The HTC Vive is a high-end VR viewer in direct competition with the Oculus Rift, and because these are the two virtual reality giants currently on the market, it’s hard not to refer to reference the Rift when discussing the capabilities of the Vive and vice versa for that matter.
The two have very similar technical characteristics when it comes to resolution (both headsets have two OLED displays running at 1200 by 1080 pixels each) and field of view (a fairly wide 110°). And they’re both packing a lot of hardware inside their ergonomic headsets that fit like proper helmets that sit comfortably on the face.
Just like the Oculus, the Vive is a much more sophisticated VR viewer than any of their smartphone-based rivals, mainly because of its motion controllers, which can turn any boring room into your own playing field.
But while both, the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift count with positional tracking as their biggest feature over more affordable VR headsets, the greatest advantage that the Vive has over the Rift is that it uses Valve’s Lighthouse technology, which allows a much bigger tracking area than the Oculus viewer (15 x 15 ft, over the Rift’s 5 x 11 ft.) This means your can physically walk around a much larger area of space and have your position tracked accurately, which is awesome for gaming.
Essentially, the Rift is best suited for sitting down, while the Vive allows much more movement without losing any of its immersive qualities.
Of course, this advantage doesn’t come cheap; the Vive will cost you $200 more than the Oculus Rift, and depending on what you’re using it for, and the size of your apartment, might or might not be worth the extra expense.
While it’s much more comfortable and light than its prototype, the Vive can still feel a bit heavy after extended use, and the headset cord can get in the way at times. The Rift has fewer cables and the headphones are integrated, without needing external ear buds that add another cord to the mix.
It really comes down to what you want to use your VR viewer for. The HTC Vive is definitely the best headset for gaming, as its positional tracking lets you move a lot more. If you’ll be sitting down, all of this technology might not be worth the extra expense, considering the Rift is a bit more comfortable. However, if your use requires a more powerful and dynamic viewer, the HTC is as good as it gets.