HTC has been a major name in virtual reality since the very beginning. There are mostly consumer headsets among them except for the HTC Vive Pro of the enterprise level.
Now they are going to get harder enterprise with a new headset HTC Vive Focus. It might be new for the international markets, but it’s actually been available in China since 2018.
#1. Standalone 6 DOF Headset
First of all, let’s admit that it is a standalone 6 DOF headset which means there are no wires and no additional devices are required to run it. The entire VR experience is in this one single device.
It is very lightweight. The HMD is powered by 835 chipset, gives you 3K AMOLED screen with a 110-degree field of view for an overall resolution of 2880 x 1600 pixels (for comparison, the Oculus Go has a resolution of 2560 × 1440 and the Rift 2160 x 1220) and 75 Hz refresh rate instead of 90 Hz that has HTC Vive.
#3. Fresnel Lenses
The device mounts Fresnel lenses and lets you adjust the IPD to fit your eyes.
One of the most comfortable aspects of the Vive Focus is its instant-on feature. It’s really fast and pleasant to wear. The back strap sits a bit lower than the deluxe audio strap, which helps get a much better fit on the back of the head and keeps on there more securely. No other VR headset is crafted this way. Moreover, the speakers are placed in the headset itself and the sound is directed towards your ears, but you can put headphones as well.
Our team has found the Focus graphics pretty marvelous. Its main improvement is the higher resolution display and there is around 80% more pixel, which means the text is more visible and generally, everything is much sharper. Lenses aren’t bad but are not the best part of the graphics of this device.
The tracking on the Focus is inside out, meaning there are no external sensors to track your location. It’s simply all done by two cameras on the front of the headset. Since we’ve got the possibility to move along many different rooms. Walking across the streets slowly and fast, jump, crawl – the headset still kept tracking the position during all this process. But as the tracking is based only on two RGB cameras, it stops tracking you when you’re in a dark place or you’re facing a monochrome surface.
Special attention deserves the controller, which is a 3 DOF device. Here we can frankly complain about how inaccurate it works – it is impossible to play games like a shooter when we need to aim at something. Besides, it includes only a single unit that limits the variability of action, unlike Vive Pro and similar devices.
The biggest issue from a developer’s perspective that there is no instant testing via UnityEditor. Ability to wireless testing in the editor would be awesome, and it could speed up the development process.
HTC Vive Focus Pros & Cons
After testing the Focus, for a while a few pros and cons really stand out comparing to other VR headsets in our park.
Pros are as follows:
- The headset is light and comfortable to have on making the experience much more enjoyable;
- Overall tracking is quite good and the space tracking seems pretty accurate;
- Resolution and graphics pleased a lot;
- Battery management of the Focus is very smart.
And here are the cons:
- A mess with the controller as it only has 3 degrees of freedom that causes disconnection due to the lack of movement tracking;
- 32Gb of local storage – so if a user wants to download some movies or 50+ games, it might not be enough;
- It still causes a slight feeling of dizziness at rotation.
Although, the Focus is a good standalone headset there are some aspects that will make it even of higher quality:
- Better HMD position and controller tracking;
- Two controllers instead of one;
- More powerful GPU;
- More local storage.
There is more to come – a new virtual reality headset called the Vive Cosmos – and lots of others will bring unreal experiences to life.