Releasing just a month after the Oculus Rift, you can say that the competition between VR headsets has already started with the release of the HTC Vive. Manufactured by the mobile phone company and partnered with Valve for Steam VR’s first VR headset, the HTC Vive is an awesome product which delivers a much more immersive experience than the Oculus Rift currently. We also reviewed Oculus Rift VR headset and shed some light on the various aspects of it, including its price. At this time, the HTC Vive costs pretty expensive at around $800, but this headset packs some punch in delivering VR entertainment. Following is the review of the HTC Vive:
HTC Vive Review
Opening the box of the HTC Vive reveals:
- The HTC Vive headset itself.
- Two motion controllers.
- Two base stations.
- A processing box.
The HTC Vive is an excellently designed VR headset. The materials used to manufacture the headset don’t look flimsy at all. But in some way, it looks better designed than the Oculus Rift. When mounted on a user’s head, the straps of the HTC Vive are made of elastic so that it easily adjusts the length to fit. While wearing, the HTC Vive doesn’t feel uncomfortable, so it can be used for hours without getting tired.
Setting up the HTC Vive along with all its accessories can take some more time than it was needed to set up the Oculus Rift, but it was not complicated. The headset connects to the processing box which connects to a PC with USB 3.0 and HDMI. The cable from the headset is almost 15 feet long so that it provides maximum movement without falling short. The base stations which detect the user’s movement on a play space need to be connected to a power outlet and need to be placed on higher ground like a shelf or a wall and they wirelessly communicate with the processing box. The base stations detect movement through dots placed over the headset and on the two motion controllers. The motion controllers are wireless and can be charged through a USB cable. Once everything is connected, the base stations take some time to map the play space or tell the user if adjusting is required. The base stations can map a play space of up to 15×15 feet. If you walk till the limit of the sensors, the headset shows blue walls to indicate that the area beyond this won’t be detected and this also prevents the user from wandering too far.
Unlike the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive does not come with built-in headphones, which is not a big deal. You can use your own preferred headphones with the HTC Vive. The HTC Vive consists of two displays behind two eyepieces. Both displays show 1200×1080 per eye with 90 Hz refresh rate. There wasn’t any time where the HTC Vive showed lag or stuttered and was rendering all graphics at a high frame rate. The HTC Vive has a camera on the front which can be used to view the real surroundings inside the headset if you want to do something else on your PC etc. This is a very nice feature which the Oculus Rift lacks.
The motion controllers really make you feel part of the virtual world. Interacting with objects and controlling a game feels very immersive. The controller features a trackpad, a clicking button on the top of the trackpad and grip buttons on the sides for sensing gripping sensations. The HTC Vive has taken the lead in the motion controllers department since the Oculus Rift does not ship with any motion controllers yet.
If you rely on Steam for your PC games, then you are in for a treat. The HTC Vive links with the Steam VR for all VR games compatible with this headset. There are almost 100 games compatible with the HTC Vive on launch day and many other available outside Steam. This is a very impressive number compared to the 30 launch titles for the Oculus Rift. Each game in the Steam store specifies which sort of movement a certain game required from the user. The HTC Vive ships with download codes for a few games as well.
Because of its high-end PC hardware requirements, all games run smoothly at high frame rates to deliver lifelike movements and animations. The most useful feature of the HTC Vive is switching to the front facing camera to view the real world if you want to do something else for a while.
In the play space of the HTC Vive, you can walk, run, sit down and examine each and everything of the virtual world. The motion controllers can mimic many types of actions like touching, pushing etc. This sort of VR is the real deal, moving around and really interacting with the virtual environment is the real purpose of a VR headset for gaming.
Being one of the first in its generation of consumer grade virtual reality headset, the HTC Vive has proven a lot better than its counterpart, the Oculus Rift. The HTC Vive is designed excellently. The build quality is excellent and does not feel uncomfortable when wearing the headset for longer periods of time.
The HTC Vive has a big advantage over the Oculus Rift with the motion controllers because they allow the gamer to use the hands to interact fully with the virtual world. This makes it more immersive than the Oculus Rift, but Oculus will release their motion controllers later this year.
You can view the real world through the front facing camera without taking off the headset.
HTC partnered with Valve to make the HTC Vive compatible with Steam VR which is a very good platform to deliver games since Steam is already a very popular platform for non-VR games.
Just like with the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive being a part of the VR for consumer entertainment for some reasons just doesn’t feel like a necessary addition to the gaming accessories just yet. Following are some of the cons which explain this about the HTC Vive:
The HTC Vive alone costs about $800 and needs a very high-end gaming PC just to use it which will cost between $1000 and $1200. If you have a gaming PC or not, still the HTC Vive is still very expensive.
The HTC Vive requires a lot of space due to the base stations which should be placed on the walls of a room to map a complete play space. This means that the room where the HTC Vive is to be used should be free of obstacles.
The HTC Vive contains a lot of features that the Oculus Rift lacks. But still both headsets are awesome considering that they are on the first of their sort of gaming accessories. The HTC Vive is indeed very fun to use but just like the Oculus Rift, it is not the thing which you need to own right away due to its price and its high-end PC requirements. Either wait till you meet the requirements to run this thing, or just wait till the price drops.