If you’re in any way familiar with the VR landscape right now, you’ll no doubt have heard of both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. These two premium headsets have set the standard for high-quality virtual reality. Each requires a powerful PC to run the hardware, and both are considerably more expensive than their nearest rivals. Oculus started the mainstream VR revolution but failed to match the quality of the HTC Vive when they initially launched. However, the market is more even now in terms of sales. So, which is better? In this article, we discuss the Oculus Rift vs the HTC Vive and which is better.
There’s a bit of a price difference between the two headsets, although thankfully both devices have dropped in cost since they initially launched. The Rift currently costs £399/$399, while the Vive will set you back £499/$599. Initially, the Rift didn’t ship with controllers, but it now does. The price difference is significant, but specs of the Vive and its inclusion of room-scale tracking justify this cost. Oculus’ headset requires an extra sensor at a cost of £60/$79. You’ll also need to ensure your PC is capable of running the hardware; many users will find they have to upgrade at least their graphics card, which can set you back hundreds of pounds/dollars.
Compare the best prices for each of these headsets:
Both units come paired with controllers that give 6DoF tracking. This means you can interact with the virtual environment in an intuitive way.
Many of the features are similar in the two devices. Both sport two OLED panels that produce a combined resolution of 2,160 x 1,200, a 110-degree field of view, and a 90Hz refresh rate. This makes them two of the most immersive headsets currently available. The Vive packs in slightly more processing power though, with 37 individual sensors and a front-facing camera. The inclusion of this setup means that the Vive can track your movements on a large scale right out of the box. This room-scale tracking doesn’t come native to the Rift, which requires the aforementioned sensor. In our tests, we found that the Vive tracked our movements more fluidly, while the Rift occasionally dropped tracking of the controllers.
Both units come paired with controllers that give 6DoF tracking. This means you can interact with the virtual environment in an intuitive way. Although both are fantastic and designed specifically for virtual reality, unlike those for the PlayStation VR, the Oculus Touch controllers are slightly more ergonomic and easy to use.
Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive: Design
For the time being, VR is going to require you to strap some sort of box to your face. These two devices are no different. However, the Oculus Rift has a slight edge over the HTC Vive. The former is lighter and fits on the face slightly more comfortably. Yet, the latter does have a useful distance knob which means you can adjust the distance of the lenses which is particularly helpful for glasses wearers. In terms of aesthetics, the Vive looks slightly bulbous and pock-marked whereas the Rift is a bit sleeker.
Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive: Content
Each of these headsets has a huge variety of content on offer, with many of the top gaming titles being available on both. However, the HTC Vive was created in partnership with gaming giants Valve. Although the Rift is compatible with Valve’s SteamVR platform, there have been numerous reports of issues with some of the games. Similarly, many Oculus Store titles can be accessed on the Vive using the ReVive hack, but this was proven to be fallible when Oculus briefly halted the service.
Ultimately, each provides a gaming experience, unlike anything we’ve seen before. Immersion is rarely broken, and we genuinely felt like we had entered other worlds when using the headsets. Room-scale tracking makes things immensely fun, and we’re hopeful that some of the upcoming titles will deliver on their potential.
Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive: Which is Better?
This is a close battle in which to declare a winner. At launch, it was easy to see that the HTC Vive was the superior device, but its exorbitant price was a little off-putting. The Oculus Rift felt a bit incomplete by comparison, particularly as there weren’t any controllers bundled with it. Now, over a year since launch, the battlefield is a little more level, and the sales of each reflect this. The price drop has made each more accessible, but new devices are disrupting the market. The HTC Vive probably just about scrapes through as the winner for now; it’s a more complete system out of the box and has slightly better access to games.