Elite in worth, not efficiency

HTC, finest identified for laying out the panorama for contemporary Android phones within the early 2010s, now focuses most of its vitality into VR headsets. Having been one of many massive gamers in premium VR with the original HTC Vive, that household of gadgets has expanded over time with a number of new gadgets carrying on a strong development. The Vive Pro 2 was one of many newer choices and a fantastic piece of package for PCVR.


However now the HTC Vive XR Elite steps into new territory, evolving HTC’s earlier cellular answer, eradicating the wires and creating a flexible light-weight standalone headset. We obtained our fingers on it at CES 2023 and, extra lately, I’ve had it in for an intensive real-world testing.

HTC Vive XR Elite

The following-gen headset from HTC provides a flexible design, capable of be standalone or linked, with a hot-swappable battery. It is good and light-weight, whereas the entrance RGB digicam supply a fantastic passthrough expertise to assist its XR abilities. It is costly, nonetheless, a lot will depend upon the pipeline of content material for this headset.


  • Light-weight design
  • Scorching-swappable battery
  • Standalone or tethered
  • Nice controllers

  • Costly
  • Robust competitors at cheaper costs
  • At present restricted standalone VR video games
  • Audio efficiency is missing


  • Modular design
  • Non-compulsory head strap

The HTC Vive XR Elite takes the Vive Flow as its base design and adapts it right into a standalone VR answer.

The earlier Vive Circulate required a wired connection to a cellular system and was worn like a pair of glasses. The Vive XR Elite seems to be comparable with a compact goggle-style kind, however moderately than arms like a pair of glasses, now connects to a rear battery pack with a pad for the again of your head.

HTC Vive XR Elite review on head 2

On the rear of the Vive XR Elite is a dial to regulate the strain, tweaking the tightness of the strap that connects to the entrance of the system. There’s an extra non-compulsory head strap that may be added to the headset to go excessive of your head, however the system is supposed to be balanced and constructed in order that’ll match most individuals with ease. Consolation, although, could be very a lot a subjective expertise that I will get to in a minute.

HTC Vive XR Elite Review 6

Integral to the design is the pad on the entrance, the baffle that blocks mild round your eyes, whereas offering a snug touchpoint towards your face.

This face gasket can really be eliminated, so it is easy to vary and take away for cleansing.

To take a look at, this face padding is definitely fairly a bit shallower and smaller than different headsets I’ve tried. This implies your eyes are nearer to the lenses, however there are another implications.

I’ve heard different reviewers saying the faceplate interferes with their eyes and with the consolation, or that it let an excessive amount of mild in. I did not discover that to be the case. For me, it was moderately snug and truly did an excellent job of blocking out the encircling world. That mentioned I did discover that in the event you’re a bit too aggressive with the positioning of the headset you possibly can by accident detach it from the headset, which then results in consolation issues.

HTC has mentioned there shall be a number of other face gaskets available to buy together with a combined actuality gasket which removes the perimeters for extra real-world visibility and a silicone one which covers the face with a sturdy materials.

HTC Vive XR Elite Review 10

Nevertheless, the Vive XR Elite is definitely a modular design, permitting you to slide the battery off and swap the arms to be extra just like the Vive Circulate. In different phrases extra like a pair of glasses than a full-blown headset.

There are arms that click on into place after which you possibly can simply slip it on. You do, nonetheless, want a battery pack or energy supply whereas utilizing it on this mode because the entrance of the headset does not have any energy of its personal.

I am not too positive about this expertise. I discovered it clamped a bit too laborious and harm the perimeters of my head, plus it was liable to slipping down as a result of the load on the entrance which wasn’t counterbalanced by the battery on the rear. For those who had been utilizing the Vive XR Elite laying down then it may be extra usable in that mode.

HTC Vive XR Elite review 15

The HTC Vive XR Elite makes use of the identical controllers as the Vive Focus 3, permitting loads of assist for a full vary of motions and controls, whereas additionally being tracked by the headset.

Different reviewers have commented on these controllers feeling a bit low-cost within the hand and I would need to agree. Contemplating the worth level of this Vive headset, the standard right here is missing. They really feel flimsy and underwhelming. Greater than that, I discovered that the monitoring wasn’t at all times excellent throughout PCVR periods (extra on that quickly) and so they do not work seamlessly with each expertise both.

HTC Vive XR Elite Review controllers

You may customise the buttons in Steam VR, nevertheless it’s not as straightforward to select up and dive straight into your sport library because it was once.

These design quirks are curious. Clearly, the Vive XR Elite has ditched the monitoring base stations of the HTC Vive Professional 2 and different older headsets in favour of inside-out monitoring. Due to this, the controllers have to incorporate {hardware} to assist with that monitoring so you possibly can’t use the unique wands. However these Vive controllers simply do not feel nearly as good within the fingers. The grip is not unhealthy and the ergonomics are okay, however they’re simply lacking one thing.

When you think about the standard of the controllers that include the Meta Quest Pro, the place these controllers have their very own onboard Snapdragon 662 cellular processors and a number of monitoring cameras packed inside, these Vive controllers appear nearly archaic.

They are much extra just like those included with the unique Meta Quest headset and really feel dated. Additionally they want charging, individually, with a USB-C cable with a purpose to preserve them working. There is not any handy dock included like there may be with Meta Quest Professional both, so that you want wall plugs for the headset and each controllers – and but, the Vive XR Elite prices fairly a bit greater than Meta’s headset.

HTC Vive XR Elite Review 11


  • Adjustable diopters
  • Two shows, 1920 x 1920 per eye
  • 90Hz refresh charge
  • 110 levels discipline of view

For us, one of many predominant appeals of the Vive XR Elite is the design of the lenses for the show. You will see there are two rings across the lenses, these are adjustable diopters. Because of this in the event you’re a spectacles wearer you possibly can theoretically regulate the lenses to focus and account on your prescription.

In concept, that is incredible as a result of it means you need not put on your glasses and the VR headset on the identical time. That is at all times a ache as you usually discover each units of lenses get steamed up when gaming or it is easy to by accident scratch the headset lenses or your glasses. That is now not the case right here. Nevertheless, I did discover it a bit troublesome to regulate at first (who is aware of their precise prescription except you’ve got simply been to the optician?) however in the event you undergo the setup tutorial, it will speak you thru adjusting the lenses and the IPD to get a transparent view.

HTC Vive XR Elite review on head 3

There are two LCD shows constructed into this headset with customized pancake lenses that provide 1920 x 1920 pixels per eye and a refresh charge of 90Hz. Regardless of the small dimension you additionally get 110 levels within the discipline of view.

One factor I seen is the lenses are fairly a bit smaller than these on different headsets I’ve tried, however due to the shallower face gasket, your eyes really sit nearer to the lenses so that you do get an excellent view of what is taking place.

The draw back right here although is it is too straightforward to smudge the lenses, particularly while you’re taking the headset on and off to cope with PCVR issues.

They’re typically clear and crisp, however I did discover that both smudges or vivid white scenes or a mixture of each would result in extreme haze. Which is kind of distracting sadly and ruins the expertise.

Nonetheless, with the precise video games and an honest cleansing routine, the visuals are gorgeous and satisfying.

HTC Vive XR Elite Review 1

VR efficiency

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2
  • 128GB on-board storage

The headset is powered by the Snapdragon XR2, the identical Qualcomm platform because the Meta Quest 2 and the Pico 4. It may be used standalone or tethered to a PC to entry extra content material – it shines most when linked to a PC based mostly on my expertise.

I kicked off testing through the use of it as a standalone system, experiencing content material operating regionally from its personal storage. This headset has 128GB of on-board storage which needs to be sufficient to put in fairly a number of totally different video games.

As soon as linked to your Wi-Fi community you possibly can straight entry the shop and in the event you’re subscribed to Viveport you possibly can reap the benefits of that to entry all types of titles too. I dabbled in a number of of those, together with Loco Dojo, e and a handful of others. The overall feeling right here is that these video games do not profit from the {hardware}. Some are older and really feel like video games from the unique Meta Quest period. There are additionally solely around 135 games accessible to play in standalone mode, so do not anticipate lots of content material.


One of many first experiences I encountered was exploring mixed reality. This makes use of the RGB cameras on the entrance of the headset to indicate you the actual world in wonderful color. This is not as frequent as you may assume with many headsets solely providing black and white passthrough as a fundamental perform. Nevertheless, with XR or MR in thoughts, there’s a lot larger constancy in what you will see when on this mode.

Whereas the demo was nice – I painted on a digital easel in a fairly commonplace XR demo, then flipped into creating 3D features till I would completely deserted the portray activity I used to be alleged to be doing and simply crafted a digital hellscape as a substitute – it was one thing else that demonstrated how good the passthough expertise is.

It is value noting that the Vive XR Elite does support screen mirroring, supplying you with another choice for casting extra content material. Assuming you may get it to work, after all (I could not), and that your device fits the compatibility list.


The PCVR expertise

The Vive XR Elite clearly has a number of totally different modes and use circumstances. You would play standalone titles from Viveport, pop the battery off and use it for watching YouTube movies on an enormous display or you possibly can tether it to your PC and use it that manner.

PCVR is one thing HTC has at all times excelled at. Connecting the headset to a gaming PC and putting in the Vive Streaming Hub, you possibly can then rapidly and simply hook up with the headset and boot up your favourite PCVR games.

With a protracted USB-C cable linked and extra intensive video games operating, I discovered a way more eye-pleasing expertise. Video games like Boneworks, Half-Life: Alyx, Creed Rise to Glory and others regarded nice and ran actually easily as nicely. After all, you will want to fulfill the minimal specs for the most effective expertise. They’re:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4590 equal or higher
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB equal or higher, AMD Radeon RX 580 equal or higher
  • Reminiscence: 8GB RAM or extra
  • Working system: Home windows 10

There are some well-thought-out components to this design as nicely. When you’re in PCVR mode and linked to your PC, you possibly can see your put in library of video games proper from the Vive menus on the headset and launch them simply there. Many of the controls translate properly into Steam VR as nicely, although I did have some issues the place some sport controls weren’t mapped or recognised and I needed to tweak the controls.

The draw back is there does not appear to be a simple approach to view your PC desktop by way of the headset whereas tethered. It is a characteristic of different VR headsets that is fairly commonplace these days, so it is a disgrace to not have that easy management. This in flip results in some person frustrations.

HTC Vive XR E;ote

I discovered that some video games weren’t loading however there was nothing to point why. Slipping the headset off, I went to have a look at the pc monitor solely to search out it was being blocked by the Home windows firewall. This at all times was once a frustration of VR again within the unique Vive headset days – having to take the headset off to cope with issues after which put it again on once more. So I am unhappy to see it right here. That is made worse when you might have prescription glasses that you must placed on and take off each time you undergo such rigmarole.

Nevertheless, there are some options of the headset which may assist with these annoyances – although there are some caveats.

The inner sensors present 6 DoF (diploma of freedom), with exterior cameras to offer full-colour passthrough imaginative and prescient so you possibly can see the actual world round you and energy combined actuality or prolonged actuality experiences – therefore the XR within the title.

The passthrough cameras might be activated by a double press of the Vive button on the precise controller or the facility button on the headset. The cameras supply a fairly respectable color view of your world, however I instantly seen that the depth notion was off.

With the Meta Quest Professional (which additionally has color passthrough) you possibly can flip the passthrough on and wander from room to room with ease. The Vive XR Elite makes this course of really feel a bit unsafe. Issues are larger than they appear or nearer or farther away than they really are. I really discovered taking a look at this view for too lengthy made me really feel nauseous, which is not one thing I normally undergo with in VR. That mentioned, it’s clear sufficient to have the ability to make out the textual content on a PC display or telephone. It is not excellent, nevertheless it’s adequate.


Typically, the expertise in PCVR is very like different headsets, in that it is satisfying visually, you might have entry to extra video games and it seems to be wonderful.

I did discover although, that the controller monitoring wasn’t at all times excellent. Typically the controllers would cease monitoring for a number of seconds or do unusual issues. This additionally gave the impression to be impacted by the digital guardian boundaries, so it is advisable ensure you have sufficient house to play.

HTC Vive XR Elite review on head 44

One factor I actually do like in regards to the digital playspace setup although is the way in which the borders work. If you set the headset up, you paint across the play space with the passthrough cameras on, so you possibly can simply see the place you will be gaming and make a secure house. The digital partitions then seem while you get too shut and in the event you put your head by way of that wall, the passthrough cameras will activate so you will mechanically see the place you’re.

This, together with the passthrough shortcuts, make it far simpler to stay secure whereas gaming but in addition to not get too circled and confused, which is refreshing.

You might be meant to have the ability to use the Vive XR Elite in wi-fi mode whereas tethered to a PC, however strive as I’d, I could not get this technique to work – so the jury is out on that one.

HTC Vive XR Elite Review 13


The Vive XR Elite comes with built-in audio system. These are constructed into the arms of the headset, very like these on the Meta Quest. That is good as a result of it helps preserve your ears cool and free from interference when you play.

The draw back is that they’re fairly lacklustre. There is not any bass and the sound high quality is not superb. They’ll get loud sufficient, however prime the amount out an excessive amount of and the standard is ruined additional. HTC hasn’t given many choices right here sadly. You may’t plug in a 3.5mm headset as there is not any port to take action. You would use a wi-fi headset or headphones and join them to your PC, however that is hardly a super answer. Becoming a headset over the scarf shall be uncomfortable too.

Improve choices

Like earlier HTC Vive headsets, the Vive XR Elite might be customised with numerous extra trackers. The headset has built-in hand monitoring (which is straightforward to make use of after following the fundamental tutorial) however HTC says it will have face and eye trackers in the stores later in 2023 as nicely.

The dearth of additional monitoring may be one of many causes to purchase the Vive XR Elite over the opposite headsets on the market. For those who’re fearful about Meta getting your information, for instance, you then may choose that there is not any face or eye monitoring as commonplace on this headset vs the Quest Professional, which does have it. Fewer cameras on the controllers may be an excellent compromise as nicely.



HTC Vive XR Elite leaves us impressed with the light-weight {hardware} providing and the scope of the controls. This seems to be a versatile headset with versatile use circumstances. As with all such gadgets, a lot will depend upon the content material that you simply get entry to and your necessities past simply gaming.

Regardless of its standalone design, the Vive XR Elite is finest suited to PCVR experiences and that is the place you’d profit from it. The expertise shall be hit-and-miss although and issues like face and head form will significantly change the way you get on with the headset. I really assume that if PCVR is your plan anyway, then the Vive Pro 2 may be a greater total expertise.

It is definitely nice to be carrying a headset that does not really feel prefer it’s making an attempt to devour your complete head and the passthrough expertise from these RGB cameras on the entrance is admittedly spectacular. However the asking worth for this headset at $1099 / £1299 / €1399 is eye-watering.

At this worth, the Vive XR Elite is costlier than the Meta Quest Professional, however not as handy or as feature-rich. Meta additionally has the benefit of an enormous and rising catalogue of standalone VR experiences because of the recognition of the Quest 2. So which may nicely be a logical different.

Trending Merchandise

Add to compare
Corsair 5000D Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – Black

Corsair 5000D Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – Black

Add to compare
CORSAIR 7000D AIRFLOW Full-Tower ATX PC Case, Black

CORSAIR 7000D AIRFLOW Full-Tower ATX PC Case, Black

Add to compare
Corsair iCUE 4000X RGB Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – White (CC-9011205-WW)

Corsair iCUE 4000X RGB Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – White (CC-9011205-WW)


We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Register New Account
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart