So, for anyone who knows my passion for trying out wearable personal viewscreen devices in hopes of finding the perfect virtual office space... the HTC Vive Flow is *very* close, albeit with the deadly flaw for this specific purpose of currently lacking keyboard support.
Any time I post about a gadget that puts HDMI screens in front of your face, I get people asking "Does it do VR?" and usually my answer is either "no" or "no, but it can technically do 3D" or "not well".

The Vive Flow is an actual VR device, one looking for a new market.
Most of the use cases for VR have been gaming, in spite of big business trying to make office work sound like the cool and edgy futuristic part of cyberpunk. The Vive Flow is not aimed at hardcore gaming; the games it's compatible with are more Cookie Gem Farm than 4 Left Guns.
The Vive Flow is trying to appeal to the business market while also trying to grow a casual market of VR experiences: VR for meditation, ASMR, relaxation, personal escape.

Presumably a goal here is to get more people to have and use VR at home so they can sell more to business.
And I want to tell you all that I'm excited by the potential in this device while also making it clear it's not there yet. Not recommending! I got in on the preorder because people who know my particular interest in wearable view devices tipped me to a few intriguing aspects.
The good stuff: it's very lightweight compared to a lot of electronics meant to be worn on the face. Goes on like glasses, with no strap around the back of the head, which as a wig-user, that strap is a deal breaker for anything I might have to put on/take off in public.
It has adjustable diopters for each eye so you can adjust it until it's clear but it fits just fine, and very comfortably so, over my actual glasses.
The low weight is in part because it does not have an internal battery to speak of; it has only enough storage capacity to prevent immediate shutdown in the case of coming unplugged, which is a great compromise. I like than better than requiring constant power or a heavy battery.
And while that means it needs to be plugged in to something at all times (USB-C port on a short cable near the right ear piece), that's the only connection it needs. One wire, that just has to go to anything that outputs power. (Some phones, USB battery bank, USB charger, etc.)
No doubt hardcore gamers could and would tell you all the ways that its graphical and audio immersiveness fall short, but as somebody who tries out and collects and uses wearable screens for non-VR purposes... it's clearer and more visible and readable than the best of those.
So those are the pluses: it's a lightweight, wearable, slip-on VR display that fits into a case about the size of a child's toy football (By which I mean little ones, not NFL regulation size.).

Here's why I'm not recommending it *yet*.
As it stands right now, the HTC Vive Flow is an expensive novelty. It's not useful for the type of gaming most people think of when they hear about a VR rig, but it's also not yet super useful for anything else.

A lack of options for input is the fatal flaw here.
The Vive Flow is designed to work with a relatively high-end Android phone as a controller, and -- currently -- only that. It's one part saving on hardware (can offload some stuff to the phone) and one part (in theory) making VR more approachable by only requiring one new device.
I find the phone-as-controller stuff intuitive and responsive, but... my relatively high-end Android phone is something I picked out specifically because it's good at serving as a computer in an idiosyncratic virtual office setup. It's not good, ergonomically, for waving around
I wouldn't mind using the phone as a remote control for interacting with the system menus, but it's the *only* input option. There's Bluetooth and an option to connect to Bluetooth devices but the only ones actually supported right now, I believe, are audio outputs.
Which, the device outputs sound directly near your ears already. I can think of multiple use cases for syncing to headphones or speakers, but it's not an obvious barebones need.
Now, I am me, and "me" here refers to a woman who used to write 3,000-word chapters on the physical keyboard of a Kindle back when they had them out of sheer stubbornness and a desire to write exactly where she was when the impulse struck her.
So, I have tried writing using the phone controller and the HUD keyboard that is available in the Vive Flow's virtual environments and also using the better HUD keyboard in the included Firefox Reality app with some of the browser-based cloud writing tools I use.
And I feel like I could do that, if I were to sync it with a more lightweight phone, but I wouldn't want to. It might be something I would do if I found myself bedridden from illness or exhaustion (which does happen) but had enough energy to twiddle a phone around and click it.
And also, the system's menu environment does not work with reclined or supine uses; it always puts the menu parallel to the ground, at a height intended for somebody sitting or standing.

Which is a common weakness in VR and undermines an amazing use...

But Firefox Reality... as somebody who wasn't interested in VR specifically and also rarely uses Firefox, I was not aware this existed and now it's a big part of why I am peppering HTC with requests for keyboard support.
Firefox Reality is a web-browsing environment intended for VR use. It's got a default home/landing page that is full of VR stuff that I haven't explored. It displays your webpage as a screen (floating or rectangular) floating in front of you, inside a 360-degree backdrop.
Opening a new window in this environment causes a new floating screen to appear alongside the previous one. You can literally turn to see it, or use arrow controls on top of the windows to flip them around.
And they do not assume a particular orientation. There's a "re-center view" function that when invoked it puts the currently main window directly in front of you, at whatever direction and angle you were looking.
So, if you want to lie in bed and watch a movie or YouTube video on the ceiling -- or if you're using something that allows keyboard input and you want to write on a screen at whatever angle of repose you're in -- you can do that, inside the Firefox Reality environment.
With the caveat that some sites, streaming services most particularly, are incompatible with some uncommon web browsing devices both by omission and design. I've got YouTube and Disney+ to work on FR with the Vive, and only when actively put into Desktop Mode for Disney.
And with the Vive Flow, you would need to sit up in order to navigate to the Firefox Reality app and then arrange it for use in repose.

And you couldn't use a keyboard when you get there.
I think they might enable keyboard use in the future, or else I wouldn't have anything to say about it publicly. I'm making my voice heard on the forum as an early adopter who would go from "this shows promise but can't recommend" to "have you heard about this amazing thing?"
As things stand, it's only really useful as a writing/work device in phone mode (VR environment is a gray void with a giant version of your phone screen floating in front of you). Keyboards synced to the phone still work on the phone.
Which... I mean, that's fine? But it eliminates most of the benefits of the VR aspect, limits you to things you could do on your phone, and requires you to toggle the phone controller app on and off, something that's hard to do without picking up the physical phone.
(When the phone controller app is active, *all* touches/taps on the phone screen are captured by the remote and interpreted as pressing one of four buttons by directional quadrant. Which works really well! But inconvenient when you're using the phone.)
And also, when I take one of my non-VR wearable viewscreen devices and plug it into my phone, it outputs a display in Samsung's desktop mode, DeX. Which increases the utility compared to just propping my phone up in front of me.
Using the Vive Flow to virtually prop my phone up in front of me is better ergonomically. It's like the difference between trying to read what I'm writing on a phone screen vs. on a giant flatscreen TV only I can see.
But this phone view mode function isn't enough to make the Vive Flow more than a toy. Unless/until they add some keyboard compatibility, I'm mostly going to use it to watch ASMR videos in bed, as I can take it off and put it in its case without sitting up to navigate back out.
Oh, and to be very clear since I am gathering that keyboard support is spotty with a lot of VR devices: I am speaking in absolute terms. There is currently no capacity to use any keyboard with the Vive Flow itself.
Oh, and one more observation: while the Vive Flow (once setup) does not require an internet connection for its basic functionality, I don't know how I would use it for writing/office stuff without a web app, so using it on the go I would be heavily dependent on my phone data.
I would hope that as Facebook tries to rebrand our corporate dystopia future into Ready Player One we'll get some dedicated "virtual office" software suites but I remain dubious that any of them would be designed to work offline.
But I'm not traveling anytime soon and not spending as much time writing outside the house as I would under other circumstances, so that's a somewhat distant consideration.
I've had other writers tell me, "Let me know when you find something I can slip on like a pair of glasses and just start writing in my own private space."

The HTC Vive Flow takes you to the door of that place but won't let you bring a keyboard. I'll let you know if that changes.
...this should say "curved or rectangular" in the parenthetical. Fingers got ahead of the brain.

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17 Nov
This is the tweet I'm second proudest of, so far, today.
This is the tweet I'm proudest of, so far, today.
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One could argue that it should be "There are still some things." because "things" are plural. But the speaker didn't write out the sentence and diagram it in advance. Would they have known how the sentence would turn out?
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me: No one. It was a dream.

Scream Guys: But was it?!
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