HTC has announced the launch of its new mixed reality headset, the Vive XR Elite. The XR Elite is a standalone headset that combines virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and is aimed at consumers who want games, passive media, and productivity tools in a lightweight package. It is priced at $1,099 and is set to compete with Meta’s Quest headsets and the rumored Apple AR/VR device.
The XR Elite is designed to be small and lightweight, weighing 625 grams, making it heavier than the Meta Quest 2 but lighter than the 722-gram Quest Pro. It offers mixed reality experiences using full-color passthrough video, with the addition of color cameras and a depth sensor for added situational awareness. This feature was originally planned for the Meta Quest Pro but was later removed.
In terms of technical specifications, the XR Elite has a screen resolution of around 2K pixels per eye, a 110-degree diagonal field of view, a 90Hz refresh rate, 12GB of memory, 128GB of storage, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chip, the same as in the 2021 Meta Quest 2. It also features four wide-angle cameras that allow it to track the user’s hands or motion controllers using the design from HTC’s earlier Vive Focus 3.
The XR Elite has a few unique features, including a lens diopter adjustment option for users who wear glasses and an adjustor for the distance between lenses. The headset’s weight includes a back-mounted battery that HTC claims will last around two hours and is hot-swappable for longer periods of use. The headset charges via USB-C, and its controllers are also rechargeable, offering a battery life of around 10 hours.
The headset also has a “glasses mode,” which allows the user to snap off the strap and battery and replace them with plastic pieces that rest over the ears, reducing the weight to 240g. In this mode, the headset folds up like sunglasses and fits into a carrying case.
Additionally, the XR Elite has two optional accessories: one enabling eye tracking and the other enabling full face tracking. It also supports an optional wrist tracker. The headset’s base package will include the headset, one battery, and two motion controllers, as well as a games/app bundle in some markets. An enterprise package will be announced later this spring.
Preorders for the XR Elite are now open, with shipments expected to begin from late February. During its launch window, 100 new pieces of MR and VR content will be available, in addition to Viverse, a personalized social space where players can access games and interact with friends.
The timing of the XR Elite’s launch is key, as it will compete directly with Sony’s PSVR2, which is also set to arrive in February. The PSVR2 is priced at £530 (around $735) but does require the PlayStation 5 console as well. Despite being cheaper than the XR Elite, it is still a significant investment for casual players.