The HTC Vive was one of the first virtual reality headsets to hit the market. It had a number of cool features, like room-scale tracking and a front-facing camera for video calls. Something comparable would be the HP Reverb G2, in which we did a full comparison between the two VR headsets. The VIVE also came with a hefty price tag of $799. Today, the HTC Vive costs you less than it did back then and there are lots of cheaper alternatives that could offer you much more bang for your buck. But if you’re thinking about buying an HTC Vive in 2021 or 2022, should you still go for it? Let’s take a look at why this VR headset might still be worth it and what you need to know before making the purchase.
Table of Contents
- What is The HTC Vive
- What You Get With The HTC Vive
- Tracking And Room Scale
- Resolution and Refresh Rate
- Is The HTC Vive Wireless?
- Does The HTC Vive Have Full Body Tracking?
What is The HTC Vive
The HTC Vive is a virtual reality headset that you can use with your PC to immerse yourself in 3D games and simulations. It features two high-res OLED screens for each eye and a 90-degree field of view, which means you’ll be able to see more of your virtual surroundings than with most other VR devices. There’s a built-in mic and a standard VR interface, so you can easily interact with your games and apps. The Vive is designed to be used in conjunction with two wireless motion controllers.
The Vive’s standout features are its room-scale tracking and its front-facing camera. The latter allows you to see and interact with the real world without needing to take off the headset. The Vive also comes with a visual tracking system that allows you to walk around a room as large as 16 by 16 feet. This is one of the main reasons why the Vive is one of the most expensive VR headsets on the market.
What You Get With The HTC Vive
The HTC Vive comes with everything you’ll need to get started. The headset itself is made of durable plastic and features a built-in head strap. You’ll also get two wireless motion controllers, two wall-mounting brackets, a link box for connecting the headset to your PC, and a standard one-year warranty. The Vive is designed to be used with a PC that has a free USB port, a decent graphics card, and at least 4GB of RAM. As with most VR headsets, there are no controls for adjusting the Vive’s focus. So if you’re nearsighted, you’ll probably need to wear glasses with the headset on. The Vive’s sensors operate on the same 2.4GHz frequency as many Wi-Fi networks. As a result, they may interfere with your existing Wi-Fi signal if they’re placed too close to your router.
Tracking And Room Scale
One of the biggest advantages of the HTC Vive over a lot of the other VR competitors is that it comes with room-scale tracking. This allows you to walk around a room of up to 16 by 16 feet and use your motion controllers to interact with the virtual world. The Vive’s tracking system is based on laser sensors that are mounted on tripods. The sensors are connected to your PC via USB cables, which means that you have to have a decently sized play area to take advantage of room-scale tracking.
Having a dedicated play space with enough free space to walk around is an essential part of the VR experience. It allows you to be fully immersed in the game, as you’re not focusing on staying out of the way of furniture or worrying about tripping over cables. You’ll also typically need to put your headset on before you start your game. This means that you’ll have to walk over to a cable to plug in your HMD. Having a large play area with enough free space to comfortably walk around helps eliminate these types of distractions.
Resolution and Refresh Rate
The HTC Vive has a combined resolution of 2,880 by 1,600 pixels per eye. This is substantially higher than the average for today’s VR headsets, which is around 2,800 by 1,600 pixels per eye. With its wider field of view, the Vive is likely to look sharper than many other headsets, as you’ll be able to see more of your virtual surroundings. The Vive’s refresh rate is 90 Hz, which means that the visuals will be updated 90 times per second. This is slower than what the standard seems to be, 120 Hz.
However, Vive’s refresh rate is higher than most mobile VR headsets. When it comes to the Vive’s apparent brightness, it’s important to remember that the device’s specs only measure the brightness of the visuals. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the headset’s visuals will be as bright as they appear in a store or when you’re trying it out in your home. This is because the lights in the store may be brighter than in your room and the visuals may look darker when you’re wearing the headset.
Is The HTC Vive Wireless?
The HTC Vive is not a wireless headset, so you’ll need to plug it into a PC with a USB cable. This means that you’ll have to stay in a small general area while you’re playing a game. It also means that the Vive won’t work with all VR games but this number is extremely small. Many titles require you to use controllers, so you’ll need to plug them into the headset, too. The Vive’s controllers are powered by two AA batteries that you’ll need to replace periodically.
You can also buy rechargeable batteries for the controllers. If you’re looking for a truly wireless headset, the HTC Vive Pro might be worth checking out. This device has a new built-in WiFi chip that allows you to play games without being wired to a PC. Unfortunately, the Vive Pro is much more expensive than the original Vive. It’s also heavier and bulkier, which means that it’s not as comfortable to wear.
Does The HTC Vive Have Full Body Tracking?
The HTC Vive’s tracking sensors only track your head and the controllers. As a result, you can’t see your full body in the virtual world and you can’t use the Vive for fitness apps that track your body movements. So if you want to play full-body games or exercise with your headset on, you’ll need to buy another VR headset that has full body tracking. One good option is the Vive Tracker, which allows you to retrofit your Vive with tracking sensors. The Vive Tracker is an add-on that you can use with a number of HTC Vive games. It’s also compatible with other VR systems, such as the Oculus Rift, Google Daydream, and Windows Mixed Reality. The Tracker is available for purchase as a standalone product or as part of a kit that includes a Vive Tracker, two tracking sensors, and a mounting accessory.
- Room-scale tracking: The Vive’s tracking sensors allow you to walk around a room of up to 16 by 16 feet. This makes it one of the best VR headsets for playing room-scale games
- Front-facing camera: The Vive’s camera can be used to see and interact with the real world without taking off the headset. This makes it easier to grab a drink, answer a phone call, or take off your headset when you’re sharing your VR session with a friend
- Visual tracking: The Vive’s tracking system allows you to interact with your VR environment. This means that you can get up and walk around a room without having to press a button to recalibrate the sensors
- Excellent resolution: The Vive’s high resolution means that its visuals will look crisp and realistic
- Wireless connectivity: The Vive Pro comes with built-in WiFi, so you can connect your headset to your PC without using a cable
- Dual controllers: The Vive’s controllers are intuitive, ergonomic, and easy to use – Cons
- Still on the Expensive side: The HTC Vive is one of the most expensive VR headsets on the market. This makes it an option only for serious VR enthusiasts and gamers who have the money to invest in their hobby
- Vulnerable sensors: The Vive’s sensors are wired, which means that they are easier to trip over
- Not as much movement freedom as other VRs
The HTC Vive is still an incredible VR headset that holds up to this day and is still worth it. The HTC Vive Pro offers better features, tracking, and more, but if you are on a tighter budget, you can save yourself $400-$800 by buying the base HTC Vive rather than the Pro. Not only that, but you are still getting an absolutely premium VR experience with one of the higher-end options out there. As always, you can get these on the used market and save yourself some money but even buying it new, the HTC Vive is still very good.
For those of you who are looking for more VR information on the HTC Vive, read our comparison on the HTC Vive vs HTC Vive Pro 2.
HTC Vive Review
The HTC Vive is still a great headset and you are getting a premium VR experience. Yes you may be a bit more limited but at the same time you are getting a great resolution and refresh rate.