We go hands on with the second generation Vive development kit

We just got to go hands-on with HTC’s newly updated Vive development kit at CES 2016. HTC is calling this iteration the “Vive Pre” and the company has made several improvements to the whole Vive ecosystem. The headset is a little bit lighter and more comfortable this time around with more foam-like padding for your face. There will also be interchangeable faceplates as well, in case you find the default scheme not suitable to your noggin’. HTC has also made the display brighter and have improved the optics through something the company is calling “Mura” Correction. The company says this Mura correction helps deliver a clearer and crisper image with no dirty window or linen-like quality. From what we could tell, the infamous “screen door effect” is largely gone, but you can still make out the pixels if you try. We also tried the headset with glasses and are happy to report that they work just fine with them.

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The Vive Pre’s biggest new addition is the front-facing camera.

The biggest addition to the Vive Pre is the integration of a front facing camera. With the double tap of a button on the controller, you can enable a pass-through mode that shows your surroundings in a blue Tron-like haze. This mode is good in case you fear that cat is getting a little too close for comfort.

We interview a representative from HTC about Vive’s newest additions.

The chaperone system is also still there and it displays blue virtual walls anytime you are approaching the limits of your designated safety zone. With two lighthouses, the Vive Pre can scale out to 15 by 15 feet. The lighthouses themselves have also been improved so that they run more quietly.

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The Vive Pre features what HTC is calling “Mura” correction which will help mitigate the screen door effect.

HTC also made some improvements to the controllers themselves. The previous controller featured sharp angles, but the controllers here are more circular and feature softer edges, which makes it a little more comfortable to hold. The controllers themselves can also now charge via Micro USB and will last four hours on a complete charge.

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The new controller is rounder and more comfortable to hold.

While no price is set for the consumer version of the headset just yet, we do know that you’ll be able to purchase it in April.

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The new Vive Pre family

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