HTC Vive
HTC Vive Exploration - Should you buy one? Linus Tech Tips
HTC Vive Exploration - Should you buy one?
HTC Vive Review Tested
HTC Vive Review

Photos - HTC Vive

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HTC Vive - Specification

UsageFor PCFor SmartphonesFor quadcopter
Operating systemMinimum system requirements
Body470gram512 gram
TypeAvailabilityAR - See-throughPenTile OLED
Size3.6inchesSmartphone screenN/AField of view horizontal110°
AdjustingPresentFocal length
Front cameraNumber1
GPU - Video cardN/A
SupportSteamVROculus HomeWindows Mixed RealityGear VRViveportPiHome
VideoHDMI1.4HDMI 2.0DisplayPort
USBUSBUSB 3.0USB 2.0USB type-cCharger connectorHDMI support
SoundHeadphone input 3.5mmMicrophone
Battery lifeN/A
Conrol3DoF Turning head
Tracking3DoF Rotation tracking6DoF Positional trackingTracking area
ContentsManualsUSB cable2HDMI cable2DisplayPort cableHDMI repeater1Headphones1Touch control panelMotion controllerSteamVR TrackingLighthouse2

HTC Vive Review

HTC Vive is one of the most popular VR-devices in the world which provides access to a huge number of games via the SteamVR platform. The virtual reality HTC glasses have one of the largest gaming space, which allows not only to change the viewing angle but also to move around in the gaming space and to track the location of the user's hands.
The first versions of the device released in April 2016 were sold at a price of 799 USD. Since then, not only many updates for the HTC Vive firmware, but also a large number of accessories designed to simplify the use of VR glasses were released:
  • June 2016 — the release of a ‘business version’ with an extended cable connection with PC and Deluxe Audio Strap with built-in headphones
  • November 2016 — the wireless connection unit with PC (TPCast) was released
  • June 2018 — testing of a new type of Knuckles controller was started by the game developers for SteamVR

Pros of HTC Vive

A large area of gaming space, which allows you to play more active games with a greater degree of immersion in the virtual world;
More than 3000 games in SteamVR;
The ability to run Oculus Home games using Revive;
High accuracy of tracking due to the use of base stations;
It is possible to connect your own 3.5 headphones and to output the sound to computer speakers;
A wide choice of accessories;
Possibility of wireless connection when buying TPCast.
  • In addition to games, there are various programs for digital art lovers and artists which provide an opportunity to draw 3D objects.
  • User-friendly SteamVR interface and convenient backlighting of real-world objects increase the security of HTC Vive.
  • Controllers provide users with full freedom of movement during the game (6DoF).

Cons of HTC Vive

It is much more expensive than its equivalents: Oculus Rift, Lenovo Explorer, Samsung Odyssey;
An expensive high-performance PC is necessary for the high-quality operation of the device;
A thick wire. The wire is often found under the feet at the most inopportune moment and can press the neck as well;
Relatively heavy weight of the device and wires;
Low resolution of the screen, you can see pixels;
The necessity of mounting and presetting base stations;
The headset does not fit the head tightly with the standard strap, for its comfortable usage you will have to buy a pricey Deluxe Strap.

Main competitors of HTC Vive

  • Oculus Rift is a cheaper model with a similar quality image, more ergonomic controllers, but with a smaller gaming space and a smaller number of games.
  • HTC Vive Pro is more advanced and more expensive model, which is comfortable to use. The image quality has improved by 70% and the area of gaming space has increased twice.
  • Windows Mixed Reality is a range of VR devices from Samsung, Lenovo, HP which are cheaper, have improved image quality, but have less accuracy of tracking and a very limited number of applications (about 600 at Steam).

Design and ergonomics of HTC Vive

The glasses have a rather heavy (almost 500g) convex body made of black plastic with small dimples on the outside. There is a camera in the lower part in the middle.
At the bottom of the glasses there is a knob responsible for adjusting the optics in accordance with the interpupillary distance (IPD). Additional knobs on the sides provide an adjustment of the lens distance, which can be useful for people who wear glasses. Some users note that the device is not suitable for all types of glasses and even can scratch the lenses, so it is recommended wearing HTC Vive only with small rectangular-shaped glasses.
Additional feature is a removable soft pad for the face. As time passess, it becomes unusable and it can be replaced by a more dense, high-quality leather pad. Compared to Oculus Rift, the face does not sweat much thanks to the quality material.

Wires are another drawback of ergonomics, especially if you want to move more and actively play inside gaming space. There are two solutions to this problem: to purchase a TPCast wireless connection unit or to use the retractable cable with a ceiling mount.

Display and lens of HTC Vive

The resolution is 1200x1080 px. for each eye, by mid-2018 it significantly falls behind newer models, including HTC Vive Pro.
The viewing angle is 110 degrees, and for 2018 this is a standard indicator for similar VR devices. Taken into account that an average viewing angle of a person is 180 degrees, a viewing angle of 110 degrees does not allow to use the peripheral vision during games.
Despite the "photorealism claimed by HTC it will not be difficult for a user to distinguish between objects of virtual reality and real objects. Objects in games do not suffer from excessive pixelization, but when you try to read the text at a certain distance, it can be blurred.
With a powerful video card, you can improve the graphics performance. To do this, go to SteamVR > Settings > Developer and find the Supersampling adjustment slider, where you can increase the rendering level, which will increase the image sharpness. However, even when using the most powerful video adapters, it is not recommended setting a number higher than 2.5 — this will lead to unstable glasses work and image artifacts.

HTC Vive controllers

Time of charging2 hours
Battery life without recharging~10 hours
Type of network connectionWireless
Way of charging / updatingMicro-USB
The number of buttons4
The number of virtual buttons4 (touchpad clicking)
The number of sensors24
Weight543 g. per piece
Cost of a separate controller130 USD
Control during games is carried out by two main buttons — a touchpad with a mechanical clicking and a trigger for the index finger. The controllers are provided with straps which can be put on hand to hold the device firmly in hand during the game, although users note that it is quite difficult to drop the devices. The controllers are heavy and it is rather difficult to forget about them during the game. There is a built-in vibration for tactile sensations in games. Due to the high quality of the assembly, the controllers can withstand even very strong hittings against the surrounding objects. Devices are connected by air with glasses, and not with a PC, so Vive Headset is a hub for all devices.

  • Among the disadvantages it is worth mentioning its cumbersome and less ergonomic shape in comparison with the PS or Oculus controllers
  • Periodically, the controllers lose their orientation when they are placed in the corners of the polygon or when the line of sight is blocked by a user him/herself
  • The Grid button is not convenient enough compared to the Oculus Rift controllers
  • The trackpad can fail to function over time and it stops working in the upper or right direction
  • The menu button under the trackpad is often accidentally pressed by users
Comparison of different controllers

HTC Vive base stations and gaming space

Two Vive Base Stations can be placed either on the wall or at high cabinets or shelves. The stations are almost noiseless, and the latest versions do not need to be connected with each other by wires, which advantageously distinguishes them from other devices. This system is also known as Lighthouse which uses Valve — an American partner of HTC. Its only drawback is the length of the power supply cables of the stations, although this problem can be solved with a small change or with the help of an extension cable.

HTC Vive Base Stations Instead of mounting the base stations on the walls you can use tripods. In each station, holes with standard thread sizes are provided. The easiest way is to use tripods for lighting equipment or GorillaPod. The latter can be installed on anything, including a shelf or a central heating pipe. However, the usage of tripods reduces the size of the game room and increases the chance to touch them with controllers during games.

A distinctive feature is a remote connection to the glasses themselves. Stations only need to be connected to outlets through a power supply unit. The Micro-USB connector is used to update the firmware of the base stations, although this can also be done via Bluetooth.

HTC Vive allows you to play on an area of 3 by 4 meters (for PS VR it is 2.5 x 2 meters, and for Oculus Rift it is 1.5 x 3.5 meters) and not to limit yourself in movements if there is an adequate area.

A useful feature that many users like is the backlighting of contours of real-world objects called Chaperone (users sometimes call it tron mode). When approaching a real object in the room, a user will see a blue outline which will allow him to stop on time. Nevertheless, in very mobile games, a user may not have time to react when the grid appears and can damage the controller or surrounding interior items.

Chaperone System

Software of HTC Vive

To use the device, a user will need to install

SteamRunning games and applications
VivePortThe device connection to a computer
HTC Vive is able to display SteamVR notifications directly during the game, which makes the glasses not only suitable for games, but also a tool for interacting with friends during games. These glasses are also equipped with the function of game broadcasting. The process of switching between different games at SteamVR takes no more than a couple of seconds — you just need to press the System button and to choose the name of another game.

Where to download games for HTC Vive

ServiceGamesFree gamesComments
Steam3,375~1000All games with the tag Headsets - HTC Vive
VivePort1055~351Mainly the same games as in Steam
Oculus Home350259The installation of Oculus Home and Revive is required

Minimum computer requirements

ProcessorIntel™ Core™ i5-4590 / AMD FX™ 8350Intel Core i7-4770 / AMD Ryzen 5 Raven Ridge
Video AdapterGe Force GTX 970/AMD Radeon R9 290GeForce™ GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon™ RX 480
Video connector1x HDMI 1.4 / DisplayPort 1.21x HDMI 1.4 / DisplayPort 1.2
USB1x USB 2.01x USB 3.0
DirectXVersion 11Version 12
OCWindows™ 7 SP1 / Windows 8.1Windows™ 10

Packing and arrangement of HTC Vive

The device is packed in a large box of black color with blue stripes. The basic equipment kit includes the following items:

  • Vive Headset — it is VR-glasses which at the same time are hub for all HTC Vive devices. On the top of the body is the main cord consisting of three wires: HDMI, USB 3.0 power cable. A wire with a standard 3.5-inch headphone jack is also available in the glasses.
  • Vive Controllers — two controllers for device control.
  • Vive Base Stations (Lighthouse tracking system) — two base stations that are responsible for movements reading. They work autonomously and do not need to be connected to the computer.
  • Basic instructions for all devices installation.
  • Adapter for connecting cables from Vive Headset. It has three connectors for the input from the glasses and the output of wires to the PC.
  • Power adapters for controllers, base stations and an adapter with mini-USB outputs and cables for them.
  • Fasteners for base stations and instructions for their installation.
  • Earplug headphones from HTC.
  • Long cable for base stations connection (in case of absence of optical synchronization).
HTC Vive standart set

Accessories and additional devices of HTC Vive

  • TPCast — a unit of wireless connection with a computer plus a built-in battery for 6000 mAh. It connects directly to the glasses and is fixed over the head. The device operates at a frequency of 60 Hz, which allows to render images without delay and the quality is similar to the wired connection. Taken into account that the use of cables in dynamic games creates considerable discomfort and stiffness in movements, the transition to a wireless connection allows you not to think about finding a wire and to move freely on foot. The cost is 299 USD.
  • Vive Deluxe Audio Strap — an improved plastic fastening for glasses with built-in headphones. It contributes to the convenience of the device usage, although there is a 3.5 jack, many people prefer to use standard earplugs. The cost is 99 USD.
TPCast + Deluxe Audio Strap
  • Vive Tracker — a device that allows you to put a real-world object into virtual reality. It is enough to fix it on the object needed. It can be anything: from a baseball bat to a toy gun. The cost is 99 USD.
  • Vive trackers usage

    Setup and settings of HTC Vive

    Installation time30 minutes — 3 hours
    Min. area2 х 1,5 meters
    Max. gaming area3 х 4 meters (5 х 5 meters, according to the tests)
    Max. distance between basic stations5 meters (7, according to the tests)
    HTC Vive setup The device installation assistance program is provided with clear illustrations and it describes this process step by step.
    • For optimal operation of the base stations it is necessary to mount them in opposite corners of the room at a height above the head level by about half a meter.
    • During installation you will need to draw a perimeter of arbitrary shape with controllers to create a gaming space.
    • Inside this perimeter, the installation program will automatically create a square of maximum sizes, which will become a game polygon.
    Incorrectly configured equipment can cause not only dissonance, but even a feeling of nausea.
  • When installing base stations, it should be taken into account that mirrors in the room can reflect the infrared rays of the base stations and create location errors of users.
  • Errors and bugs of HTC Vive

    • (1101—1112) USB error — an error with USB connection. It is one of the most common errors for this device. It is necessary to disconnect all HTC Vive devices from the computer, then go to Steam VR > Settings > Reset > Remove all SteamVR USB Devices. Close SteamVR, connect the glasses to another USB port and restart SteamVR.
    • (Error 108) Headset not found — a problem with headphones finding. It can be solved by several means: by restarting of headphones, PC or USB port change (from 3.0 to 2.0). If this does not help, then you need to turn off Steam VR, disconnect the voltage and USB cables from the cable adapter (outputs on the PC) and wait a few seconds. Then reconnect them and wait until the driver installation is complete. After that you will need to restart SteamVR — in most cases this is enough.
    • If the light indicator is blue, there is a problem in connection to the PC. You need to pair with the PC. To do this, follow the following path: SteamVR > Settings > Devices > Pair Controller.
    • If the light indicator is red, then the problem is in the controller itself. It is necessary to hold tightly the trigger, the menu button and the side buttons and connect the device in this state to the PC via microUSB, wait five seconds and release the buttons. Then you can disconnect the controller — the reboot is complete.

    • Check the device updates: SteamVR > Devices > Update Firmware
    • The switch of one station must be set to mode "b", and the other one — to mode "c"
    • The distance between stations should not exceed 5 meters, there should be no objects between them
    • If all the requirements for stations setting are met, but they do not recognize each other, then you can connect them with the cable that is included in the package. To do this, turn the switch at one station to mode "a", and at the other one — to mode "b".

    Recommendations for HTC Vive users

    • Enable room mode when playing in a confined space. This will help not to lose contact with the real world without taking off glasses. SteamVR > Settings > Camera > activate the Allow Camera for Room View item.
    • It is not advisable to take off glasses when using HTC Vive — the image quality will decrease, and in some games it will not be possible to see important details. This is especially true for users with astigmatism and poor vision.
    • It's more convenient to use the supplied earplugs instead of large headphones — they not only press the head less, but also prevent mess and tangle of wires on the head.
    • With a lack of gaming space, you can turn on Standing Only mode and play most of the games without moving around the room. SteamVR > Run Room Setup > Standing Only. You can also play some games while sitting.

    HTC Vive feedback

    The first use may cause dizziness and nausea, but as a rule it can happen only if you play action games or games with bright graphics. On the controllers, some directions on the trackpad stop working, which can make its usage in some games more complicated.
    Users note that you can easily ‘get lost’ in the device for 2–3 hours. There are no serious health problems, but after a long game it will take some time to return to the real world. This is mainly due to the high quality of the virtual reality, good detailing of objects and really good movement monitoring.

    The game in the glasses does not cause any particular inconvenience and the narrowing of the viewing angle is practically not noticeable. As for the rest things, everything is similar to the real world — the worse the user's vision is, the worse he/she will see objects. If an object in the virtual world is located in the distance, then a gamer with myopia will experience difficulties with its recognition.
    It is also worth mentioning well-balanced sound and its high quality. The quality is noticeable both in the Deluxe Strap headphones and in good earplugs.
    If you want to use HTC Vive in full, then to buy only glasses will not be enough. In addition, you will have to spend several hundred dollars on buying a powerful video card and a processor, to allocate a separate rather large area just for gaming space. Of course, you do not have to have free 15 square meters, but in this case the main advantage of HTC's glasses is lost — games with full immersion in virtual reality.

    HTC Vive - Alternatives

    Showing 1-10 of 10 items.
    PhotoUSDTitle px.AngleHz.MPGr.
    Oculus Rift CV1399Oculus Rift CV1    1200×1080110°90470
    HTC Vive Pro799HTC Vive Pro    1440×1600110°90 2 pc.555
    Pimax 8K~ 800Pimax 8K    3840×2160200°90~450
    Sony PlayStation VR189Sony PlayStation VR960×1080100°90-1201 pc.610
    Lenovo Explorer487Lenovo Explorer    1440×1440110°90 2 pc.380
    ASUS Headset583ASUS Headset    1440×144095°90 2 pc.400
    Oculus Rift DK2534Oculus Rift DK2    960×1080100°75 440
    DELL Visor 449DELL Visor     1440×1440110°90 2 pc.590
    Pimax 4K454Pimax 4K    3840×2160110°60 620
    HP VR Headset199HP VR Headset    2880×144095°602 pc.834

    HTC Vive - Comparison

    Brand HTC Oculus HTC Pimax
    Model Vive Rift CV1 Vive Pro 8K
    Min. price USD
    Estimated price
    Release 2016/04/05 2016/04/28 2018/04/05 2018
    For PC
    Total weight 470 gram 470 gram 555 gram ~450 gram
    Body weight 512 gram 450 gram
    Size 3.6 inches 3.54 inches 3.5 inches
    Aspect ratio 16:9
    Field of view horizontal 110 ° 110 ° 110 ° 200 °
    Field of view vertical 120 °
    Resolution 1200×1080 px. 1200×1080 px. 1440×1600 px. 3840×2160 px.
    Latency 22 ms.
    Refresh rate 90 Hz. 90 Hz. 90 Hz. 90 Hz.
    Focal length
    Lens spacing 58-72 mm.
    Operating system
    Minimum system requirements GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 или AMD Radeon R9 290; CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 или AMD FX 8350; Оперативная память: 4 ГБ или больше; Видеовыход: HDMI 1.4 или DisplayPort 1.2 8 Гб оперативной памяти; ОС Windows 7 SP1; 3 порта USB 3.0; порт USB 2.0; разъем HDMI 1.3. GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 или AMD Radeon RX 480; CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 или AMD FX 8350; Оперативная память: 4 ГБ или больше; Видеовыход: DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0 порт или более скоростной, Windows 8.1 или выше
    Oculus Home
    Windows Mixed Reality
    Front camera
    Number 1 pc. 2 pc.
    Headphone input 3.5mm
    3DoF Turning head
    3DoF Rotation tracking
    6DoF Positional tracking
    Tracking area 5x5 meters 2.5х2.5 meters 10x10 meters
    Games 3500 2900 3500 3500
    HDMI 1.4
    DisplayPort 1.4
    USB 3.0
    USB 2.0
    USB type-c
    Charger connector
    Display port support
    HDMI support
    USB cable 2
    HDMI cable 2
    HDMI repeater 1
    Headphones 1
    Motion controller
    SteamVR Tracking
    Lighthouse 2 2
    External position sensor in space
    Proximity sensor
    Immersion 9 8
    Interaction 9 9
    Comfort 6 8
    Ecosystem 7 7
    Setup 6 6