In the lab: HTC’s Vive VR headset

Just a few short days after Oculus' Rift hit our labs, HTC's Vive VR headset is also in our hands now. Yours truly is clearing out his office to make the Vive's room-scale VR experience practical, but for now, gaze upon some sweet, sweet hardware:

From left to right, we're looking at the Vive's two Lighthouse position-tracking sensors, the Vive hand controllers, the breakout box for the Vive's USB, HDMI, and audio signals, and the Vive headset itself. This picture doesn't show the raft of power adapters, chargers, wall mounts, and other hardware that comes in the box with the Vive, but it has quite the support infrastructure.

Dry runs with the Vive suggest we're already looking at two quite different experiences between the Vive and the Rift. Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage to come, and be sure to post any questions you have about the Vive (or Rift) here so we can answer them or incorporate them into our review methods.

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    • Wonders
    • 3 years ago

    Still greatly anticipating the possibility of a TR Vive review!

    • human_error
    • 4 years ago

    I can highly recommend playing Holopoint – my favorite vive game by far atm.

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 4 years ago

    Can I suggest trying out that patch mentioned a few articles ago that lets one run Oculus Rift titles on the Vive?

    • rechicero
    • 4 years ago

    I was thinking about these things and glasses and noticed for shortsighted, not a problem. But then… If being shortsighted is, partly, because of the eye trying to adapt when most of its use is in short distances, these kind of things are going to mean more diopters for most ppl. Unless they thought about that and did some magic to prevent it… Did they?

      • psuedonymous
      • 4 years ago

      They’re focussed at infinity. Longsighted users will not need glasses, but shortsighted users may need them. The Rift has a limited degree of vision compensation due the asymmetric lens backside (move the HMD up and down on your face for different ‘focus’), but contacts or glasses are very likely to be needed, and for the forseeable future. Highly adjustable corrective optics that aren’t massive and heavy do not exist yet, and fancy prototypes like oil membrane lenses can’t compensate for issues like astigmatism and have unpleasant failure modes.

        • Gyromancer
        • 4 years ago

        I can vouch for this. Our Vive arrived in Damage Labs as well and both Damage and I use shortsighted glasses with no problems.

          • jessterman21
          • 4 years ago

          Ugh I’m still effed with these HMDs though – very far-sighted in one eye, and the other is basically perfect. And I hate contacts!

            • GrimDanfango
            • 4 years ago

            Why does that conflict with HMDs? Just wear whatever glasses you’d normally wear. There’s some company even making clip-over prescription lenses already, that clip straight over the Rift/Vive lenses, if you’d rather not adjust the headset to accommodate your glasses.

            • Kairu43
            • 4 years ago

            I backed it this morning;

            [url<]https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/451454651/vr-lens-lab-glasses-for-virtual-reality-headsets[/url<]

          • tritonus
          • 4 years ago

          Are you telling that we’ll have some Damage contribution in a TR review? 😉

        • cobalt
        • 4 years ago

        While I don’t recall reading what the Vive was, I believe it’s been confirmed that the newer Rift is not actually at infinity (earlier Rifts were, but I think the latest ones are a few feet out — basically, something approximating resting eye accommodation, which is NOT infinity).

          • GrimDanfango
          • 4 years ago

          Ah, okay, I didn’t realise this… interesting. It makes sense, as most of what you’ll interact with in VR would be nearer than the horizon, but I wonder if that gives any subconscious cues that affect the sense of scale of a scene, especially distant landscapes…

            • Voldenuit
            • 4 years ago

            Hyperfocal distance for the human eye is typically around 16 ft, so if probably won’t cause much of a dissonance.

        • GrimDanfango
        • 4 years ago

        Anyone who needs glasses will need them just the same – short- and long-sightedness doesn’t so much refer to seeing well at a particular distance – short-sightedness means your eyes can’t focus to an infinity point, while long-sightedness means your eyes tend to focus *beyond* infinity (which isn’t nearly as cool as it sounds). Short sightedness is somewhat more glaring, because with long-sightedness, as least your eyes can just work harder to focus throughout most distance range, but it still strains your eyes (and in my mid-30s, my eyes largely can’t be arsed to work hard any more)

        Basically, using VR is like looking at the horizon (or as I just learned in the post above, possibly the middle-distance on the Rift at least)… generally if you need glasses in real life, you’ll need the same glasses in VR.

    • Noigel
    • 4 years ago

    Man, I enjoy seeing those crisp white background images of the tech that you know TechReport created personally… so elegant and polished. 🙂

      • bfar
      • 4 years ago

      Yea, they are cool 🙂

      I’ve no doubt the vendors appreciate it too.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 4 years ago

      They’re really not that hard to make. Some white posterboard and good lighting (edit: including diffusers, so you’re not casting hard shadows). Jeff is an excellent camera teacher, which helps. 😉

    • Firestarter
    • 4 years ago

    I’ve seen some very fun stuff being done with the Vive that the Rift cannot touch, yet it seems that everything that the Rift does, the Vive can do as well. From just that, it seems pretty clear cut which one is the winner, were it not for people saying that the Rift tracks better than the Vive.

      • Laykun
      • 4 years ago

      Make no mistake, with the second camera and the touch controllers the Rift can do everything the Vive can. It’s unfortunate that the Rift doesn’t launch with the controllers but the word from developers is that both systems are for all intents and purposes, identical.

      [url<]http://www.polygon.com/2016/4/12/11414090/oculus-rift-htc-vive-fantastic-contraption[/url<]

        • brucethemoose
        • 4 years ago

        That’s not a bad thing. It means these 2 headsets will compete with each other for awhile, keeping prices low (relatively speaking).

          • Laykun
          • 4 years ago

          Oculus’ intention is to make money though software, and they’ve publicly stated they only sell the hardware at cost, so it’s never going to get cheaper unless the manufacturing process gets more efficient, and it’s not going to get more expensive. However, this does keep the Vive’s price in check though.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 4 years ago

            Economies of scale kick in and at some point R&D gets amortized.

        • Noigel
        • 4 years ago

        Respectfully, in reading that article I got the exact opposite impression. It sounds like the Fantastic Contraption creators had to make compromises to keep the Rift user facing the lone forward camera. I know the Touch controllers will come with a second camera setup but I’m wondering just how well it will handle blind-spots since they previously stated that room-scale wasn’t a primary focus for them. Sounds like they are playing catch-up and the room-scale crown for Generation 1 will stay with the Vive…

      • CScottG
      • 4 years ago

      The most comprehensive comparison I’ve seen so far:

      [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBieKwa2ID0[/url<] -and it doesn't look like there truly is a clear-cut winner overall.

        • Namarrgon
        • 4 years ago

        Great video, and the list in that first comment is awesome. But to summarise the summary:

        If you want room-scale VR right now, get the Vive. If you want seated games, or can wait for the Oculus Touch controllers, the Rift is comfier for long sessions. Also, Vive’s SteamVR software has more features, for now.

        Once Touch is out, it’ll be a lot closer. Vive will still have the edge for room-scale due to its Chaperone camera and more flexible base stations, Rift will still have better ergonomics, but both seated and room-scale games should work very similarly in both.

          • CScottG
          • 4 years ago

          While that applies for the over-all experience VR experience that *can* be obtained by each,

          -IMO the better clarity (both focused and off-axis) and improved comfort for the Rift make it every bit the “contender” for the current title ..DESPITE the fact that it doesn’t yet provide the immersion of the Vive (when the Vive is at its best).

          This leads me to things not well “touched-on” in the video:

          1. Remember – ultimately they are both wearable monitors. Most of your use could well be with applications and games that are NOT crafted for VR. In that context I’d give the edge to the Rift for the above clarity and comfort, and

          2. Greater depth into the fact that the Rift has a bigger VR grouping of gaming titles to choose from (which can be closed/unavailable to the Vive), and

          3. Oculus also has saturated 3rd parties far more than Valve (with those developer kits) – that might pay-off with more exclusive partnerships (..a possible expanding closed eco-system).

          -while it might seem that I favor the Rift, I personally think it’s too close to call for me (personally), and in fact I’m about to sell by Kickstarter CV1. (..and I’m not going to replace it anytime soon.)

            • Pwnstar
            • 4 years ago

            Anything that runs on the Rift can run on Vive with a quick patch.

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