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HTC Vive Review

HTC Vive Review
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Overall Score
Interactiveness
Visual Immersiveness
Comfort
User Friendliness
Ease of Setup

Our Take

The Vive manufacture by HTC is a highly immersive and interactive one. Vive is easy to use and comfortable enough to wear for long gaming sessions.

However, the initial installation and setup will be a challenging part. Afterward, Vive is a piece of cake. VR enthusiasts can’t go wrong with the HTC Vive if they prefer the best possible immersive virtual experience.

What We Like

  • Exceptionally interactive
  • Outputs highly immersive visuals
  • High level of comfortability
  • Enhanced motion controllers and external sensors for a room-scale VR experience

What We Don't Like

  • It’s a bit expensive
  • Difficult to setup
  • The tethered headset makes room-scale VR experience tricky

Overview

HTC Vive is the best in the accuracy of movement through built-in and external sensors and extra-comfortable to wear. It’s user-friendly and can be experienced through long gaming sessions easily.

However, initial installation is a challenge. Setting aside smaller setbacks, this superb and premium headset is worth considering for individuals that want the best possible outcome.

Why HTC Vive?

The combined work of HTC and Valve in-order-to create/manufacture a virtual reality system that competes with the Oculus Rift and introduces HTC Vive.

In early 2016, both VR headsets came out in their final forms. There are no significant hardware changes since then, but the price tag is a bit increased.

However, HTC Vive price has initially been the more expensive option and choice at approximately $800, and it is now can be bought in the range of $650 to match the Oculus Rift plus the Touch controllers.

The Vive supports the whole and complete room-scale virtual encounter on a broader area as compared to the Rift, which is an edge for certain types of games and experiences.

Requirements

To operate the HTC Vive, you must be an owner of a powerful PC as like the Oculus Rift and the Vive Cosmos. HTC announced the minimum and recommended specification of a PC enable to run this headset.

Our experts somehow tested this VR on the recommended PC, and it worked just fine.

HTC Vive | Minimum PC requirements

  • Graphics-Card: NVIDIA GTX 970
  • Alternative Graphics-Card: AMD Radeon R9 290
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Video Output: HDMI 1.4 or display Port 1.2 (Only One required)
  • USB Ports: One USB port A 2.0
  • Operating System: Windows 7 or better

HTC Vive | Recommended PC requirements

  • Graphics-Card: NVIDIA GTX 1060
  • Alternative Graphics-Card: AMD Radeon RX 480
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 (A better processor Recommended)
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Video Output: HDMI 1.4 or display Port 1.2 (Only One required)
  • USB Ports: One USB port A 2.0
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 or better
HTC Vive unboxing

HTC Vive | What we recommend

  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 – AMD Radeon RX 480
  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-4590 or AMD FX™ 8350, equivalent or better
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Video out: HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2
  • USB ports: 1x USB 2.0
  • Operating system: Windows® 10

Detailed Specifications

HTC Vive | In detail

  • Screen: Dual AMOLED 3.6″ – diagonal
  • Resolution: 1080 x 1200 pixels per-eye (2160 x 1200 combined)
  • Refresh rate: RR of 90 Hz
  • Field of view: FOV of 110-degree
  • Safety features: “Chapter-one” play-area space/boundaries and a straight front-facing camera sensor
  • Sensors: SteamVR Tracking, G-sensor, gyroscope, and proximity
  • Connectivity: HDMI, USB 2.0, stereo 3.5 mm headphone jack, Power, Bluetooth
  • Input: Integrated audio input through the microphone
  • Eye Relief: Interpupillary and lens distance adjustment

HTC Vive | Controller Spec

  • Sensors: SteamVR Tracking
  • Input: Multifunction trackpad, Grip buttons, dual-stage trigger, System button, Menu button
  • Use per charge: Approx. 6 hours for games
  • Connections: Micro-USB charging port

HTC Vive | Tracked Area Requirements

  • Standing / seated: No min. space requirements for room-scale games and experiences
  • Room-scale: 6’6″ x 4’11” min. room size, 11’5″ x 11’5″ max

Values to focus

The HTC Vive has a lot to focus on and throws out an immersive virtual reality experience. This device is large, black-colored plastic visor shaped and similar to the rectangular mushroom.

Its front side is covered and holds out the 32 motion- and vision-tracking sensors all over its surface and kind of covered with them—a single tracking camera located on the lower front side of this headset.

On the left side of this headset, there is a button, and an indicator LED and a small knob on its right side. Through this knob, you can adjust the pupillary distance to adjust focus.

The LCD Vive uses an exceptional resolution (2160 x 1200) with a perfect amount of refresh rate (90 Hz).

This VR paired with the two lenses that separate the display into two equal (1080 x 1200) images/visuals for each eye, same as compared to Oculus Rift.

Performance

HTC Vive outputs quality crystal visuals that move smoothly. Furthermore, thanks to its refresh rate and resolution, which is the reason behind its unique performance and the same as Oculus Rifts and nearly to HTC Vive Cosmos.

However, its smooth movement is dependent upon the power of your PC. Besides, every VR title our experts tried on this VR looked exceptionally high.

The 3D objects and environment it offers look similar to the real world and enough to believe and lost within its immersive world. Ultimately, the performance is based on is identically related to Oculus Rift and nearly to HTC Vive Cosmos, Vive Pro, and Vive Cosmos Elite.

However, it’s software and games becomes a major differentiating factor.

HTC Vive Review: Before Buying

The best audience

As you can see, both headsets are partially identical but have their motion controllers for complete and accurate functionality.

However, they both end up looking ultra, similar to paper. The unique benefit the Vive has is its unique room-scale virtual experience, through cable management is inconvenient if you’re moving blindly around the space.

Also, it lacks access to the Oculus store sometimes for specific VR experiences and games. However, Steam VR selection is robust and runs smoothly.

Our experts still prefer Oculus Touch controllers over Vives. Still, with very similar functionality and similar price range, these both are the solid performers and delivers a unique immersive VR experience in tethered VR space.

Furthermore, both are available, and both systems have their motion tracking for full and accurate functionality.

HTC Vive Review: Features & Benefits

Design

The design of the HTC Vive virtual reality headset is unique and nothing less than a real, world mythical Chinese dragon. A set of three ultra-wide elastic straps secures this VR to your head with hook/loop fasteners.

This design ensures a stable and perfect fit. Furthermore, a single strap goes over the top of your head so that the weight will be equally divided over your head, and the elasticity doesn’t let you feel the load on the front side.

The mounts where the side-straps connect to the VR are considered as the part of focus system; pushing or pulling a rubber ring back/forward on the mount enables you to change or adjust the distance between the LCD panel and the lenses, though our experts found out that it’s an awkward adjustment to make because of these sections stiffly connectivity.

By the way, you can wear glasses with the Vive comfortably, which will help to make the default focus length work just perfect. A ring of padding (foam padding) circles around the edge of the headset’s face mask.

It’s also connected to the hook/loop fasteners and can be removed easily for cleaning if it gets sweaty. However, a triple cable runs over the headspace and down the back of your head for a reason to connect to the HTC Vive’s link box.

This link box afterward can be connected to your PC. The length of the cable is 10-feet long and includes HDMI, and USD connectors. The fourth cable reaches just to the back-side of your head and contains a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

The HTC Vive comes with a pair of earphones of 14 inches length, which could be short for some people and often popped out of the ears because of the stress. However, you can use your pair of earphones/headphones.

Link Box

A link box is a small device and shape of a Sony PlayStation TV. It holds DisplayPort, HDMI, power, and USB connectors marked in black.

Furthermore, which indicates connectivity to the PC or power output by including a wall adapter (you don’t need to connect both because this box contains both).

The opposite side holds HDMI, power, and USB connectors marked in orange. Furthermore indicates the connectivity to the headset.

An adhesive rubber foot comes with this headset in-order-to secure the link box to a desk or table; Without it. The link box will flop around at the slightest cable tug.

HTC Vive headset design

Setup

Because of the multiple parts, including base stations setting up the HTC Vive virtual reality, VR is a complicated. However, it feels like the software setup provides direct and clear instructions on how to start and takes only 20 minutes to download all the necessary software required and get it running.

The first step is you need to install the Vive setup software manually. Afterward, it will walk you through connecting the link box with your PC and headset. Then the controllers and the last one is the base stations.

Through this brief process, it will start to install Steam (if you required it) and download the updated version of SteamVR.

For a room-scale experience, HTC Vive headset recommends a space at least 6.5 x 5 feet with the base stations positioned opposite corners of the play area and needs to be mounted at head level or higher. These base stations can work up to 16 feet apart from each other.

If you lack the required space, then you should set the Vive up for just standing VR. However, that will limit your activity. One area is set up; you can optionally define its boundaries for the SteamVR Chapter-1 feature.

It will indicate the boundaries with a virtual wall on the edges of your play area and let you know the current position where you are standing and warn you before bumping into anything environmental.

After successfully making the play area with tape on the floor, It creates virtual boundaries with the help of controllers by holding the trigger down and walking around the floor.

VR Games

HTC Vive headset is the headset that offers the best VR games and experiences in ultra-high quality. The fascinating games it offers are the following:

  • Beat Saber
  • Arizona Sunshine
  • Job Simulator
  • Half-Life: Alyz
  • Star Trek: Bridge Crew
  • SuperHOT
  • Tilt Brush
  • Elite Dangerous
  • Tetris Effect
  • Space Pirate Trainer
  • Moss
  • Bone works
  • Rec Room
  • and other high-tier and legendry titles.

You may earn its trust in the real world by just experience only one of the above mentioned. HTC Vive is the best VR in regards to the experiences it offers.

Tilt Brush is a fantastic contraption and a fascinating selection.

Controller

HTC Vive is compatible with identical and ambidextrous controller wands about 8.5 inches long and loaded with sensors. These are motion and positioning controller sensors and examples of accuracy.

Each wand features a prominent touchpad on the top, menu, and other VR buttons. The menu button brings up the list, no matter which games or software you are in, while the VR button opens the SteamVR interface.

A trigger site on the underside of the wand and two grip buttons sit lower on both sides of the handle. From the top, it is a large ring containing the positioning sensors that track the location of the controller.

These controllers are functional. And the touchpads allow for some precise and accurate inputs. Our experts prefer the Touch controllers over these wands because they use analog thumbsticks instead of touchpads. However, they are curved to fit perfectly in-hand and feel natural.

With triggers that reflect the motion of gripping, including the fingers. The Vive’s controllers work perfectly and are just beautiful.

HTC Vive Controllers

Audio

This original Vive now offers “Vive Deluxe Audio Strap,” which is now considered by our experts as an essential part to have an immersive VR experience, and that can be enhanced by playing games.

It offers ease of adjustment dial and hard-sided construction: high-Res integrated on-ear comfortable and an elegant set of headphones with height and angle adjustments.

Improved weight distribution over your head and enhanced cable management. This audio strap is a fantastic contraption and our recommendation to have an immersive and enhanced VR experience that is the best for the games.

Store

Vive Port is the official store for games, experiences, and apps for HTC Vive. The most interesting that is that Viveport is compatible with a vast range of VR headsets.

As an investment in the future, HTC launched Viveport Video, which can be used to encounter VR videos at the ultra-high quality.

Viveport has over 130 million users worldwide, and experiences like Netflix and Amazon prime show are watched worldwide. When it comes to VR videos, Amazon prime show is an excellent option because it is also for the currently 130 million.

Display

HTCVive has a refresh rate of 90 HZ and a FOV (field of view) of 110 degrees.

This device used two OLED panels, which offer a resolution of 1080 x 1200 per eye, which means 2160 x 1200 combined and considered as the best in-order-to have an immersive virtual reality experience.

Ensure that the Vive offers (VR headset) the input from the best gaming PC because the above means nothing if your PC is not worth it.

Social

In addition to more than five hundred pieces of native Vive Wave content today on Viveport, which is the best example in the present to encounter social activities.

Now because it offers the streaming and online gaming facilities and Vive Focus Plus also can be subscribed, which is the elite package Vive has to offer and enable one to experience thousands of apps and games.

Insight Tracking

The HTC Vive dependency is its two base stations, which determine the positioning of the headset, controllers, and you. They are rounded and black boxes measuring 3 x 3 x 2 inches (HWD).

The front-side of each base station is glossy and contains an indicator light, a LED display, and an array of LEDs. The back-side of each holds a mode and power button and a connector with a 3.5 mm port.

These base stations can detect each other wirelessly only if they are appropriately configured and accurately. Still, if not, they can also be physically connected with a 3.5 mm port, which is included, comes with the headset, and is an extremely long sync cable.

Other than the major components of the system, the HTC Vive VR headset comes with three adapters (power adapters) for the link box, headset, and base stations. Two USB power adapters and USB to micro USB cables for the use of controllers, HDMI, and USB cables to connect with PC and link boxes.

HTC Vive Review: Our Analysis & Test Results

To find out the best selection of this device is genuinely the fine that you can currently get, our experts bought the top models available on the market and tested them head-to-head.

Our experts – in the lab, measure the performance of each headset in five equal rating sections. These sections consist of Interactiveness, Visual Immersiveness, Comfort, User Friendliness, and Ease of Setup.

With the up-coming metrics providing enough information on how the HTC Vive headset scored against the rest of the top-model VR headsets.

Interactiveness

One of the central – core matrices of great virtual reality experience is that it must be highly interactive. This metric is a significant portion and contains enough information for you to come up with a decision and is responsible for 35% of the total score.

Our experts in the lab evaluated the ease it offers to interact with each quality device and the accuracy and perfection of the motion tracking and the range of its tracking ability. The HTC Vive did exceptionally high and earned 9 out of 10.

HTC requires two motion controllers that are designed according to the virtual reality needs. Our experts liked these controllers because of their functionality and plenty of buttons. This device is ergonomic and feels natural.

Most of the experiences and the games are displayed on the monitor so that others around you can also be part of your immersive VR experience. The field of view is much better than what others are going to see on the monitor.

Its look can be strange for some individuals from outside, but from inside, the awkward movements are practical. It also enables you to use the standard Xbox or PlayStation controller.

The HTC Vive did “fine” again in our next test by having the most sensor coverage as compared to every other. It relies on a pair of external sensors mounted higher-level to track your motion as you move.

These external sensors can cover the entire testing room without leaving any dead spots and proved to be the only ones to date. Physical jetpacks don’t exist in the real world, but you can encounter them in VR without any consequences.

Just watch out from that hanger. Our experts found these external sensors accurate when it comes to tracking. The motion tracking of HTC Vive hand controllers is as accurate as of the external sensors, with Oculus Rift being a close second and HTC Cosmos, Vive Pro, and Vive Cosmos Elite after it.

It was the best by an excellent margin for tracking your whole body movement, including the head. However, if a third external sensor got used with Vive, it increased its accuracy and became a “dragon,” which it already is before by its look.

HTC Vive Inside look

Visual Impressiveness

The head straps on the HTC Vive can leave you with some new hat hair. A VR joke!

Ranking second in terms of importance, our experts tested how visually immersive each headset is. The bundle of tests that make this metric interesting are responsible for 20% of the final score and includes a comparison of the FOV (field of view) and resolution of each top-quality device from the market and how well these models block the ambient light, furthermore calculate the overall visual quality. HTC Vive did supreme and earned 8 out of 10.

The Vive VR has one of the highest resolution 1080 x 1200 per eye and tied with the Oculus Rift for having the widest FOV (field of view) at 110° and earned the top score. These readings can make any device exponentially ultra-immersive as the edge of the visual is approx.

Equal to the extent of your peripheral vision. Furthermore, giving you the feeling that you are in the environment of whatever you are experiencing at the moment.

The Vive has overall excellent visual quality throughout the majority of available VR games and experiences. However, our experts found the test visuals not quite sharp as compared to Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, costing it to lose a few points.

Aside from this slightest drawback, the Vive outputs one of the supreme visually immersive virtual reality experience. Most importantly, keep your lenses clean because it can be a reason to reduce the quality of the virtual world.

Our experts found out that the Vive does let a little amount of ambient light leak around your nose, which is dependent upon the shape of the nose you are having biologically.

Comfort

The HTC Vive is one of the ultra-comfortable headsets to wear and put on.

Next, in this review, the comfort section is responsible for 20% of the final score. Our experts rated the device based on its comfortability to wear for long periods, whether or not it offers the space to wear glasses while wearing this VR, and if there is enough ventilation to keep your face sweaty. HTC again scored a “goal on volley” – did fine and earned 7 out of 10.

HTC Vive is exceptionally comfortable and natural to wear, even for an extended period and for long gaming sessions. Our experts have a variety of different sized faces, and not even a single one reported any significant discomfort.

Furthermore, our experts found out that most individuals slightly preferred Samsung Gear VR and felt that this product has a slight edge on the Vive when it comes to comfortability.

It is easy and possible to wear glasses underneath the HTC Vive. However, a little tight for the spectacles with large frames. Oculus Rift is a better option when considering the bigger lenses.

When it comes to ventilation, the Vive is above average. Sometimes, individuals with large faces can encounter sweat after long gaming sessions or after continued and consistent use.

User Friendliness

The earbuds can pop out if we move around too much, but this problem can be solved using a long wire.

Our experts ended up fiddling with the core to get it in an exceptional spot that must be able to give less trouble. This metric ranked next in the term of importance and responsible for the 10% of the final score.

Our experts score on how much amount of work it requires to set up each time you want to use it, how much amount of work it needs to connect headphones, and if Vive is comfortable to inadvertently press buttons and interact with them while using the device. HTC Vive did splendidly and earned 8 out of 10.

It is an easy task to plug the headphones into this device as they attach on the back-side of the device, which is considered as a very accessible spot. However, our experts found that the Vive is comfortable to accidentally pull the earbuds out when moving, costing it some points.

The Vive does have side-to-side focal adjustment, which can improve its overall user-friendliness, also boosting its score. It enables you to make slight lens width adjustments in the Vive with a small dial on the bottom.

This device is straightforward to use and booting up automatically when it comes to the range/sight of the sensor cubes. The initial setup is a complex process; however, Vive is most natural to handle once it’s done.

Ease of Setup

Remember! You’ll need a powerful computer to run the HTC Vive.

Finally, the last section and the first one that got judged, this based on how complicated the initial setup and unboxing process is.

Our experts rated this device on the level of difficulty of the hardware setup and installation, the software installation, and the amount of additional hardware it requires in-order-to to operate/run. The HTC Vive is one of the ultra-challenging headsets to set up initially and earned or more like loosed 5 out of 10.

The hardware setup took our experts an hour to complete. The two external sensors are either meant to be mounted to the top of a tripod or on the wall.

Most users contain a pair of decently tall tripods readily available, but our experts prefer mounting the sensors to the wall is a viable option.

However, Vive is by far the most invasive out of all sensor mounting methods, as other sensors are simple to place. It took about the amount of time that is similar to install all the required software work for the Vive.

Our experts found that the Vive requires you to have an external monitor hooked up to your PC; on the other hand, the Oculus did not. The Vive essentially requires a decently, powerful gaming PC to operate/run.

Playing with HTC Vive

Final Verdict: HTC Vive Pro Review

The HTC Vive isn’t a great value, offering you a premium and immersive virtual reality performance at a premium price.

The HTC Vive is a reasonably pricey set up that requires a powerful-gaming and expensive PC to operate appropriately and delivers unmatched performance when it comes to providing a highly immersive and interactive virtual reality experience.

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