After a long pause from HTC, the Taiwan-based manufacturer decided that the HTC Vive XR Elite will be its comeback set to go up against Meta’s flagship headset: Meta Quest Pro.
In this article, we pit the Vive XR Elite vs Quest Pro, covering the biggest differences helping you decide quickly which headset is for you. We were surprised which was the better mixed reality headset, I think you will too.
We will compare and contrast HTC Vive XR Elite vs Meta Quest Pro on the following points:
|HTC Vive XR Elite||Meta Quest Pro|
|The best mixed reality to date||Industry-leading tracking|
|HTC is best for VR games and content||The most future-proof VR headset|
|Can be turned into unique lightweight VR glasses||Frequent new feature updates|
|HTC Vive XR Elite||Meta Quest Pro|
|Display Type||Dual LCD||Dual LCD with Quantum Dot|
|Resolution||1920 x 1920 pixels per eye||1800 x 1920 pixels per eye|
|Visible Field of View||110° (Diagonal)||96° (Diagonal)|
|Pixels Per Degree||17.5||18.75|
|Refresh Rate||90 Hz||72-90 Hz|
|Processor||Snapdragon XR2||Snapdragon XR2+|
|Storage (ROM)||128 GB||256 GB|
|RAM||12 GB LPDDR5||12 GB LPDDR5|
|Weight||625 grams with head strap||722 grams with head strap|
|Tracking||6DoF Inside-out from 4 cameras and a depth sensor||6DoF Inside-out from 5 cameras|
|Battery Life||4 hours between two battery packs||2 hours|
|Release Date||March 2023||October 25, 2022|
The Meta Quest Pro and XR Elite adopt two different design directions. The Quest Pro leans into mixed reality with an open form factor around the wearer’s eyes. This blends the world around with the mixed reality experienced in the headset. We found, for MR this open design is immensely effective because the field of view blends away and presents what looks like an infinite FoV. The downside is this open-vizor form factor suffers in virtual reality, as you want a fully enclosed experience. It feels a bit like a movie theater with no walls, letting in all the natural light.
Vive XR Elite has a closed design with a face pad gasket that entirely encloses the wearer. Oppositely to the Quest Pro, this means mixed reality feels enclosed – watching the world through a window – but is more immersive for virtual reality.
What the Vive XR Elite has over the Quest Pro is a unique versatility in its form factor, because the Elite can be turned into VR glasses. When done so, besides shedding half of its weight from 625 grams to 273 grams compared to Quest Pro’s fixed 722 grams with the head strap. This also means that the mounted sidearms balance the VR glasses on your face sufficiently, and we found it ideal for sedentary use cases, such as office VR/MR.
It depends on your preference between mixed reality vs virtual reality for which design is better and subsequently which headset is better designed. However, because of the unique feature of VR glasses on Vive XR Elite, we tip the scales toward the HTC VR headset.
A clear advantage of the HTC Vive XR Elite’s modular design is that a hot-swappable battery pack can be switched out when the power runs out. In fact, two battery packs come included in the standard package. This means the Elite’s battery life is doubled from 2 hours to four compared to the Quest Pro’s 2 hours of fixed run time. We found the two hours of battery on the Quest Pro to be one of its main disadvantages. You can read more about it in our thorough review.
Both VR headsets feature the same dual LCDs and a refresh rate of 90 Hz. And despite the two headsets having different resolutions of 1920 x 1920 pixels per eye on the Elite to the Quest Pro’s 1800 x 1920 per eye, and the XR Elite’s wider FoV of 110° to the 95° on the Quest Pro, their visual performance is very similar. The reason is that dividing the resolution with FoV means you get a headset’s pixel density which translates to how crisp the details are. Here HTC XR Elite has 17.5 PPD vs Meta Quest Pro’s 18.8 PPD, a negligible difference.
What is substantial is the Quest Pro’s extra display features of dynamic foveated rendering and 500 local dimming zones per display. The former means that graphical performance can be optimized up to ten times as visuals are adapted to how the human eye sees the world, blurring the pixels that should be in focus using eye tracking. Whereas the former means that 500 areas can block light from the LCD, providing richer blackness levels.
Consequently, the Meta Quest Pro’s display is better compared to the HTC Vive XR Elite.
This brings us to processing, and in spite of that the XR Elite will release after the Quest Pro: the processor of the Elite is the standard Snapdragon XR2 rather than Meta Quest Pro’s updated XR2+ chip.
Practically, the XR2+ features the same cores and internals as its XR2 predecessor. However, its architecture has been shuffled around to be more efficient. This means the Qualcomm XR2+ is 50% faster while also running 30% cooler compared to its little brother chipset. Because of this, we found in our testing of Vive XR Elite that it occasionally suffers from loud fan noise. Whereas on the Quest Pro, we never noticed the fan, even under heavy load.
Besides the fan noise, there are no substantial differences between the XR2 and XR2+ in running VR content and games. However, this is likely just to a lack of optimization for the new Qualcomm VR processor. In other words, the Meta Quest Pro is more future-proof compared to HTC Vive XR Elite. What really excites us is the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon XR3 chip.
And that is why processing power goes to the Meta Quest Pro vs HTC Vive XR Elite.
This neatly segways us to the difference in the content library between the XR Elite and Quest Pro.
In all honesty, if you are looking for VR games and modding options, both headsets have access to the dominant VR games platform SteamVR. Consequently, options for business applications and extra features will make the difference, and both headsets have their advantages.
The advantage Meta Quest Pro has over the Vive Elite is Meta’s popularity. In other words, the partnership between Microsoft and Meta in bringing Dynamic360, Azure, Teams, and more to the Quest Pro gives the headset a significant advantage in office VR. While the Meta app store is getting more populated with VR content and exclusive platforms like Horizon Workrooms and Horizon Worlds are offered. Although, these social VR applications still feel undercooked, and the Meta app store can’t compete with SteamVR.
Comparably, Vive XR Elite is still in partnership with Valve (Steam), meaning SteamVR integration is seamless and user-friendly. Whereas HTC’s native app store Viveport uniquely offers a free-games subscription called Viveport Infinity we found to be excellent value for money.
All in all, if you are looking for business applications and office VR, the Meta Quest Pro is superior, whereas if you are looking for VR games, the HTC Vive XR Elite will be better.
What finally tips the scales and, in some ways, justifies its high price tag of the Meta Quest Pro is its impressive tracking features. None other than ten tracking cameras are throughout the Meta headset.
First, the Quest Pro has eye tracking from one camera dedicated per eye together with one more placed over the eyes and two under, enabling eerily impressive face tracking.
Externally, the Quest Pro features the standard four optical camera setup for 6DoF inside-out tracking and one full-color video pass-through camera for mixed reality. And to top it off, Meta has released a body tracking API where developers can use artificial intelligence to track the body in VR applications and games.
In comparison, the HTC Elite has the industry-standard four optical camera setup for inside-out 6DoF tracking we found in our pre-launch testing to be reliable. Although, some kinks in rotational (rolling) latencies need to be ironed out. Further, the Elite comes equipped with hand tracking, and while we need more time to test it, the hand tracking reliability seems on par with the Quest 2 and Pico 4.
What I intentionally saved until last is the HTC Vive XR Elite includes a depth sensor, usually seen on AR headsets, and a sensor Meta decided to leave out. Practically, this means the Elite’s mixed reality surpasses the Quest Pro’s, as 3D objects merge more seamlessly in the world while having mind-blowing object occlusion. The latter means everything behind the 3D objects is obscured, adding to the mixed reality illusion.
This conveniently leads us to the question that headset manufacturers in 2023 compete about: which VR headset is best at mixed reality?
The Vive XR Elite delivers a superior mixed reality compared to Meta Quest Pro. The reasons are, again, the depth sensor, but also because the video pass-through processing is more dynamic and adaptive to change white balance and exposure. Practically, this means with the Vive Elite you are able to read text on a phone, PC, or book in different settings, whereas the Quest Pro, unfortunately, falls short.
The final factor that determines the better VR headset is the price. The HTC Vive XR Elite will cost on launch €1399, and the Meta Quest Pro is available now for €1799.99.
In other words, the extra €400 toward the Quest Pro goes to its newer processor and numerous more tracking features.
The question becomes what you are looking for in a virtual reality headset. If it is the best mixed reality experience to blend your computer setup with a virtual office, the HTC Vive XR Elite is far better with its depth sensor and video pass-through processing. Similarly, if you are looking for the best gaming experience, the Vive Elite also takes the edge from its Viveport Infinity subscription and user-friendly integration with SteamVR.
However, if you don’t want to compromise on quality and seek the most advanced VR headset, the Meta Quest Pro is hard to beat with its many tracking options and excellent display performance.
Jakob Pii is the Head Writer for VR Expert and currently lives in the UK. He started his career in VR gaming in 2015 and has stayed in XR since, from exposure therapy in VR to 360-degree video documentaries. He is fascinated by how emerging technologies change how we live, play and work.