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HTC Vive reviews are in, and create a fantastic place to compete

News that HTC and Valve would be working together to release a competing VR headset to the Oculus Rift came as a surprise. Despite the constant stream of rumors that Valve was working on VR behind closed doors, HTC seemed like an unlikely partner for this sort of project. Over the last year we've seen the HTC Vive go from damned impressive developer kit to retail product, with no shortage of incredibly impressive demos along the way. HTC went so far as to drive massive trucks with demo stages around the US for a while, and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who walked away from those experiences with anything but a smile on their face.

We're just starting to ramp up our VR coverage, and will soon be pouring all of our thoughts on this category right here for you to read. In the mean time, just like with the Oculus Rift, there are three reviews that tell a great story about how this hardware is being received.

HTC Vive

HTC and Valve have released a product that is more expensive, more complicated, and more feature complete than the Oculus Rift is right now. That last bit is important in a lot of these reviews, which are quick to remind you that Oculus has already announced curious-looking controllers to offer an experience similar to what HTC and Valve are offering. We've yet to see how true that is, so taking a look at the hardware as it is makes a lot more sense. For that, the folks at Road to VR have done a lot to show you exactly what it takes to fully dive into Vive ownership. A big part of that experience is addressing exactly how much space you need to get the most out of the HTC Vive, and it's something well addressed in this review.

Read More: The UploadVR Review

A lot of noise has been made about the added cost of the Vive over the Rift, and for a good reason. A $200 difference is significant for just about any purchase, and there's a better than good chance the Oculus controllers aren't going to cost that much. At least for the forseeable future, the HTC Vive is going to remain the more expensive of the two big desktop-class VR solutions. That having been said, most of the folks who have spent time with both systems agree the price difference is justified by the experience. The ability to move around gives an early feeling of a Star Trek Holodeck, and there are few nerds out there who wouldn't jump at the opportunity to experience that. A great balanced perspective on this comes from Will Greenwald at PCMag, who agrees that Vive is the only way to get the full experience right now.

Read More: The PCMag Review

More feature complete doesn't necessarily mean better, especially when it comes to the individual VR experiences being offered. Instead of a dedicated VR UI like the one seen on the Oculus Rift, Valve floats your Desktop Steam client in front of you to interact with. This is a familiar setup for most, but not exactly the most VR-friendly experience out there. It does give Vive owners a significant selection of content to play with, but the chances you'll find something that isn't quite finished or is short enough to almost be considered a tech demo can't be ignored. Polygon's Ben Kuchera does a fantastic job breaking down the big experiences for the Vive, but also highlighting the ways in which Valve struggles to enforce VR-friendly policies with the content you have available to you.

Read More: The Polygon Review

As a first generation room-scale VR experience you can actually have in your home, it looks like HTC and Valve have delivered something decent out of the box. It also looks like there's plenty of room for refinement, and that's something the folks at Oculus currently have over HTC. The biggest takeaway from these reviews, especially when you compare them to the reviews for the Oculus Rift, is that there is no clear winner between the two right now. More than anything, it means there's still so much room for these products to improve and compete with one another.

With no clear "winner" in VR right now, these two companies and several others are going to continue to fight for your attention with new and more interesting ideas. We'll have a lot more for you on the HTC Vive as we start to dig into this system ourselves.

Russell is a tech nerd who chases the best of everything, from phones to game consoles to laptops and everything glowing or beeping. He's the Managing Editor of gaming content for Mobile Nations and can be found contributing to all of the Mobile Nations sites. Reach out on Twitter!

53 Comments
  • Great treat! Awesomely awesome. Sent from my murderous Nokia 920 heavy brick edition.
  • overpriced toy wait for PS
  • Gotta say that I agree.  Sure, its not as technically competant (mainly the resolution) but game devs will be able to do more with it thanks to the stable platform rather than the usual PC thing of having to hit millions of differently configured moving targets. The price makes a big difference too. I was hoping MS would have something like forteleza to market by now, but they seem to have gone all-in with hololens, and that still a long way from release and doesn't offer the same kind of experience.
  • HoloLens spring 2017. :) Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's Lumia 950xl
  • Hola Pappale, I was just appreciating the awesomeness, I no gonna buy: Weder Vive noch PS. Me not a gamer.
  • Emi - you made my day. Thank you. :-D
  • What's with everyone and vr's these days Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yeah, I don't understand why people can enjoy theese mini-worlds where their view is totally blocked from reality. Governments and their puppet masters all over the world are playing with or freedom and people happily welcome these virtual prisons ...
  • If people get nauseous for short uses and remain sick for a day if they use it for two hours, both are no goes.  I expect VR to fail gloriously as more and more people get sick using it.  It can be used for 10-15 minutes at a time before conflict with the inner ear and the eyes comes into play.  The same issues existed in the 90s when the fad first took off and then disappeared.   Microsoft's path is a longer one, but mixed reality has a better upside because it can reconcile movement with what the inner ear detects.  So nausea is not a problem.
  • I have read many reviews saying that VR hasn't gotten them sick at all with the newer devices. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • I've read reviews saying that VR has gotten them sick.
  • Read a lot of reports that Oculus is still trying to figure out how to fix it.  People using it for any more than an hour at a time end up being done for the day and sick in bed. I remember the VR craze of the 90s when it was the future then.  Eventually, all systems were designed to have people sit down to try to mitigate the effects.  It only did it slightly.   There's no way to trcick your inner ear.  If the VR shows you moving forward and that's what your eye sees, your inner ear will disagree.  There'll be varying degress of effect on this.  Some will be able to tolerate it for longer, some not so much.  But the effects can even be seen on a modern console if you're too close to the screen.  If you lose peripheral vision, it's quite easy to get nauseous.   So the way to fix the VR would be to confine it to a small space while giving you peripheral vision, but that ruins the immersion.   I think the amount of people that won't get sick is small.  No one will use VR in less than five years and then the fad will re-emerge in another ten years when people forget.
  • Hey grandpa, you know VR tech is vastly different in 2016, right? This isn't the Virtual Gameboy we're dealing with here.
  • *Virtual Boy
  • Not talking about the Virtual Boy.  I used much more sophisticated VR in the 90s than that.  I've used these too.  Bring a sick bag. Epic fail is coming.  Oculus is nervous about it.  Valve and HTC are going to take a bath.  VR is all hype and no reality.  I suspect this fad will be done in less than a year.  Very few will buy it and there will be no Gen 2.  Invest in it at your own risk. Oculus is terrible for anything more than 15 minute sessions and you need to be away from it for a half hour before using it again.  Word is that the Vive is the same.  Impressive in limited sessions.  Play for an hour and you'll be sick most of the day. At least in the 90s it was set up for short sessions.  The problem is they could never get it to go beyond that for any large segment of the population.  Guarantee we'll find out the same thing.  There's a reason Microsoft didn't go this route.  Even Google has only done it in a very limited way that is really designed for short term usage.   Wait until kids get this and then end up sick all day from it.  Parents will rebel and the word will be out.  This is going nowhere fast.  Kind of like actually using VR.
  • I doubt it will fail entirely, but it will take a long time before it gets out of the super-enthusiast market. I see them in the same was as racing wheels & pedals, or flight sim joysticks - nice for the enthusiast but otherwise unimportant to the masses. VR will take it's place eventually, but I think it's going to be another 5-10 years before the tech matures enough. It's still early days
  • Look up "Dactyl Nightmare" and you'll find a lot of info on the VR rigs in use back then. Only diff between then and now is these are for consumers, and obviously technology & graphics are far better.
  • You're way off with the inner ear thing.  Thats caused by a disconnect betrween the auditory/balance and visual systems which is exactly what VR minimises. Any motion sickness is likely to be more to do with closeness of focusing, choppy framerates (already an issue with the rift) or bumping into walls and tripping over your cat.
  • No, I'm right about the inner ear thing.  It has nothing to do with balance.  You inner ear gets screwed up when your eyes so motion and you are not moving or not moving at the correct rate. VR is dead on arrival.  We're going to be hearing all kinds of stories of people getting sick with these things and the industry will be killed off.  It's a fad and no one will use it in five years, probably less. I got to play with Oculus.  It's horrible.  Vive isn't going to be any better.  I'm not someone that gets nauseous easily.  Motion rides don't bother me at all.  Every VR headset is a serious problem.
  • I had a chance to experience VR with Oculus' 1st gen dev kit. The whole session was around 20 minutes specialized VR app, then 15 minutes questionaire without the headset on and then again some 10-15 minutes just toying around with the headset (I had a run with the rollercoaster demo as well). No sickness at all.
  • People will react differently to any tech. I know people who get sick gaming in front of a normal monitor.
    Some will also have problems with VR, but according to reviews the chance of sickness has been greatly reduced for current devices.
    Personally I had no problems during limited testing of OR DK1.
    Nobody is forced to use it, if you don't want it, don't buy it.
  • First on 59.99 cnd on sale I will buy Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Microsoft quietly remove media player app from xbox one wtf, any one having problems
  • Off topic but what you expect things happen
  • I'm going to be ropable if this is true.
  • Will it help me play video games? Oh goodie!
  • And wtf has this to do with MS/Windows? It's bad enough that so much space is devoted to games but it's got beyond a joke now.
  • Where do you think this will be used. Most likely, a Windows PC. You could say that this is a peripheral.
  • Skip the article then. That's free and saves you time.
  • It's called freedom of speech isn't it? Dickhead.
  • So you're not only a troll, you're an unimaginative and 2 day late troll. Carry on then.
  • You can blame the WC app for late notifications. No trolling necessary.
  • Moan more buddy. Just don't click the article, or is that too hard for your poor little brain to comprehend?
  • I think you're missing the point you dumb cûnt. Where do you suggest I comment then, off-topic in an unrelated article?
  • Your title needs some work.
  • I thoroughly concurr
  • I was very underwhelmed with the demo experience of the HTC vive. The things system requirements are way too high. (Core i7, 8gb of ram, gtx 980 could use a 970*) for that amount of horsepower, Xbox 360 graphics! Really. This isn't software it should take lift more of the processing burden for the price.
    You are basically buying an expensive goggles with sensors. And even that aspect is not executed well in my opinion. I don't like the idea that you can see the edge of the lenses. For something that size it needs to be bigger to feel the illusion of peripheral vision.
    The spatial area allowed for the vive seems to be like 6ftx6ft. If you get to close a grid appears. I still could not see my hands or feet. That's important to me for immersion. The unit does not have built in headphones. So you have to put on a plug in over the ear headphone.( I'll guess that it is included) Hours with this device on doesn't seem possible. In my opinion it has a long way to go.
  • For the crazy price + PC able to feed it, it'd damn well better be fantastic.
  • I'm happy that the Occulus and Vive are getting good reviews. Some day I'll build a rig capable of running them.
  • I'm not sure most people have an entire empty room they're ready to sacrafice for Vive. At this point I'd still go with Oculus.
     
  • Lol, it's not like you need the full space it can detect, for it to operate ...
  • You can use the Vive seated and still use the VR controllers. Also the size of the room in configurable at set-up time.
  • If it reaches down to $50 and not cost another $2000 for a computer, I will think about it. Maybe in 5years
  • श्री राम जय राम जय जय राम' - यह सात शब्दों वाला तारक मंत्र है। साधारण से दिखने वाले इस मंत्र में जो शक्ति छिपी हुई है, वह अनुभव का विषय है। इसे कोई भी, कहीं भी, कभी भी कर सकता है। फल बराबर मिलता है।आपकी सामग्री ने हाल ही में हमारी नीतियों का उल्लंघन किया है. अवांछित प्रचारक या वाणिज्यिक सामग्री भेजने, या अवांछित या सामूहिक विनती सहित किसी भी प्रकार की स्पैमिंग की अनुमति नहीं है. अगर आप जारी रखते हैं, तो हो सकता है कि आप Google+ और अन्य Google सेवाओं की कुछ या सभी सुविधाओं का उपयोग करने की क्षमता खो देंगे.
    मेरा देश व देशवासी महान हमारी संसद कार्यपालिका न्यायपालिका अति महान हमें हमारी सुरझा ( सेना) पर ग्रव है हमारी पुलिस व लोकराज अत्यन्त भर्ष्टाचार के पर्पाय ।
  • Hmm Google... Google. Yes, very interesting
  • Santosh Trivedi New Member? Pick a Username \f007
    \f003 I'd like to receive newsletters and special offers. By registering you are accepting our sensible terms and conditions. Already a Member? Sorry, the username
  • windows10 failed .never buy hp products .hp mean hp the hopeless
  • Santosh Trivedi New Member? Pick a Username \f007
    \f003 I'd like to receive newsletters and special offers. By registering you are accepting our sensible terms and conditions. Already a Member? Sorry, the username
  • Your HP warranty for your HP Pavilion Notebook is scheduled to expire on 11/14/2016.
    During the warranty coverage period, you have access to HP support agents who can help troubleshoot and repair hardware issues.
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  • I too believe VR in its current form is just a fad and people will get sick of it pretty soon, literally. These so called VR headsets still aren't true VR to me. We don't quite have the technology yet for true VR. A real VR experience is able to stimulate all of your senses and allow you to move around with only your mind. Basically, walking around in a VR world will feel like you're walking around in the real world. Getting hurt will feel like it too. No controllers necessary. All these VR headsets really are is just a tiny display put really close to your eyes with some motion sensing capabilities added. This kind of VR will only cause motion sickness at best and disorient people very easily, possibly leading to car accidents if they drive driving shortly after playing with a "VR" headset.
  • If everyone thought like you, we would get nowhere. Progression usually don't happen all once, but in increments.
    So, right now other people can have fun with their "vr" and you can just have fun with your VR in 30 years... I know if I had the money atm, I'd do both :-P
  • Quite clear now that PS-VR is the best option. Affordable, proper RGB screen, ergonomic, easy to use and comes with huge game library. PC side lacks all of those features.
  • It is only the cheapest option but by far not the best. Also the game library is by far the smallest compared with Vive and Occulus.