The new VIVE Focus – our impression

At the end of April, the vr-on team had the opportunity to try out the completely self-sufficient VIVE Focus. We are happy to share our first impression with you:

The unique feature of Vive Focus is that it works without a PC or smartphone thanks to a built-in Snapdragon processor. In addition, the VR glasses have a position tracking without additional sensors.

We, the marketing team, were impressed with the design of the headset, very clean, very spacy, an elegant curved shape. You could even get used to the idea of voluntarily putting these glasses on at work without feeling stupid. The two lenses at the front look like two eyes, somehow they make the glasses almost likeable. The Vive Focus comes in two different colours. We liked the model in clean "almond" white, it almost reminds us of an Apple device.

In spite of the relatively high weight of 700g, wearing it is pleasant due to the well padded head attachment. As with other glasses, the interpupillary distance is individually adjustable. People who wear glasses will only be happy with a small frame of their own glasses, the larger ones unfortunately don't fit under the VR glasses. The loudspeakers are hidden in the casing and make it possible to continue to perceive the conversations in the room. Full immersion in VR is not possible and the sound plays in the whole environment. If you don't want to disturb others in the room or prefer a better sound, you would have to connect an external headphone. A microphone is also built in.

The Vive Focus supports microSD cards with the currently largest possible memory size as well as USB sticks with type C connection. The glasses are also charged via this interface. WLAN ac is available for wireless transmission. The Vive Focus has Inside Out Tracking with six degrees of freedom, so that Roomscale experiences are possible without external sensors. The controller has nine axes, but is only tracked with three degrees of freedom. The internal memory can be increased up to 1 TB by an SD card slot.

According to HTC, the battery life is up to 3 hours, but the headset should even run for a week in standby until the battery is completely empty. Supported by Qualcomm, the headset has Quick Charging. The controllers need two AAA batteries and run for about 30 hours.

With 2880 × 1600 pixels, the Focus display on paper has a higher resolution than the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift and is therefore on a par with the Vive Pro. However, we could recognize the pixels more clearly in the test than with the Vive Pro. In direct comparison to other mobile headsets like the Samsung Odyssey (with 1400 x 1600 pixels per eye), the image impression and field of view are excellent. The field of view is 110 degrees and with a refresh rate of only 75 Hertz, the PC glasses are a clear advantage.

One can move freely in a cube with an edge length of approximately 2.5 meters, the borders are marked with a virtual grid (which, by the way, looks exactly the same as with the PC-Vive). If one walks through the grid, the tracking continues to work reliably, but after about one meter, a warning that cannot be turned off covers the field of view. The tracking area can't be adjusted manually, but is recorded each time the glasses are put on. But beware, obstacles such as furniture are not detected by the device.

The software works on an Android basis, but apps from the Play Store can also be installed. Only programs from the manufacturer's own "Vive Wave" platform are running - alongside Gear VR, Daydream and Pico, the fourth proprietary Android-based VR ecosystem.

A small highlight for the team was the TV Noir filter, which you get when you switch on the front mounted cameras and see your own environment in a black and white, slightly distorted picture. You felt a bit like being in a creepy horror cabinet of bygone times.

Vive Focus is currently priced at $650 for the Electric Blue version and $600 for Almond White. The price seems to be high for the consumer segment at first. If one considers however that by these glasses no external PC is necessary, the employment of such eyeglasses becomes very interesting for the industry. For the VR-Usecases in sales and marketing, for example at the trade fair or at the customer's, the use of the Vive Focus is a luxury, as the luggage can be significantly reduced by the superfluous PC.

The multi-user capability is given if there is a stable WLAN connection on site, in the App Store there are already a few smaller applications. For daily use in the office in the form of review meetings, additional headphones are necessary to avoid disturbing colleagues.

Last but not least, the final question for us as VR platform developers in the B2B sector is, of course, to what extent the glasses can also be used without the App Store and which own applications can be securely transmitted with which features.

We are looking forward to integrating this HMD into our multi-user-cloud platform STAGE in the coming months.



VIVE Focus Headset Specs

- Tracking technology & sensors: World-Scale tracking (inside-out 6-degree-of-freedom),9-axis sensors, proximity sensor

- Display: 3K AMOLED, resolution 2880 x 1600

- Refresh rate: 75 Hz

- FOV: 110 degrees

- Adjustable IPD: Supported

- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 835

- Storage: MicroSD™ slot,up to 2TB MicroSD™ external memory

- For data and device charging: USB Type-C

- Audio input/output: Built-in microphones, built-in speakers, 3.5mm stereo audio jack

- Wireless: Wi-Fi® 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, support to transmit contents to Miracast™ compatible devices

- Power and battery: Built-in rechargeable battery, QC3.0 fast charging, up to 3 hours* of active use time, over one week* standby time

VIVE Focus controller

- Sensors: 9-axis sensors

- Buttons: Touch pad, app button, home button, volume +/- button, trigger

- Power and battery: Two AAA batteries, up to 30 hours* of active use time