HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift – Reviews and Buying Guide for 2021

oculus vs vive

The hardest thing about choosing between two VR headsets is when both have a strong presence. When it comes to HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift, it’s easy to feel confused because both are packed with cutting-edge features.

As a consumer, you have to be critical because there are a lot of products flooding the market from entry-level to high-end ones. The ones we talk about today belong to the latter. They are among the best that we can recommend.

In choosing a VR headset, there’s a lot to think of, such as features, price, setup, etc. VR headsets come in several types, namely standalone, PC based, and Smartphone based.

You should know which one to buy because each category has distinct features. Now back to the Vive and Rift, which one comes out on top? Let’s find out.

HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift


image credit: realovirtual.com

Hardware

There are some areas where the Vive and Rift show resemblance. For example, both feature 2 screens with a resolution of 1,080 x 1,200 and refresh rate of 90Hz. That’s decent for a VR headset. It if drops lower, it could lead to motion sickness. The differences start with the HTC Vive packing larger screens. They measure 3.58 inches in comparison to 3.54 on the competitor.

The FOV for both devices is capped at about 11 degrees. During initial release, the HTC Vive had a few items coming with the package, including 2 controllers, a link box, and lighthouses. It was priced at $800, but you may find it cheaper today. In case you’re curious about the link box, it acts as a hub for audio and video as well as a port for charging the headset.

Meanwhile, the controllers work wirelessly through a Bluetooth connection. The Oculus Rift, on the other hand, takes advantage of constellation sensors. In the current package, they have some sort of stands to allow them stand on a surface. And they’re removable, too. If you don’t need them in the play area, just dismount them.

Both sensors have different functions. The first one is connected to the headset, while the second one is meant for acquiring data from the controllers. Despite the similarities in the setup, one major difference between the two systems is the HTC Vive has a link box. This is omitted in the Rift’s configuration. Instead, the cable is plugged into the ports of your desktop computer.

So, what about the power supply? That’s not a problem because USB ports are known for charging devices.

Oculus Rift – image credit: amazon.com

Video quality

In choosing a VR headset, video quality should be the first to look forward to. In fact, it has become the most sought-after feature that everyone always checks out before making a purchase. The good news is both are reliable in this area. While they go neck-to-neck in terms of specs, at least we know that they can produce quality images for your eyes.

The specs have been mentioned before, including the resolution of the screens and Field of View. Performance-wise, they are also comparable, so it’s totally understandable if you have a hard time deciding on the better one.

If you need improved quality, the HTC Vive pro is the way to go. The screens come with a resolution of 1,400×1,600, but the upgrade comes at a price. Besides having the heftier price tag, it excludes motion controllers which are necessary for operating the headset.

Audio

To start with, a VR headset isn’t just about a visual experience. Without audio, something feels lacking. Due to the high importance, decide in advance whether you will go for a headset with built-in headphones or not. In this case, the Rift is slightly ahead because it provides free headphones. They come along with the system, so there’s no need to worry about sound output.

The HTC Vive is void of this extension. But instead, it supplies the user with a 3.5mm headphone jack, which means you can connect it to your favorite headphones. Here’s how things get complicated. Despite the absence of built-in headphones, this actually gives more flexibility as you can attach your favorite sound device.

It does come with a few caveats, though. Built-in headphones, despite the quality, are easier to use. They are directly attached on the housing, so there’s no long wire in between that can cause clutter. With external headphones, that would be a different story.

They usually have a long cable and to make it reside between the headset and headphones can limit your movement. But you can solve this by replacing them with earbuds since they’re much lighter.

HTC Vive – image credit: amazon.com

Games

Some people buy VR headsets to experience gaming in a new immersive way. Although a VR headset can display a variety of contents, that’s the games that many people are eagerly waiting for. And in this area, both devices have notable differences. With the Oculus Rift, two titles come as preloaded games, namely Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie.

Oculus has put so much effort into developing games for their headsets. They’ve also revealed that they’re teaming up with some studios to create exclusive and non-exclusive titles.

As or the Vive, we haven’t heard of official exclusives, but knowing who’s behind it a.k.a Valve, that would be interesting to see how Valve games would run on it.

Final Thoughts


So, which one is better, the HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift?

It’s a close call we have to say. Some of the basic features, they are actually identical, like screen resolution and refresh rate. But of course, there are some differentiating features as well. It’s more about personal preferences because in this segment, they both stand out.

In terms setup, you may lean towards the Rift. While it demands more USB 3.0 ports, the installation isn’t that complicated. The lower price point is another thing that adds to its appeal, but to be fair, the gap isn’t that big.

The good news is both have seen price drops since the day they were debuted. You can get either for a lower price than its launch price. The price to performance ratio is even better if you buy now.

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