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03-30-2016, 06:42 PM #1
HTC Vive Consumer Headset Review Thread!
Hello all! I am excited to say that Consumer VR is finaly here to stay as the Oculus Rift Consumer Version 1 starts to ship out to the kickstarters and backers! Soon after we will start to get our Consumer HTC Vives as well!
Please post your reviews of the HTC Vive Consumer hardware into this thread as to not clutter up the forum with a milion review posts! Software reviews should go into their respective game threads (If there is not a thread for your game review, feel free to make a new one =) )
All Hardware reviews will be rolled into this post if not posted into this thread. Please note, Do not post reviews of the devkit or Vive Pre into this thread, this is for the Consumer hardware only. I fully understand that Vive Pre is basicly the same thing without the headstrap, however I want to keep this separate from the Pre as technically the consumer vive is not the pre!
04-05-2016, 03:20 PM #2
- Join Date
- Mar 2016
Ok here is a list of all the HTC Vive reviews I could find thus far:
- Tested (Video Review)
- Digital Trends (Video Review)
- The Verge
- Road To Vr
- Ars Technica
- Tom's Hardware
- Yahoo News
- Wall Street Journal
- PC World
- The Tech Report
04-15-2016, 05:55 PM #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2016
- Illinois, USA
Nice list!Comments posted in plain text are my own, comments posted as a moderator will be posted in blue.
04-25-2016, 07:29 PM #4
- Join Date
- Mar 2016
- UK, England
My HTC Vive Review - Vive defines True VR
VR is difficult to explain to people. It’s not something you can get across in words. You can try – you can tell people that it’s like being there, you can tell them that it feels real and talk about how immersive it is, but people really don’t understand it until they try it. I’m going to do my best to explain it anyway.
I started VR with the Rift DK2 and Google Cardboard. I thought Cardboard was amazing when I first tried it - I saw the potential, but didn’t fully understand the problems it had. The main issue I had with Cardboard was that I’d feel nauseous after 5 to 10 minutes of usage, and I didn’t twig why at first, but there are several reasons for this nausea – mainly that Cardboard does not enable a low-persistence display mode, which is very important for removing display ghosting, and that Cardboard has horrific head tracking. Lacking a low-persistence display or fast and accurate head tracking will both induce nausea in most people.
Rift DK2 I thought was a pretty cool experience but I wasn’t madly in love with it. To be clear, I don’t think DK2 was bad at all – I think it was fun, but it didn’t excite me. I could play things with it but most of the experiences would make me uncomfortable in some way – nausea, headaches and strange eye strain. I would still come out of VR and not feel quite right, like I needed time to recover. Since DK2 has pretty solid tracking and a low-persistence display, the issue this time was controls. By using a gamepad for most DK2 games, you’re abstracting the controls significantly and have very little natural movement, often having to resort to “comfort turning” as there is no 360-degree tracking, which makes me feel sick.
In comes the Vive – the first VR HMD to actually excite me and keep me coming back every day for more. I can play for hours and not feel any kind of sickness and I don’t get any headaches. Why? Because the Vive allows you to actually move yourself, instead of having to move artificially with a controller. When your real actions are reflected in-game, that is when people are comfortable in VR. When you move in real life and you move in exactly the same way in VR, that is exactly how you enjoy VR without side-effects.
On top of this, the content for Vive is far more engaging, purely because it has motion controllers called “Wands”, and it ships with two of them. Like I said, I thought the DK2 was a cool experience and I did get some enjoyment out of the gamepad games, even with some side effects, but using motion controls is an entirely different experience. Picture yourself fighting a skeleton in a dark dungeon. With the DK2, and even still with the Rift CV1, to attack and to dodge you would have to press buttons on a gamepad. With the Vive, you attack by grabbing a sword and swinging it. You move by moving. You block by blocking. I can angle my sword and stab around my enemy’s guard. It’s absolutely incredible, and that’s just one example. Picture yourself as a knife-throwing spy against deadly robots, where you can physically lean around corners and peek over ledges, physically drop to the ground to take cover. I could go on and on but I try to keep my reviews relatively concise so I’ll stop here.
Everyone wants to compare this device to the Rift CV1. Anyone buying a desktop VR headset right now wants to know which of these two devices is better. People want to know which has the largest field of view, which one fits better, and an array of other questions. I don’t have a Rift CV1 so I can’t answer any of them, but I can tell you why I bought a Vive instead of a Rift, as someone who has extensive experience with other Oculus products such as Gear VR and Rift DK2. I bought the Vive because even If the Rift had a better build quality, or better lenses, or any other advantage, it would still fundamentally run games that could be run almost exactly the same using a DK2, and that’s nothing ground-breaking; the DK2 is two years old now. It’s still good tech, but when I saw Vive with motion controllers and how much fun people were having with it… It looked like a much more enjoyable experience. It’s an evolution of VR that Oculus is lagging behind on.
Vive also has some very thoughtful features – such as the front facing camera. You can enable the front-facing camera in ‘tron’ mode by double-tapping a button on one of the Wands, or the same button on the headset. This allows you to see outlines of objects in the real world – the cable to the headset, and even the straps on the wands. I can also use the Tron mode to get a drink out of my fridge without having to remove the headset, which is highly convenient. Another thoughtful feature is the link box that the Vive comes with. It works by plugging the Vive’s cables into this link box, and plugging the link box into your PC. The advantage of this is that you don’t have to reach around the back of your PC to unplug the vive – you just disconnect from the link box, which you can have next to your PC’s front panel ports. This is super convenient. In the box you will also find a second foam gasket, which is the padding between your face and the headset, some screen-wipe cloths and a few other pieces.
So how do you set this thing up? The one drawback to the Vive is that if you want the full experience, it requires more setup than the Rift. Unlike the Rift which comes with one tracking camera, the Vive comes with two ‘Lighthouses’, which enable the headset and controllers to track in space. You could just stick one lighthouse down on your desk like you would with the Rift and call it a day, but you’ll be missing out on what truly makes the Vive shine. To enable room-scale tracking, you will need to mount both Lighthouses above you in two opposing corners of your room and pointing down a bit. The recommended way to do this is by putting some screws into your walls, however you could use tripods or some other secure method. It’s more work, but you’ll get more for it.
Once you have mounted the Lighthouses, you need to plug them each into mains power – no connection to the PC required. SteamVR guides you through the process very nicely so I won’t go into more detail – just make sure you have Steam and from Steam you can download SteamVR.
Having read this, ask yourself what you want. Why are you reading this review? Are you interested in the sit-down experience or are you really wanting to move around physically in VR? Whilst pointing this out, it’s important to note that the Vive is also capable of a sit-down experience like the Rift.
So why should you buy a Vive? You should buy one because it enables truly immersive VR experiences, the majority of which will not induce nausea in most people – even those prone to VR sickness like myself. Or you could wait. Oculus are going to release motion controllers at some point, however we don’t know when and we don’t know how they will compare to Vive’s system. Some people decided to wait for these and get a Rift – I don’t believe in buying something based on what it may become in the future, and I wanted motion controllers now. If you asked me if I would have bought a Vive without motion controllers, the answer would be a firm “No”.
In conclusion, VR headsets are goggles into a new world – you put them on and you are looking into another world. You can perceive depth as in real life, and judge how far away things are, and how big they are. This is great for improving immersion in many situations, and is great for media consumption. Queue the motion controllers, and that’s where this product truly shines. If wearing the HMD allows you to look into a new world, then the motion controllers allow you to actually become part of it. This is what true VR is – it’s about immersion, it’s about actually being in this new world. If that’s what you want, then Vive is the only system right now that will give you this incredible experience, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone interested in immersive VR.
05-09-2016, 02:38 AM #5
- Join Date
- Mar 2016
- UK, England
Hi all - I've made a video review of the Vive that extends on from my written review. The video is based on the same content but adds a few more things.
10-19-2016, 08:18 AM #6
- Join Date
- Oct 2016
I've watched plenty of reviews but am still waiting for the Vive to finally appear in retail here in Europe, there's only so much you can take away from reviews without having it tested yourself.
10-19-2016, 11:04 AM #7
- Join Date
- Apr 2016
- Braga Portugal