Best Of CES 2018: HTC Vive Pro

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The HTC Vive Pro is a marked improvement over the original model.

Virtual reality has come a long way over just the last year, let alone the last two or three, and at the forefront of the consumer side of it is HTC's Vive setup, which is thought of by many as the current pinnacle in VR when it comes to consumer VR headsets. That said VR still has a long ways to go before it reaches its true potential, but HTC and other companies are making every stride they possibly can to get to this point. HTC's latest effort in this endeavor is the Vive Pro, its follow up headset to the original HTC Vive which comes with marked improvements over the original model, and ones which definitely shouldn't be overlooked as they're improvements which have often taken some of the light and shined it on the Vive's competitors.

One of the downfalls of the Vive is that is that it didn't come with integrated audio out of the box. This didn't necessarily bother all consumers, but it does pose a couple of possible issues. Consumers who picked up the original Vive would either need to have or purchase a pair of headphones to plug into the system, and in turn this would also create another cable to have to worry about stepping over or being mindful of. HTC has changed with this Vive Pro and has included integrated audio so an additional pair is not needed, which is something that the Oculus Rift has had since it launched and in its current form. So while HTC may not have added this feature in the original, the Vive Pro does include it and that's the important thing. There is now one less thing to worry about and this also means consumers who don't own a headset won't need to go out and buy one. These headphones are also hi-res and the headset features 3D spatial audio with an internal digital amplifier to really make the sound kick.

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The Vive Pro also adds an additional camera to the front of the unit compared to the single camera on the Vive, and instead of being placed in the middle of the headset along the bottom edge, the Vive Pro has moved both camera sensors to the center and side by side. HTC doesn't dive too much into what the additional camera will help do, but it's likely to help with the visual side of things for the user in terms of what they're able to see while the headset is on.

Of course HTC's largest improvement with the Vive Pro is the increase in screen resolution for the panels that are used on the inside of the headset, which is what you will be staring at when you put the headset on. Both panels on the inside are now sporting a resolution of 2,880 x 1,660. HTC says this is an improvement over the panels in the Vive by 78 percent, which is a pretty big jump in resolution. This should mean much better clarity for users when viewing anything through the headset, and is a step closer to making things in VR feel more immersive, which will result in an overall better experience with the content. Then there's also the two built-in microphones with active noise cancellation. HTC even gave it a new coat of paint as the Vive Pro comes in a new blue color. From top to bottom the Vive Pro is better than the Vive, and once it hits the market users will likely start to take notice of that, even if those improvements mean a higher price tag. Whatever the price ends up being, the Vive Pro will have a lot to offer to the consumer and its decent-sized list of new feature add-ons is why it deserves the Best Of CES 2018 tag for VR tech.