Good / If you want to feel like you are a part of a virtual world, interacting with objects and moving around in a realistic virtual space, the HTC Vive is the headset you are looking for since it has the most advanced spatial recognition, motion tracking, and incredible wireless controllers.
Bad / The HTC Vive can be heavy after long use cases, and the abundance of technology whether wires or boxes can be intimidating during first time setup. The depth of movement required in some games can also be dangerous–if you aren’t careful to avoid real life objects that could get in the way.
Verdict / The HTC Vive is the pinnacle of what we want from VR–that is, virtual reality. While expensive, it comes closest to hitting that immersive out of this world futuristic kind of mark
HTC Vive Review
The HTC Vive is one of the most powerful and capable VR headsets on the market today. HTC has partnered with Valve to make this device–and the experience has finally hit the market this year in 2016 making and creating a huge precedent on how big and immersive a VR headset can be. That said, it’s also the most expensive VR headset at $799–but do the hardware, experience, and features within the device make it worth the exceedingly high entry cost?
In this HTC Vive review, we will go over each component of the device to make it easy for you to decide if you should get the Vive.
Unlike the Oculus Rift which retails for $600 and the PS VR which goes for $399, the HTC Vive retails for $799. This comes with additional features / components, however, like the controllers, which we will cover in depth later on.
If you don’t have a high-end gaming computer, you can add $1000 to that price tag, making it a hefty $1799 to start fresh into the VR world–but every other VR headset also has a system hardware requirement (unless you want to use a mobile phone VR experience).
Like the Rift, if you want to use the HTC Vive you might need to spend more money alongside it to have compatible hardware.
The HTC Vive has some pretty impressive features and capabilities. In fact, some of these, like the one-to-one movement tracking are so accurate that it’s a bit awe-inspiring. Simply said, the HTC Vive has the best motion tracking out of any VR headset since it has more sensors and thus better capabilities. To give you an example, you can practically juggle the remotes the tracking is so accurate. See this GIF here:
In terms of the headset, the HTC Vive also has an intuitive and realistic 110-degree field of view that includes incredibly smooth and flawless movement capabilities powered by 32 headset sensors for 360-degree motion tracking. The display is quite good, at 2160 x 1200 resolution with a 90 Hz refresh rate.
As someone who has tested developer Oculus Rift headsets, I can say that this technology is improving at a rapid rate and while these headsets might be in the market for a bit–and even if you can notice some pixels after hours of use–the experience feels more immersive than anything we’ve seen yet and will see for awhile. The headset is also quite adjustable with the adjustable headset strap which should fit most users, and the interchangeable foam inserts and nose pads are a far cry from mobile VR headsets.
As a glasses user, I found the headset remarkably intuitive to use since there are small notches to make the headset compatible with glasses. However, it should be noted that the HTC Vive does feel quite heavy since it has more technology in the headset like the camera in the front which can be toggled, so you don’t have to take off the headset if you need to get back into the “real world.”
Perhaps most impressive about the HTC Vive is how you interact in the virtual world once you are there. What sets the HTC vive apart is that the HTC Vive has two base stations to track your movement which sits on the wall or another high object. These base stations track your movement on the controllers and the headset itself, whereas other competitor headsets solely use single camera tracking.
The elaborate tracking methods used means that you can interact with the environment more, ducking, swinging, and just living more in the experience. As a whole, HTC Vive’s emphasis on two base stations and clever tracking give it the most interactive and lively VR experience out of any headset out there.This experience is cemented by the controllers.
The controllers are fully wireless with multiple inputs that let you grasp and control in-game objects. For a game like Fantastic Corruption–you start to get an idea of how important accurate control is and you can take advantage of new gameplay mechanics since the controllers have dual-stage triggers with haptic feedback and you can even control interfaces and menus with the multi-function trackpad. Picking up things feels super cool, and even just walking around can feel very satisfying. Without a doubt, the HTC Vive’s controllers are STILL the best on the market today.
That said, while the HTC Vive might have the most advanced and immersive experience, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some elements of this experience to consider. Namely, the HTC Vive’s setup is detailed, to say the least, and if you aren’t careful, you might get lost in all of the cords, boxes, and peripherals you need to keep track of to use.
So what do you need to effectively run the HTC Vive on your computer to have a good experience?
To run the HTC vive successfully, you will need the following system reqs:
- Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or better.
- CPU: Intel Core i5 4590 or AMD FX 8350 or greater.
- RAM: 4GB or more.
- Video port: HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2, or better.
- USB port: 1 USB 2.0 or faster port.
- Windows 7 SP1 or newer
The HTC Vive is without a doubt, the most advanced headset on the market since it has the best in-room tracking, best controllers, and the best resolution that VR displays can have.
That said, the HTC Vive does suffer a bit regarding weight. The headset can be heavy–perhaps not suited for super long experiences, since you’ll be moving around more than other headsets. Also, the setup can be a hassle, and you’ll have to deal with a long set-up and the abundance of wires and boxes you’ll need to have laying around in your living room.
But these things have to be expected, since the display is arguably the best, the experience the most accurate and immersive, and each drawback feels more like a practical limitation of the technology than the result of a design flaw.
If you want the most immersive and mind-opening VR experience for PC, the HTC Vive is the way to go.