Virtual Reality: HTC announces slim VR headset Vive Flow for watching movies and relaxation apps



With the Vive Flow, HTC has announced very light and compact VR glasses, which should offer its users the opportunity to escape everyday stress, especially with relaxation apps (e.g. with the TRIPP or Nature Treks VR, which is also available for other VR systems ).

The on-screen display of a connected smartphone also seems to be an important area of ​​application: According to Uploadvr.com, this also works with HDCP support, for example to watch films from Netflix or Disney + on a large virtual screen.

As suspected after leaks and rumors, the 189 gram headset is based on the “Project Proton” shown earlier, the design of which is reminiscent of insect eyes. Vive Flow can be pre-ordered on the official website at a price of 549 euros – including a cover, seven exclusive items and a two-month membership of the Viveport Infinity subscription service. The device will be shipped from November 2nd. The free sale in stores begins in November 2021.

The hardware is put on like sunglasses; two front cameras offer full freedom of movement (6DoF). Strictly speaking, it is not an independent “standalone” system, as it only has a type of emergency battery installed and is connected to a compatible battery bank, for example, for power supply. A dangling cable is likely to remind you of real reality more often than with completely independent systems such as the Oculus Quest 2 or the Pico Neo 3.

Apart from the ultra-light weight and the compact form factor, most of the technical data does not seem particularly future-proof. The two 2.1-inch LCD screens have a resolution of 1,600 x 1,600 pixels per eye, which should make reading text a little more difficult. These values ​​are just ahead of the two-year-old Valve Index (two times 1,440 x 1,600 pixels) and well below the 1,832 x 1,920 pixels per eye of the Oculus Quest 2, which appeared a year ago. The refresh rate is only 75 Hertz (Quest 2: up to 120 Hertz) and the field of view is 100 degrees.

It is still unclear which chip is installed. Controllers are not included. Instead, an Android smartphone (iOS is not supported) can be integrated into the virtual world (3DoF; the controller apparently remains with the player like a stationary laser pointer with a touchscreen). As a clear advantage for those who wear glasses, there are diopter adjustment wheels (no glasses or contact lenses necessary to play). An active fan has been integrated into the case. The sound comes from openings in the temple or from your own connected Bluetooth headphones.

“VIVE Flow Specifications

Telefonkompatibilität

Android P and above
Check the compatibility of your phone here



Form factor
Ultralight, glasses-like, foldable

RAM & storage
4GB RAM + 64GB ROM

weight
189g (1.2M cable additional 50g)

resolution
3.2k combined (2x 2.1 “LCD 1600 x1600 per eye)

Field of view
Up to 100 degrees

Refresh rate
75 Hz

Hygiene
Interchangeable face and temple pads

cooling
Active cooling for constant performance and increased user comfort

Audio
Stereo speakers with spatial audio support
Two microphones with echo and noise cancellation
Support bluetooth headphones

Power supply
External power source (e.g. compatible battery bank)

Hot swapping support
Hot-swapping of power sources and maintenance of ongoing processes on the device for up to 5 minutes thanks to the integrated uninterruptible power supply system

Visual support
Adjustable diopters that allow easy focus adjustment for each lens

Controller
Can use a connected phone as a controller

Video Passthrough
Yes. Supports video passthrough to perceive the environment

Tracking
2x cameras for inside-out headset 6DoF tracking

Connectivity
USB-C
WLAN
Bluetooth 5.0



The VIVE Flow was developed with comfort and mobility in mind and enables people to enjoy moments of rest and relaxation throughout the day. This is achieved, among other things, through the following functions:

  • Meditation 2.0 with apps like TRIPP or an immersive ride on Route 66 with MyndVR’s Original Series: A Road to Remember
  • Watch TV programs or movies on your personal cinema-size VR screen
  • Train the mind with different apps
  • Collaborate and meet with colleagues and friends on VIVE Sync “

HTC’s chairman and CEO Cher Wang said:

“Meditation, stretching, brain exercises and streaming our favorite shows or even meeting friends or colleagues in VR using VIVE Sync are made possible by a device that is light and compact enough to fit in a pocket.”

According to HTC, the Vive Flow offers:

  • “The possibility to immerse yourself in a series of immersive experiences via the Viveport app store at any time and from anywhere, using the Android smartphone as a controller
  • a wireless connection with 5G-enabled Android smartphones to stream TV shows and films from your favorite platforms
  • Meet colleagues and friends in realistic virtual environments via VIVE Sync


Continue to the picture series

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Thanks to the double hinge design and the soft face pad, it can be folded into a compact format and easily taken anywhere. Thanks to the unique hinge of the VIVE Flow, it adapts to different head shapes and sizes. The face cushion is inspired by the highly acclaimed VIVE Focus 3 and can be replaced quickly and easily thanks to the magnetic connections. This means that VIVE Flow can also be shared with others. (…) The VIVE Flow is equipped with 3D spatial audio and can also be connected to external Bluetooth headphones.

Relaxation to your heart’s content

After the launch of VIVE Flow, HTC VIVE is also introducing a special Viveport subscription. The subscription costs 5.99 euros per month and offers unlimited access to a wide range of immersive apps for wellbeing, brain training, productivity, casual games and exclusive content such as a lo-fi room designed like a cozy café.

Prices, accessories and availability

A suitable carrying case will be available for the VIVE Flow. A small but powerful 10,000 mAh VIVE power bank can be purchased separately and offers additional battery life for long VR sessions.

The VIVE Flow will be available at a price of 549 euros (RRP) at vive.com/vive-flow. The pre-order phase begins worldwide today. Everyone who pre-orders: in receives the official VIVE Flow carrier bag and a gift package with seven additional items. “

Uploadvr.com editor David Heaney has already tried the device and describes it as “by far the lightest and most comfortable headset” he has ever worn. After the 45-minute demo, he felt like he could have kept the glasses on all day.

A disadvantage, however, was that he had to readjust several times by hand without a securely seated headband by pressing the glasses, which had slipped forward slightly, back onto his head. The visual quality reminded him of a somewhat weaker Quest 2; with a slightly narrower field of view than “larger headsets”. An interesting detail from the report is the plans for the introduction of hand tracking, which should be added “sometime in the future”.

Heaney’s impressions of positional tracking sound negative, which could also have suffered from numerous reflections in the room: The spatial detection is not as solid as with other headsets, but is a welcome addition compared to old 3DoF systems such as the Oculus Go .

The performance of the apps running natively on the chip caused a considerable damper: not a single one of the (not final) presented programs managed to maintain the fluid frame rate that is so important for VR – although it is only 75 frames per second here. Heaney therefore suspects that Qualcomm’s outdated XR1 chip could be stuck in the device.