HTC is further supporting its Vive Focus VR headset with a new upgrade to the established formula. Focus is getting the ‘plus’ edition that will finally sport 6DOF controller instead of the current puzzlingly discrepant 3DOF. The standalone Vive Focus Plus Headset therefore adds the functionality of walking through enterprise VR, for the price that is still a mystery.
Following the unwanted exclusivity of China-only initial release, we were happy to see Vive Focus make its way westward. Still, with geographical change the original problems remained, how to justify a $600 price tag for a 3DOF headset, when the rest of the device is so well made and tailored for so many different businesses. There is a 6DOF controller dev kit out there somewhere, but those are hardly worth the hassle of getting separate parts. Hence the Vive Focus Plus headset. The initially decent device is getting the dev kit addition to make it a complete, hassle-free standalone set available in 25 markets worldwide.
As with many ‘plus’ editions of anything, improvements range from subtle to game-changing. 6DOF controller belongs to the latter, though we would argue it is more like leveling the playing field rather than changing the game altogether. As for the subtle, they are a-plenty. The most noticeable is the way headset looks. The ergonomics has been slightly improved according to HTC, and the color scheme freshened up to include black & white interplay. Sound has also been improved to include ultrasonic tracking, while lenses in Vive Focus Plus headset are completely new. What remains the same however, are the processing power and resolution; it is still AMOLED 1,660 x 1,660 per each eye with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC running the show. Going back to the controllers, there are two instead of one on original Focus, and both come with improved functionality of added buttons and triggers.
As is the case with the ‘original’, Vive Focus Plus headset is primarily an enterprise affair. Which is too bad for consumer market since all the content springs from HTC Viveport. Anyway, being business-oriented, Plus comes with a full-on like minded support: here we have the inevitable Kiosk Mode, Gaze Support, and a host of other features to make business environment more effective. But we cannot help but notice that the device is moderately well equipped for the likes of gaming. It has more in common with the coming Oculus Quest than anything. Still, HTC was adamant in showcasing business case uses like medical training or conference room competence.
With HTC Vive Focus Plus headset, we get the sense of completion rather than novelty. It is not so much adding new stuff as keeping up with the times. At least until Plus gets unveiled alongside Vive Pro Eye at Mobile World Congress, which should be any day now.