HTC has cut the price of its high-end Vive Pro virtual reality headset by $200, making one of the most expensive big-name headsets a little more affordable. The price cut applies to three different packages. The Vive Pro headset alone — without the tracking base stations and controllers — has dropped from $799 to $599. The Vive Pro Starter Kit, which includes two SteamVR 1.0 base stations and two Vive controllers, dropped from $1,099 to $899. And the Vive Pro Full Kit, which offers the same deal with newer 2.0 base stations, now costs $1,199.
The Vive Pro is HTC’s high-end professional-oriented VR headset. It’s a variation on the now-discontinued first-generation Vive, featuring an upgraded resolution of 1440 x 1600 per eye as well as precision tracking with two (or more) laser base stations. HTC also sells the mediocre $699 Vive Cosmos, which is meant for gaming and other home use. The Cosmos uses more convenient head-mounted cameras instead of base stations, and it features motion controllers that are closer to Oculus’ gaming-oriented design than the austere Vive remotes.
But the Vive Pro’s most direct competition is Valve’s high-end $999 Index. The Index also features a 1440 x 1600 resolution per eye, and it uses SteamVR base stations for tracking. Both headsets (as well as the Cosmos) plug into a gaming PC. Until now, the Vive Pro cost significantly more than the Index. Now, HTC’s starter kit is slightly cheaper — if you’re willing to make the sacrifice of using older base stations, which are lacking a few performance upgrades and features for power users with big play spaces.
Perhaps more importantly, though, the Index is currently out of stock as Valve prepares to release its highly anticipated Half-Life: Alyx in March. The Vive Pro is one of your only options if you like base station tracking instead of inside-out cameras. It’s got a higher resolution than the wired Oculus Rift S, and this price drop makes it a more viable purchase for home users. You’ll have to weigh whether it’s worth the significant hassle of setting up those base stations, though — especially since you still won’t be getting the special interactions that Valve has promised for its unique Index controllers.