Here at VRE, we have various virtual reality head set options. We’d like to offer our opinion by saying that our favourite is the HTC Vive. Let us explain why the VRE team voted this set hands down as our favourite piece of VR tech.
When initially compared to the Oculus Rift, the specs are broadly comparable. There’s a similar field of view (FOV), along with similar screen resolutions and PC requirements.
However, there is one key aspect that makes the HTC Vive stand head and shoulders over its competitors- the Oculus and the Samsung Gear VR.
One word: “room scale”. This is the ability to actually walk around and explore your environment, to physically lean over the edge of a sunken ship and stare into the dark abyss below. It is incredibly immersive and really transports you right THERE to that environment; it is something that is currently sadly lacking in Oculus and Samsung Gear VR devices.
So how important is room scale? Well, it gets so immersive that if you are watching colleagues using the Vive you will start to see certain physical behaviours associated with room scale, such as flinching when a giant whale gets too close, or them trying to lean on walls that don’t exit (Budget Cuts), or stepping over contraptions they have built (Fantastic Contraptions).
We like the Oculus Rift, and think it is an impressive headset. It’s well made and it works well with some good titles to support it. But when it comes to immersion the HTC Vive offers, it is currently light years ahead of the Oculus. Imagine using the Oculus Rift; it is the same experience but you sit down and currently would use an X-Box controller (although touch controllers are arriving soon).
Virtual Reality Controllers
Related to the aforementioned is the controllers. HTC Vive currently has its own controllers which in this room scale environment allow you to pick up, manipulate and interact with your environment. This allows you to interact fully with the virtual world. The Oculus Rift will have touch controllers that are going to be released soon (Oct 2016) which will give some parity, but there will remain the void of the unique room scale feature.
What You Need If You Hire a HTC Vive
Space! You need a bit of space. Here at the VRE team, we often work with clients who want to use the HTC Vive at an event or exhibition. We recommend around 3M x 2M of space or maybe something slightly smaller; HTC states it can be reduced down to 1.5M x 2M.
You also need a powerful PC or a very powerful laptop; generally all our hire machines use very high GTX 1070 graphics, which is significantly over-specced for any VR application.
When Might I Rent an Oculus Rift or a Samsung Gear VR?
Typically you would rent an Oculus instead of a HTC Vive if you are very limited in space and do not need room scale. So maybe a flight or driving simulator would be sufficient. Yet even when operating those programs, the HTC Vive can offer the same seated experience.
You would rent a Samsung Gear VR when you wouldn’t be interested in room scale VR and you would just want to show a large number of clients a 360 video or simple VR application.
- If you want the ultimate WOW factor, then hire the HTC Vive; it’s the same price to rent from us as an Oculus Rift and we can assure you the experience will pale in comparison.
- Room scale makes a significant difference and literally opens up your world to new possibilities.
- It’s difficult to compare the Samsung Gear VR in terms of enjoyment and encompassing usefulness, although it’s a great device for showing a large number of people a simple VR experience or 360 film.
- You need a powerful PC capable of handling the capacity of the system. If you are interested, we have PC’s available along with super convenient VR gaming laptops with the latest 1070 graphics.