After much speculation, the HTC Vive has officially unveiled “big news in a small package” – a new virtual reality (VR) device, the Vive Flow.
Designed to straddle the line between VR headsets and smart glasses, described by the company as “immersive eyewear,” the Vive Flow arrives as a lightweight and portable entertainment, wellness and gaming platform for VR on the go .
There’s no separate controller – the device is powered entirely by a user’s Android smartphone via Bluetooth – and at just 189 grams, it’s lighter than most of today’s best smartphones and features a canister-like handle to maximize portability. Fits neatly in the carry case.
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As for its specs, two LCD screens, 3.2k resolution and a 75Hz refresh rate mean the Vive Flow can’t touch the brand’s more premium VR offerings like the HTC Vive Focus 3 for performance, but it’s clearly in use. Easy product. In the mind
However, the Vive Flow boasts a 100-degree field of view, a dual hinge fit system and snap-on face cushions, immersive spatial audio and adjustable diopter lenses – which the brand says should eliminate the need to wear glasses, for those who want use them.
That audio device is embedded in the arms, while two microphones sit forward for calls. The Vive Flow also sports an active cooling system that uses an internal fan to draw air from the user’s face to escape the excessive heat and steam of the glass. It should be mighty comfortable to wear, then.
What the Vive Flow is for, exactly, is what HTC is banking on a variety of use cases. As we found out in our brief practical time with the device, eyewear can be used to play games, watch movies and TV shows, or immerse ourselves in a variety of wellness-oriented programs.
For example, the Vive Flow can stand out as an ultra-portable cinema experience when you usually can’t carry a giant VR headset on a plane while traveling. Or, if you’re in a busy office, eyewear can be used to enjoy some momentary relaxation time, courtesy of the many meditation apps available at the brand’s digital store, Viveport.
“With the Vive Flow, HTC is taking technology in a new direction, focusing on what we do, but not on how we feel,” HTC CEO Cher Wang said in a statement. “Maintaining our well-being has come to the fore in the last few years, so it has never been more important to take the time to calm our minds, and the Vive Flow is a great way to escape our four walls and immerse ourselves in our ideal environment. provides the right opportunity.”
HTC says the Vive Flow takes standard USB for charging, so you can easily juice up anywhere, and will comfortably last up to five hours. The company is also throwing out a carry case and bonus downloadable content for customers who pre-order the device by October 14.
Less exciting, however, is its price. At $499 / £499 (about AU$675) the HTC Vive Flow is far more expensive than some of the most popular – and far better – VR headsets, like the Oculus Quest 2 and PlayStation VR.
Sure, it’s nowhere near the price of other HTC devices like the mainline HTC Vive, but the VR hardware looks essentially half a grand for the PSP (in terms of its looks and portability, at least).
Will the HTC Vive Flow join our list of the best VR headsets of 2021? It sounds impossible, but the Taiwanese tech giant deserves praise for developing a product that actually brings something new to the table — even if the innovation costs more.
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