Right now, purchasing a desktop-class VR headset is still quite a big, expensive choice. Before you plug the headset in, you should make sure first that your PC is actually able to drive the experience. Nevertheless, once you finally reach the point, the thinking is not over yet. You will find yourself facing several excellent choices, and choosing one from them can be incredibly difficult. You can go for Oculus Rift, which is the VR headset developed by Oculus VR that has rekindled the global interest in consuming realistic 360-degree content as showcased by the record-breaking Kickstarter campaign. But you can also buy HTC Vive instead, the CR headset made with new technologies developed by Valve, which is without question the master of today’s PC gaming.
Choosing between the two greatly capable VR headsets is indeed no easy task, and it all comes down to how you want to use your VR headset. Below, we are going to see the differences and comparisons between HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Read below to determine the best is for you.
HTC Vive vs. Oculus Rift: Setup
Both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift come in great boxes, but the similarity ends there. Taking them out of the boxes cannot be any more different. In short, Oculus Rift’s setup process is quite simpler and easier than HTC Vive.
Oculus Rift is ready to go within 20 minutes from its removal from the packaging. It requires three USB ports and one HDMI port of your PC. After everything is connected and the software is successfully installed, you can play right away the VR games that you’ve been waiting for. The Xbox Controller that is included in the bundle can start working almost immediately without significant setup time. This setup is, in theory, portable, but you will need a monster laptop in order to power up the headset.
HTC Vive is somewhat more complex to set up, but this is all so because of how you are going to use the headset. It involves full body motion, standing and crouching and walking. There is a pair of small black boxes that you need to install diagonally from each other on the opposite sides of the space where you are going to play in. Each of them requires a power outlet. The headset connects to a sync box, which requires one USB port, one HDMI port, and another one power outlet. After all components of the hardware are connected properly, you will go through a calibration process that requires you to trace around the playing area by walking with the controller stretched out in front of you. The calibration process is meant to give a boundary to the system. While the instructions are clear and easy to follow, the total time from start to finish may take about 40 minutes or so.
HTC Vive vs. Oculus Rift: Gaming Experience
As mentioned above, HTC Vive is very attractive due to the full body motion experience offered. You will have to stand, crouch, and walk in your playing space, creating such a realistic experience. Usually, if you lift your hands up, you will be able to see the controllers in your hands in the game you are playing. You can turn around in any direction while walking and swinging your arms. When you get close to the boundary that has been setup through the calibration process, you can see it, ensuring that you will not run into a wall or knock down a lamp.
Oculus Rift by itself offers nothing similar to the room-scale experience offered by HTC Vive. If you want to achieve a similar realistic experience when playing a game that takes advantage of such format, you need to purchase the Oculus Touch controllers, which include motion controllers and a second sensor to be placed on your desk and connected to the PC. With two sensors, dimensions can be sensed and tracked better, allowing you to move around with more room. You can also purchase a third sensor to further expand the capabilities, but there are currently just few games that use such setup. Compared to HTC Vive’s controllers, Oculus Rift’s are more refined.
HTC Vive vs. Oculus Rift: Comfort
If you spend so much money for some VR headset, you will want to use it a lot. Thus, comfort is important. You certainly want to wear it comfortably, even after extended periods of usage.
Oculus Rift is incredibly simple to put on. You just need to wear the headset almost like a baseball cap. Line the rigid back section with the back of your head, and pull down the bulky display section until you reach your nose. The elastic rails allow it to fit perfectly on the face and hug the head. Unfortunately, the eye sockets don’t have much room for glasses. If you wear prescription glasses, you will have to put the headset on your eyes first. The facial padding is not very absorbent and quite durable, but there is no replacement pad given in the bundle. There are built-in headphones, but these are difficult to replace if you want something with better noise isolation or higher sound quality.
HTC Vive takes more efforts to put on, as there are straps and cables to set. It has a headphone jack, meaning that you can use almost any gaming headphones that you want. The included earbuds are not very good, so you may want to pair it with a truly good set of headphones. The facial padding is more absorbent, and may quickly become gross due to sweat. However, an extra pad is included so that you can swap while cleaning the former one.
For the best VR experience, HTC Vive is the way to go. The games are vibrant and vivid, and the full body motion is exceptional. It is fun on Oculus Rift, but truly shines on HTC Vive. For now, Oculus Rift is simpler and requires less hardware to run, but not yet as great as HTC Vive. Still, Oculus Rift has some features that may later become the things that people want.