HTC Vive Pro VR Headset Teardown Reveals A Virtual Breeze For DIY Repair
Growing up, if something broke, you took out some tools and fixed it. These days, however, things are different. It's not that consumers don't have a knack for fixing things, or desire (I believe there are many that still do), but we're living in a sophisticated electronics age with devices that are increasingly difficult to repair. It's refreshing, then, that HTC's Vive Pro bucks the trend, as revealed in a teardown analysis.
More often than not, it seems when the folks at iFixIt get their paws on a premium electronic device, it's a scary endeavor for anyone sitting on the sidelines. Need an example? Revisit the iPad 6 teardown from earlier this month, or the Galaxy S9+ teardown that came before it. Both received low 'Repairability Scores' of 2 and 4, respectively. There are exceptions, such as the Nintendo Switch (8 out of 10), and the aforementioned Vive Pro.
HTC's latest VR headset mostly follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, the non-Pro Vive, as it pertains to being able to take the pieces apart and service the internal hardware. Right off the bat, the Vive Pro won praise for using spring contacts and standard Phillips screws to connect the modular headphones to the headset, making removal and replacement rather easy.
The strap also comes off easily—just unthread the headphone cables and remove a couple of Torx screws. Once you do that, the strap lifts right off "like a hat." To dig deeper, you have to locate a few hidden screws, which isn't ideal. However, it is better than having to deal with a bunch of adhesive, as has become standard practice with smartphones and tablets. With a little prying, the plastic chassis comes apart. From there it is mostly a matter of taking your time and disconnecting the various parts.
Overall, disassembling the Vive Pro VR headset is straightforward using standard tools. There is a low risk of destroying parts in the process, with hardly any surprises getting in the way. The headset also earned praise for using modular headphones that even come with instructions for removal and installation.
There is some adhesive (this is a modern electronic gadget, after all), but it's used sparingly to secure the lenses, microphone, and sensor arrays. The biggest ding is that the Vive Pro is a complex piece of hardware with a lot of delicate bits. Unfortunately, HTC does not provide a service manual. If you need to take the Vive Pro apart for any reason, take your time, jot down notes, and maybe even snap pictures along the way so you have plenty of information to refer back to when putting it all back together.
Though a bit labor intensive, the Vive Pro walked away with an 8 out of 10 Repairablity Score.