Although they were leaked a couple of days ago, HTC has unveiled HTC Vive Flow today, so we already know all its specifications.
HTC decides to explore little traveled roads, even long abandoned. It takes up concepts from years ago that most of us took for granted, more typical of mobile virtual reality, already gone.
HTC Vive Flow They are some ultralight and autonomous virtual reality glasses that are not intended to play or work, but rather focus on wellness: relaxation, meditation, ASMR, physical exercise, etc.
They are also designed for the enjoyment of music, series and movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney +, on a virtual screen of 100 or 200 inches:
The first thing they stand out is their compact size and lightness, they only weigh 189 grams. They look like sunglasses, but a little thicker.
They are so light that do not need to be attached to the head, with the sideburns in the ears is enough, like ordinary glasses.
But they are true virtual reality glasses, with two 2.1-inch screens with resolution 1600×1600 pixels in each eye, and a refresh rate of 75 Hz.
The FOV (field of view) is 100 degrees, smaller than we would like.
Another important novelty is that it has a cooling system that extracts heat from inside, keeping the user’s face fresh.
It also has microphone and headphones that provide 3D spatial sound, integrated into the temples.
You can run games and applications autonomously, thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 processor with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage.
HTC Vive Flow has two cameras that provide 6Dof full positioning, but does not have its own controls.
To control them you have to use your mobile, which connects to the glasses via Bluetooth and is used as a virtual pointer. Be careful because it is only compatible with Android P or higher mobiles, at the moment it does not work with iOS.
HTC is working on hand recognition, which the Oculus Quest 2 already has (review), but is not yet available.
Due to its small size, they have no battery. You must connect an external battery by USB-Type C, or use the mobile battery. So even though they are autonomous glasses they must always carry a cable to connect the battery, which you can leave on the table or bed, or put it in your pocket. But the cable exists.
It also has a Mirror function which enables show the mobile screen on a giant screen of 100 or 200 inches. You can play Android games (in 2D), or watch Netflix or Disney + as if you were in the cinema.
HTC focuses these VR glasses on wellness: relaxation and meditation experiences that thanks to virtual reality allows you to travel to a quiet beach, or practice meditation in the middle of a forest.
In this sense, virtual reality is an effective tool, as several studies have shown.
It is an interesting product for a very specific audience, but with an important handicap: the price.
HTC Vive Flow glasses cost 569 euros, although if you make the reservation they give you a cover and 2 months of Viveport Infitity, a subscription service with hundreds of experiences and virtual reality games.
The problem is that the Oculus Quest 2 can do the same, and they also have controls with motion sensors, and they cost 220 euros less. Although it is true that they are not so ergonomic. But you don’t have to hang around with the battery hanging.
For this price, and taking into account that they are glasses focused on multimedia content, we would have liked to see screens with 4K resolution.
We will see how the risky move comes out to HTC.