The HTC Vive Focus is the first standalone virtual reality headset from HTC that can be used without a PC or smartphone. First unveiled in November, the headset is going up for pre-order in China starting December 12th and it’s expected to ship to customers in that country in January, 2018.
HTC is charging ¥3,999 (about $604) for an almond white-colored model, and ¥4,299 ($649) for an “electric blue” model, if you think it’s worth paying an extra $45 for a splash of color.
There are currently no plans to sell the Vive Focus in other countries.
If you’re wondering why this headset costs about as much as a good smartphone, that’s because it actually has the hardware of a good headphone. Its just that those components are stuffed into a headset rather than a mobile phone.
The HTC Vive Focus features a 2880 x 1600 pixel AMOLED display with a 75 Hz refresh rate and 110 degree field of view, a qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, a USB Type-C port for data and charging, stereo speakers, a 3.5mm audio jack, 802.11ac WiFi, and a microSD card slot.
It also supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology… which should come in handy, since HTC is only promising up to 3 hours of active battery life, although the headset should last for up to a week of standby time.
The headset uses 9-axies sensors for inside-out position tracking that offers 6 degrees of freedom without the use of external cameras or light sensors. It also comes with a motion controller that features a touch surface and home, app, trigger, and volume buttons.
The HTC Vive Focus is not compatible with Google’s Daydream platform, and HTC will distribute virtual reality apps and games through its own Viveport store. That’s probably not a dealbreaker for this particular device, since the Google Play Store and other Google services aren’t widely available in China where the Vive Focus will be sold.
Earlier this year HTC had said it would develop a standalone VR headset that is compatible with Google’s Daydream software. But when the company announced the Vive Focus in November, HTC also announced that it was no longer developing a Daydream-compatible standalone headset.