HTC VIVE Virtual Reality System
- FREE CONTENT WITH PURCHASE - Two-month free trial of Viveport Subscription included with your purchase.
- FULLY IMMERSIVE - True-to-life movements with realistic graphics, directional audio and HD haptic feedback.
- PRECISION MOVEMENT TRACKING - 360-degree controller and headset tracking covers your movements to the millimeter, floor-to ceiling.
- FLEXIBLE PLAY AREA - Room-Scale VR with just two base stations. Use VIVE seated, standing or in a space up to 15 feet x 15 feet.
- POWERED BY STEAM VR - Enjoy over 2800 games for SteamVR, plus everything you love about Steam, including new releases, automatic game updates and millions of your closest friends, in VR.
- NOTE: Please refer to the user manual for trouble shooting steps
Edition: VIVE System
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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.
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Short version - if you're new to VR and you're worried the Vive Original isn't good enough - it is. At $400+ it's a steal. You get so much value for what's an introduction price to typical consoles that you really can't go wrong. If you're waffling on your decision, go with the Original and you'll be a happy camper.
For those of you, like me, who are constantly asking "But what if this 'Pro' model is so much better?". It's nice - it's just not "Holy cow I'm so happy I blew my paycheck" nice.
Undoubtedly you've read the professional reviews so here's the non-professional review - the kind of advice you wished your best friend would just give you. They did everything right with this headset. It's more comfortable, the resolution chops down on the "screen door effect" that the pixelated original feels like, and it just feels like a more polished experience overall. Even the remote camera sensors are a bit sleeker.
The problem with this generation of VR is just that they can't deliver a "retina like" experience anywhere close to the price point consumers are willing to pay. So while the Vive Pro is better, we're still 2-3 years away from getting an experience that doesn't feel compromised.
You're still dealing with the issue of having to look dead straight to get the picture to resolve correctly. You can still see pixels, albeit fewer. The headset is still a bit wonky and heavy. It's still Gen 1 VR. Think of this as the Iphone S model upgrade where it's a bit better, but you're still a generation behind.
So I'd leave the decision tree like this -
1. Just testing VR and want to see if it's legit? Buy the Original
2. Totally enamored with VR and can appreciate a subtle improvement. Buy the Pro.
VR is amazing - and I say that as a total cynic. Even though there are only a handful of games out they are so immersive that it doesn't matter. Don't think of it like playing console or PC games. In this cases while the graphics are always getting better, the experience is the same. In the case of VR, even games I've played an unreasonable amount of hours on (like Fallout 4) on my PC feel like entirely new experiences.
One last caution - VR lasts maybe an hour at a time. After that, it gives you a bit of a headache. It sucks because you want the experience to keep going, but putting blinding screens an inch+ from your eyes for any period of time is gonna add up. Think of it more like a ride at a theme park than an all-night couch dwelling console session.
I contacted vive support and after going through troubleshooting steps with them that I had already tried on my own they finally agreed to send me a replacement cable to see if that was the issue (this was the link cable that goes from the hmd to the link box). The replacement cable did not fix the issue yet support forced me to do the same troubleshooting steps yet again! Finally they agreed to set it up for repair. So I sent it out AT MY OWN COST and after 3 weeks to a month I got it back, in worse condition than I sent it out in! Now all I get is flashing light and never see or hear ANYTHING!
So let me ask you what kind of company charges $800 for something that NEVER works right, has you go through painstaking steps before agreeing to let YOU pay to send it to them and then sends it back to you even more broken than it was before?! I currently have an email out to HTC about this and am waiting to hear back. I will update this review if HTC turns this situation around for me and gets me a working vive pro but as of now it has been one of if not the worst experience I’ve ever had with a consumer electronic!
Set-up: overall, it was pretty bad. I've read the stories about the long setup process that the PRO headset requires. I chose not to believe them, because I thought of myself as a pretty experienced person with VR. After all, I have the original VIVE and know how to deal with software updates and troubleshoot issues.
Well, friends, I was wrong. At first everything was fine, as the little program that I downloaded from the HTC website was guiding me through the process. Then I was asked to sign in with the HTC account, so that I can "enjoy" my several months of free membership of their VR store. I googled around, and there was no way of continuing the installation of the headset without the HTC account. DEAR HTC, please don't drag me into your store if I am not interested. As a customer, I don't appreciate the strong-arming. I don't need another store subscription. I know what you are thinking: "he bought the headset, he has the installation running = he is invested deep enough now that he will register for the store account, even if he doesn't really want it." Nice calculus, but I am no longer a happy customer of yours after this kind of treatment.
Long story short, I did register for the HTC account; I singed in with my Steam account. Moving on, the HTC install program did not recognize my USB 3 port as USB 3, no matter how I tried. USB 3 is required for optimum performance of the two cameras on the headset. That's fine, I thought, let's just skip this step. Then the installation program proceeded to download a whole bunch of stuff, including their store program which I did not really need, all in excess of 1 gig. At this point, I felt the process was becoming too involving. I was asked then to update all the software in the headset itself and the controllers. When all was done, at the end of the installation, I began receiving error messages from HTC software trying to sort things out with the Steam store and Steam VR. It was confusing and annoying, like watching two stores - HTC and STEAM - fight it out on my desktop. I also downloaded the latest NVIDIA drivers (I run a 1080 card), and updated windows as well.
I installed the lighthouses in the same spots where I had the original VIVE lighthouses installed. These things were supposed to be better, so I was pretty excited. Set up Room Scale VR as usual, set AUDIO in Steam VR to HMD, put on the headset and... the word to describe how I felt is "underwhelming." Many reviews say the screen door effect is "almost gone", "barely visible", or even "totally solved." I don't know how much these websites depend on advertising revenue from Steam or HTC, but the screen door effect is - clearly, 100%, in-your-face - there. I wasn't trying to look for it, I just wanted to focus on the image, but the screen door effect was photo-bombing everything just like it does in the original VIVE that was made 2 years ago.
Yes, the headset is more comfortable than the original! And like most reviewers claim, it is a big deal. This is the only positive thing that I can say about the headset.
Performance: With my 1080 card, I did not notice any jitter or frame drops. However, I had a lot of tracking issues where the floor would start flying from underneath me, or I would be pushed into the wall in the VR. I did room set up many many many times, and I adjusted the lighthouses many many many many times, trying all possible angles. I troubleshoot the headset for defective hardware, all was good. Did the setups again, and again received tracking madness. I switched back My original VIVE, and everything worked rock-solid. Then I did some googling, and it is a known issue. It seems, this new VIVE PRO is super-susceptible to issues if there are reflective surfaces nearby. I have several windows in my VR area that I suspect were causing the problem. However, my original VIVE has zero issues with those windows. I thought the VIVE PRO is supposed to be BETTER, right? I mean, more reliable? What's up with this, HTC? How come my original VIVE performs better than your newest PRO version? I bought this for business, I don't have time tinkering with it all the time. My original VIVE seems to be more PRO reliable than this newest, super-expensive, "PRO" version.
In the end, I decided to return VIVE PRO, because it feels like a step backward to me. Even the plastic looks cheap compared to the original version. Same with presentation - the box is horrible. Seems like HTC just doesn't care as much as they cared when they released the original headset. It feels like they were trying to cut costs with this (and charge an arm and a leg at the same time, to make it a winning business strategy).
Here's my recommendation:
- if you have the original VIVE, buy a strap with built-in headphones, and your VIVE will be as comfortable as the new one. The resolution bump sounds impressive on paper, but in real life, you will -barely- notice it. Barely. Wait until HTC gets it game together and produces a truly next generation VR headset. This VIVE PRO is a scam.
- if you don't have any VR headset and want one now; buy the original VIVE if you want superior tracking, plus the wireless add-on, plus the strap with built-in headphones. You will have a superior VR experience, AND save a ton of money that you can put towards the next generation VR when it comes out, spend on a Hawaiian vacation, invest in the stock market, or whatever you want to do with it. VIVE PRO is just too glitchy.
Still feel like you want VIVE PRO? Then read all the horror stories on redit about people spending weeks and months trying to make the tracking work. Google "VIVE Pro tracking issues". Still want to buy it? I totally understand, why believe someone else's experience, when you can witness these problems first-hand? Go ahead and buy it. Amazon has a great return policy.
To those of you who happen to have zero reflective surfaces in or near your VR area, and your PRO is working for you - good for you. I still don't understand how my original VIVE works so flawlessly in same area where this "PRO" version is a total puke-inciting mess. What's going on with you, HTC?