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HTC Vive Flow Review

Do you want to look like a giant fly? Then get the most pointless VR product of the last year from HTC...

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I don't know. I really don't know who the target audience is here. Who would want a pair of sleek portable VR glasses that require you to pair them to a compatible Android phone, which means the audio-visual experience is obviously not top-notch. Of course, I remember when Google Cardboard VR was sizzling hot, and in many ways it was quite a fresh experience, not least given that it was free. The HTC Vive Flow could be called the same thing, but at the hefty price of £500, if I wanted to be properly nasty, but it's still VR via a mobile phone and it's not something I've been particularly impressed with during my month of testing. Anyway, let's start with some specs.

HTC Vive Flow
This guy has the arms above his ears but for us at the editorial office it has worked poorly, instead we have had to put the arms on top of our ears, like a big and uncomfortable head hug. The design and fit is really uncomfortable.

Memory and storage: 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM
Weight: 189g
Resolution: 3.2k combined resolution display (2x 2.1-inch LCD 1600 x1600 per eye)
Audio: Stereo speakers, dual microphones

HTC Vive Flow
They are ugly too.

As I mentioned above, the Vive Flow only works with Android phones and a limited number of them, which feels a bit unusual. iPhone owners needn't bother reading on. For our own part we've been testing these VR glasses alongside an HTC U12 Plus. An average phone with average performance, but which of course works brilliantly in terms of compatibility as it's the same manufacturer as the glasses themselves (duh!). The phone connects to the glasses of course and then acts as the controller itself when gaming, or at least when moving around the VR worlds available here. Considering that as a user you obviously can't see your phone as you hold it once you have the glasses on your head, I'd call this a really crappy control method that pretty much steals the whole experience. You use your fingers to tap the screen to perform simple button presses and up/down/left/right on the mobile screen with one finger to navigate the menus. It's poorly conceived and poorly executed, if you ask me.

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HTC Vive Flow
£500 feels like an outright hysterical price for the Vive Flow.

As far as the ergonomics and fit of the Vive Flow are concerned, the same simple conclusion applies as was the case for the control method. Didn't anyone think this through? Because the idea isn't really to have the frames themselves against the temples so that they rest against the top of the ears, like any normal pair of glasses, but more that they should rest above the ears and sort of act like a bear hug around the entire skull. If I don't wear the Vive Flow just so, the image becomes skewed and creates acute nausea, which is, on the whole, exactly as silly as me controlling the VR experience with my fingers against a touchscreen on a smartphone, which I can't see.

HTC Vive Flow
Skip these. Buy the Oculus Quest 2 instead.

Inside the VR experiences, it's not much more impressive, either. Unfortunately. The sound is okay but the graphics feel old and primitive and the meditation app I tested mostly just makes me annoyed, not calm or particularly harmonious. The image quality isn't too bad though, and for this purpose I guess 1600 pixel resolution per eye is pretty okay, but if I don't have to use the HTC Vive Flow at work in the future, I really won't be putting the glasses on my head ever again. Especially considering you can get a real VR headset for cheaper.

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HTC Vive Flow Review

HTC Vive Flow Review

HARDWARE. Written by Petter Hegevall

Do you want to look like a giant fly? Then get the most pointless VR product of the last year from HTC...



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