Should you pre-order HTC’s VIVE XR Elite headset?

After digesting the amount of news coming out of CES 2023, it’s time to start deciding which new devices to spend our money on at the show. For VR and AR enthusiasts, the first product to look out for is probably HTC’s VIVE XR Elite headset.

HTC is trying to bring its VR offering to the general public by pricing it €400 lower than the Meta Quest Pro. HTC has also made it clear that unlike its aforementioned competitor, its headset is aimed at you and any user interested in premium XR (Augmented Reality) experiences.

But at €1,400, it’s not a small purchase for the vast majority of us. So we’ll have to pre-order this new helmet, pick up a competing model, or just wait and see what comes later this year.

Should you pre-order HTC’s VIVE XR Elite headset?

HTC's battery-powered VIVE XR Elite headset

Photo: HTC.

Follow up, here’s the shortest possible answer: if you want the most versatile headset ever announced, and you can afford $1,400, then yes, you should pre-order it. But if you’re looking for a slightly more in-depth answer, read on…

Why spend $1,400 on the HTC VIVE XR Elite instead of a competing headset for less?

Meta Quest 2. Image: Meta.

It is always useful to compare different possible solutions before buying an expensive device. In this case, there are many alternatives, but only a few headphones stand out enough to be featured here. We will briefly introduce each below.

Valve Index VR Kit

The Valve Index is a fully integrated PCVR headset, which means you’ll need a powerful gaming PC to use it. Image: Valve.

Valve index: € 1,080 for a complete set

At an official price of 1080 euros, the Valve Index may therefore be the biggest loser on this list. While you can save over $300 by buying the Valve Index, you’ll get a fully wired headset that requires two base stations to monitor and a high-end gaming PC to monitor. The result is a less user-friendly setup and use: a complete lack of the autonomy of movement that made the Meta Quest range so successful.

Valve Index’s “Knuckle” thumbsticks allow for unique finger tracking when gripped, but the HTC Vive XR Elite has full hand tracking that works without thumbsticks. The headset can also work wirelessly without a base station or PC. Ultimately, the VIVE is a more versatile and user-friendly device, but it costs more than $300.


The PlayStation VR2 is also fully wired, but it must be connected to the PlayStation 5, not a computer. Photo: Sony.

PlayStation VR2: €600 (PlayStation 5, €610 required)

The relative cost of this option depends largely on whether or not you own a PlayStation VR2. If so, it’s 2.3 times cheaper than the VIVE. Otherwise it is 190 euros cheaper. Of course, for that $1,210 price tag, you also get a next-gen console for traditional gaming.

The PlayStation VR2 is a big improvement over the first generation, but it’s still a wired headset, meaning you’ll still have a wire to manage. You also won’t be able to get content that Sony doesn’t publish on its own content platform, unlike all the other options we’ll mention. This makes the PS VR2 less flexible and less user-friendly for indie games, sideloaded content, and user-created mods. Still, HTC’s headset supports all of this and offers fully wireless stand-alone operation via Wi-Fi 6/6E, as well as PCVR gaming (VR games that can be played on a PC).


Meta Quest 2 is the second generation, supporting wired and wireless PCVR, as well as wireless and fully standalone VR games and applications. Image: Oculus.

Meta Quest 2: From €450

Originally priced at €350, the entry-level model is currently priced at €450, meaning you can still get three for the price of just one HTC VIVE XR Elite. Nevertheless, it’s closest to the VIVE in terms of features, as it supports both fully standalone games and PCVR games running on a modest gaming PC accessed via Oculus Air Link over Wi-Fi.

For some people, the differences are more subtle, making the VIVE XR Elite worth the full price. These include the color live view screens and AR functionality they offer compared to the Quest 2’s basic black-and-white screens, diopter-adjustable lenses on the helmet that eliminate the need for additional lenses, and the modularity of the design. . This allows the headset to be worn as glasses for casual use (at 273g) or as a more traditional headset for more serious gaming sessions.

Overall, the VIVE XR Elite is a more versatile all-in-one headset, as HTC intended. It can do everything the Quest 2 can do, with a lighter, more compact and wider field of view. However, it is more expensive, so the Quest 2 may still be a better choice for early VR adopters and younger gamers.

Should you wait to see what Apple and Meta have in store?

This question is more difficult to answer because neither Meta nor Apple have publicly announced their VR/AR plans for 2023. However, we can offer feedback based on rumors and leaks from each company.


A possible rendering of Quest 2’s successor design. Image: SadlyItsBradley (YouTube).


While the Meta Quest Pro is aimed at the professional world, Quest 2 owners have been waiting for the Quest 3, which was not shown at Meta’s Connect 2022 event. The next major Quest is rumored to launch later this year. It’s a safe bet that it will fall somewhere between the Quest 2 and the Pro in terms of features and price. Leaks suggest that it will switch to pancake OLED optical technology, which will be thinner and lighter than the Quest 2. Prices should be around the current Quest 2 model.

Patent filing by Apple on using iPhone to power VR headsets

A 2015 Apple patent for a system that attempts to use an iPhone as a VR display. All this time we’ve been waiting for an AR/VR product from Cupertino. Photo: USPTO.


Apple’s plans for augmented reality and virtual reality have been the industry’s biggest question for nearly 10 years. Although we know almost nothing concrete, there is every reason to believe that Apple’s goal is very different from all the other players in the sector mentioned here.

Rumors suggest that Apple’s device will be less about VR and gaming and more about AR and lifestyle. While Apple can always surprise us, the company’s history shows that any AR/VR headset will be very similar to the iPhone: it will be good in all areas of its product class, not optimized for one task. Special, for example, games.

How to pre-order it?

Yes, the headset is fully usable in this configuration at about half the weight of the Meta Quest 2. Photo: HTC.

If you can afford its $1,400 price tag and want the HTC VIVE XR Elite to be your next headset, you can order it online now. New pre-orders are expected to begin shipping to customers in “early March 2023,” but that date could be pushed back if orders come in.


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