Vive Pro VR System

Oculus vs HTC Vive: Expansion of the Vive Brand

Oculus had a strong finish to 2018 with the holiday push of their latest VR device, the Oculus Go. Brought to market as the most affordable virtual reality device, the Go is wireless, portable, and priced to sell at starting under $200. With the string of recent celebrity endorsed commercials, the world is now well aware of the Oculus VR brand. Where does HTC fit in?

In this article, let’s talk a bit about HTC. This isn’t a device comparison article, but rather a look at Oculus vs HTC Vive in regard to their target markets and the planned expansion of the Vive brand.

If you missed my previous article detailing the lineup of current (and set to release) Oculus devices, you can read that here: Oculus Rift vs Oculus Go They are both great devices, but meant for different VR experiences. Read the article to learn more!

HTC Vive Brand Expansion

What We Know So Far About HTC’s Plans For Vive

Although under the radar at the end of 2018, HTC made waves at the recent CES2019 conference. All of those interested in virtual reality now have eyes and ears on the highly advertised Oculus, as well as HTC, in anticipation of new products and the new features they promise to deliver.

HTC announced the expansion of the Vive brand with the upcoming 2019 release of not one, but two new Vive headsets: the Vive Cosmos, and the Vive Pro Eye. In addition, they left us all intrigued with the statement that the Vive Cosmos will be an “expandable” device.

Vague as the details are, we are left to understand that the Cosmos will be undergoing some continued upgrades and modifications with the objective of introducing (what I’ll call here) an advanced optionally-portable device.

Before we get into the detailed specs on the new Vive Cosmos and the Vive Pro Eye, let’s take a look back at the original Vive. Then, we’ll inspect the progression of the Vive, and finally, understand what sets HTC apart from Oculus or any other brand.

The HTC Vive Headset

The First “High-End” VR Headset

HTC, in collaboration with Valve, had first introduced the Vive back in 2016.

Consisting of the headset, 2 hand controllers, and 2 tracking base stations (plus all the necessary cables), the Vive virtual reality system brought VR gaming to those who splurged on the technology.

At $1200, it was an expensive device to invest in when uncertain of whether your experience would reflect that investment. Was the price justified?

As of today, you can buy an HTC Vive on Amazon for about $500.

Here’s the product description:

“VIVE gives you an unparalleled, true-to-life virtual reality experience. Using a headset and wireless controllers, you can explore and interact with VR experiences, apps and games that blur the line between imagination and reality. From AAA games to unforgettable experiences, there are over 2500 apps and games available for VIVE.”

It’s worth bringing attention to the amount of available VR experiences for Vive. The above description is quoted directly from the Amazon product page. However, the Vive is powered by SteamVR, and as of today there are over 2800 VR games and activities. They are constantly adding more content, and they run automatic updates.

As for specs, the Vive VR System offers:

  • (2) 1080 x 1200 resolution screens
  • high refresh rate of 90Hz
  • directional audio
  • SteamVR Tracking

The Vive VR system can be used in any space measuring at least 5′ by 6’6″ and up to 15′ by 15′, and no matter what your room scale, it has a smart warning feature, the “Chaperone,” that will alarm you when you’re nearing a boundary line. (you don’t want to punch your T.V. or kick that lamp off the table)

It is currently the #1 Best Seller on Amazon in VR under ‘Electronics’ and ‘WearableTechnology.’

Here’s the Recommended Hardware to enjoy the Vive VR system:

  • Intel Core i5 or newer
  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • RAM 4 GB or more
  • NVIDIA GTX 1060 or better
  • HDMI Output, Display port, and USB port

Here’s Why to Buy the Vive VR System:

  • Value – It’s now available at less than 1/2 the cost it was when first introduced
  • Quality – It remains a #1 best seller – almost 3 yrs after its release
  • Rating – Reviews (1399 of them) by Amazon customers produce a 4 out of 5 stars

Note: This is a tethered device; meaning you do have to have a PC to connect to and power the system.

PROS

  • graphics are great – resolution & refresh rate are the same as the Oculus Rift
  • SteamVR powered = huge selection of VR material to experience

CONS

  • uncomfortable headset – feels heavy after long use
  • SDE – advertised heavily as being low, but reportedly inaccurately described as such
  • sound – the provided earbuds are not great, and the optional audio strap will set you back and additional $99
  • tethered – this used to be a PRO, as your experience is/was relative to your computer hardware. However, being on the verge of improved wire free devices, as consumer demand would have it, I expect to eventually see advanced wireless capabilities rendering the tethered devices obsolete.
  • support – as of late, there have been numerous complaints of technical issues such as the headset stops working or sensors not responding, and little or NO support help other than “buy another one.” Ouch.

Now, let’s look at Vive’s 2nd creation…

The Vive Pro VR System

Brand Progression Follows The Successful Launch Of Vive

The beginning of 2018 brought an upgraded version of the Vive, the first Vive Pro.

Here are the Vive Pro specs:

  • dual high resolution display of 2880 x 1600 (so 1440 x 1600 px per eye) – unmatched by any other VR device
  • refresh rate remains at 90 Hz
  • 110 degree field of view
  • large room scale of up to 15′ x 15′
  • lighter more adjustable headset with on-ear (removable) headphones
  • 3D spatial sound
  • advanced SteamVR tracking capabilities to expand business usage with virtual simulation

Here’s the Recommended Hardware to enjoy the Vive Pro VR System:

  • Intel Core i5 or newer
  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • RAM 4 GB or more
  • NVIDIA GTX 1060 or better
  • Display port 1.2 or newer
  • USB port 3.0 or newer

Here’s Why to Buy the Vive Pro VR System:

  • professional usage – business applications through VR simulation
  • most advanced graphics of any currently available VR device

PROS

  • high res graphics
  • large room scale for max action or multiple users
  • SteamVR powered = huge selection of VR material to experience
  • Bluetooth for system updates and to receive phone notifications on your headset

CONS

  • long set up process & required HTC account registration
  • SDE – once again, users are “underwhelmed” as there is no improvement over the Vive
  • tracking issues – various known and documented, including use in mirrored or windowed rooms
  • tethered – unless you add the $300 wireless kit to your system
  • price – $1400 for the system consisting of the headset, 2 controllers, 2 tracking base stations

The Vive Pro was intended to be a great improvement over its predecessor. But, is it?

On paper, the specs look amazing, but it’s lacking the wow factor that it should have at a $1400 price point, and with too many issues to justify the cost.

Sitting at a 3.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and likely to see a downward trend unless HTC (quickly) irons out the “bugs,” I wouldn’t consider buying it, especially knowing that new models are already in the pipeline.

What’s Next For HTC?

HTC Introduces Two New Headsets

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that HTC has introduced the 2019 release of two new headsets; the Vive Cosmos, and the Vive Pro Eye.

While continued development is underway, and details of the upcoming devices are scarce, and I’ve already written an article with what information is of public knowledge. To read that article, see What is the best Virtual Reality System?

What I will include here, in this article, are the product characteristics as described on Vive’s website:

The HTC Vive Cosmos

The new “expandable” VR device will offer:

  • out of the box hassle free set up
  • new soft, light, and breathable design materials for the headset
  • improved crystal-clear graphics with minimal SDE (screen door effect)
  • all new VIVE tracking system
  • flip up screen for fast in and out of VR transitions (need to take that phone call quick?)
  • upgraded responsive full tracking hand controllers

The HTC Vive Pro Eye

There’s that “Pro” again.

This is intended to be a high-end professional grade device which offers:

  • newly designed ergonomic headset
  • precision eye tracking by use of LED sensors
  • enhanced optics that rank graphics among the sharpest on the market
  • highest quality 3D spacial sound
  • large scale tracking area up to 15′ x 15′ for multi-user VR usage

The key seller here, of course, will be the eye tracking capabilities.

What Sets HTC Apart From Other VR Companies?

Target Market: A Hit, or a Miss?

From the beginning of their VR journey, HTC set out to create and provide high end VR products.

Now, whether they have succeeded at that remains an ongoing debate.

They do have a loyal fan base, and I give them credit for sticking with their objective. They’ve developed some great technology that consumers will (continue to) pay for if HTC can deliver the quality they are advertising. If not, they’re going to lose what credibility they’ve attained.

While it is wise to attract a target market, it seems as though HTC has missed the mark a bit with the ‘high end’ VR products when they’re track record thus far has been scarred by over-priced sub-par performance.

One thing they DO have going for them is SteamVR. Steam VR is the platform Valve developed to offer full room VR experiences in 360 degrees.

Vive, though, is not the only device with which to use SteamVR, as SteamVR also supports the Oculus Rift.

Speaking of target markets, Oculus has gone the “affordable for the masses” route, and has impressed users with the performance of current products at the current price points.

So, You Get What You Pay For?

Call me crazy, but I’d rather be under-promised and over-delivered, than over-promised and under-delivered.

My vote of confidence, right now, lies with Oculus, and I can’t wait for the Spring release of the Quest.

But I am curious, as are many, to see the Pro Eye in consumer action – not just a company demo. I really hope for HTC, and for VR users everywhere, that the Vive Pro Eye is a VR dreamers dream.

 

 

Where Can You Learn More?

To learn more about HTC, the Vive brand, and to stay up to date on product information, you can visit https://www.vive.com

To learn more about Oculus VR, and stay up to date on product information, you can visit https://www.oculus.com

To learn more about SteamVR, visit https://steamcommunity.com/steamvr

And, of course, stay tuned here as we continue to follow the evolution of VR!

 

Related Products:

The Vive Wireless Adapter – PC

  • Compatible with Vive and Vive Pro headsets
  • eliminate all connection wires
  • near-zero latency
  • battery life up to 2.5 hours
  • 3.2 out of 5 stars – most common objection is price & apparently this adapter requires a better computer than the Vive headset itself so be sure to check specs at time of purchase
  • as of today $299.99

And to use it, you’ll need the attachment kit for this as well…

 

The Vive Wireless Adapter Attachment Kit

  • cradle, connection cable, extended head cushion
  • as of today $59.99

 

The Vive Deluxe Audio Strap

  • adjustable on-ear headphones so you don’t have to use the crappy earbuds that come with the Vive
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars by Vive users
  • as of today $99

 

Related Articles:

What is the Best Virtual Reality System? Not all VR devices are created equal… nor were they meant to be! Read this article and learn how to choose the best VR device. Hint: It depends on what you want to do with it!

Why Oculus VR is the Leader of Virtual Reality Gaming Advertising is often a key to success, and it holds true in the world of VR products. Being the first to market the most affordable VR devices, and receiving excellent customer reviews thereof, has launched Oculus to the forefront of virtual reality entertainment.

 

Join In!

We want to know …

Do you own an HTC VR device? Will you be upgrading to the Cosmos or Pro Eye when they hit stores? Please share your experience, good or bad, and help other users get to know the Vive brand through your feedback!

Share your experience, comment or question below!

Don’t forget to Like or Share this page!

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28 comments

  1. This is really interesting. Video games are definitely trending and there are a lot of ways to partake in the enjoyment. I have been researching for which VR system to buy out of Oculus and the rest. 

    Reading this has enlightened me on which one to go for. Personally I love the features of the Vive Pro system. I think am going for it. This article was really helpful, thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thank you for visiting our site, and for commenting here!

      Here’s a quick link to the current available system: Vive Pro System

      I hope you love it. Please stop back in the future and comment on your experience!

  2. This is the first time I am reading about these VR devices. I will continue to read your content so I can learn more. 

    I agree with some other readers, I love the features of the Vive VR system. For someone who doesn’t have any idea on gaming, I like the information you gave me about it. The Vive Pro Eye sounds awesome too. Thanks for this article. 

  3. Wow, this is a great article. I really like the Vive Pro System. I love playing video games and have been interested in the whole VR gaming system but have been unsure of what system to go with. I haven’t purchased anything VR related yet. This article has given me a much better understanding of all the different features. I wonder what they will come up with next! I remember when there was no internet. We have come a long way since then.

  4. Thank you for the informative article! Do you recommend this level of VR equipment for novices? Or is there a more “entry level” VR device to get started?  I would be buying it for my teenagers, and as you may know, they tire of things quickly.  It doesn’t make sense for me to purchase something at this price point that they may only use a few times.

    1. Hi Nate!

      Thanks for commenting here, and great question!

      As a mother, I agree completely! If they’ll be using it for gaming, I would recommend the Oculus Rift + Touch System. Be aware that it needs to connect to a compatible PC.

      If you think they’ll be using it more for movies, concerts, and other VR experiences (sports, travel, etc), then the Oculus Go is the most affordable option.

      For more info on both devices, see this article: Oculus Rift vs Oculus Go

  5. I always like reading about new products in the gaming industry. I enjoyed reading your article because I have been really interested in purchasing a gaming system like this. The price can be a problem for many though and I am happy you mentioned that in your post cause it allows me to keep every aspect in perspective. Thanks for sharing. 

    1. Hi Jamiro!

      Thank you for commenting here!

      Yes, price is a consideration at the very least, and can be a concern for many. With HTC targeting the “high-end” users, their devices are considerably higher priced, and arguably not justified at that. 

      As you continue your research, check out the Oculus devices. Depending on what features you are seeking, you may find the Rift or the Go satisfy your VR needs at a MUCH more affordable price point.

      You may also find this article helpful: Oculus Rift vs Oculus Go

  6. This is a great and well organized site!  Love the content flow.  It’s amazing how advanced companies have come with these devices, such as both the Oculus and the HTC.  I’m looking for birthday presents now for a young teen -so thank you for this review.  Well done!!  I’ll put a bookmark on this one and check back often.  

  7. Thank you for the information you’ve shared here. I am a gamer myself but easily confused with best gaming peripheral, because they are so… techie 🙂

    Me and my brother have planned to buy a VR headset and are trying to find what best suits us. We often hear about Oculus and HTC Vive, and your article sure has a lot of information. Thank you

  8. I’ve always loved video gaming. Virtual reality takes it a notch higher. Personally I enjoyed using the oculus rift at a friend’s house. Though it was weird playing a vr game for the first time, I liked the experience and can’t wait to play again. I’ll sure recommend this blog to him so he can read the article as well. Thanks for writing.

  9. Hi Cris – it’s amazing how advanced and evolved VR systems have become.  I’m not sure if I would go for the Vive VR system because of the headset being uncomfortable and feeling heavy after extended use.  I like the Bluetooth feature of the Vive Pro tho, that’s a nice feature.  If Oculus is going the more affordable for the masses route, and their product is respectable, then that sounds like the way to go.

    Thank you for the information,

    Michele

    1. Hi Michele!

      Thanks so much for commenting here! It will be interesting to see what comes of the devices that are set to release this year. You may also like this article: Oculus Rift vs Oculus Go  They are much more affordable and get great reviews!

  10. I have not had any experience with VR devices, although the children are very keen to try them. I am not too sure about the advisability of that, do you have an opinion there?

    I would not consider buying a high end one when the problems have not yet been ironed out, but I would consider the more affordable Oculus. I would be really interested to know which of the more affordable models you would recommend, and also if you think that the prices may go down as these devices become more popular?

    Your post raises interesting questions with me, many thanks for your information.

    Chrissie 🙂

    1. Hi Chrissie!

      Thank you for your comment, and great questions!

      Choosing the right device really depends on what you intend to use it for most. If a younger child would be using it, the most affordable and portable Oculus Go may be excellent choice for movie entertainment.

      An older child that may be more interested in gaming would probably prefer the Oculus Rift or the Vive depending on preferred features, cost, game preferences, and whether you have a compatible computer, of course.

      I wouldn’t expect the prices on the current devices to go down. Although, after the release of the new 2019 devices, the older models may possibly see a price drop – likely in the form of a “sales price”. That’s just my guess. I also don’t expect to see any new device at a price of less than what we’re currently seeing. With the upgraded technology, they’ll likely be more. 

      Time will tell, and so will we! Stop back soon to see more info on VR!

  11. It really amazes me how far technology has come, especially the video game realm.  I am more of a pc gamer, but I also enjoy the occasional console game.  I have never really got into the virtual reality side of things for various reasons.  The biggest is the fact that it usually has a big price tag that comes with it.

    I was able to try out a friend of mines VR set and I have to admit, it was pretty cool, and I was hooked.

    I am looking to purchase my first VR set and this article gives some great insight to help with that decision!

  12. Overall the Htc vive seems to be a great VR With very good features, but I think is not for my needs, since I do a lot a gaming, I bought the Oculus Rift and is been so great and also my kids love it, maybe in one or two years I will think about but for now the rift is my favorite.

    Thank you for sharing this great information about this HTC VR very well explain it.

    1. Your welcome, and thank you for commenting here! 

      Yes, the Rift is quite impressive when it comes to gaming. Stay tuned for further coverage on the development of VR!

  13. Hello Cris, 

    Your review on Oculus vs HTC vive sounds interesting. I might not be a video game freak myself, but with my cousin’s incessant love for video games, I’ve begun to have some interest in it as well. The price of HTC Vive has really gone down – $500 compared to its price of $1200 in 2016. I will have to direct my cousin to your great article here. He will really be happy to read about this and your other VR posts. 

  14. Hi Cris,

    Thank you for sharing this great informational article about HTC Vive. I always like reading about new products in the gaming industry and I like the information you have here about the Vive. I have been really interested in purchasing a VR system like this. I will definitely be back to your website for some more of your helpful information on a lot of topics. I will share this article with my friends.

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