HTC Vive | Review round-up
The consumer-facing True VR headset with the largest asking price – but is it any good?
With the arrival of the HTC Vive, the True VR arms race is well and truly on.
Developed by a Taiwanese multinational manufacturer and the proprietors of the most dominant online store for PC games – Valve – the Vive has shown a lot of promise with many raving about the preview headsets sent out to large tech publications and developers.
Now the consumer headsets are available on the market to anyone willing to stump up the US$799 needed to purchase one, what do people make of the HTC Vive?
Gamespot’s Peter Brown sees the Vive as HTC and Valve upping the ante in the VR game, “Being able to walk around in virtual worlds… undeniably enhances your sense of presence in that digital space”. The biggest downsides are the premium cost and the logistical outlay – simply having a room large enough to take advantage of Vive will rule a lot of consumers out. However if you have the space, Vive is the preferable option over Oculus Rift, “Rift is to wade in the waters of VR; choosing Vive is like jumping into the deep end”.
“HTC’s Vive goes a step beyond by allowing you to walk around virtual worlds and essentially touch what’s in front of you”, that’s Tim Morgan from Stuff’s view. Whilst Tim thinks there is room in the market for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, it’s pretty clear that the Vive is “the most capable and exciting”.
TechRadar’s Nick Pino thinks that with the Vive, “HTC... wins the first battle in the VR war”. Nick notes that whilst the barriers to entry for the Vive – the high price tag of the headset, expensive PC rig to run it and the amount of space needed – the Vive offers “the best virtual reality experience on the market, bar none”.
Devindra Hardawar from engadget says that the notable thing about the HTC Vive is “it's more expensive and more uncomfortable than the Oculus Rift”. Whilst there are many good things about the Vive, and offers the best in-home VR experience on the market, “it's too unwieldy to truly enjoy for extended play sessions”.
Richard Leadbetter from Eurogamer says “while HTC Vive offers the premium, top-end virtual reality experience, you have to work for it”. A lot of cables, three separate power supplies and the need to drill holes in walls to place the various sensors into the optimum position are the primary downsides to the Vive.
Adi Robertson from The Verge said “it’s a big, almost military-looking mask that drags your face down with its weight.” Also the options available for customization of your VR experience are effectively split between three separate applications, “forcing you to do things like enable the Vive camera on your desktop but customize its features in your headset.”
All in all…
Much like with the Oculus Rift, critical consensus is generally positive for the HTC Vive. This is the consumer VR headset with the highest price by some US$200, and requires a significant amount of set-up, as well as demanding more physical space than its competitors, but practically every reviewer states that this is currently the best consumer virtual reality product on the market.
The True VR fight has just begun, and a number of new products are just around the corner. Will more VR headsets serve to commoditise the market, similar to the massive range of smartphone devices we have today, or will they further bolster VR messaging amongst consumers? Only time will tell.
- Thomas Wallis
Get in touch with the author of this article on twitter: @ClacTom