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HTC Vive Review and Buyers Guide

htc vive virtual reality headset
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HTC Vive is a new generation VR (Virtual Reality) which was released in April 2016. HTC Vive is developed as a result of tie up between the Taiwanese company HTC and Valve, a US based company which is behind the Steam digital distribution system.

The main rival for HTC Vive is Oculus Rift.

The OLED display on the headset come with an impressive resolution of 2160 x 1200 with a high refresh rate of 90Hz. The screen also provide a 100 degree field of view which is helpful to improve the visual effects and also prevent the sea-sickness like feeling.

HTC Vive Package

The packing itself is a big one, big but not heavy. The package comes with lot of items including the headset which looks like a helmet. There are also lot of cables, controllers and ports. Each part is protected in a thick dark foam. Here is a list equipment’s that come with the package.

  • Headset with 3 in 1 Cable and Audio cable
  • 2 Base Station
  • 2 Base Station Power Adapter
  • 2 controller
  • Sync cable
  • Mounting kit
  • 1 HDMI cable
  • 1 USB cable
  • EarBuds
  • Link Box
  • Link Box mounting pad
  • Link Box power adapter
  • Alternate Face Cushion
  • 2 Micro USB charger
  • Cleaning Cloth
  • Documentation

HTC Vive PC Requirements

  • Processor: Intel I5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 or higher
  • RAM: minimum 4GB. Higher the better
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 or higher
  • Video Output: HDMI 1.4 / DisplayPort 1.2 or higher
  • USB: 2.0 or higher port
  • Operating System: Windows 7 SP1 or higher

Apart from the hardware and software requirement, you need to make sure to have at least 2 square meter of free space for the play area.

Assembling the HTC Vive Virtual Reality Kit

The major components in HTC Vive are

  • The Headset,
  • Sensors
  • Controller

Assembling all the parts together can be a little complicated. But it is better you check the details in user manual or from HTC Vive website.

Headset

htc vive vr headset

First step is to connect the headset to computer. The headset include a screen and an HTC earphone. The headset have three 5mt wire protruding from it rear which terminates in a Power, HDMI and USB connector. The HDMI from the headset is connected directly to GPU for the graphics. USB connector is for communication with PC and Power connector for powering the device. The HTC headset is connected to a slot on the Vive.

The headset looks a bit annoying especially with the log cables projecting from the rear end. Surprisingly once you wear the headset and start playing, you don’t find much annoyance with the hanging cables.

Sensors

htc vive vr headset base controller

There are 2 sensors called Lighthouse base stations. These should be placed opposite to the direction that you play. For e.g, if you are planning to play games facing the south direction, then you need to place the sensors in North with the sensors placed at a raised height and facing towards south direction. From the raised position, it should be looking down at a slight angle. For mounting the sensors, it comes with a wall mounting platform. But if you are planning to change the game position from time to time, it is better to use a tripod for mounting the sensors.

These sensors emit infra-red signals which will be picked up by the headset. This increase the sensitivity and accuracy of movement and the wearer’s action. The sensors needs to be charged prior to starting the game. The 2 sensors communicate with each other wirelessly or else can be connected using a 10 meter optical cable.

The sensors also have indicator LED display which show green when the sensors are in sync.

Controller

htc vive vr headset controller

The controller comes in pair. It looks like a cross between PlayStation and Wii controller stick. It have trackpad, buttons and pressure sensitive grip in each hand. Both controllers are equipped with trigger button, Steam overlay button, Menu button, Haptic Feedback, Two side grips and a touch sensitive pad. These controllers are used for taking up different roles for different games. For e.g fish rod, gun, racquet etc.

The controller works wirelessly. It is powered by a battery.

Software installation

By putting the software disk, it starts the installation process which include installing software for both Vive and Steam. If you don’t have a steam account, create a steam account before starting the installation.  .

In between installing the software, you will be asked to complete a guided instruction for the purpose of calibrating the size of play area. This is done by holding the controller in hand and walk all four corners of your desired play space. You also need to place the controllers on the ground to help calculate the ground space and vibrations.

Once the process is completed, you will be shown if the sensors are able to sync with controllers and the headset.

Apart from this, you will have the options to install lot of software. Some of these software’s are really big. It might be a good idea that you start downloading these software well in advance.

Verdict:

The performance from HTC Vive is astonishing. The accuracy of information and visual details in a virtual environment is astounding. The display is surprising easy on the eye and don’t create any fatigue. The gaming experience is excellent with help of the brilliantly designed controller. The accuracy of controller is so high that you can drop the controller and pick it up with ease without removing the headset.

HTC Vice is an incredible buy. Provided you have at least two meter free space for game play and enough hardware power to back up the processing, it is worth every penny you spend. The only concern is it is east to get addicted with HTC Vive Virtual Reality Kit.

HTC Vive VR Headset Review
  • Build
  • Features
  • Performance
  • Value
4.3
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About the author: Anup Raman A Tech Enthusiast|Blogger|Tech Trainer with 10+ yrs experience in the field of IT. My expertise are in Operating Systems, mainly Windows and Computer security which comes from my experience, working as Tech Support and Trainer for Microsoft, Symantec and McAfee. Loves blogging about Technical Troubleshooting, discussing latest Gadgets, Games and doing Reviews.

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