HTC New VR Headset HTC Vive XR Elite: Release Date, Features and cost: Everything you need to know

HTC New VR Headset HTC Vive XR Elite: Release Date, Features and cost: Everything you need to know

Published: 21-12-2022
Updated: 20-04-2023

HTC will be announcing a new VR headset at CES in 2023 likely to be called HTC Vive XR Elite. HTC’s new device will be a pancake lens 6DoF standalone VR headset to compete with the Quest Pro and Pico 4 VR headsets. While information is sparse, here is all you need to know about the new HTC Vive XR Elite VR headset.

Release date of the HTC Vive XR Elite

The upcoming headset from HTC, Vive XR Elite, was initially teased on Twitter in early October 2022. Since, many speculations have circulated, the most reliable ones found their way to this article.

However, HTC has officially stated the new headset will be announced at CES 2023 on the 5th of January and is expected to start shipping in Q1-2023.

HTC Vive XR Elite Cost and Price

No official price has been released for HTC’s upcoming VR headset other than the cost will be under $1000. Furthermore, as the HTC Vive FLOW is priced at $499/€384,00, and the Focus 3 at $1,300/€1.249, we should expect the midpoint of around $800. We will know much more after the headset has been announced at CES in early January 2023.

What features will be on the HTC Vive XR Elite VR headset?

Stated in an interview with The Verge, Shen Ye, the Global Head of Product at HTC, said, “VR headsets have been massively subsidized by companies that are trying to vacuum up and take personal data to provide to advertisers,” HTC “don’t believe the way that we want to approach it is to compromise on privacy.” And with this statement, it is clear HTC is taking a stand similar to that done by Lynx, based on privacy and data security, with a lightweight, all-in-one, modular headset.

The uniquely modular design of HTC’s new VR headset

Based on the 3D renders made from supply chain leaks and the official promotional copy released by HTC, the new VR headset looks to adopt the design of the HTC Vive FLOW‘s reflective goggles design. Incidentally, the first widely produced VR headset with the pancake optics stack.

Further, the new HTC headset will adopt the Halo strap akin to other all-in-one VR headsets on the market. However, where things get unique is the modularity. The new virtual reality headset from HTC will feature two modes: a standalone function with the battery in the back and a tethered PC VR ‘glasses’ mode by detaching the back of the headset. This is quite extraordinary, not seen on any VR headset until now, and will significantly reduce the VR headset’s weight.

Similarly, the new headset from HTC will have detachable side blinders also seen on Pico 4 Enterprise and Meta Quest Pro. This is to switch between fully immersive virtual reality and blended mixed reality.

Lastly, HTC’s new modular VR headset will have manual IPD adjustment as the headset doesn’t feature eye tracking.

The tracking of HTC’s new VR headset

Similar to Pico 4 and Meta Quest Pro, the new headset from HTC will have four optical tracking cameras delivering 6DoF tracking, with one centered RGB camera for video pass-through and mixed reality. Uniquely compared to the two competitive VR headsets, the unnamed HTC VR HMD will feature a depth sensor usually seen on AR headsets, used for spatial mapping. Such a sensor will improve the new HTC flagship VR headset’s mixed reality performance. Something we noticed the Meta Quest Pro VR headset could have benefitted from, as 3D objects in MR were jittery.

Interestingly, it seems HTC is not going the route Lynx R1 and Lenovo ThinkReality VRX have with a dual camera setup for video pass-through. Nevertheless, Ye stated its mixed reality is better than its immediate competition, being able to read text off smartphones and laptops from inside the VR headset.

Besides this, the new and unnamed HTC headset will have built-in hand tracking, but no eye tracking. Although, the new VR headset will allow for an eye-tracking extension as a USB-C port is located on the inside vizor. A feature that the HTC Focus 3 also has.

The display of the new HTC modular VR headset

Based on supply chain sources, XR leaker Brad Lynch has compiled the new HTC VR headset will have 1920 x 1920 pixels per eye from dual LCDs, delivering a framerate of up to 120 Hz. Additionally, as has become the industry standard, the new HTC modular VR headset will feature the pancake lens for a slimmer and lighter form factor, as seen in the visuals throughout this article.

Battery life of the new HTC flagship headset

Shen Ye, the Global Head of Products at HTC, has stated HTC’s new headset will have 2 hours of battery life in standalone mode.