HTC reveals face and eye-tracking accessories for the Vive Focus 3 VR headset

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Tom’due south Hardware Verdict

The HTC Vive Focus iii is the best standalone headset that we’ve tested. The screens are corking, the performance is first-class, the field of view exceeds the competition by a pregnant margin, and the tracking is astounding. This headset has almost everything we’d like to encounter in a high-end consumer device. Information technology’s a shame this isn’t for consumers.


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    + Widest FOV in a standalone headset

  • +

    + Splendid display resolution

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    + Well-balanced weight

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    + Wet-proof materials

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    + Micro SD menu slot

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    + Replaceable bombardment


  • Expensive

  • Mediocre controller ergonomics

On paper, the HTC Vive Focus 3 is easily the best VR headset in the standalone form gene (no connection to a organization required) that has ever been released. It is precisely what we’d wait from a high-end VR system for gamers with deep pockets and a desire for the best of the all-time.

The Focus 3 ($1,300 as of writing) is the nigh well-equipped standalone headset that we have ever tested except for one matter: it doesn’t have a consumer-facing software marketplace, making information technology finer useless for gamers and just viable for businesses or developers. HTC was articulate from twenty-four hours ane that the Focus 3 would be a business concern device, but information technology would have been nice to see a loftier-cease competitor shake Facebook’s grasp on the standalone market.

HTC Vive Focus iii Specs

SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 (Snapdragon 865)
Storage 128GB internal, up to 2TB micro SD card
Per-eye Resolution 2448 x 2448
Brandish Technology 2x 2.88-inch (73.fifteen-mm) LCD panels
Lens Technology Dual-element
Refresh Rate ninety Hz
Field of View (FOV) 120 degrees
Interpupillary Distance (IPD) two.24 – 2.83 inches (57-72mm)
Sensors Hall sensors, capacitive sensors, Thou-sensor, gyroscope
Tracking Technology HTC Vive inside-out tracking
Cables Y-cable for controllers, charging cable
Connectivity 2x USB three.2 Gen-ane Blazon-C peripheral ports, external USB-C port supporting USB OTG, Bluetooth five.2, Bluetooth Depression Energy, Wi-Fi half dozen
Audio 2x microphones with echo counterfoil, 2x directional drivers2x microphones with echo cancellation, 2x directional drivers
Weight ane.73 pounds (785g) with bombardment

Meet the HTC Vive Focus iii

(Prototype credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The Vive Focus iii is HTC’south third standalone VR headset, simply it is the outset one to become an official Western release. Sadly, HTC targets businesses with the Focus 3, which is not meant for a consumer audience, which is a shame because it is a capable device that gamers would appreciate, if non for the hefty $i,300 price tag.

The Focus iii is an Android-based device powered by a Qualcomm processing unit of measurement. HTC equipped the device with a Snapdragon XR2 SoC, the same processing unit institute in Facebook’due south Oculus Quest ii. HTC has non released detailed configuration specifications with the clock speed of the CPU and GPU. Nonetheless, a representative told united states of america it added a fan for active cooling to accomplish higher sustained performance from the processing unit of measurement. Unfortunately, we accept no way to verify that merits independently.

(Prototype credit: Tom’southward Hardware)

The headset includes 8GB of RAM and features 128GB of internal storage. A previous version of this review noted that we could not discover an SD carte slot, fifty-fifty though the storage direction app indicated in that location was an 8GB Sandisk SD carte du jour installed. HTC has since pointed out that the slot is located under the confront cushion near the left side of the headset. It is an unmarked slot, and with a Micro SD card already installed, it blended in and nosotros missed information technology. The card was hidden in plainly sight.

Our review sample came with an 8GB card pre-installed, which contained a 360-degree video sample or The Sick Rose poem. The card slot can read Micro SD cards upwardly to 2TB in chapters, making it easier to load movies and custom applications on the headset. From a developer standpoint, the carte slot would be very helpful for deploying private software without an cyberspace connectedness. From a consumer standpoint, the card slot would allow you to easily view home videos captured with a 360 camera.

The Focus three features the same 2448 x 2448 per centre RGB displays as found in the Vive Pro 2, although the standalone device’s refresh rate is limited to ix 0Hz. The headset as well features HTC’s newly developed dual-element lenses, which requite you a broad, 120-degrees field of view. On the lesser, there’s an analog IPD adjustment dial, which provides you with a range of 57 to 72mm.

(Epitome credit:
Tom’s Hardware

Compared to the Quest 2’s tunnel vision effect, the viewport in the Focus 3 feels expansive. Unfortunately, these lenses produce very noticeable godray refractions, which negatively touch prototype clarity. The lenses in the Quest 2 have less refraction, just the screens in the Focus three are much crisper. It’s difficult to say which is meliorate.

(Prototype credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Aside from the new lenses and high-resolution displays, HTC crammed many innovations into the Focus iii. For case, the headset features a brand new head strap design that changes how the headset sits on your head. Unlike previous Vive headsets, which cupped the lower part of the back of your skull, the Vive Focus 3 sits more like a baseball game cap on height of your caput. The strap angles up from the visor and the rigid structure extends above your ears to the back of your head.

(Epitome credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The rear of the strap features a mechanical punch to tighten the fit. Beneath the dial, yous’ll detect a button that releases the tension when y’all want to remove the headset or resize it for someone else. The sides of the caput strap characteristic integrated down-firing speakers. The internal speakers requite enough of volume for most use cases, only you lot tin also plug in headphones if you lot desire a better audio feel.

(Image credit: Tom’due south Hardware)

The front of the headset features a glossy section with the Vive logo. The residue of the visor is constructed of lightweight magnesium alloy. The material helps go along the weight to a minimum while also facilitating cooling for the internal components. In addition, HTC installed a heatsink inside the visor, which you lot can encounter through vent holes on the top and bottom of the headset, which is actively cooled past a small fan. When the headset is running, you can hear the fan spinning.

The fan also pushes a slight breeze into the visor, which can dry your optics after long periods of utilise.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The Vive Focus 3 features 4 visor-mounted cameras which handle spatial sensation and controller tracking. HTC used the same camera position configuration, and Facebook did with the Quest 2. The headset includes cameras on the upper front corners, which face slightly upward and partially forwards. The two lower cameras are non as close to the corners and face somewhat towards the ground. Combined, these four cameras give you ample controller tracking range with adjacent to no blind spots except behind yous. The tracking accuracy is at least on par with the Quest 2.

(Paradigm credit: Tom’s Hardware)

On the left side of the headset, you’ll find the bill of fare button. On the opposite side, there’south a headphone jack and a USB Type-C port. The headset does not accuse through the USB port, simply it can ability up the controllers through the Type-C port. The headset must be on to laissez passer power through to the controllers, and HTC includes a Y-cable to power both controllers at once.

(Image credit: Tom’southward Hardware)

On the lesser side of the headset, you’ll find the volume rocker button and the IPD adjustment punch. A small-scale magnetic panel in front of the IPD dial covers an additional USB-C port.

(Epitome credit: Tom’southward Hardware)

The Focus three is the first headset that we’ve tested that does not demand any hygienic upgrades. The face cushion features a soft memory cream wrapped with a moisture-resistant PU leather roofing. The face absorber is too mounted to a magnetic bracket that allows you lot to remove information technology for cleaning or bandy it for a fresh one. The rear cushion is likewise moisture resistant, removable, and washable, although it’southward non as soft as the face cushion.

(Prototype credit: Tom’due south Hardware)

Removing the rear cushion exposes the battery pack for the headset, which is also removable. The bombardment tin be charged while inside the headset, but y’all tin can also charge the batteries outside the device. The bombardment pack has a barrel connector, which accepts the 12v power adaptor that HTC has used to power all its past headsets.

(Epitome credit:
Tom’due south Hardware

With the battery pack on the rear of the headset, then also is the power button. The button is really on the bombardment pack, and it doubles every bit a power button and a accuse cheque button. If you press it for one 2d, four LEDs volition calorie-free up, indicating the level of accuse the battery holds. Too, pressing the button for iii continuous seconds volition power the device on or off.

Mediocre Controllers

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Information technology feels like much thought was put into the pattern of the Focus 3 headset, but the controllers don’t give the same impression. While they aren’t the worst move controllers we’ve ever used, HTC still hasn’t learned its lesson regarding peripheral ergonomics. For example, the shape of the handles is not well optimized for the form of the human paw. The extended length of the handles is splendid, but they do non profile your easily well.

(Epitome credit: Tom’s Hardware)

On the bright side, the Focus iii controllers accept input parity with the Quest controllers. They include A, B and X, Y buttons, a thumbstick on each side, and a Vive home and menu button. Each controller besides gives y’all a trigger and grip button.

(Image credit: Tom’southward Hardware)

The Focus 3 controllers feature internal lithium-ion batteries with a USB Type-C charge port on the bottom of each handle. Like the Quest controllers, the Focus iii controller features a halo with infrared LEDs for tracking.

Using the Focus iii

The headset that HTC provided us for this evaluation is a pre-release model which does not have all of its features enabled. Even so, the headset came pre-loaded with a minor selection of apps for reviewers, which nosotros’ll get into in the dedicated section beneath.

When I first started the headset, we were greeted with a message telling us to download the companion app for my smartphone or the desktop software for my estimator. Unfortunately, those apps were non bachelor alee of launch, so we take not tested them out.

To bypass the app install screen, press and hold the menu button on the left side of the headset. A progress bar will fill upward as you concord the button, and when it completes, the app message goes abroad, and you’ll find yourself in passthrough way with an initial configuration process to follow.

Vive Focus 3

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Kickoff, you set the language. Adjacent, information technology explains how to notice the sweetness spot for the lenses with a calibration image to help you line it up exactly right. You start with the vertical alignment, where it teaches you to movement the headset up and downward until the horizontal lines await perfect. Finally, tighten the overhead strap to hold it in place.

(Prototype credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The next footstep is the IPD adjustment, which is done with a dial plant beneath your nose on the lesser of the visor. The on-screen scale gives you a readout with 2 decimal points, but the dial isn’t that precise, and nosotros plant that the measurement update interval doesn’t keep up with the punch movement.

The next stride is to connect the controllers. The process is elementary and involves pressing the Vive logo button on the right controller and the hamburger button on the left controller. The pairing process took less than a 2nd.

Calibrating the tracking guardian works exactly how it does with the Quest 2. First, ostend the ground elevation. If the headset is not detecting the correct height, reach to the floor with one of the controllers to set the floor position. Next, trace the border of your condom place space by pointing the controller at the ground while pulling the trigger. Once y’all’ve set the guardian, the passthrough view fades abroad to the virtual environment.

Home Surround

The Vive Focus iii domicile looks like a modernistic part infinite that overlooks a desert scene. The environment is fancy, but the bill of fare organization is relatively basic. Nosotros could log in to our Viveport account; All the same, it did not requite us access to the Viveport marketplace. Yous can access the content library, which provides yous with a tiled listing of the installed software. You also get a settings menu to suit some of the configuration options for the headset.

In the settings general carte, you can gear up the fourth dimension, appointment, run into the headset software version and prompt it to check for updates, and enable double-click passthrough view.  In the boundary section, you can alter the color and opacity of the boundary, enable automated passthrough when yous step through the boundary, and recalibrate the floor and safe area.

The connectivity tab allows y’all to enable Bluetooth and monitor the controller pairing. The network section gives you lot the Wifi configuration settings and the ability to configure a VPN connection. The Kiosk Mode section allows you to configure the headset to launch directly to i or more apps without giving users admission to the menu and entire content library.

The storage section allows you to encounter the available free space and uninstall apps. It does not give you access to a file manager to open up locally saved files or run private APK installers. The avant-garde section gives you access to USB debugging, enables installs from unknown sources, sets the slumber style timer, and adjusts the camera polling setting. The manufactory reset button is also under Avant-garde.

The Vive Focus 3 is a Snapdragon XR2-based headset, the same processing hardware found in Facebook’s Oculus Quest two. Therefore, games built for Quest should theoretically be compatible with Focus iii with modest changes from the developer. Furthermore, Qualcomm adult a wireless streaming feature for the XR2 platform, so Focus 3 should be capable of streaming PC VR games wirelessly to the headset.

Now, neither of those two options is possible. However, nosotros did locate an choice in the arrangement settings that suggests a future software update could enable SteamVR streaming in the future. If that happens, the Vive Focus 3 could develop a niche following of enthusiast gamers. However, almost of these headsets will exist used for business training, remote collaboration, product design or in location-based amusement facilities.

The Focus 3 Is Fast

One of the most prominent things that stood out nearly the Focus 3 is how fast it is. From a cold kick, the headset takes only a few seconds to get you right to the home surround. The screens plough on immediately and the Vive logo spins in front of y’all while information technology boots, giving you something visually interesting to wait at while you wait. At no point did information technology experience similar nosotros were waiting around too for something to happen.

Also, loading content from the home environment is rapid and always engaging. There’s cypher worse in a VR headset than sitting at a blank screen while something loads in the background, and we never experience that problem in the Focus 3. Jumping from one app to the next is quick and getting back to the home screen is an almost immediate process.

HTC Vive Focus three Apps

As mentioned, we tried out the apps pre-loaded for reviews on the Vive Focus 3 to get an idea of the experiences business organization users tin expect. HTC told us that the Vive Focus 3 would exist compatible with SteamVR content with utilize of something called the Vive Business Steaming cable. The company didn’t provide additional details nigh the cable, but we imagine it would be similar to Facebook’south optical USB Link cable for the Quest 2. A wireless streaming app is also in development, and HTC said it would be bachelor presently.

Hyper Dash
was the only game. Information technology’s a team-based multiplayer shooter that’due south as well available on consumer headsets. HTC said it included the game equally an example of what y’all may come across at a VR arcade. The game plays very well on HTC’s hardware, with no hint of performance issues while driving the high-resolution screens. This game likewise demonstrated the tracking quality, with no trouble keeping the weapon aimed where we wanted it to indicate.

Hyper Dash
on the Focus 3 was an excellent experience. Nosotros didn’t find an appreciable difference between playing on the Focus iii versus playing on the Quest ii, merely the broader field of view makes keeping an eye on your enemies a chip easier in HTC’s headset.

The headset likewise included Firefox Reality, the VR version of the Firefox web browser. Firefox Reality allows yous to browse to whatsoever website, as y’all would with any device. Dissimilar near headsets, the Focus 3 has a high enough resolution actually to read text on websites.

Firefox Reality also natively supports WebXR experiences, so y’all tin can seamlessly spring in to full 6DoF VR directly from a browser window. Every bit immersive technologies are integrated further into our web experience, having a device like the Focus 3 will permit you to consume hereafter web content hands.

Bodyswaps by JCR Grouping is an immersive learning experience that teaches people to reflect on their behavior in work situations and to assistance promote a more empathetic approach to interacting with others. The virtual situations are created by behavioral scientists.  The Bodyswaps demo offers 1 experience and puts you through a roleplay scenario from the perspective of multiple parties to help you feel more empathetic towards others. The graphics in the app are cartoonish still serious, with well-modelled avatars that depict realistic facial expressions. The simulation is well put together and does an excellent chore of convincing you lot that you’re in the meeting with two other people. We tin can see this being a valuable tool for business training.

Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass is a VR tour of role of the Louvre in French republic. The courtyard is fully rendered in near-photorealistic particular, and you can explore all around it via teleport. You can move correct upwardly to the paintings hanging in the Grand Gallery, and with the clarity of the Vive Focus 3’s screens, you tin can see enough detail to capeesh these masterpieces. For each painting, there is an accompanying narrative clip explaining the significance.

All these apps are available via the Vive Business concern AppStore.

Last Thoughts

(Paradigm credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Spending more than than a week with the Focus 3 made one thing abundantly clear: Facebook’southward effect on the VR marketplace is a double-edged sword. On the one mitt, the consumer VR market needs affordable hardware to drive adoption. Merely, on the other manus, selling hardware at far below profitable margins has fix an unrealistic expectation of price in the eyes of consumers, forcing would-exist competitors to think twice about challenging Facebook.

Facebook priced the business version of its Oculus Quest two at $799, severely undercutting the competition. HTC built what is undeniably a better slice of hardware. Withal, it cannot sell the production at a toll the consumer market would bear. The Focus 3 is a much better device than the Quest 2 for many reasons, but few people would run across $one,000 worth of value in those differences. HTC is not lonely. Very few companies could ever fathom competing at this level and hope to come out ahead on the other side, which is why no one else is competing in this space, even though Qualcomm did all the heavy lifting with its XR2 reference design.

HTC put together an excellent package with the Vive Focus three. Businesses that adopt this platform will undoubtedly love the features and the performance. It’southward a shame that gamers won’t run into the benefits of a healthy competitor in the standalone consumer VR space simply all the same.

Editor’s Note June 28, 2021:

This review was originally published on June 24, 2021 and was updated on June 28, 2021 to include data on the Micro SD carte du jour slot.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom’due south Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than 4 years.