|Developer:||Oculus VR||HTC Vive & Valve|
|Original Release Date:||2016-03-28||2016-04-05|
|Platform:||Windows PC (Mac support is limited)|
|Windows PC, Linux (macOS coming soon)|
|Resolution:||1080 x 1200 pixels (each eye)||1080 x 1200 pixels (each eye)|
|Field of View:||110°||110°|
|Refresh Rate||90 Hz||90 Hz|
|Onboard Sensors:||Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, tracking camera||Accelerometer, gyroscope, camera, IR laser receiver|
|Controllers:||Oculus Touch controllers x 2 (included), Xbox One controller (sold separately)|
|Room Tracking:||Yes, 2 sensors included (5 x 5 foot room tracking), additional sensor sold separately (8 x 8 foot room tracking with 3 sensors)||Vive controllers x 2 (included), any PC-compatible game controller (sold separately)|
Yes, Lighthouse 2-station pulsed infrared laser tracking system (included), up to 15 x 15 feet
|Audio:||Integrated headphones||3.5mm headphone jack, deluxe audio strap and headphones sold separately|
|Microphone:||Integrated microphone||Integrated microphone|
|Headset Connections:||HDMI x 1, USB x 1||HDMI x 1, USB x 1, Power x 1|
|Additional Connections:||Require additional USB x 1 for each room tracking sensor||USB Aux Device Port x 1|
|Weight:||1.0 lbs||1.22 lbs|
On spec, both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are quite comparable. They have the same resolution on their display, the same field of view, the same refresh rate, and largely the same parts and electronics inside. Their implementations, interface, and outward styling are somewhat different, of course. But in terms of what’s running under the hood, these two are effectively the same for all intents and purposes.
Quality and Performance
The build quality and performance of both devices are, again, quite similar. The Oculus Rift has a better overall user feel, and weighs a bit less, but the HTC Vive benefits from more comfortable accommodation for users with glasses. They’ve also done a good job at addressing some of their earlier shortcomings in terms of comfort and feel for users. Both systems perform equally well on an identical PC that meets both of their minimum specifications. While the minimums are somewhat more forgiving on the HTC Vive, we’ve noticed their objective scores in benchmarking tests on higher-end gaming rigs are close enough to be statistically about even.
Both devices can use the SteamVR platform, which currently features over 2,800 VR game and app titles. The HTC Vive is arguably more suited for this platform, as it was co-developed by SteamVR owner Valve. While this was a point of differentiation for the HTC Vive at release, support for the Oculus Rift is now part of the SteamVR capabilities, so they are effective dead even there yet again. The Oculus Home content portal offers a la carte content purchases, whereas the VivePort content portal offers a subscription-based model. They both have pros and cons, and different exclusive content that may sway users one way or the other. We consider that basically a wash. And both can play and utilize third-party and custom downloadable content equally well.
Tracking, Immersion, and Accessories
Both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive have everything they need for fully immersive game play, movie/scene viewing, and app or experience enjoyment. The HTC Vive has more accessories available than the Oculus Rift. Some see this as a negative, because they all come at an additional cost. However, we see them as generally positive – especially the wireless pack, that can take your tethered HTC Vive experience into wire-free territory (at least for 2-2.5 hours while the charge lasts). At the same time, the HTC Vive has clearly superior room-level tracking capabilities, nearly double the covered size of the Oculus Rift, and much finer and more accurate tracking.
Winner: HTC Vive
Price and Value
The Oculus Rift is $100 lower in MSRP as of this article’s writing than the HTC Vive. While undoubtedly the higher-quality room tracking capabilities and functions of the HTC Vive, along with the link box that comes with it for cable management and extended user range, have a value, it’s an open question whether or not that value equals the price difference. Likewise, it’s hard to compare the typically-included 6 game titles’ worth of credit on the Oculus Rift with the value of 2 months of free subscriptions to the VivePort service. Given the price point, and the “all in” price of the base unit plus additional accessories, the edge has to go to the Oculus Rift on this one.
Result: Oculus Rift
Overall Winner: Oculus Rift
It really is neck and neck, but the Oculus Rift edges out the HTC Vive slightly in our overall comparison. While the HTC Vive outperforms on room tracking, and offers more accessories and functions, all of those come at an added cost, both in terms of the MSRP difference and in the actual purchase prices of the accessories. At the end of the day, the Oculus Rift is cheaper, and though it doesn’t offer the same range of accessories, when money is a consideration, it does everything the base HTC Vive does, and costs less.