HTC Vive Review: The Most Advanced VR Headset

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Virtual Reality (VR) is an entirely new medium. HTC Vive offers the best VR experience with SteamVR Tracking, stunning graphics, 110˚ field view, intuitive controls and HD haptic feedback.

Best VR Headset HTC Vive

The virtual reality community partnering with VIVE today includes an international base of users, developers, and businesses while continuing to grow every day. If you have the budget, the HTC Vive is the best virtual reality device on the market.

At CES 2017, HTC showcased not only a brand-new subscription service of Vive, but also introduced an assortment of hardware amenities. It’s not the HTC Vive 2 which was rumored to be release, just some updates in its previous device. But is the best among its other contender.

Check out our Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch Specs.

Let’s analyze this most advanced VR:

Design & Technology

Best VR Headset

When paired with the proper hardware – a PC with an Intel Core i5-4590K and either a Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD R9 390 GPU – the HTC Vive is an incredible gateway into a new medium, one that is currently dominated by short demos and rough-around-the-edges games, but should one day play host to full-length films, television shows and contemporary art. Inside the headset is a 2160 x 1200 OLED screen that runs at 90Hz. You can expect an 110-degree field of view, which is one of the largest available on any virtual reality headset and results in a more immersive experience.

The positives, in condensed form, include: one-to-one movement tracking; a perfectly natural 110-degree field of view; there’s nary a screen tear or dropped frame when you’re using the right equipment; movement feels natural; it has best-in-class controllers; and the experiences, the demos and the games available through SteamVR, simply blow the competitors away.

 

What’s New?

Best VR HTC Vive

We are in virtual reality’s infancy, but the HTC Vive is already very capably showing off what a premium VR experience is capable of looking like. In fact, it’s so far ahead of what much of the competition is offering that it can be difficult to describe the experience of using it to someone who hasn’t yet tried VR themselves.

It’s like trying to describe moving footage to someone who’s spent their whole life staring at pictures, or describing a game to someone who’s only ever watched films. It is also difficult to describe the Vive to someone who’s only ever used cheaper mobile VR hardware like the Gear VR or Google Cardboard.

Virtual reality is an entirely new medium and it has some of the problems all new mediums face when they first start out. And Vive is trying to overcome those problems. In its latest update, they made the headset wireless. Before that, a lot of wire with the headset created a lot of problems for the movements.

 

The New Vive Controller

Best VR Headset

The new VR contraption is simply called Vive Tracker. It is a small and simple affair that can be attached to anything. The accessory has all the required tracking points present in a conventional controller. The tracker can also be integrated into third-party controllers and peripherals such as the Vive VR camera.

 

How does the HTC Vive work?

Like other virtual reality headsets, the Vive has the arduous task of completely immersing you in a video game by producing two images simultaneously. However, unlike PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift who use a single camera to track your head and extremities, HTC Vive has two base stations, which sit on the wall attached to the included wall mounts or a high shelf and help map track your movements as you walk around in the 3D world.

The station’s track is small divots on the top of the two controllers and on the headset itself. There are 72 of these dots speckling the controllers and helmet that help accurately track the Vive.

Inside every box is a Vive headset unit, two controllers, two base stations, a cloth to wipe down the lenses, a small hub that sits between the headset and your PC. Also packaged with every unit are three games: Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption, and The Lab. It’s everything you’re going to need for a great virtual reality experience minus the computer that powers the whole thing.

Once you’re plugged in and the room has been mapped out, you’re free to roam around every inch of the digital space. This means digital worlds can be more immersive on the Vive than the other two systems and, thankfully, less nausea-inducing, too.

The only limitations are faint blue walls made up of lines that keep you inside the play zone. These blue lines are superimposed into your game by SteamVR. It is a software put out by Valve that’s running underneath every virtual experience.

As for the games themselves, what’s there is simply amazing. For example, you can play mini-golf on an impossibly constructed multi-level course. You could also be a trained ninja or space pirate with this.

Features

HTC Vive VR Headset

  • Lots of innovative motion control-based games and experiences
  • Emphasizes motion control and body movement
  • Rich, customizable user interface
  • High resolution with great experience
  • Solid construction

 

Price

While it’s a somewhat pricey setup, the experience you’ll get on the HTC Vive is unrivaled. It’s lightyears ahead of Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR. Also miles ahead of PlayStation VR and completely floors its main competitor, the Oculus Rift.

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