HTC unveils Vive Flow, a portable VR headset that uses your phone as a controller

HTC unveils Vive Flow, a portable VR headset that uses your phone as a controller

After weeks of leaks and teases, HTC’s highly anticipated Vive Flow VR headset is finally here. The Vive Flow is a departure from the previous HTC VR headsets. Unlike the earlier models, which needed to be tethered to a PC, the Vive Flow is a standalone device that uses your Android phone as a controller.

HTC unveils Vive Flow, a portable VR headset that uses your phone as a controller

HTC Vive Flow: Specfications

SpecsHTC Vive Flow
Form factor & Weight
ThermalsActive cooling for stable performance and increased user comfort
PowerExternal power source (e.g., compatible battery bank)
Video Pass-throughYes. Supports video pass-through for environmental awareness
Tracking2x cameras for inside-out headset 6DoF tracking
ControllersCan use connected phone as controller

The Vive Flow has a pretty unconventional design for a VR headset, resembling supersized glasses, and it’s pretty lightweight at 189g (via The Verge). Each earcup features an LCD that refreshes at 75Hz and has a 1600p resolution. You get a wide 100-degree field-of-view and adjustable diopter dials for focus adjustments. There are two forward-facing cameras fitted on the headset to provide a real-time video feed of your surroundings.

The Vive Flow is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 chip, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Although the headset packs an in-built battery, HTC says it’s only designed to let you swap power sources — the device actually needs to be connected to a power bank. HTC separately sells its own battery, which claims to last up to 4-5 hours. However, any sizeable power bank and a USB Type C cable will do the job just as well.

The Vive Flow doesn’t come with an external controller. Instead, it connects to your Android smartphone to interact, navigate and control the UI. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and Miracast.

The HTC Vive Flow is priced at $499 and is available for pre-order today. Order will start shipping sometime in November.

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