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The Vive Pro just got $200 cheaper ahead of Half-Life: Alyx

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HTC has cut the price of its high-end Vive Pro virtual reality headset by $200, making one of the most expensive big-name headsets a little more affordable. The price cut applies to three different packages. The Vive Pro headset alone — without the tracking base stations and controllers — has dropped from $799 to $599. The Vive Pro Starter Kit, which includes two SteamVR 1.0 base stations and two Vive controllers, dropped from $1,099 to $899. And the Vive Pro Full Kit, which offers the same deal with newer 2.0 base stations, now costs $1,199.

The Vive Pro is HTC’s high-end professional-oriented VR headset. It’s a variation on the now-discontinued first-generation Vive, featuring an upgraded resolution of 1440 x 1600 per eye as well as precision tracking with two (or more) laser base stations. HTC also sells the mediocre $699 Vive Cosmos, which is meant for gaming and other home use. The Cosmos uses more convenient head-mounted cameras instead of base stations, and it features motion controllers that are closer to Oculus’ gaming-oriented design than the austere Vive remotes.

But the Vive Pro’s most direct competition is Valve’s high-end $999 Index. The Index also features a 1440 x 1600 resolution per eye, and it uses SteamVR base stations for tracking. Both headsets (as well as the Cosmos) plug into a gaming PC. Until now, the Vive Pro cost significantly more than the Index. Now, HTC’s starter kit is slightly cheaper — if you’re willing to make the sacrifice of using older base stations, which are lacking a few performance upgrades and features for power users with big play spaces.

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Perhaps more importantly, though, the Index is currently out of stock as Valve prepares to release its highly anticipated Half-Life: Alyx in March. The Vive Pro is one of your only options if you like base station tracking instead of inside-out cameras. It’s got a higher resolution than the wired Oculus Rift S, and this price drop makes it a more viable purchase for home users. You’ll have to weigh whether it’s worth the significant hassle of setting up those base stations, though — especially since you still won’t be getting the special interactions that Valve has promised for its unique Index controllers.

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