Google announced at Google I/O in May 2017 that it was developing a standalone VR headset with HTC, negating the need for a smartphone, PC and even wires to enjoy virtual reality. Fast forward to July 2017 and HTC has announced a standalone VR headset in China, suggesting that the standalone HTC Vive VR headset will be making its debut in the UK sooner rather than later.
Here, we discuss all the latest standalone HTC Vive VR headset release date rumours, along with the latest design and feature news.
If you're looking for more information on the second-generation Vive headset for PC, take a look at the latest HTC Vive 2 rumours.
When will the standalone HTC Vive headset be released in the UK?
While we’re still eagerly awaiting for the UK variant of HTC’s standalone VR headset to be announced, the company has announced a standalone HTC Vive VR headset in China.
While it’s clear that it’s marketed only at the Chinese market and won’t be coming to the UK anytime soon, it signals that progress is being made in that department. No word on a Chinese release date just yet, but developers interested can apply to find out more.
With the announcement of the headset in China, we can’t imagine the variant being developed with Google being very different and as such, we suspect it’ll be announced before the end of 2017 with a possible release in 2018.
New to the world of VR? Take a look at our complete guide to virtual reality.
What does the standalone HTC Vive headset look like?
Despite being announced in China, the overall design of the headset is largely unknown. What we do know is that it’ll be completely wireless and won’t require any kind of base stations like the PC-powered HTC Vive, meaning it should be fairly simplistic in design.
From the silhouetted image shared at the Chinese launch, we can see big differences in the design of the headset when compared to the first-generation HTC Vive. It looks much sturdier with a head-strap akin to that used by the PlayStation VR headset, the VR headset with, in our opinion, the most comfortable fit of all VR headsets currently on the market.
We’ll be sure to update this section with more information about the design and build of the HTC Vive standalone VR headset as we receive it, so make sure you check back soon.
What does the standalone HTC Vive headset feature?
The biggest feature of HTC’s upcoming standalone VR headset is that it doesn’t require a PC or a smartphone to work. The Chinese variant of the standalone headset is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor which is more than capable enough of powering decent VR experiences as we found out when we went hands-on with Qualcomm’s standalone VR headset in 2016.
Interestingly, rather than integrate one of the existing mobile platforms into the headset (like Google Daydream), HTC chose to offer its own Viveport store content in China.
We’re not quite sure how we feel about this as even though the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 is an impressive processor, it can’t provide the same kind of quality as a VR-ready gaming PC – and that’s what all HTC Vive content thus far has been designed to run on.
It’ll be interesting to see how HTC overcomes this hurdle in the coming months, or whether it’ll change its mind and integrate Daydream support for the Western variant co-developed by Google.
It’s worth noting that there will be differences between the Chinese standalone HTC Vive headset and the one being developed with Google for release in the UK, but we think it’s safe to assume that the two will share similarities – it doesn’t seem logical to design one headset for one market and then start all over again for another market when both want the same thing, after all.
Either way, we’ll update this section whenever we receive new information so make sure you check back soon.
Interested in the HTC Vive? Here's a list of the best HTC Vive games available in 2017.