Vive First Impressions

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    Similar to my little write-up after a few days with the Oculus Rift CV1, here are my first impressions regarding Vive after a similar amount of time for those who are interested. This will also include comparisons to Oculus where suitable.

    Probably the most important thing for those who chose Vive over Rift is the promise of room scale VR, so I get to that first. Nothing new to anyone who tried it: it’s great. Most time using the Vive besides working I spent with Tilt Brush so far, which simply is the most fun way to sketch since the pencil was invented. At the same time I’m a bit more sceptical than most about the amount of room scale games that will actually impress once the wow factor has worn off a little. Games have to be very different from anything you know for this to work well. Time will tell whether game designers will come up with enough good ideas to make this something that will last. I hope for the best.

    In regard to vorpX room scale isn’t that important BTW, at least for now. Typical games where you run around in large environments obviously aren’t really feasible without slightly odd workarounds like teleporting from location to location. If you want to freely roam large environments, a locomotion platform is your best bet.

    In fairness to the Rift I’d like to add that all of what I saw in regard to room scale will probably also be possible with the Rift once Touch is available later this year.

    Now the more technical categories:

    FOV: Absolutely high enough for an immersive experience and slightly higher than the Rift’s FOV.

    Pixel Density / Screen Door: Also good enough to not get distracted. Slightly lower pixel density than the Rift and thus slightly worse screen door effect, which is only logical due to the higher FOV while using essentially the same displays.

    Lenses: Same basic principle as the Rift’s lenses (fresnel) with the same advantage (image overall more clear) and the same artifacts (lens flare/glare with high contrast scenes). I’m still undecided whether I prefer the more blurry peripheral view of normal lenses above the fresnel flare or vice versa.

    Head phones: The headset comes with earbuds that sound more than good enough for everyone with average hearing. Also easily exchangable for something else if you don’t like earbuds or want something better. So nothing to complain here, pretty much the same thoughts I had about the Rift’s headphones.

    Head tracking: Just works. If I have to nitpick then about the base stations which don’t seem to have an on/off switch, so the motor is spinning all the time. At least I didn’t find one. Easy to circumvent, but unnecessary.

    The crunch question: Is there a winner when comparing Vive to Rift? Clear answer: No. You probably will have a favorite, but in the end that comes down to personal preferences. Do you favor FOV over pixel density? Do you favor earbuds over open head phones? Which store do you like better? Things like that. Room scale rather sooner than later will be available for both, so I wouldn’t focus on that too much when making a decision. Objectively both are really great high tech toys.


    Awesome :) thank you for your impressions. That was a concise write up. One way or the other, VR here we come!


    Thanks Ralf, helpful to hear comparisons from someone who has all the headsets and works with them daily.

    One last question: How is it comfort-wise compared to the DK2? Does it feel heavier?

    DK2 is all I’ve tried.


    Weight is pretty similar, maybe a little bit heavier than DK2. But that’s just from holding both in my hand, so I might be mistaken. Head straps are more rigid and bisected on the back, so you generelly get a more solid fit than with the ski goggle like DK2 strap. Overall better than DK2 in this regard.


    Hey Ralf, you can change the Settings to activate Bluetooth. Then the Base Station go automatically on/off after start/closing SteamVR ;)


    Head tracking: Just works. If I have to nitpick then about the base stations which don’t seem to have an on/off switch, so the motor is spinning all the time. At least I didn’t find one. Easy to circumvent, but unnecessary.

    Just to second RJBaer, in the SteamVR popup click “SteamVR” then “Settings”. In there, click “Enable Bluetooth Communication” and make sure “put Base Station in Standby Mode when VR is not in use” is checked.

    Also, there are some fixes in the beta branch of SteamVR that make the basestations wake up faster. Worth opting into. (Right click SteamVR in Steam, properties, Betas tab, select “beta – SteamVR Beta Update” from the dropdown below “none”.)

    I turn mine off because I can just faintly hear the closest one to my desk, like a DVD drive spinning.


    Thanks for heads up, guys. Works beautifully.

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