We had a look at the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 last year and we were left unimpressed. It was an amazing piece of technology, but software issues, screen door effect and overall lack of readiness meant the DK2 was a bit of a struggle. We did end the quick look with the statement “2016 will be a very antisocial year for most gamers” with the full product Oculus Rift in mind. We didn’t really expect to see another player in the VR market; HTC. We couldn’t be hard on the Rift because it was a development kit, and it did give a glimpse of the future, albeit with caveats like, higher resolution, better compatibility and no screen door effect!
HTC surprised the market with an announcement that not only would they be releasing a VR headset, but this would be in partnership with Steam, a stroke of genius we think. We have a great deal of admiration for Steam, and they have a lot of our money. Their branding, software and connection with their customers puts them at the top of the gaming publisher scene, others look on and just dream at the level of Steam’s dominance. HTC have been having a bad time of it however. Their smart phones are second to none, well, second to some maybe, but they are a very established and high end smart phone manufacturer who have fallen on some tough financial times recently. So it was widely applauded when they stuck their neck out into the VR marketplace, taking on Facebook, the new owners of Oculus.
Fast forward to 2016 and we get both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive released to millions of VR fans and with a sudden rise in the number of VR sites and social media pages, 2016 is the year of virtual reality.
We have had the HTC Vive for a couple of months now, and we decided to test with one of the promising aspects of VR, simulations. We tried out the free and bespoke software provided by Steam, but with these titles heavily tested and tailored, we thought we’d go for something a little more challenging, Project Cars. We’ll explain why we didn’t go further later in the review.
|HTC Vive||Oculus Rift|
|Resolution||2160x1200 (1080x1200 per eye)||2160x1200 (1080x1200 per eye)|
|Field of view (Nominal)||110 degrees||110 degrees|
|Refresh rate||90 Hz||90 Hz|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyroscope, laser position sensor, front-facing camera||Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, 360-degree positional tracking|
|Tracking system||Lighthouse (2 base stations emitting pulsed IR lasers)||Constellation (infrared sensor, IR LEDs)|
|Weight||555 g||470 g|
|Sound||3.5 mm audio jack for headphones|
|Integrated 3D audio headphones, which are removable.
Optional headphone jack input.
|Connection||1x HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 and 1x USB 2.0||HDMI 1.3, USB 3.0, USB 2.0|
|Controller input||SteamVR wireless motion tracked controllers|
Any PC compatible gamepad
|Xbox One game controller
Oculus Touch motion tracked controllers
|Camera||Front-facing camera for looking around in the real world.||None|
|Release date||5 April 2016||March 28, 2016|
The HTC Vive arrives in a very big and shiny box, we must admit, it’s very striking in branding and appearance in the flesh.