HTC VIVE Air is an award-winning, fitness-focused VR headset concept

htc vive.JPG

VR titles like Beat Saber and Fit XR can get you sweating like from a real workout and have become an attractive alternative to physical gyms during the pandemic. So it might not come as a surprise if a VR headset manufacturer were to release a fitness-focused headset. After images of the so-called HTC VIVE Air appeared on the World Design Guide website for winning a design award, several outlets reported it as a "leak" for an unannounced VR headset from HTC. Some further speculated that it would likely be officially revealed by the company during ViveCon 2021 held between May 11th-12th.

The World Design Guide awards entry for the HTC VIVE Air has a launch window of 2021 and reads the following:

VIVE Air VR headset is specially designed for virtual fitness, optimized for high intensity with long use. Inspired by sports shoes, the new headset introduces knitted materials to VR to provide unprecedented comfort and fit. The breathable and quick-drying fabrics improve ventilation in the heated exercise. The innovative lightweight structure allows users to forget the presence of the head-mounted display to focus on virtual content. The quick-release design allows the removal of ergonomic soft components for washing.

vive air.jpg

vive air 2.jpg vive air 3.jpg vive air 4.jpg

However, speaking to Engadget after those "leak" reports, an HTC spokesperson clarified that the design is "only a concept" whose elements might be reflected in their future products:

It's exciting to see our concept piece, the VIVE Air VR headset, win an iF Design Award. While this is only a concept, the design language has elements and inspirations you'll see elsewhere in our products. We're not ones to rest on our laurels, so although it's great to win this award, we have business to attend to - hopefully we'll see you on 11/12 May at VIVECON.

While it's only a concept, would you like to see a VR headset designed for fitness purposes?

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Silent_Gunner

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What's the tierlist, so to speak, on VR Headsets as of 2021? I'm not talking merely specs, as important as they are. I'm also referring to features in general.

I've heard the Oculus Quest 2 is up there on top with it being wireless, but I haven't heard a whole lot about HTC and anything they've done in a while in terms of them standing out. I know about the Valve Index having some of the best specs for a price that's a bit of an ask for someone to plop money down on, especially with that new HP VR headset that's either released or just around the corner that's $600-700 iirc.
 

Hells Malice

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This reads like a poorly written sponsored post

What's the tierlist, so to speak, on VR Headsets as of 2021? I'm not talking merely specs, as important as they are. I'm also referring to features in general.

I've heard the Oculus Quest 2 is up there on top with it being wireless, but I haven't heard a whole lot about HTC and anything they've done in a while in terms of them standing out. I know about the Valve Index having some of the best specs for a price that's a bit of an ask for someone to plop money down on, especially with that new HP VR headset that's either released or just around the corner that's $600-700 iirc.

There isn't really a tier list, you just get what you pay for mostly.
The Quest 2 is more portable but using it wireless means the game needs to have a specific Quest version, it often runs at significantly reduced visual fidelity compared to the PC version, FOV and framerate. Some games are fine (beat saber), but others (Robo Recall) are terrible. The controllers are a big downgrade for me, they're way less comfortable than the CV1 Rift which is a shame cuz the CV1 has the best VR controller for comfort IMO.
That said you can technically use the Quest 2 wired with a long USB cable. But it also doesn't have real headphones, another massive downgrade from the CV1. The sound built into the headband is atrocious whereas the CV1 headphones are god tier for immersion.
Wireless PC streaming is terrible, I dunno how anyone uses it.

Most Vives are entirely quality-focused and require the sensors but they're also absurdly priced as a result.
Pretty much the same for the Valve Index except with better controllers.

More brands are stepping into the VR realm though I don't know a ton right now. The HP Reverb G2 is supposed to be a good headset but with pretty bad controllers/tracking.
This whole "no sensors" thing has taken VR backwards and it's annoying.

The only way to really pick a headset is to pick a price range and then decide what you want from the experience.
 
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The Real Jdbye

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What's the tierlist, so to speak, on VR Headsets as of 2021? I'm not talking merely specs, as important as they are. I'm also referring to features in general.

I've heard the Oculus Quest 2 is up there on top with it being wireless, but I haven't heard a whole lot about HTC and anything they've done in a while in terms of them standing out. I know about the Valve Index having some of the best specs for a price that's a bit of an ask for someone to plop money down on, especially with that new HP VR headset that's either released or just around the corner that's $600-700 iirc.
Quest 2 is good with a few upgrades (better strap & VR headphones that clip onto the strap, the reason for that is that it's uncomfortable to wear normal headphones over a VR headset at least IMO), those are the 2 areas they cut a lot of costs on. However it's not the best PC VR experience due to the small amount of latency and lowered image quality as a result of having to do video encoding and decoding. Games might be rendered at 2160p but once they go through the video encoder they don't look like it.

I have a HP Reverb G2 and I love it. It's better than the Quest 2 in most aspects, but it has slightly worse controller tracking. Specifically directly underneath the headset there's a deadzone. That said the audio solution is excellent (same as the Valve Index, it was designed by Valve), the resolution is also 2160p like the Quest 2 but as it's a direct video feed it looks better. I would say this is the best PC VR solution for most people right now. If you want standalone VR, Quest 2 is your best choice. There's also the DecaGear coming out that looks like it could be a solid competitor to the G2, but we don't know when that's coming out.

You could call the Valve Index the "pro" option. The resolution isn't as high as the other 2 but it has the best tracking and the best controllers. I just can't justify the cost of it personally. But for those who have money to burn, it's a good option. You can also use the Index controllers and lighthouses with the Reverb G2 for the best of both worlds, high resolution, great clarity and best-in-class tracking and controllers.

Rift S is not even worth considering anymore since the Quest 2 replaced it. Same for any WMR headset other than the Reverb G2, until we see other manufacturers come out with updated headsets that use the new controllers and improved tracking the G2 has, they're not worth consideration.

And lastly I guess there's Pimax. Their newer headsets are supposedly good but they don't come with controllers so it ends up being very costly, not really within the budget of most people I think.
 
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The Real Jdbye

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This is not a new idea, Google's Daydream was made from similar materials. It seems like a no brainer, anyone who has used VR for more than an hour at a time knows how hot your face gets after a while, even when you're playing seated and not moving around at all, so more breathable fabrics and less plastic benefits everyone.
 

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What's the tierlist, so to speak, on VR Headsets as of 2021? I'm not talking merely specs, as important as they are. I'm also referring to features in general.

I've heard the Oculus Quest 2 is up there on top with it being wireless, but I haven't heard a whole lot about HTC and anything they've done in a while in terms of them standing out. I know about the Valve Index having some of the best specs for a price that's a bit of an ask for someone to plop money down on, especially with that new HP VR headset that's either released or just around the corner that's $600-700 iirc.
A tier list would be difficult. All the commonly considered headsets are good- for different things

HTC dropped out of the market for a few years, as they made... multiple massive failures in a row, last one being the Vive with the RGB tracking.
They will be revealing a new headset soon- it would make sense to do it at Vivecon. And when they do, that’s going to be their next attempt to renter the competitive market.

The Quest 2 is a great VR headset- and if you know what you’re doing with debug/encoder settings (Hidden in the oculus files), you can make it look amazing on PCVR.
Soon they’ll also be adding 120hz support as well for Oculus Air Link and Oculus Link
It’s a standalone headset too. Standalone mode will also be getting experimental 120hz support soon- but it won’t be in many games I assume
It features the Snapdragon XR2 to be able to create the best possible experience- but they do underclock it for battery life
The tracking... you can throw your controller across the room and it wouldn’t lose it once
The controllers, it seems some people don’t like them for the sole purpose that they’re slightly larger than the CV1. But there’s some better things though- they’re much quieter than the past revisions, best vibration by far (which is very important in VR), and they last up to 4 months on the batteries they come with alone, while the CV1 would last a month at most.
There are some bad sides however- they’re not the best for Beat Saber. You can’t hold them in different ways to make it easier.
But the trade offs are-
The audio is terrible. So they put a headphone Jack on the side of the headset (it also support Bluetooth but uh)
And the comfort... it’s nonexistent. You need the $50 headstrap to make it pleasant
They had to do these things to make the headset affordable. They priced it so cheap actually, that they’re losing money from selling it- they’re currently making all their money off software sales alone.


I predict HTC will be announcing another headset soon- a cheaper one.
However, the Valve Index is a great headset. It has the best controllers you could get anywhere today- but the headset’s resolution is... lower than the the other top headsets these days.
Nonetheless it’s a great headset if you can afford it.
The audio isn’t breathtaking- but it won’t let you down either :P
The tracking is great if you have the proper setup. This headset is great for several purposes-

It’s rival, the Reverb G2, is another great headset. It has a better resolution than the Valve Index, and it’s cheaper. The audio I’m told is around the same- the controllers don’t exactly meet the industry standards, with a severe lack of sensors and buttons in the controller itself- which kills immersion.
And it falls behind in tracking- doesn’t really matter for people who only play VRchat or something, but people who like to snap their neck playing Beat Saber or competitively play/speedrun games should not get this headset.

The Rift S was a failure and they should’ve abandoned it earlier.
However the Rift CV1 is still a viable option today. The most comfortable headset on the market- and still uses lighthouse tracking. Inside out tracking will never be able to match the low latency levels of lighthouse tracking.

It just depends on what you’re looking for in the end- what games you’re going to play. Some headsets are better for some things than others.
 
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Personally, it makes zero sense in this form-factor, unless your goal is to weight-train your noggin, in which case I suggest you take another look at a Human Anatomy handbook.

We're still a few iterations away from an acceptable form-factor for VR | AR and my common-sense recommendation is to use what would now be called Traditional Digital Fitness Training, e.g. Nintendo Wii, Switch, Kinect or even a treadmill with a monitor.
 

jahrs

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Besides the superior features, It's also not owned by the worst company of all time

Details please if the only difference is that FB isn't involved i don't care cause I use it to play modded beat saber so I don't deal with them anymore since I haven't updated it since I bought it. They could strangle children and I would not give a shit I just use companies to get what I want anything else they do is irrelevant.
 
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Mama Looigi

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Details please if the only difference is that FB isn't involved i don't care cause I use it to play modded beat saber so I don't deal with them anymore since I haven't updated it since I bought it. They could strangle children and I would not give a shit I just use companies to get what I want anything else they do is irrelevant.
That’s a good mindset
Might get some weird looks, but honestly that’s the best way to go about things

I have absolutely no idea what they meant by superior features since there’s wasn’t even any features revealed here other than “workout headset concept”

I’d suggest updating the headset itself- it won’t change anything negatively.
But for Beat Saber... it seems they still haven’t made a mod thing for the latest game update
 

shorty_bobert

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Details please if the only difference is that FB isn't involved i don't care cause I use it to play modded beat saber so I don't deal with them anymore since I haven't updated it since I bought it. They could strangle children and I would not give a shit I just use companies to get what I want anything else they do is irrelevant.
I guess getting all aggressive is a good alternative to reading the article... Literally all of the features are right there in the pictures, and it's not a real headset so idk what else you'd want.
 
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