HTC Vive Pro vs. Samsung Odyssey

HTC revealed an updated Vive Pro at CES 2018, bringing a new display, redesigned head strap, and, eventually, new controllers and lighthouse motion sensors. Samsung's Odyssey Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headset is so far the most deluxe of the headsets, offering a design that's actually quite close to that of the Vive Pro. How exactly do these two headsets stack up? Let's take a look.

See Samsung Odyssey at Microsoft Store

HTC Vive Pro vs. Samsung Odyssey: Tech specs

HTC Vive Pro

Category HTC Vive Pro Samsung Odyssey
Display Dual AMOLED
3.5 inches
Dual AMOLED
3.5 inches
Resolution 1,440 x 1,600
(2,880 x 1,600)
1,440 x 1,600
(2,880 x 1,600)
PPI 615 PPI 615 PPI
FOV 110 degrees 110 degrees
Refresh rate 90Hz 90Hz
Connection USB-C 3.0
DisplayPort 1.2
USB-A 3.0
HDMI 2.0

HTC Vive Pro vs. Samsung Odyssey: Display

Samsung Odyssey

Looking at the specs above, these two headsets are quite closely matched. Both have the same resolution and pixels-per-inch (PPI), and both offer the same field-of-view (FOV) and max refresh rate.

The original HTC Vive had some significant screen-door effect — a fine grid of lines that you notice if you let your eyes unfocus — that the Vive Pro will rectify. The Samsung Odyssey has already mostly done away with this effect, and image quality is impressive.

If you're looking for the absolute best picture, either of these headsets will make a great choice. A final decision might come down to which connections your PC is using, and whether or not you want to invest in dongles or adapters for the USB-C and DisplayPort used on the HTC Vive Pro.

HTC Vive Pro vs. Samsung Odyssey: Design and features

Samsung Odyssey

The Vive Pro has done away with the elastic headstrap that was found on the original Vive, replacing it with a padded plastic band that wraps around the head. There is still an elastic strap on top to help keep the headset from slipping down your face and to help distribute the load more evenly. Like the Odyssey, there is an adjustment dial on the back to keep it snug.

The Odyssey has the same padded plastic band, though there is no extra elastic strap on top. The entire thing is far less bulky than the Vive Pro, although some users have reported that the headset digs into the forehead after an extended period of play. All that bulk on the Vive Pro should mean extra comfort, and HTC has added an extra 24 percent of surface area to the face gasket (including the nose cover and foam padding) than the original Vive had.

Vive wireless adapter

Both headsets feature built-in headphones that can be removed if you'd rather use your own. However, the addition of these headphones means you have one less cable to worry about while you're navigating a VR world.

Finally, a wireless adapter has been announced for the original Vive and Vive Pro. It will be sold separately (no set price yet) and is expected to be available sometime later this year. As competition, TPCAST also announced at CES 2018 a 2.0 model of their wireless adapter that will be compatible with WMR, Rift, and Vive. It's not yet available, but is expected sometime in the first half of 2018. The difference here? The Vive adapter is meant to work natively with the Vive without much hassle, whereas the TPCAST adapter requires separate software and some extra tweaking to get working.

HTC Vive Pro vs. Samsung Odyssey: Audio

Samsung Odyssey

The AKG headphones built into the Samsung Odyssey deliver some impressive spatial sound but, if you prefer, you can remove them and add your own headphones. The Odyssey also has a built-in microphone that can be used to give Cortana commands or to chat with players in multiplayer games. There's a bit of standard noise cancellation, but nothing spectacular.

The Vive Pro, on the other hand, has a dual microphone setup with smart noise cancellation that will still let conversation directed at you through, allowing you to converse with the headset in place. The Vive Pro's headphones are Hi-Res Audio certified, meaning you're getting top-quality digital sound without the need for bulky hardware.

For the best audio experience the HTC Vive will likely pull slightly ahead, but the Odyssey is not far behind.

HTC Vive Pro vs. Samsung Odyssey: Sensors and motion controllers

Vive Pro lighthouse

The biggest difference between these two VR headsets are the motion controllers and tracking method. The Vive Pro will initially use the original lighthouse base stations and original wand controllers, with an updated bundle expected to come later this year. That bundle, with new lighthouses and new wands, will be able to cover a play area of 32 feet x 32 feet, which is especially enticing for any business owners looking to set up a commercial VR experience.

The lighthouses aren't exactly difficult to set up, but the Samsung Odyssey doesn't have any external sensors to worry about. Tracking is handled from the inside out, and the motion controllers rely on sensors in the front of the headset. While you can basically plug in the headset, power on the controllers, and be ready to go, tracking isn't as precise as with the Vive Pro; the controllers sometimes lose tracking if they're out of view of the headset too long.

As for the controllers themselves, Samsung has a premium set with rounded edges and a more comfortable design than, say, those from Dell. Still, they don't feel quite as sturdy as the Vive's original wands, but you might find them slightly more comfortable. What the new wands look like, we'll have to wait and see.

HTC Vive Pro vs. Samsung Odyssey: Conclusion

HTC Vive Pro

After putting these two headsets side-by-side, it's clear that competition will be stiff. Samsung Odyssey is no doubt the device you'd be most likely to call "pro" out of all WMR headsets, and its specs are mostly on par with those of the Vive Pro.

For any current Vive owners, there will be an upgrade wave that lets you get your hands on a Vive Pro to use with the original lighthouses and wand controllers. Later this year, however, it's expected that a full bundle will be made available to everyone. There are still no set prices.

As for the Odyssey, it's available now for about $500, motion controllers included. Considering the original Vive is still priced at about $600, it's hard to believe that the Vive Pro will be able to compete with the Odyssey when it comes to price.

On a budget and can't wait for the Vive Pro? The Odyssey is definitely the best WMR experience you can get.

See Samsung Odyssey at Microsoft Store

More resources

Be sure to check out these other links for more information on the new HTC Vive Pro and the Samsung Odyssey.