HTC has just revealed the HTC VIVE Flow, a pair of “immersive glasses” that will allow you to take virtual reality experiences with you on the go.
Explaining that this particular product is geared around wellness, HTC CEO Cher Wang said: “With VIVE Flow, HTC is taking technology in a new direction, focusing not on what we do, but on how we feel.
“Maintaining our wellness has come to the forefront in the last few years, with so many millions feeling stressed every day, so it has never been more important to take time out to calm our minds, and VIVE Flow provides the perfect opportunity to escape our four walls and immerse ourselves in our ideal ambience.”
- Pre-order the HTC VIVE Flow now (£499 from HTC)
If you’re intrigued by the HTC VIVE Flow, read on to learn more. We’ve got the release date window, pre-order details and everything else you need to know below.
What is the HTC VIVE Flow?
The HTC VIVE Flow is described by its creators as a pair of “immersive glasses”, although you might think it looks more like a lightweight VR headset.
The HTC VIVE Flow will connect wirelessly to most 5G Android phones and there will also be power banks sold to go with it. Small enough to fit into a carry case that isn’t much bigger than your average glasses case, the HTC Vive flow is said to be “designed to help people find moments throughout their daily lives to relax, refresh and restore”.
With the HTC VIVE Flow, you will be able to mirror your phone screen onto the virtual reality display (meaning you can scroll through Instagram, watch Netflix or reply to WhatsApp messages without having to take the headset off), and you’ll also be able to use dedicated apps that are geared around meditation, chilling out, training your brain and entertaining you with some rudimentary gaming.
HTC VIVE Flow release date
The HTC VIVE Flow release date will take place in November 2021, so there isn’t long to wait at all. An exact date has not been confirmed by the manufacturers yet. We’ll be sure to let you know if and when that changes, though.
HTC VIVE Flow price
The HTC VIVE Flow price will be £499 GBP here in the UK, making this quite a luxury item – it’s a similar price to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, not that they’re similar products at all. Over in Europe, it will be €549 Euros. And in the United States, it will cost you $499 USD.
In terms of extra costs, it’s worth noting that HTC will also be launching a “special Viveport subscription plan” priced at $5.99 USD per month, which “gives people unlimited access to a wide range of immersive apps covering well-being, brain training, productivity, light gaming, and exclusive content like a Lo-Fi room designed to look and feel like a cozy café”.
HTC VIVE Flow pre-order
HTC VIVE Flow pre-orders begin today, and you can take a look at the official VIVE website if you want to get your order in nice and early. People who pre-order will also receive the official HTC VIVE Flow carry case and a gift bundle containing seven pieces of virtual content to use with the device.
HTC VIVE Flow specs and features
HTC has stated that the HTC VIVE Flow will have “an expansive 100-degree field of view [which] allows for cinematic screens to lose yourself in HD quality content, with a sharp 3.2K resolution and a smooth 75 Hz refresh rate.”
The device will also feature “full 3D spatial audio” through its in-built speakers, although you will be able to connect Bluetooth headphones if you don’t want anyone to hear what you’re immersing yourself in.
The HTC VIVE Flow weighs just 189 grams and has a “dual-hinge design and soft face gasket [that] allow it to fold down into a compact footprint for effortless portability.”
And if you wear glasses, don’t worry! HTC has revealed that the VIVE Flow “also has built-in diopter dials, allowing users to easily make adjustments for crystal clear visuals.” Another impressive feature is its active cooling system, which “pulls warm air away from your face, keeping you comfortable throughout the day.”
Is the HTC VIVE Flow good for gaming and apps?
A couple of weeks ago, RadioTimes.com went hands-on with a demo unit of the HTC VIVE Flow. We were surprised by how light and comfortable it was, and it was also impressive how well the simple dials on the headsets counteracted my normal need to wear glasses while in VR (this reviewer is slightly shortsighted, but didn’t need glasses after fiddling with those dials).
We were allowed to try out a number of apps during the event and they all ran just fine: there was a trippy meditation app called TRIPP, which took us on a colourful journey to relaxation; there was a chill-out app that let us hang out in a jazz café while rain fell outside the virtual window; there were a couple of very basic games, including a ‘pirate shooter’ where we had to aim cannonballs at far-flung ships; and we also watched Star Wars on Disney+, which was mirrored from a phone and looked great in VR.
All in all, you can tell that the HTC VIVE Flow is made with relaxation and downtime in mind rather than hardcore gaming. That being said, the fact that you can mirror your phone to the VR display means that you should be able to play any mobile games you want on this VR device – you could, in theory, even use streaming apps like Google Stadia, NVIDIA GeForce Now and Amazon Luna to play cloud-based games on the HTC VIVE Flow. But we didn’t have a chance to try that out.
Can you connect the HTC VIVE Flow to a PC?
The HTC VIVE Flow will need to be plugged into a power supply if you want to use it for any meaningful amount of time – using a USB cable, you should be able to power it from your phone, laptop, PC or power bank of choice (or you could plug it into a wall socket, of course).
In terms of what it can show you, though, the HTC VIVE Flow will not be able to display content from your PC. It really is just meant to be used with your phone. Do not expect to use this as your main PC headset if you’re a big VR gamer, because that’s not what it’s for.
HTC VIVE Flow trailer
There isn’t a short and snappy trailer for HTC VIVE Flow just yet, but we’ll update this page as soon as we have one. The product is actually being revealed right now on a live stream, which you can watch here: