Here’s one way to escape the January blues: HTC Vive is discounting its range of VR headsets by up to £250 this month, meaning it’s cheaper than ever to leave the real world behind and immerse yourself in a virtual reality wonderland of your choosing.
Until 30 January, HTC Vive is dropping prices on three of its most popular products: the Vive pro eye (was £1,299, now £1,099, Vive.com), Vive cosmos (was £699, now £499, Vive.com) and Vive cosmos elite (was £899, now £649, Vive.com).
The headsets can be picked up with or without the accessories you might need, such as controllers and base stations. During the sale each headset also comes with two months of access to Viveport, a library of VR experiences and games.
While the Meta-owned Oculus quest 2 (£299.99, Argos.co.uk) is a fully standalone VR headset, requiring no additional hardware to work, the HTC Vive is more advanced and connects to a gaming PC or laptop to enable more realistic graphics and more believable virtual worlds.
More expensive than its standalone rival, the price of the HTC Vive headsets have been a barrier to entry for gamers looking to dip into VR gaming. Now, with the entry-level Vive cosmos headset falling in price by £200 to £499 during the sale, it’s a more enticing prospect.
The more powerful Vive cosmos elite, which runs at a higher resolution and tracks your movement more precisely, is discounted to £649. The even more advanced and professional-grade HTC Vive pro eye has come down to £1,099.
HTC Vive cosmos: Was £699, now £499, Vive.com
The entry-level HTC Vive cosmos uses “inside-out tracking” – a set of outward-facing cameras embedded in the headset are used to determine where in the room you’re standing and how you’re moving around. The upside of this technique is that it doesn’t require any fiddly external sensors in the room, though you’ll still need to plug the headset into a gaming PC or laptop, or use the wireless adapter (£359, Vive.com) to play untethered.
HTC Vive cosmos elite: Was £899, now £649, Vive.com
The HTC Vive cosmos elite uses external tracking to more accurately determine where you are in 3D space, and track the movement of your hands more precisely, meaning a more immersive experience overall. Two wall-mounted base stations in either corner of the room provide a playable area of up to 3.5m x 3.5m, while the option to add the SteamVR motion faceplate gives you the option to expand the size of your virtual space even further.
HTC Vive pro eye: Was £1,299, now £1,099, Vive.com
While the standard HTC Vive pro is designed with gamers in mind, the HTC Vive pro eye is part of the brand’s enterprise range of VR headsets. It uses inward-facing cameras to track eyeball movements, which is useful for everything from training fighter jet pilots to tracking consumer behaviours as they shop for cereal. Eye-tracking also improves graphics quality, as the GPU can dial down the detail of things in your peripheral vision and focus instead on what you’re looking at – a bit like how our actual brains do it.
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