Vive XR Elite Vs Meta Quest Pro
| Tony Mowbray
The HTC Vive XR Elite is probably the closest we have to a rival for the Meta Quest Pro which is Meta’s premium stand-alone headset that was released in October of 2022. This latest addition from HTC is a stand-alone headset that will begin shipping in February 2023 for the price of $1,099 USD (£1,299 or $2,099 AUD) which already makes it quite a bit cheaper than the Quest Pro ($1,500 / £1,499 / $2,449.99 AUD).
We will take a look at what you can expect for your money and see how it stacks up against Meta’s Quest Pro.
The HTC Vive XR Elite has a similar display to the Meta Quest Pro except for one major addition reserved for users who wear glasses. The XR Elite has two built-in adjustable diopters which allow you to modify the focal length of the optics so you do not need to wear glasses inside the headset.
However, although the diopters should accommodate most glasses wearers they are only adjustable to a -6 prescription and will not work for every prescription. Diopters are not present inside the Quest Pro but besides this feature, the Vive XR Elite provides only minor improvements over the Pro’s display.
The XR Elite offers 4k resolution with two LCD panels delivering 1920 x 1920 pixels per eye. The Quest Pro display delivers a similar experience except with 120 fewer horizontal pixels per eye (1800x1920).
Both the XR Elite and Quest Pro are fitted with pancake lenses which reduce glare, prevent God rays, and allow for a slimmer design when compared to Fresnel lenses which are the current industry standard (used in the Quest 2, PSVR, Valve Index, and other major headsets).
Even the Inter-Pupillary Distance (IPD) adjustment is similar between headsets, with the XR Elite allowing the lenses to be manually adjusted between 54-73 mm while the Quest Pro offers a range between 55-75mm. Both headsets also feature a 90Hz refresh rate but the XR Elite just trumps the Quest Pro with its Field Of View (FOV) measuring 110 degrees compared to the Pro’s 106 degrees.
Modular Upgradeable Design
The battery of the Vive XR Elite can be removed completely which is a feature not seen in any of the current range of standalone headsets - this includes the Quest Pro. Once the battery is removed it can be replaced with a set of glasses-style arms that reduce the weight of the headset to a paltry 273g that can be powered by a USB-C charger or battery.
When configured in this way, the headset is so slim that it can slide neatly inside a compact tube carrying case. This isn’t the only modular feature planned for the headset either - HTC also intends to introduce upgrades like eye and face tracking modules which can be added for an additional cost.
Quest Pro users won’t need to shell out additional cash for this feature, however, as eye and face tracking functionality come included with the Pro straight out of the box.
The similarities between the Vive XR Elite and Quest Pro continue as we move into the hardware; with both headsets sporting a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset and 12 GB of RAM. One point of difference between the headsets is storage capacity, with the Quest Pro providing double the storage space using a 256GB SSD hard drive compared to the XR Elite’s 128GB SSD capacity.
Wired or wireless (WiFi 6E) connectivity for PCVR experiences is available on both the XR Elite and Quest Pro. They both include Bluetooth 5.2 functionality and come with USB-C ports - with the XR Elite having one extra USB-C port than the Pro. On the other hand, the Quest Pro has metal charging contacts for quick, effortless recharging using the accompanying dock which is something the XR Elite lacks.
Size And Weight
Anyone who has used a VR headset for a length of time knows how important size and weight are in providing a comfortable and immersive experience. The Vive XR Elite has a smaller form factor when compared to similar standalone headsets including the Quest 2, Quest Pro, and even the Pico 4.
It weighs in at 625g with the battery strap attached which is just over 100 grams heavier than the Quest 2 (503g) but almost 100 grams lighter than the Quest Pro (722 grams). Much like the Quest Pro, the internal battery is located in the back of the headset strap which helps to counterbalance the front heaviness of the device and reduce pressure on the face.
The XR Elite comes equipped with 4 wide field-of-view tracking cameras for inside-out tracking and a high-resolution RGB color camera to enable color passthrough. The Quest Pro is the same in this regard but the XR Elite also comes equipped with a depth sensor which is something that is notably absent from its Meta counterpart.
The depth sensor gives the headset a more accurate awareness of the external environment around it and makes it better able to identify the user’s body in space. This helps to improve the XR Elite’s ability to identify 3D objects in the real world and can offer enhanced passthrough experiences.
Users can control the XR Elite with hand tracking or the included controllers which are the same ones used for the Vive Focus 3. These controllers are very similar to the ones used for Meta Quest 2 and have the same tracking ring positioned at the top.
The Quest Pro controllers are the clear winner here as they eliminate the tracking ring altogether by being self-tracking with 6DoF through 3 cameras built into each controller. This makes them highly accurate and means they don’t need to maintain a line of sight with the headset to be tracked in VR.
The Quest Pro Controllers also come with a removable pressure-sensitive stylus tip at the bottom that lets you draw against physical surfaces and can register how hard you are pushing. Despite the differences, one similarity between the XR Elite and Quest Pro controllers is their rechargeability via a charging dock that comes bundled with both headsets.
Whilst both sets of controllers are rechargeable, the XR Elite controllers last around 15 hours on a full charge whilst the Quest Pro has about half that, with around 8 hours of use before going flat.
The HTC Vive XR Elite is shaping up to be a serious competitor to the Quest Pro. Whilst it is similar to the Pro in many respects, its price tag will likely make it an attractive option for many consumers being around $400 cheaper. However, the $1,099 cost is still quite high and may make the XR Elite appeal only to a hardcore VR fanbase.
The other question mark that will likely determine the XR Elite’s success is its content library. The Meta Quest Pro has an impressive library of games and experiences but it remains to be seen whether we will see a similar selection of games for the XR Elite that takes advantage of its capabilities. Time will tell.
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