HTC unveiled its latest VIVE Flow virtual reality system, designed to offer non-gaming experiences and escapes on-the-go.
Though the VIVE Flow is an all-in-one headset, the glasses are tailored for mindfulness and relaxation. This starts with a glasses-type design that is easy to open and close. Users only have to find a resting spot, put the VIVE Flow on and enter a relaxation space. The VIVE Flow also doesn’t have VR-standard touch controllers, save for a user’s smartphone. After a pairing, the smartphone doubles as a controller and central hub to use the VIVE Flow. A number of spaces, including meditation, cinema and business spaces are included for users.
Its reveal sizzle showed off highly rendered VR spaces, including a moody café users can immerse themselves in. Brighter locations like the hiking trail are also crafted to ease parents in need of some peace and quiet. A Zen garden and other meditation spaces are also there to give users a different touch with their surroundings. Taking one note from other VR gaming systems, the VIVE Flow also includes a movie theater. This acts as a media player, letting users load clips into the VIVE Flow‘s on-board memory.
A number of apps are tailored for mental health and relaxation. These also use a number of visual and auditory patterns to ease users. Light strobing, soothing sounds and soft visuals are some of the tricks pulling users into their VIVE Flow experiences. For work, the VIVE Flow is also designed for virtual meeting in mind. Featuring virtual avatars and board rooms with PC projectors. For communication, the VIVE Flow will come with integrated chat features and ways to send information across the boardroom.
On paper, the VIVE Flow is packed with its own mobile processor for that all-in-one VR experience. As mentioned, the glasses are controlled by your phone to stream content from YouTube and other supported media services.
This is projected with a sharp 3.2K combined screen resolution. Users also see a smooth 75Hz refresh rate – a bit below the VR standards, which range from 90 to 120Hz. But this is made up with a higher 100-degree FOV (field of view), giving users more depth and peripheral vision. As a hardware bonus, the VIVE Flow has its own spatial audio system similar to the Oculus Quest. It also supports Bluetooth headphones and other peripherals.
One of the VIVE Flow‘s more interesting features includes its smaller portable design. This lets users close the glasses and pack it into a cylinder carrying case. Essentially, the VIVE Flow becomes one of the most portable VR headsets to use. A 10,000mAh power bank will also be included to keep VIVE Flow users going on longer sessions.
It’s worth noting the VIVE Flow isn’t HTC‘s first all-in-one wireless headset. The glasses borrow much of their design from the HTC VIVE Focus 3, which was tailored for business and enterprise experiences. According to HTC, the VIVE Flow will be much lighter than competing headsets at 189g (less than a vending machine snack).
The VIVE Flow is also integrated with HTC’s Viveport ecosystem. Like the company’s PCVR VIVE headsets, users can access a special type of storefront on their phones. According to HTC, the VIVE Flow will come with more than a handful of free experiences at launch. the Viveport is also a subscription-based app service which gives users continued access to new experiences. HTC has confirmed in its release that a special plan will be offered for VIVE Flow users, starting at $5.99 USD monthly.
HTC VIVE Flow is available to pre-order starting today. The glasses launch on November 2021 worldwide at $499 USD. Seven apps and experiences will also be included as a pre-order bonus.