Tech

HTC's Vive Flow offers lightweight VR for people who like to meditate

$499

The HTC Vive costs more than the Quest 2, but is it worth it?

HTC

The HTC Vive Flow is not a gaming-dedicated VR, so if you’re looking for something to play Beat Saber or Pistol Whip, this ain’t it. On the other hand, HTC’s latest headset caters to a very different type of person, one who wants a simple VR experience for streaming content and meditating.

HTC
HTC

Unique look

Let’s be honest, the Vive Flow looks weird. Not ugly, per se, but it’s definitely different. But despite the bug-eyed look, the design choices favor comfort over aesthetics for longer sessions, unlike front-heavy headsets that can strain your neck.

HTC

For one, the Vive Flow weighs 189 grams, which, compared to the Quest 2’s 503g, is practically nothing. For context, the Vive flow weighs just a little over an iPhone 13 (174g). The fit is another factor, employing a glasses-like design that can expand based on the size of users’ heads. The final component: the swappable face gasket is made from a soft fabric, which hopefully won’t give you a rash.

HTC

Not without merits

If you have a compatible phone, you can cast apps onto a virtual screen and use the phone as a controller. Since the Vive Flow has no inputs of its own, it’s a clever workaround. The headset is also equipped with adjustable diopter rings for clearer viewing. Although, with no IPD adjustment, the set distance of the lenses could cause issues for some.

HTC

Middle of the road

When compared to the Quest 2, the Vive Flow fails to impress. The 75Hz refresh rate is a hair higher than the Quest 2’s stock 72Hz refresh rate (90Hz for system menus), but the latter can reach up to 90Hz and 120Hz frame rate depending on the game. Similarly, the 3.2K (1600 x 1600 per eye) resolution falls short of the Quest 2’s nearly 4K resolution (1832 x 1920 per eye).

HTC

The Bad

Unfortunately, phones running iOS or equipped with a Samsung Exynos chipset are not supported. But what’s really worrying is that the device saves on weight by relying on an external power source. You can purchase a 10,000mAh from HTC or connect to your battery of choice using a USB-C.

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While you can connect your phone via Bluetooth, tethering via a USB-C connection is also possible, but not if you’re hooked up to a power source. You’ll need the additional adapter to connect both. Together with the power bank, the already high price just keeps on climbing.

HTC

Less for more

Instead of buying an Oculus 2, for $200 more plus accessories, you get worse resolution per eye, a lower frame rate, fewer gigabytes of RAM, no dedicated controllers, and, worst of all, a VR headset that’s not truly wireless. The headset weighs nothing and has support for meditation apps, which is great, but for $500? I just don’t see it. Not unless the price drops by half. There is the not-handing-your-info-to-an-evil-corporation thing, I guess.

HTC
HTC

October 14

Pre-orders are open now.

HTC

Get it while it’s hot

Pre-ordering the HTC Vive Flow will get you a free carry case and access to seven pieces of content. However, if you miss out, the Vive Flow will be available for sale starting in November if you want to, “go with the flow.”

HTC