Should I Buy The HTC Vive XR?

At CES 2023, HTC unveiled its latest VR/AR headset, the HTC Vive XR Elite, which is a compact and versatile all-in-one device designed to rival the Meta Quest 2. In comparison to HTC’s earlier headset, the Vive Flow, the XR Elite boasts superior specifications, enhanced features, and a smaller and lighter build. In November 2021, HTC launched the Vive Flow with an unclear target audience. Aside from its portability and lightweight design, the Flow is limited in functionality, requiring a phone connection to cast apps or control 3DOF. The Vive XR Elite, however, aims to improve upon the Flow’s strengths while eliminating its drawbacks, boasting a comparable form factor and greater versatility. So the question is “Should I buy the HTC Vive XR? ” We will explain the features of HTC Vive XR in this article to determine whether it is worth buying or not.

HTC Vive XR Elite vs. Vive Flow

HTC’s new Vive XR Elite is a significant improvement over the Vive Flow and is suitable for a wider audience. The XR Elite has similar technical specifications to the Quest 2 and the Vive Focus 3, but its small size and convertible design make it more portable. Unlike the Vive Flow, which prioritized portability over functionality, the XR Elite provides more diverse and complex experiences for users.

While the Vive Flow was designed for activities like relaxation, meditation, fitness, and media consumption, the Vive XR Elite offers a lot more for gaming and VR enthusiasts. It features a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor, 1920×1920 per-eye resolution (3840 x 1920 pixels combined). Besides, it offers 90Hz refresh rate, up to 110-degree FOV, 12 GB of memory, and 128 GB of storage.

The XR Elite also supports hand-tracking, a depth sensor for mixed reality, and can connect to a PC via Wi-Fi or USB-C cable. The device provides both standalone performance and access to PCVR games like Half-Life: Alyx. The HTC Vive XR Elite can do augmented reality (AR) as well as virtual reality (VR). The AR experience isn’t great, as the headset struggles with depth-mapping and warping. Compared to the Quest Pro, the XR Elite’s AR isn’t as sharp. However, both headsets have similar AR capabilities, which are not good enough for reading text on a smartphone and have poor dynamic range.


The Vive XR Elite’s convertible design is another highlight, which is missing in the Vive Flow. Users can detach the battery pack from the head strap, making the headset lighter and more comfortable to wear in a glasses-style configuration similar to the Flow. However, at $499 USD, the Vive Flow’s price may be too high for casual consumers who want to relax or consume media. HTC’s headset pricing is a major concern for many consumers as the company attempts to regain consumer confidence.

The HTC Vive Focus 3 is designed for business use and currently priced at $1,299. The Vive XR Elite, which offers a balance of Focus 3’s power and Flow’s portability, is available at $1,099. Despite its impressive specs, the HTC Vive Flow fell short of being a strong competitor to the Quest 2. If it had a XR2 processor and standalone capabilities, it could have been a viable alternative. HTC’s Flow is powerful, portable, and flexible enough for gamers and the metaverse, regardless of its price.

It’s uncertain whether the Vive XR Elite will gain the mainstream appeal that Meta’s VR devices have. The XR Elite is a highly functional VR headset in such a compact design, but it could have been available in the Vive Flow, considering the similar design. As the rumored release of Meta Quest 3 in 2023 approaches with a price point similar to Quest 2, many hope that VR companies like HTC will find ways to reduce the cost of their devices.

Games on XR

The HTC Vive XR Elite boasts impressive performance specifications that rival the Meta Quest Pro. It is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor and 12GB of RAM, the XR Elite delivers smooth gameplay at a 4K resolution and a seamless 90Hz refresh rate, even during standalone play.

Currently, no game fully utilizes the headset’s capabilities, resulting in consistently smooth gameplay with no frame rate drops. Noteworthy visually stunning games include Maestro: The Masterclass, along with high-resolution ports of Hubris and Sam and Max: This Time It’s Virtual! While the quality of launch titles may be questionable, the overall performance of the XR Elite remains excellent. Its LCD display, pancake lenses, and 110-degree field of view contribute significantly to an immersive experience. This is particularly evident in the home menu, where players can navigate with a giant whale floating in the background.

The XR Elite is equipped with four tracking cameras and a 16-megapixel RGB camera, enabling pass-through viewing that allows users to see their real-world surroundings. Currently, no other headset offers such vivid color pass-through capabilities. Colors appear vibrant, and although the refresh rate may not be flawless, it is sufficient for safe navigation around the house without collisions. Some titles, such as Open Brush and the XR demo, take advantage of pass-through functionality to create a mixed-reality experience.

Should you buy the HTC Vive XR Elite? 


The VR headset performs quite well with a high resolution of 1920 x 1920 pixels per eye, making content look great without any noticeable screen door effect. It has a higher total resolution than the Meta Quest 2 and the HTC Vive Pro. The headset is also lightweight and comfortable to wear for extended periods of time without any head fatigue, which is not the case with other headsets. It’s so comfortable that it feels like the first headset that could be worn to do work in. However, there are still some drawbacks that were noticed after spending an hour with it at HTC’s event space at CES 2023.


Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks with the headset. The high-resolution passthrough has a delay, which can be frustrating when walking around a room. Additionally, despite having four external trackers, hand tracking can still be unreliable at times. These issues led to some frustrating moments, such as in a VR kayaking experience where the virtual oar got stuck underneath the boat. However, these issues were infrequent. The biggest problem is the battery life, which only lasts two hours per charge. This can be a significant obstacle for gamers who want to use the headset for longer gaming sessions. Although the battery charges quickly (one hour of battery life from a 30-minute charge), it’s a major issue that HTC needs to address before gamers will fully embrace the headset.

It ultimately depends on your specific needs and budget. Despite being more expensive than the Meta Quest 2 and other VR options, it offers more power and flexibility. You should consider the Vive XR Elite if you’re a gamer or business professional who needs a portable VR headset.

You may want to consider the HTC Vive Flow if you prefer VR for relaxation, fitness, meditation, or media consumption. Although it isn’t as powerful as the Vive XR Elite, it is more affordable and designed specifically for those uses.

Furthermore, the VR market is constantly evolving, with new options and technologies emerging all the time. In the coming years, you may be able to find new VR headset options to buy. 

Final Verdict

The HTC Vive XR Elite sets a new standard for VR headset design with its lightweight and comfortable build. It excels not only as a standalone device but also when connected to a PC for PC-based VR experiences. The sleek all-black design, reminiscent of sunglasses, adds a futuristic touch, particularly when compared to the HTC Vive Flow. Performance-wise, the XR Elite impresses with its 4K resolution and 90Hz refresh rate, ensuring a great visual experience. Additionally, its full-color pass-through capabilities make transitioning between virtual and real worlds seamless.

However, the XR Elite’s strengths are somewhat overshadowed by lackluster launch titles that fail to make a significant impact. This issue may be less noticeable for users with powerful desktop PCs capable of running PC-based VR games. Nevertheless, those seeking a standalone headset might be left feeling unimpressed. The XR Elite also suffers from technical shortcomings, including inconsistent hand tracking, controllers that still rely on ring-tracking, and the absence of a headset jack. While the XR Elite holds promise, potential buyers are essentially investing in what it could become. In this price range, desktop users may be better off considering the Valve Index, our top pick for PC gamers, while those in search of a standalone headset may find the Meta Quest Pro a more appealing option.

Final words

The HTC Vive XR Elite is a powerful and portable VR headset that’s a great choice for gamers and business professionals who need flexibility and access to PCVR games. While it’s more expensive than some other VR options, its advanced features and capabilities make it a solid investment for those who need a high-quality VR experience on the go.


Which Vive VR headset is best?

It depends on your preferences and budget. Some popular Vive VR headsets include the Vive Cosmos Elite and the Vive Pro 2.

What is the best VR headset for PS5?

The PlayStation VR headset is designed specifically for the PS5 and offers great performance. Other popular options include the Oculus Quest 2 and the HTC Vive.

Is Vive better than Oculus 2?

The choice between Vive and Oculus 2 ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both offer high-quality VR experiences with their own strengths and weaknesses.

What is the upcoming VR 2023?

There are several upcoming VR headsets for 2023, but it’s hard to predict which will be the best. Some anticipated releases include the Meta Quest 3 and the HP Reverb G3 Omnicept.

Which HTC Vive headset is best for gaming? 

The HTC Vive Pro 2 is currently considered the best headset for gaming by many enthusiasts and experts. It offers high-resolution displays, a wide field of view, and excellent performance, making it an ideal choice for demanding gaming applications. Additionally, it features precise tracking and comfortable design, which further enhance the overall gaming experience.

Is Vive XR Elite for gaming?

The Vive XR Elite is not specifically designed for gaming, but it can be used for gaming along with other VR experiences. It is more geared towards enterprise and professional use cases such as training, simulation, and remote collaboration.

Why is Vive so expensive?

The HTC Vive is built with high-quality materials and components, which increases its cost. It uses advanced technology, such as high-resolution displays, and precise tracking sensors. The VR market is still relatively new, and there are few competitors that can offer similar features. Developing and refining the technology behind the Vive requires significant investment.


The HTC Vive XR Elite Is What the Vive Flow Should Have Been. (2023, January 10). The HTC Vive XR Elite Is What the Vive Flow Should Have Been.

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