Meta and Sony may have dominated the consumer VR headset conversation for the past year, but longtime rival HTC isn’t ready to throw in the towel.
Following a teaser in October, HTC is reportedly planning to announce a new standalone headset at CES 2023 – January 5 – a device that promises to be lightweight yet “powerful” capable of creating virtual reality and augmented reality. Not many details have been announced yet, but descriptions so far portray it as a solid contender for both the premium Meta Quest Pro and more consumer-friendly devices like the Pico 4 and Oculus Quest 2.
talking to Edge (opens in a new tab), HTC’s global product chief Shen Ye said the company will unveil a device that will not only be a tool for gaming, entertainment and exercise, but also for business and productivity. This fully self-contained VR headset won’t need a smartphone or PC to run, and will support controllers and six-degree-of-freedom (6DoF) hand tracking – also known as a full VR experience, which is far more immersive than typical 3DoF VR activities such as VR movies.
Color transmission seems to be the main focus of this product – which is not surprising considering that Meta and others have also made it their top priority. Color transmission means you can see the real world in full color while wearing the headset thanks to the outward-facing cameras.
This device not only mimics what came before. Ye revealed that the headset will have a depth sensor – something the Quets Pro lacks – which should allow for more effective tracking of the user’s limbs and objects in the room, as well as apparently boasting an image with better dynamic range than other options in the store . While we were impressed with the color reproduction of headsets like the Pico 4, the Quest Pro’s color range wasn’t the best. If an HTC device can deliver this, it could give it a significant advantage over its best-known competitor.
However, there is one problem with the Meta Quest Pro that the HTC headset will not be able to avoid: short battery life. Ye admitted that the device can run for up to two hours on a single charge, the same as the Quest Pro when using its mixed reality capabilities. The Quest Pro can stretch out to around three hours if used only for VR experiences, but we’ll have to wait and see if the HTC headset can also go the distance when used for less intense tasks.
For now, there are plenty of details we still don’t know about the device – most notably how much it will cost – but we don’t have to wait long before we hear more on January 5. Be sure to come back to our CES 2023 Coverage for all the latest details.
Want to know more about the state of VR? Check out our picks for the best VR headsets, as well as the titles we think are the best VR games.