The verdict is in: we really like the HTC Vive Pro. However, our big criticism is that the VR headset doesn't come with the controllers or positional-tracking base stations, something that HTC has now announced it is going to remedy.
The company has announced the Vive Pro starter kit, which bags you the headset, controllers and two base stations - all for a mere $1099. Chump change, am I right?
Jokes aside, it is around $200 less expensive than buying all the parts separately. HTC says the decision was "based on feedback", so clearly it's listened to the confusion. However, we need to point out that you'll be getting the controllers and base stations in their current 1.0 editions, not the updated 2.0 versions which are set to arrive later this year. So if this is going to be your first big VR investment, it's worth keeping that in mind.
HTC Vive's latest interest: Mind-reading headsets and space warping
The Vive Pro bumps up the display from 2,160 x 1,200 to a significantly sharper 2,880 x 1,600 and adds built-in audio to avoid the need to mess around with headphones each time you want to dip into VR. But otherwise the experience is comparable to the original Vive, which HTC has now reduced to $499.
We do wish the bundle had been announced sooner; HTC clearly anticipated that it would be mostly upgraders interested in the Pro. "We still expect Vive to serve as the entry point for most people into room-scale VR," the company said. But if you already ordered the Pro and are now kicking yourself, HTC is offering a $100 Viveport voucher and will extend your subscription to one year. So that's something.