well as classics such as Demeo, Hubris, Yuki, Maestro or Les Mills Body Combat. More content is to follow after the market launch, later this year even games that make full use of the MR features (Eggscape).
Connecting the VR headset to the PC is quite simple via USB Type-C. There you can then access content from VIVEPORT or Steam. It supports wireless PC streaming via Wi-Fi and that in the current Wi-Fi 6E standard with particularly low latency.
In addition, content can be streamed wirelessly from a compatible Android phone to VIVE XR Elite. Streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ are supported, as well as mobile games. A Bluetooth controller is then used to control the device if desired.
Slim, light and comfortable
The HTC VIVE XR Elite is supposed to weigh just 625 grams including the batteries, which should increase the wearing comfort noticeably. In addition, the VR headset can be quickly and easily converted into a pair of glasses by removing the battery and inserting them into the VIVE XR Elite temple supports.
With the VIVE XR Elite’s extended temples, the redesigned hinge wraps around the head just like the front and back of a traditional all-in-one device. The USB-C connection cable plugs in on the right.
Thanks to four cameras with a wide field of view, 6DoF spatial accuracy, a depth sensor, hand tracking, and capacitive sensing of finger movements on the controllers, there are also many ways to precisely operate VR and MR content.
Also offered are physical controllers designed to provide precise control. The VIVE Wrist Tracker is also compatible to enable improved hand tracking. However, if desired, this can also be attached to objects so you can track them with the XR.
When it comes to playback, the HTC VIVE XR Elite relies on 4K resolution with a 110-degree field of view, and it does so at a refresh rate of 90 hertz. The VR headset has adjustable diopter lenses, so you can remove your glasses and still enjoy a clear image with more comfort.
Thanks to an integrated, finely adjustable IPD slider on the outside of the headset, you can quickly and easily achieve perfect focus without having to remove the headset. The batteries find their place on the back, which is good for balance on the head. They’re said to be able to last up to two hours of full XR use.
In addition, the batteries can be replaced on the fly, while they can be quickly charged via USB-C with up to 30 watts. Additional convenience is promised by the removable fabric padding, which is connected to magnets for easy cleaning or replacement. For rich sound, larger speakers are said to provide optimized bass and more balanced, directional audio.
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Price and availability
The HTC VIVE XR Elite VR and MR headset is available for pre-order now via vive.com and participating retailers. It is expected to ship by the end of February 2023. Price-wise, the bundle of headset, 2 controllers, and headset battery holder has an MSRP of 1,399 euros. If you pre-order by February 15, 2023, you will get 5 VR games for free.
In the course of 2023, face and eye trackers are to follow. The manufacturer had already introduced the VIVE Focus 3 Eye Tracker and VIVE Focus 3 Facial Tracker in September 2022.