Virtual reality is not just an exciting way to play video games – it can also make you healthier. We’ve already seen how the Oculus Quest 2 has changed lives with its exciting Exercise app, and now the VR Veterans at HTC want to give you an easy way to survive a busy day and take some time for your mental well-being with the new $ 499 HTC Vive Flow.
The goal of these “submerged glasses” is to reduce the friction of jumping into VR, a super-compact design that you can throw anywhere to jump into a quick meditation session or watch an episode of your favorite Netflix show.
The HTC Vive Flow’s travel-friendly design and wide selection of apps is interesting, but it comes at an inflated price এবং and you need to have an Android phone. Wondering if they will be worthy of the rhyme? Here’s what I’m thinking after an hour of giving time on hand.
The HTC Vivo Flow is now available for 499 for pre-order, and shipping will begin in November. According to HTC, those who pre-order before the end of the month will receive a free portable suit, as well as a digital bundle of “7 pieces of content”.
HTC is also launching a new level of its VivoPort subscription service built specifically for streaming. This new $ 5.99 per month option will give you access to a bundle of apps that focus on things like fitness, brain training, casual gaming and productivity. The plan will add an existing Vivport Infinity subscription, which will get you hundreds of apps and games (including popular picks like Superhot and Moss) for 12.99 a month or 99 99 a year.
The HTC Vivo Flow is one of the most compact virtual reality headsets I’ve ever had in my hands, a design that basically looks like a large pair of sunglasses. I’m not going to hang out with the public together (not that you can really do with these things), but I’d feel less sensitive than wearing these on a flight, say, a typical VR headset 2 like the Oculus Quest.
The Viv floor black plastic design is characterized by a face covering of dark gray mesh fabric, which is magnetically attached and can be easily popped and replaced (additional gaskets will be available for purchase in wide and narrow sizes). That way, if you pass the headset on to someone else, you can use your own cover to avoid spreading germs in the mouth.
I’m not sure why the Flow has two reflective eye covers – these aren’t the actual glasses you can see – but they certainly help set it apart from other smaller VR headsets. Inside, you’ll find diopter dials to adjust the focus of the headset so you can see clearly. These were easy to adjust and allowed me to fix some blurry image quality when I first fitted the headset. Oculus Quest 2 features a single focal adjustment slider by comparison only, so I appreciate the option to adjust each eye individually in the stream.
Unlike most VR goggles wrapped around your head with headbands, the Viv Flow wears much like traditional thimble glasses – complete with movable arms on either side that you can adjust to suit your noggin. I used to feel a little pressure on my temples when I first turned on the Viv Flow, but thanks to the airy 6.6-ounce frame on the headset, I was pretty comfortable for most of my hours.
Vive Flow is being kept as an easy way to jump into a quick meditation session wherever you are, so the first app I tested on it was Trip: a popular wellness platform currently available on a variety of VR devices. And as a first-timer, I was pretty impressed.
I started my meditation session in a virtual, colorful forest and eventually started floating up in the sky and started playing a little focus game that challenged me to collect coins from the air. Anyone who has doubled up on an audio-meditation app like Peace, I appreciate that extra visual element of the trip, and the feeling of physically moving through the virtual space has felt relaxed and engaging. Trip starts at 4. 4.99 per month and is already available on the Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, but it seems to be particularly suited for the compact, pick-up-and-play experience that aims to provide Viv Flow.
Netflix was next on my list and it works the same way on Vive Flow as I tested it on other VR headsets. I sat in some virtual black theater when I turned on some Friday night lights, and had an easy time zooming in and out while adjusting playback. Again, Netflix isn’t new to VR, but given the Viv floor’s compact design, I can see it’s a great alternative to watching movies on the plane instead of using the small, granular screens in your front seat.
While testing HTC’s Virtual Reality Conferencing App VIVE Sync, I got a taste of how Vive Flow can be used for work. Once I joined a meeting, I sat down in a virtual outdoor space, with the option of doing things like file sharing and video presentation. I personally don’t see myself using such an app very often, and it should be worth using it with others to see how it really feels in everyday use. But it certainly seems that Vive Sync can provide an interesting change from nonstop zoom calls over the last 1 month or so.
To understand how Flow works as an everyday gaming device, I tried using Space Slurpis, a more in-depth, complex version of the classic Snake game that we originally played on our Nokia phones. I had a hard time with this one, the virtual reality of using only an Android phone didn’t feel very intuitive to control a three-dimensional snake (you’ll be able to pair a Bluetooth controller while playing Android games via screen mirroring). Still, there were moments where I got into a good groove, and there was some fun among the many colorful creatures to see and wander outside.
The HTC Vivo Flow has given pretty good performance for such a small headset আমি I would put it somewhere in between my mobile handset like the Samsung Gear VR and the standalone Oculus Quest 2 based on my limited hand time. Games and apps look sharp and move fluidly, but I’d like to keep the visual quality in something like the previous generation console instead of a high-end PC.
Apps like Trip and Space Slurpiece looked fairly colorful and crisp on the headset’s 3164 × 1778 display, and I could see a decent amount at once for a 100 degree wide view. The headset’s 75Hz refresh rate (which indicates overall smoothness) allows content to be rendered quite fluidly. To put those numbers in context, Quest 2 has a roughly 89-degree field of view and a resolution of 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye, and can smooth out 90Hz refresh rates for games and apps. You’re closing a little trade on the overall smoothness with the flow, but you will have a wider field of vision.
I was fascinated by the built-in Flow’s special audio speaker on the inside of the headset, which allows me to hear clearly what’s happening on the screen, even in a busy outdoor space talking to people. If you want more immersive audio, you can also pair your own Bluetooth headphones.
There’s a big catch to all of this – to use it you’ll need to add Viv Flow to an Android phone. This isn’t the first VR headset for such a need, and the fact that your phone (and an external battery pack) is doing something with heavy lifting is probably part of being able to make the Flow so compact. You can access your device’s home screen directly from the headset to check email, browse the web, or launch an entertainment app without stopping the flow.
But such requirements limit the amount of people who can use the stream, and as an iPhone user, I’m a little surprised that I can’t use HTC’s new headset with my current device. You will need to supply your own portable battery to get the Flock, or buy one from HTC. All of these $ 499 streams feel like a particularly steep investment compared to the $ 299 Oculus Quest 2, which offers a completely unique, room-scale VR experience and even includes a controller for playing games.
HTC Vivo Flow is a clean concept. Even the most compact VR headsets you can buy right now are pretty heavy, and the idea of being able to throw a pair of light glasses to quickly escape to a meditation app or virtual movie theater is mandatory. But when that experience costs 4 499 – and you need to have an Android phone – the flow starts to sound a bit like a niche purchase.
Still, we look forward to spending more time with HTC’s super-compact virtual reality glasses, especially on Oculus Quest 2 to see how they stack up on our favorite VR devices. Order HTC Vive Flow now.