Review: HTC Vive Pro

By |2019-07-20T14:46:42+00:00December 24th, 2018|


The HTC Vive Pro is the upscale version of the HTC Vive, developed and released by HTC after the Vive was established in the marketplace.  It offers significant hardware similarities, though much higher resolution display and a few other upgrades that justify the “professional” moniker.  It’s a tethered headset, just like the HTC Vive, designed to work on high-end gaming desktops or laptops – originally Windows PCs only, but now with Linux and MacOS support as well.  The Vive came out in April 2016, and the Vive Pro was released precisely 2 years later, in April 2018.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the HTC Vive Pro, including its specifications, our detailed review, a list of pros and cons, and more!


DeveloperHTC and Valve
Headset TypeTethered Wireless (tethered by default, but with a wireless adapter and battery pack kit available at an added price)
Original Release Date2018-04-05
PlatformWindows PC, Linux, MacOS
ContentVivePort, SteamVR
Resolution1440 x 1600 pixels (each eye)
Field of View110°
Refresh Rate90 Hz
Onboard SensorsAccelerometer, gyroscope, 2 cameras, proximity sensor, IR laser receiver
ControllersVive Pro controllers x 2 (included), any PC-compatible game controller (sold separately)
Room TrackingYes, Lighthouse 2.0 (SteamVR 2) 2-station pulsed infrared laser tracking system (included), up to 20 x 20 feet
AudioIntegrated headphones with noise cancellation technology
MicrophoneIntegrated dual microphones
Headset ConnectionsHeadset Cable (connects to Link Box)
Additional ConnectionsLink Box connections to AC Adapter, DisplayPort, and USB 3.0 that run to your PC
Weight1.22 lbs

*A note on the MSRP: 

Several versions of the HTC Vive Pro are available. 

 The headset itself (without room tracking, controllers, wireless adapter) is available as the Vive Pro HMD Only bundle, with an MSRP of $799. 

 The 1st generation Vive Pro Starter Kit, with Lighthouse 1.0/SteamVR 1.0 room tracking stations, along with controllers and VivePort subscription, is available for an MSRP of $1,098. 

 The latest and greatest Vive Pro Starter Kit is the 2nd generation, using 2nd generation Lighthouse 2.0/SteamVR 2 room tracking stations, along with the controllers and VivePort subscription.  It has an MSRP of $1,399, and is considered the current bundle, hence we have included that MSRP in our specifications table above.

Our Detailed Review

As the upgraded version of the HTC Vive, targeted at high-end consumers or professional uses, the HTC Vive Pro offers all of the positives of the HTC Vive, along with better room tracking, and a much, much higher resolution – 78% more pixels than the basic HTC Vive, in fact.  Let’s dive into the specifics to see where the much higher price comes from on the HTC Vive Pro vs. basic HTC Vive, and whether or not that differential presents a value to consumers.

Device Features

Like most tethered headsets, a high-end gaming PC, with a lot of processing power, is necessary to use the HTC Vive Pro.  Windows is the recommended platform, though with SteamVR, Linux and MacOS functionality is available.  The headset either plugs into the HTC Link Box, which in turn plugs into a wall outlet for power, USB for I/O, and DisplayPort for graphics, or the wireless adapter and battery pack, that allow you to be “un-tethered” (though with limited use time due to the battery).  The dual controllers are wireless, and the room tracking base stations only need to be connected to power in order to function (along with providing optional wired synch cable functionality, and a microUSB port for firmware updates).

The HTC Vive Pro offers exceptional visual quality, with the highest resolution of any commercially-available VR headset on the market to date.  The room tracking is also the best, most responsive, and has the largest range of any of the headsets currently available.  Built-in headphones offer high-quality spatial sound, and utilize advanced active noise cancelling technology, to allow you to block out the real world and be fully immersed in your virtual one.  A set of two microphones rounds out the core device features and functions.  These provide crystal-clear voice chat capabilities for games and related purposes.  Without exception, the HTC Vive Pro provides a top-notch VR experience, whether you are using it for gaming, movies, experiences, adult entertainment, or professional purposes.

Build Quality and Performance

Like the basic HTC Vive, the Vive Pro has amazing build quality, that’s durable and built to last.  You can tell just by looking at it, or holding it in your hand, that this is a high-quality device, not some cheap imitation made by cutting corners or using inferior materials.  The overall design, which is very similar to the HTC Vive, is sleek and functional, and most people prefer the comfort and adjustability of the HTC family of products over the industry-leading Oculus Rift.  Also, like the basic HTC Vive, the Vive Pro is generally seen as much more easy to use for people with glasses than any other headset style on the market today.  High-precision adjustable optics are paired with sufficient room within the face plate to accommodate the full range of face sizes and shapes, along with glasses, and do so with room to spare – meaning your face doesn’t feel squished after using the device, even if you’ve been “inside” for hours.

The return of integrated headphones (something the basic HTC Vive had, then removed), especially with the sound quality and active noise cancellation, provides a real quality and performance boost to the HTC Vive Pro.  In terms of video display latency, on like-for-like system testing, it performs comparably to the basic Vive and the Oculus Rift – though at a much higher resolution than either.  And, without a doubt, the room tracking functionality is much better in the latest, 2nd generation version of the HTC Vive Pro – both as compared to the basic HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift.  The Lighthouse 2.0/SteamVR 2 tracking provides a wider range within the room, and much greater precision and responsiveness.

One of the biggest changes that users really appreciate is a re-balancing of the headset.  Even though the weight is nominally the same as the Vive, the Vive Pro feels better on your head.  It’s not as weighty to the front, and feels much more comparable to an Oculus Rift when you put it on and adjust it in place – a definite step up from the base model HTC Vive.

Content Platforms and Compatibility

Both the HTC Vive and HTC Vive Pro offer access to HTC’s subscription-based VivePort service, which features hundreds of games, experiences, and other VR titles that work on both devices.  There are also third-party utilities available that allow Oculus Rift-only games and entertainment titles to be used on either HTC Vive headset.  On top of all of that, SteamVR provides Valve’s library of VR titles available for purchase, organization, and use on the HTC Vive Pro.  And, like most tethered headsets, third-party and stand-alone apps and utilities are available, allowing third-party content, downloadable content, and expanded uses of the HTC Vive Pro.  In general, there are no compatibility issues, and at this point, the HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro, and Oculus Rift are, for all intents and purposes, almost entirely interoperable in terms of their exclusive content – except where contractual or licensing agreements prevent it.

Consumer Reviews and Ratings

Consumer reviews and ratings on the HTC Vive Pro are a bit mixed, in the sense that everyone seems to appreciate the upgraded features, resolution, room tracking, and so on, but not everyone thinks they justify the much-increased price.  It seems that HTC is trying to appeal to both consumer-grade VR enthusiasts with large wallets, as well as professional users, where price is less of a concern.  On spec, the HTC Vive Pro is outstanding, and there are few if any meaningful complaints about the functionality or quality of the device.  Almost all of the negative reviews or feedback center around the price of the bundles.  With all of that said, reviews are still more positive than negative, with the average score across multiple rating platforms being in the 70 to 80% positive range, which is quite good.

Support, Customer Service, and Warranties

HTC support is quite strong, both for the basic Vive and the Vive Pro.  Their website has an extensive support section, with libraries of articles and knowledge-base style information to help troubleshoot issues, along with PDF copies of user guides, spec sheets, and much more.  At the same time, users can access support through an e-mail ticket system, or a live chat system that is available 7 days a week during normal business hours in the US.  Several online forums exist, both official and unofficial, for users to trade tips and tricks, seek help from other users, and so on.  Given the price point of the HTC Vive Pro, though, there are far fewer owners than there are for the basic HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and similar headsets, so many of these forums or sub-forums may not be as active by comparison.  In terms of warranties, consumers are entitled to 12 months of warranty coverage from the manufacturer, starting on the date of purchase from a retailer.  This is fairly standard and comparable to most other headsets on the market.

Price and Value

This is the one area where the HTC Vive Pro loses a lot of “points” for most consumers.  The basic, headset-only option, at $799, is already 60% higher than the entire basic HTC Vive bundle, and unlike that bundle, comes with no accessories.  The 1st generation HTC Vive Pro bundle, at $1,098, which comes complete with the 1st generation Lighthouse 1.0/SteamVR 1 room tracking sensors (at a more limited range than the 2nd generation), 2 Vive Pro controllers, a 6 month VivePort subscription, and all the wires, cables, and basics you need to use the device is effectively double (or more than double) the cost of the basic HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift.  And, of course, the latest and greatest 2nd generation bundle is yet another $300 more, at $1399 MSRP, which simply provides the Lighthouse 2.0/SteamVR 2 upgraded room tracking stations, and a 20 x 20 foot tracking range (as opposed to 15 x 15).  These prices are hard to justify for most consumers.  The visual quality is amazing, there’s no question – and most experts agree this is probably the peak of visual performance with current technology.  But it’s hard to justify the massive increase in price for the headset alone, 1st generation, or 2nd generation bundle, solely based on an additional integrated camera, somewhat better and larger room tracking, integrated (though high-quality) headphones, an extra microphone, and higher visual resolution.

HTC Vive Pro System Requirements

Like most tethered headsets, the processing power, audio, and other “heavy lifting” doesn’t take place in the headset itself, but on the tethered high-end gaming PC that is required to use the headset.  In the case of the HTC Vive Pro, there are two sets of specs released by the manufacturer – minimum specs in order to have a functional experience, and recommended specs, to provide the ideal experience with the headset.  Most game titles, experiences, and other content will not fully max out the demand on the headset, though as a general rule, the better your hardware, the better your VR experience is going to be.  This is especially true with a “pro”-level product like the HTC Vive Pro.

HTC Vive Pro Minimum Specs

  • Graphics Card
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
    • AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or better
  • CPU
    • Intel Core i5-4590/AMD FX 8350 equivalent or better
  • Memory
    • 4 GB+ RAM
  • Video Output
    • DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • USB Ports
    • 1x USB 3.0 or newer
  • OS
    • Windows 7 SP1, 8.1+, 10
    • SteamVR supports Linux and MacOS systems as well

HTC Vive Pro Recommended Specs

  • Graphics Card
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
    • Quadro P5000 equivalent or better
    • AMD Radeon Vega 56 equivalent or better
  • CPU
    • Intel i5-4590/AMD FX 8350 equivalent or better
  • Memory
    • 4 GB+ RAM
  • Video Output
    • DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • USB Ports
    • 1x USB 3.0 or newer
  • OS
    • Windows 10
    • SteamVR supports Linux and MacOS systems as well

Pros and Cons

The HTC Vive Pro’s key pros and cons are summarized below.


Best resolution available on consumer-grade headsets to date

Upgraded room tracking and an additional camera compared to the basic HTC Vive

Integrated high-quality noise-cancelling headphones and dual microphones

Rebalanced headset that feels more comfortable to wear than the basic HTC Vive model

Excellent build quality, durability, and performance

All of the other positives that are present in the basic HTC Vive model as well


Very expensive compared to the basic HTC Vive or Oculus Rift

May necessitate PC upgrades to benefit from upgraded features and resolution, as it has much more demanding specs than the basic HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift

Not a revolutionary change from the base HTC Vive, though the much-improved resolution is appealing, especially to professional-level users

The initial setup process can be a bit complex, even for those with good technical skills, just like with the Oculus Rift and basic HTC Vive


Summary and Review Score

There’s no reasonable argument to be made about the specs and performance of the HTC Vive Pro – it’s simply in a class above any other commercially available, consumer-grade VR headset on the market today.  The visuals and room tracking are at the absolute top of the list in terms of VR headsets.  With that said, the price – in comparison to other headsets, as well as the basic HTC Vive and its associated bundles – is hard to swallow for many people.  If you have the financial means, and are a VR enthusiast, then definitely buy an HTC Vive Pro.  For the average consumer, though, the value might not quite be there to justify spending more than 2x as much as you would on a basic Vive or Oculus Rift.  Our advice – if you can afford it or are a VR junkie, go for it!  But if you’re an average user, you might do better getting an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift for now, and splurging on a next-generation, 4K or 8K resolution headset, which will surely be available in another year or two.

Oculus Rift Review Score

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