In this livestream I have checked out the Vive Focus 3 in SteamVR streaming mode via link cable! How does the device perform as a PCVR headset?
In a nutshell: it works really well! You have to install a streaming software on your PC, connect the Focus 3 via USB cable, and then you’re ready to go. The highest quality I could set offered me a resolution of 2k * 2k pixels per eye. That is not the native resolution that the Focus 3 is capable of, but still better than the 1728 * 1728 pixel resolution that worked well for me for the wireless test.
The image quality therefore looked good! Better than compared when wireless streaming. However, in direct comparison the Vive Pro 2 that shares the same panel and lenses looks better when using it in native resolution. This is not surprising since we just have a higher resolution of 2.5k *2.5k and also a higher refresh rate at 120hz instead of 90hz with the Pro 2 in native resolution mode.
I was able to play all games, including rhythm games without any issues. I could not detect latency even though for sure some latency must be introduced as compared to PCVR headsets that do not have to compress the image first to send it to the headset via USB. There were also no micro-stutters as compared to wireless streaming. So overall it was a really good gaming experience.
So can the Focus 3 replace a Pro 2 as a PCVR headset? I would say no. First of all, the picture looks even better on the Pro 2 after all, and we don’t have any issues here with any battery losing power. The Focus 3 is powered via USB-C, which can be seen from the green LED, but the battery is not charged at the same time. It is supposed to last longer, but at one point in time it will lose all its power. You can also hear the fan of the device, at least in moments when it is quite otherwise. This was not disturbing in this live test, but it was noticeable.
Wired SteamVR streaming on the Focus 3 works well, but in a direct comparison, if a cable is alright and base stations are not a problem, I would recommend the Pro 2 for PCVR applications/games.