HTC VIVE Virtual Reality System Review

Editor rating

4/5 on October 21, 2017

User's rating

859 reviews

PROS

  • It offers a flexible play area. You can use it while standing, seated or in a space that as big as 15 feet by 15 feet. The SteamVR tracking offers the best experience, so you can play anyhow.
  • The Vive is fully immersive. It offers you realistic actions and movement, 360-degree controller, directional audio, headset tracking and realistic graphics, and HD haptic feedback.
  • You get to play safer. Its system can warn you each time you get to the boundaries of the play area. The front-facing camera on the headset offers you a glimpse of how the real world is when you need to know.
  • The VR landscape is rich and vibrant. Additionally, the game is created uniquely to reduce virtual-reality sickness. You will not experience nausea while playing on Vive, something you can’t say about the Rift.
  • Better games. It’s not Vive’s technology that is better; the game is just smarter. For example, with Hover Junkers, you don’t rotate the ship. You only need to move backward, forwards, right and left. You don’t turn and that where the difference comes in.
  • Awesome controllers. The controllers offered by the Vice are incredible and will enable you to enjoy the game like never before.
  • Easy setup. It’s easy to set it up as long as you know the kind of experience you desire.

CONS

  • Still pricey. Although the cost of getting the Vive might have reduced, most peoples will find it very expensive to get this virtual reality system.
  • Bulky cables. While the cables are very useful, particularly when you want to use it while standing or moving around, they are bulky.  Some users might have to strain to use it.
  • Heavy. When you strap the headset and start playing, you will also notice that this device is a heavy beast. It’s heavier compared to PlayStation VR or Rift.
  • Too many cables. The cables also offer another hazard; you could trip anytime as you play if you are not keen on where you step while playing.

VERDICT

HTC Vive is an amazing VR headset that offers an unrivaled experience that’s yet to be outdone by its competitors. Tracking is instant, and when used with a high-resolution display, it provides a smooth experience that is easy to the eye but still looks ‘real.' Since the headset is an amazing VR device, the verdict will be split it three parts to fit different kinds of users:

  • PC gamers: In case you have a capable PC, the money to spend on HTC Vive and an undying interest in gaming, this investment is recommended. It’s new and exciting and will offer something unmatched by standard gaming when watching TV. The ability to walk around the virtual environment is just amazing.
  • Casual Users: For the casual gamer or VR user, this is a bit difficult.  Although the experience is amazing, you have to consider if you will be using it often to justify the price tag, including all the required computer hardware upgrades.
  • First-time users: If you have never used a VR and you don’t have a decent PC already, consider holding fire until you have tried it. Although VR is exciting, it’s not meant for everyone. It would be better if you went to a store and tried it out before buying it for yourself. The experience is so personal such that no amount of reading gives the exact idea of how it feels to use it. Note that the cost of getting Vive is high so you need to be sure if you genuinely need it.

HTC Vive is more immersive than the Rift – so much so that you’ll forgive the irritating software shortcomings and pixelated screen. If you desire to place yourself in an ideal virtual world, whether standing or seated, Vive makes more sense. It’s impressive, and it will give you that fantastic virtual-reality experience.  If you have room for it and you can afford it, get it!

HTC and Valve created a virtual reality system dabbed HTC Vive to rival the Oculus Rift. Both systems were ready in 2016. The hardware has not changed, but the cost has. Although the HTC Vive was initially more costly, selling at $799, it is now more affordable. HTC Vive can support a whole-room VR, and this is a broader area than what the Rift allows. Vive has been designed to bring immersive, powerful and high-end virtual reality experiences.

While most of the Rift’s experiences and games require you to move characters using a video game controller, HTC Vive lets you interact physically with the virtual environment you see via the headset. It means you can hold a bow and arrow virtually and then position your arms as if you are holding a real weapon ready to fire. You can even pick up and scrutinize objects as if you are holding them in your hand. These elements are adding a new and exciting dimension to virtual reality, making it feel more authentic. The Vive is providing a wowing VR experience so far.

System requirements

A really powerful computer is required to run the Vive. The manufacturers (HTC and Valve) recommend that you use a personal computer with a Radeon R9 290 GPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 970, AMD FX 8350 CPU or an Intel i5-4590, 4GB of RAM, DisplayPort 1.2 video output or HDMI, Windows 7 SPI, and USB 2.0 port or above.

Headset

The headset of the Vive resembles a spider. It is enormous and bulbous. The curved front bells hold all the 32 motion-tracking sensors on the surface as well as one optical camera placed at the panel’s lower center. On the left side is an indicator LED and a button. A small snob for adjusting the pupillary distance (distance between the pupils) is placed on the right side. It helps to adjust the focus.

If you desire a headset that fits comfortably even over glasses, the Vive headset is what you need. A headphone jack also dangles on the back, meaning you can connect your headphones or employ the included buds. What’s more, the tether is very long: approximately 4.5 meters (15 feet). You will wander in it.

Motion controllers

HTC Vive comes with two wireless controllers. The controller-wands are excellent but a bit oddly shaped. They are identical and ambidextrous wands approximately 8.5 inches long and loaded with position and motion sensors. They have rechargeable batteries and haptic vibrations. Each rod has an eminent circular touchpad on the top, flanked by VR and Menu buttons – menu buttons are responsible for bringing a menu in any software you use while the virtual reality button is designed to open the SteamVR interface.

On the underside of the wand sits a large trigger as well as two grip buttons placed lower on any side of the handle. On the top is a large ring that houses the positioning sensors that allow Vive to track the controller’s location.

Link box

This is a small blank device that holds the HDMI, DisplayPort including the USB connectors marked in black. The black color indicates that they are connected to the power outlet using the featured wall adapter or to the PC. All these are on one side. The other side holds power, USB and HDMI connectors in orange, showing they connect to cable on the headset. The adhesive rubber foot that comes with Vive secures the link box to a table or desk, without which the tiny box will keep flopping around each time the cable tugs.

Base stations

Now, the Vive relies on two collaborating base stations to know the positions of both the controllers and headset. The base stations are typically rounded black boxes that measure 3X3X2 inches. The front part of each station is lustrous and includes an indicator light, a range of infrared LEDs and alphanumeric LED display.

On the back part of each base station is a power connector, mode button as well as a 3.5mm port. The stations can detect each other wirelessly when configured properly. If they don’t, they can be connected physically using the 3.5mm port included – the sync cable is extremely long.

Other than the major system components, the Vive comes with:

  • 3 power adapters for the base stations
  • Link headset/box
  • Double USB power adapters included
  • USB-to-micro cables for controllers
  • USB and HDMI for connecting your PC to the link box
  • Wall mounting hardware for base stations
  • Second foam mask pad
  • Earphones
  • Sync cable

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