video

HTC Vive Pro review

The HTC Vive Pro pushes VR forward, but at $800 for the headset alone it's likely to remain niche.

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00:01
hey welcome PC world I'm Hayden Dingman
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and I am here today with the vive pro
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it's not really a vive the 2.0 but that's kind
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of what I've been thinking of it as at
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home it's the first upgrade or the first
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headset upgrade we've had in two years
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since the original vive and rift came
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out in 2016 so yeah first thing as you
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can see it's now blue I can't really say
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I'm a big fan I think I like the dark,
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black or sleek black a look of the
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original I don't know, it’s kind of -- it's
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not as bad in person as it is in their
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renders but it's still very blue but
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anyways aside from that you can see a
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lot of the the improvements to this have
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actually been folded in from last year's
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deluxe audio strap which we also put a
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review of up on the site last year that
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was the first time that we had this
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rigid plastic headband and also the
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built-in headphones so a lot of those
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improvements carry over into the vive
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pro from the start you can just snap
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these headphones down on your ears and
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now adjustment instead of being like a
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crazy three strap system as the bicycle
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wheel system which is used on hololens
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also so you just turn this knob in the
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back
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very easy slip the thing on and off in
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about 10 seconds now which is definitely
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not the case with the old model the big
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difference from last year's deluxe audio
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strap is there's also now much more of a
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counterweight here on the back you can
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see it's pretty sizable piece of plastic
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good and bad things here first of all
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the headset feels a lot lighter so
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before if you had the original vive or
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the rift even, that headset would
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kind of pull down on your face a lot
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there wasn't really anything to offset
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that and that was especially bad on the
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vive because they only had elastic
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straps it really would just hang heavy
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and if you looked down you would always
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get this thing where the headset pulled
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down towards the ground; this now solves
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both those problems the rigid plastic
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keeps it up against your face and also
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the counterweight offsets some of the
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weight in the back so I think this is
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actually technically heavier overall
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than the
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original vive but it feels lighter but the one
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thing I have noticed and this is sort of
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a niche problem because I have a very
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tall gamer chair with a headrest that
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comes up above my head but because of
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that seated VR with the vive pro is
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actually much more annoying this little
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piece of plastic as small as it looks
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actually pushes my head forward from my
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chair yeah I think that if you have a
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tall chair this new vive pro model is
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gonna be a little bit awkward it's clear
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htc you really just wants to focus on
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the the room scale environment which is
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what distinguishes the vive still from
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everybody else they still have the best
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tracking in my opinion but for those of
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you who are using seated VR still a
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bit of an issue; the vibe control box is
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also I think worth talking about;
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or the vive pro control box, they did
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redesign this so the old model had on
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the back USB DisplayPort power and an
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HDMI that HDMI port has been taken off
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now so you can see it's only gonna be
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main display port on the back which is
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fine most graphics cards have more
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DisplayPort capabilities and they do
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HDMI anyway on the front they've also
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redesigned the cable they have a custom
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port now it's very I don't know large
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but that replaces both the original
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ribbon cable which most people probably
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got rid of I think they stopped sending
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vives out with the original ribbon cable
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like two months in but if you have that
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this is a much sleeker cable it also
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replaces the three-in-one cable which is
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the solution they had before that one of
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course was I think HDMI power and USB on
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the front also this one is just the
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single port plug it in it's a little bit
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finicky but it goes straight in and then
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you also have a power button on the
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front which you're gonna press to turn
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it on and you'll have a little green
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light illuminate there I don't know many
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people are shutting the vibe off in
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between sessions but I guess if that's
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something that concerns you you can do
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it for me it's been only a thing that I
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use when I need to reset the hardware
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but yeah otherwise a much sleeker box
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than before I think but
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biggest improvement by far is actually
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the resolution which is the thing that
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we can't really demonstrate to you here
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but the original vive had a resolution
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of 2160 by 1200 the vive Pro jumps that
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up to 2880 by 1600 which if I remember
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from the HTC marketing materials I think
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is a 73 percent increase in pixel
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density it's still not quite enough to
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get rid of the the screen door effect
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but it gets a lot closer I've been using
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it at home for a variety of demos
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including just the Steam home
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environment and the thing that I've
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noticed the most difference in is text
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which should not come as a surprise
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anyway with the original vive the 2160
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by 1200 seemed like a great resolution
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at the time or at least was much better
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than what we had had with the dk2 and
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those earlier rift prototypes but text
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was always still pretty blurry unless
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you did like size 72 point font nowadays
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with the Vive Pro I've noticed I can read
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all of those Steam home menus which
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are especially small a lot of that text
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is at probably 12-point font what you
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used to look very blurry and you had to
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squint to read it all that looks crystal
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clear now and games I don't notice it as
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much games already looked pretty good on
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the vive -- some of the lines
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look a little crisper some of the
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backgrounds look a little less blurry
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but overall you can still tell oh I can
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see the pixels a little I think that
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we'll still need at least one more jump
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before we fully get rid of the screen
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door effect but at that point we're
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talking about 4k at 90 frames per second
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which is probably a few years down the
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line unless Foveated rendering becomes
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more of a solution than it is right now
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but yeah it's a pretty nice headset the
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main problem is the price $800 for just
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the headset that doesn't include you
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know the base stations or the
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controllers I'm gonna guess it's gonna
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be $1,000 for the whole package the $800
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deal seems to be aimed at people who
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already have a vive and to be honest I
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think that's who the vive pro is
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primarily aimed at to begin with it's
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the enthusiast it's the person that has
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really wondered
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where we're gonna get our next our
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upgrade from that's me I remember you
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know back in the dk1 days it felt like a
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year later we had the dk2 and then a
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year after that we were seeing the vive
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and it felt like these upgrades were
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coming so fast at the time and then it's
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been two years since we got the consumer
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versions there hasn't really been a lot
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going on for the people that have been
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wondering like hey when are we gonna see
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a higher res hmd this is that but it
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doesn't really feel like a vive 2 - I
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think they're smart to not really call
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this a second-generation piece of
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hardware it's more of like a vive 1.5 vive Pro
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is a pretty apt name I guess but it's
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expensive and so it's also gonna be a
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pretty niche item I think most people
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are gonna wanna stick with the original
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vive which is the $500 bucks and that
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comes with the base stations and the
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controllers 800 for just the headset or
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a thousand so twice as much for a little
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full kit that seems a bit outrageous but
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we will keep you updated obviously
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there's a lot more stuff to come this
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year in VR oculus the Santa Cruz
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prototype we saw at oculus connect last
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year that's expected to come maybe later
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this year or early next year so there's
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more stuff coming but for now this is it
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vive pro 800 dollars and it's blue
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