In Brief

HTC Vive: Is a new version coming soon?

A smaller, lighter headset could be out by the end of the year, according to reports

Virtual reality is set to be one of 2016's big consumer technology introductions, with the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive all on sale by the end of the year.

Of all the headsets on the market right now, the Vive is the best, says TechRadar. Admittedly, it's has only one real consumer competitor - the Rift - but the more expensive, £689 HTC gadget wins out.

You can order a Vive and have it at home and plugged into your PC in just a matter of days – the early supply chain issues are a thing of the past.

However, according to a new rumour, you may want to wait around.

Ubergizmo reports a new, refreshed Vive could arrive as soon as this Christmas, which is potentially good news for those who haven't taken the plunge yet, but annoying for those who already have.

The possibility of a new headset was raised on Reddit, where a user claimed to have attended a meeting with analysts from a key HTC supplier.

While the hardware won't change, giving the exact same experience and quality across both old and new, the revamped version will be a more practical piece of kit. It could be slimmer and lighter, with changes made to the design and dimensions, while new straps and foams could make it more comfortable.

Such a development wouldn't be entirely surprising, adds Ubergizmo. VR headsets are an all-new category of consumer tech and while the first headsets are quite bulky, they will quickly shrink into more compact designs in the near future.

Picking up the rumour, Digital Trends adds that many of the new parts could be available for first-generation Vive owners to buy and fit themselves.

However, the site warns to take the report with a large grain of salt – it is a mere rumour.

HTC reveals price of Vive virtual reality headset

29 February

HTC has announced a UK price of £689 for its hotly anticipated Vive virtual reality headset – and the order books open today.

Last week, the company announced that the headset, which has been co-developed with US game development and digital distribution company Valve, would go on sale in the US priced at $799 (£575). However, it has since revealed the international price of the gadget will be higher and will cost up to €899 (£701) in the European Union.

The price puts it far beyond the cost of the Facebook-backed Oculus Rift at $600 (around £430), although it has no specific UK price yet.

But – and as Wired points out – the Vive comes with more in the box. As well as a headset, customers also receive a set of ear buds, a Vive Link Box, two wireless controllers, two base stations that create a "safe-zone" in which to use the device and two games. Those who pre-order will even get a third title thrown in.

As for the headset itself, users get two 1080 x 1200 screens offering a 110-degree viewing area, as well as a front-facing camera for augmented reality features. It can be linked to a smartphone, meaning gamers will have the ability to make calls and read text messages through the headset.

However, the website also points out that you'll need a "high-end" computer to power the system, with Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 graphics cards recommended as the minimum operating requirements.

The Guardian, meanwhile, says that "in practice, most will end up buying or building a dedicated PC for VR, which will add another £750-£1,000 on the price".

For those wishing to get around this, Sony will reveal its virtual reality headset for the PS4 soon, possibly at an event penned for 15 March. No price details have been revealed yet, but the company said: "This is a console product so we like to provide our hardware at as low price as we can do."

Customers pre-ordering the Vive will receive the device on 5 April and the high price may not put off VR enthusiasts who believe that the headset is the best choice out there.

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