laptop keyboard

The Four Best VR-certified Laptops

It’s no secret that you need a well-specified computer to handle the requirements of modern VR computers. Building a desktop to meet those hefty specs can put a dent in your wallet. That might lead you to think a VR-ready laptop is completely out of the question. The truth is, thanks to Nvidia’s 10-series graphics chips, (relatively) affordable VR-ready laptops abound. If you have plenty of money, then you’ll also be happy to hear that top-level chips such as the GTX 1080 are available in laptop form.

Here I’ve gathered together four VR-ready laptops that I think represent the best deals at their individual price points and specification levels. I’m not comparing them to each other, so they’ve been arranged from cheapest to most expensive. These machines are each aimed at users with different needs, but all of them will play ball with an Oculus Rift or other comparable VR system.


Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator series is about graphics and flashiness, with no apologies about being an entertainment-focused machine. They have also not been shy about sticking big price tags on their machines. But in regard to that last point, the Helios 300 is a bit of an exception. This is the VR-ready laptop coming close to a thousands dollars that I would actually want to own.

It's a 15.6” laptop, which is pretty much as large as you should go if you plan on doing mobile work, at least in my opinion. 17” and larger laptops do better moving from desk to desk. I wouldn’t want one on my actual lap or an airplane. This little guy weighs a mere 2.7KG, or 6 lbs for our American friends. It’s a little crazy that such a waifish laptop can house enough power to push VR applications, but there you have it.

I was amazed to find a laptop with such a low price tag featuring a 6GB GTX 1060 as its graphics core. The 1060 is amazingly capable and there is essentially no modern video game that won’t run maxed out on the built-in 1080p screen. Coupled with the tried and tested i7-7700HQ and 16GB of RAM, there are very few consumer entertainment apps that would make this machine break a sweat.

I just can’t believe the value for money this machine represents. It even has a metal chassis and a backlit keyboard. This is not just the best VR laptop at this price, I think it’s the best laptop at this price, period.

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The Razer Blade VR Laptop

Razer Blade VR laptop

The Razer Blade is an absolute miracle of engineering. It’s an ultrabook form-factor machine with the guts of a full-on gaming laptop inside. Moreover, it’s completely VR-ready. It squeezes almost exactly the same components as the Helios into a 14” ultrathin aluminum chassis. The main display is a gorgeous 1080p IPS LCD, which is way below the sorts of resolutions that would give a GTX 1060 any sort of trouble.

The privilege of this ultra-portability comes at a steep premium – almost double the price of the Helios. The only real downside to this laptop is the meager 256GB SSD. You can double that, but the price is already high. Still, if you have the money, this is one impressive little laptop.

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MSI GS73VR STEALTH PRO-060

MSI GS73VR STEALTH PRO-060

MSI is one of my favorite hardware makers. I’ve owned a few of their netbooks back in the day and more than my share of MSI graphics cards. They never really wowed me with their gaming laptop offerings, and yet now there are two of these machines on my list. It’s almost as if they were just waiting for something like the 10-series to come along to really blossom.

This Stealth Pro-60 comes in at just about double the price of the Helios, but the difference in specification is vast. The GTX 1070 might not be equal to two 1060s, but it makes a big difference. The 1070 generally has 40% faster performance. That doesn’t sound like a good deal so far, but it’s not just the GPU that’s beefier. This laptop has the same 7700HQ CPU as the rest, but that’s because this is the sweet spot between power consumption and performance. It’s a great choice of chip. The 16GB of RAM is also not a step up for the money, so where does the cash go?

Well, this machine is equipped with a blazing 120Hz screen which can actually take advantage of the 1070’s power to push high frame rates. It’s also got two 256GB SSDs in a RAID configuration for truly incredible primary storage throughput speeds. There’s also a 2TB mechanical drive for media storage. The RAM can be upgraded to 32GB by adding another stick to the second slot. This overall performance balance makes this a real corker of a machine, and the screen is an enormous 17.3” as well.

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MSI GT83VR TITAN SLI-252

MSI GT83VR TITAN SLI-252

Do you suffer from excessive money? Large bank account weighing you down? Do you lie awake at night wondering what you’ll spend your fortune on? Well, I have good news for you because I’ve found a fast way to burn through a cool five grand.

This utter monster from MSI comes with everything you could ever want, performance-wise, from a laptop – unless, of course, you’re an engineer or a scientist, in which case you’d want something with workstation components. If, however, you care about 3D graphics for VR and for the times you aren’t wearing your HMD, there are few machines that can top this.

Let’s go straight to the absolutely beastly graphics setup that comes with this machine . The GTX 1080 is basically the most powerful graphics chip that Nvidia has managed to squeeze into a laptop. And this machine has TWO of them. That means the GT83VR has more graphical power than you probably have a use for, but that also means there’s a fair bit of future-proofing built in for the money. Each card has 8GB of VRAM, which is plenty for the time being.

Powering those two monsters is a i7-7920HQ, which will hit a stonking 4.1 Ghz if you’re only really using one or two cores. If all four cores are cranking at full tilt, the minimum speed is 3.1Ghz. Either way, there’s plenty of horsepower on tap. RAM is also a healthy 32GB, which will be more than enough for the lifespan of this laptop. Honestly, even 16GB is overkill these days.

The main drive is a Samsung 960 EVO SSD. My own machine has an EVO 850, so I can attest to Samsung's dominance in the SSD industry. There’s also a secondary mechanical drive at 1TB for media files and backups. Even this drive is faster than average, with a 7200 rpm speed.

All of these fast and hot components have one big drawback and that’s how large the chassis has to be. However, thanks to that fat body, this laptop comes with a rare feature – a BluRay drive. Sadly it’s not a BluRay burner, but even so – finding Blu Ray drives in modern PCs is a true rarity. Heck, finding any sort of optical drive is a bonus.

Other incredibly premium features include a mechanical keyboard, which is widely considered to be the best (if noisiest) of keyboard technologies. This particular bundle also comes with a whole bunch of gaming gear which you may or may not care about. The gaming mouse is a nice addition and the fancy back is also a great pack in. That mouse will likely be your main weapon outside of VR, but I really like the right-handed touchpad that doubles as a numpad.

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The Time has Come

If you had asked me two years ago whether it would ever be worth it to buy a gaming laptop for VR or anything else, I would have give you a flat-out “no”. Oh, how times have changed! There seems to be a VR-ready machine for almost every budget, which means we can now go the mobile route with little hesitation.


PS4 PSVR

The Best PS4 PSVR Games

It’s hard to deny that all the best VR experiences are happening on PCs. They have a multitude of excellent premium headsets, an open software market, and plenty of support from the likes of Valve software. The problem is that VR on PC is just so darn expensive. A powerful gaming PC will run you well over $1000 and then you have to shell out half again as much to own a VR headset. Not too long ago things were even worse, with the necessary figures almost double!

Sony saw a huge gap in the VR market and now we have the rather excellent PSVR, which is compatible with all PS4 models, including the very affordable PS4 Slim. Not only that, but Sony has re-purposed the Playstation Move controllers, which were an attempt on the PS3 to compete with the Nintendo Wii. This means you can find these accurate motion controllers all over the place as used items, might still have them lying around, or can just buy them new if you have to.

Right now, hands down, the PSVR is the most affordable way to get a AAA VR experience. This is especially true if you are already a PS4 owner, since you just have to buy the HMD and then you’ll be ready to rock.

PSVR - Not So Exclusive

Usually when it comes to highlighting the best games on a given platform, it makes sense to highlight games that are exclusive to that platform instead of ones that you can also play elsewhere. In this case, however, it doesn’t matter to me that you can play some of these games in VR on a PC. It doesn’t even matter if they’re better on a PC. The difference in asking price between the two systems is so vast that you can either afford the best or not. Instead, I’d like to concentrate on the games that I think are the most fun on the PSVR, ignoring wherever else they may be available.

Note that some of these games require the move controllers, some work better with them, and others are perfectly fine with just the gamepad. Always make sure to check the controller requirements before shelling out for a game.


Resident Evil 7 VR

Resident Evil 7

This may not be an exclusive PSVR game, but it sure as hell is a system seller. Resident Evil games (known as Biohazard in Japan) go with the Playstation brand like peanut butter and jelly. This is basically the only truly AAA PSVR game right now, but honestly it’s worth buying a PSVR just to play RE7 VR. Then all the other lesser games are just icing on the cake.

Of course, if you have no appetite for horror games in general then a VR horror game is probably not the way to go, especially since RE7 has received acclaim as one of the goriest, grossest, and scariest RE games in ages. Resident Evil 4, 5, and 6 went into a much more action-oriented direction that worked very well at first, but the sixth game really jumped the shark for many people. RE7 signals a return to survival horror in a big way, and nothing is as heart-pounding as experiencing it up close and personal. Just be glad the PSVR has no way to replicate smells. Yet.

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Batman Arkham VR

Batman Arkham VR

Batman doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to quality video games. For the most part Batman games over the years have risen to the level of “mediocre” at best. That is, until the game studio Rocksteady created the first Batman Arkham game, Arkham Asylum. They showed that they really understood what it took to make you feel like the Dark Knight, and the slick hand-to-hand combat system they created has since been emulated by a number of other games.

Arkham VR is by no means a full-scale Arkham game, but it does demonstrate once again that Rocksteady lives inside the mind of our batty friend. Arkham VR is an action adventure game rather than a brawler. For a little while you get to embody Bruce Wayne’s alter ego and live a small part of his story.

While you do play the game standing up, you can’t actually walk around, which makes sense since the PSVR doesn’t really offer a way to move around freely. Instead there’s a bit of teleportation, but that doesn’t diminish the excellent illusion the rest of the time. Arkham VR may not provide the VR Batman experience many people would have hoped for, but it does provide the best take on a VR Batman game with current hardware. Remember, always be yourself – unless you can be Batman.

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Battlezone

Battlezone

In the year 1980 there was a little game called Battlezone released in arcades and for the incredibly popular Atari 2600. The game was remade in 1998 with less success, but when VR came to the PS4, the license was revived for a virtual remake.

Battlezone is notable for being one of the first 3D games for a home console and in the arcades. This VR version of the game is clearly much prettier than that blocky original from three decades ago. There’s not much to explain about the gameplay. You have a tank, they have a tank, don’t get blown up. Easy. It’s a funky sit-down vehicle arcade game that will help you recover from the dark depression of Resident Evil.

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EVE: Valkyrie

EVE Valkyrie

VR has really found a home in cockpit-based games – whether in the seat of a jet fighter, a racing car, a giant robot, or a space fighter.

At first glance EVE:Valkyrie might look a lot like Elite: Dangerous or even Douse of the Dying Sun, but the resemblance is only skin-deep and this is a beast of a different kind altogether. There’s no space exploration here. This game was built to be a VR-only multiplayer dog-fighting simulator set in the EVE universe. There’s single-player content, but this game should really be played with other human players.

The game was originally PC-only as well as VR-only, but both of these things are no longer true. The game can be played without VR and also on the PSVR system. CCP, the developer, has also indicated that it wants to allow cross-platform play between PC and PS4 users.

This is a game that’s very light on story content, but if you want to have a thrilling space combat then look no further.

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Star Trek Bridge Crew

Star Trek Bridge Crew

This is also available on PC, but I like this game so much that I think PS4 owners should know about it too.

Star Trek Bridge Crew pretty much does what it says on the box. You can assume one of four roles on the bridge of the USS Enterprise. Unfortunately this is set in the nuTrek universe with Chris Prine rather than in the TOS or TNG ships which most Trek fans (such as myself) would prefer. Still, one must not look a gift horse in the mouth; the game really does have a fantastic level of polish and it’s a good game at its core.

Although it is possible to play this alone, it’s meant to be played with three of your friends. Each person assumes a role on the bridge and you have to work together to accomplish your missions. Yes, this is basically the premise of the fantastic Artemis Bridge Simulator, but in VR and with an official license. Even if you aren’t particularly a Star Trek fan this game is a worthy addition to your PSVR library and a different take on exploring space in VR.

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Rez Infinite VR

Rez Infinite VR

Rez is a game that originally found life on the now-ancient Playstation 2, but it has been revived over and over again since then to live on multiple generations of consoles.

Rez is widely thought of as one of the most imaginative video games ever made. It’s an abstract musical game built around a core of shooter mechanics. While the colors and rhythms of Rez were never meant for VR, it’s turned out to be a match made in heaven – so much so that the game has won awards almost every time it gets re-released.

However, Rez is such a psychedelic game that a lot of people felt it might actually be a bad choice for a VR remake. In practice, it turns out that it’s a brilliant idea for a VR game and has been widely praised as a must-have experience on the PSVR platform.

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Superhot VR

Superhot VR

Just like Statik, Superhot VR takes the limitations of VR and turns that into its main strength. This is a game about standing still in one spot while you fight off a massive assault by a bunch of guys with knives and guns.

Sounds like a pretty typical video game so far, right? The big difference is that in this game you have incredible reflexes; so incredible that time literally stands still for you and only moves forward when you move. That makes Superhot not an action game, but a tactical puzzle game. You can spend as much time as you like figuring out how you’re going to take out all the dudes without being hit, since just a single hit is enough to kill you. When you have it all figured out you have to execute your plan. If all is well, you’ll make it out alive while your enemies lie defeated around you.

Superhot also has a distinct visual style. It’s not a heavily textured game, but this helps you keep your head in a complex environment and makes it smooth as butter. This is a unique and dynamic experience that will realize your bullet time dreams.


Statik

Statik

Something that (most) game developers have figured out pretty quickly is that you can’t just extract the game design models that work well on a 2D screen and stick them into a VR game. You need to think carefully about the nature and limits of the VR hardware in front of you and work within those limits to make something brilliant.

Statik is an amazing example of taking a limitation and turning it into a game’s defining feature. This game makes use of the standard PS4 gamepad instead of the motion controllers and is specifically designed to make sense as a seated experience. You see, in the game both of your hands are trapped inside a puzzle box, matching perfectly with the fact that both of your hands are holding onto the controller, which is being motion tracked. This creates a very convincing illusion that your hands are actually trapped in the box and shows how you can make something incredibly immersive with a few simple design tricks.

To free your hands from the box you need to manipulate its various parts by pressing the buttons on the controller. Each box is different, so the buttons change the effect they have with each puzzle. Through a patient process of trial and error you can figure out how to get the darn thing off you. It’s not a big AAA game but it’s clever, enjoyable, and deserves to be in every PSVR collection.


VR Glasses headsets

Virtually Sick: How VR Can Be Bad For You

Just about every medium has had its share of people who claim that it’s somehow bad for you. TV? It will rot your brain. Computer games? They make kids violent, ya know. I’m pretty sure that when they finally moved away from scrolls to books there was someone saying how the bound book with its evil page turning would be the ruin of society.

So it’s good to approach any claims that VR is bad for you with a healthy pinch of skepticism. After all, new things are scary and people will blow small things out of proportion through fear. That doesn’t mean that VR doesn’t have health implications. It just means we should have a calm head when talking about the subject. As a user of VR or someone who lives in a household with other VR users, it’s important that you understand the general health risks that come with using VR and make sure that you deal with them constructively.

In this article I’m going to talk about some of the potential health issues that come as part of VR use. Not all of these will apply to all people and to all hardware, but I think this is a decent spread of common concerns.

vr health effects

The Eyes Have It

One of the most obvious points of concern are your eyes. After all, most of what VR has to offer is delivered straight to your eyeballs and into your brain via the optical nerves. So what could go wrong here?

There’s a persistent myth that looking at a computer screen all day causes all sorts of eye-related issues, such as nearsightedness. It turns out that there’s no particular danger in staring at a screen for prolonged times. However, looking at your computer screen and looking at the LCDs or OLEDs inside a VR headset is qualitatively different.

The lenses in VR headsets compensate for the short focal distance to the screen. So looking at those screens is like looking into the distance. That’s fine, but if you have existing eye problems and need glasses, you’ll need to make sure that the HMD can be adjusted in such a way that your eye(s) don’t strain to focus constantly. That’s a recipe for eye strain and all the unpleasantness that goes with it.

You should also pay attention to the brightness levels of the screens inside the HMD. Staring at a strong light source for a prolonged time can also cause strain, not to mention overworking your poor retinas. So dial the brightness down as much as you can while still keeping everything visible. Many applications have a brightness calibration tool to make sure you see the VR world as intended.

Can You Ear Me?

While this isn’t specifically a VR danger so much as a general headphone danger, it should still be on your list of things to consider. Simply put, having the volume on your headphones set too high can lead to permanent hearing damage and eventually deafness. Take it from someone who spent too much time mere feet away from concert PA systems – lifelong tinnitus is not fun. While having really thumping sound can help VR be more immersive, it’s not worth going deaf over.

A Pain in the Neck

Old-school VR from the 90s failed for many reasons, but one of them is that humans simple can’t have a huge, heavy object sitting on their heads all day. The neck strain potential was incredible and there’s no doubt about the general discomfort. It got so bad that they had to suspend some HMDs to take the weight off the user.

These days things are way better. HMDs tend to weigh a kilogram or less, but that doesn’t mean that your neck is now completely safe. For one thing, even a small weight like a modern HMD will put some strain on your neck over a longer period of time. That’s not the end of it, though. Another risk to your neck is repetitive strain from making the same small head movement over and over again.

Currently, VR takes more effort to look around your environment since you don’t have as much peripheral vision. Constantly looking back and forth can do a real number on your neck and, worst of all, you might not realize it until later.

Vr Pain

Are you Sitting Down for This?

While VR experiences tend to be more active than simply using a computer, most home VR is still a seated experience. Sitting for long periods of time is known to wreak all sorts of havoc on the body.

It’s not just about gaining weight and all the nasty stuff that comes with that territory. Even people who exercise, have a healthy weight, and are otherwise fine can suffer serious health consequences from sitting for too long. It’s the whole reason we’ve had the standing desk fad in recent years.

While this risk is definitely just as true for normal computer use, there’s a key difference between using VR and a standard PC in this context. With a PC you are still aware of your surroundings. Your focus can be more easily taken from the digital world to the real one. With VR you are much more engaged and, I think, more likely to sit for longer than is healthy.

A Stand Up Guy

Ironically, especially given the standing desk fad, standing for too long is also bad for you. So if you’re a fan of those stand-up Vive experiences you might want to make sure that you have good footwear and take regular breaks.

Nice Trip, See You Next Fall

Which reminds me of another thing. If you are standing up and moving around in VR, for the love of all that is holy make sure you clear up things around you first. Not only can a trip and a fall wreck your very expensive VR equipment, it could do some serious damage to you. After all, as far as the real world is concerned you’re walking around blindfolded. It might even be a good idea to invest in some flexible pads usually worn by skateboarders – the type of soft pad that companies like G-Form make.

Stomach Troubles

Motion sickness happens when the orientation information that your eyes send to the brain doesn’t match up to the balance information sent by the inner ear. It can cause dizziness, nausea, and, if you’re unlucky, vomiting. This is one of the key issues that modern VR hardware is meant to have solved. However, some people seem more susceptible to it. It can also depend on the type of VR experience; if it involves a lot of spinning around you might just start feeling a little green.

Time is a Killer

You’ll probably notice that most of these problems are not so much an issue of the types of things that VR exposes us to, but more about how long we are exposed to them. Too much of a good thing is hardly ever healthy for us. The thing is, no one yet knows what a good balance of time really is. It’s likely to vary based on each person's tolerance.

Some of these problems, such as the brightness of LCD displays, might be solved technologically. For example, retinal projection doesn’t cause the same sort of eye strain. With further refinement of VR technology it will likely become possible to reduce or eliminate these effects. Until then, watching yourself and limiting time is the only real way to enjoy VR responsibly.

Psychological Issues

Apart from the physical effects of VR there are more subtle, mental effects to take into account. It’s early days to know what embodied VR really does to the mind, but even before VR became something Joe Public could take part in easily there were concerns about the effects of other media. Do violent movies make people violent? Do horror films cause trauma? At one point that was a pretty common belief. In some specific instances people have been “inspired” by films to do some messed-up things. Of course, the vast majority of well-adjusted humans can watch movies, be entertained, and come out just fine.

Video games were the next medium to come under scrutiny. The added interactivity and growing realism raised concerns that games would teach kids (and later adults) how to be antisocial miscreants; that time spent shooting up virtual people would lead to real life violence. Those connections have been shown to be tenuous, with other factors such as severe mental disorders being present to twist the medium's responsibility.

Then we come to VR. As I explained in another article, VR has been used to treat mental disorders for decades now, but that also implies that VR has psychological effects. What they are and how serious they could be is still an open question, but researchers are working in this problem as I write this.

Boy Oculus Rift

VR and Kids

There are plenty of things that are pretty harmless to us as adults, but are much more dangerous to children. Because kids are still developing, they’re more vulnerable. For example, when Nintendo launched their 3DS console it turned out that the autostereoscopic screen might have permanent negative effects on the vision of children under a certain age. This is why the product now carries a warning to that effect.

I think it also stands to reason that you should take age restrictions on content seriously, especially when it comes to VR. You may feel that your 16-year-old is mature enough to play the latest VR horror game, but the actual experience may be more intense than either of you expect.

What To Do

So with all this health-scare business, what exactly should you do about it? The one measure I have already mentioned is limiting how much time you actually spend in VR. Maybe don’t stay in there for longer than an hour without taking a break. Of course it’s no fun constantly having to think about time limits, so you might just want to set some sort of alarm in order to remind you when it’s time to take a 15-minute breather.

Having regular breaks like this will help mitigate most of the more common issues I’ve talked about, but there are more subtle things to watch out for. Perceptual disturbances, especially ones to your vision, are of concern. Changes in your mood or sleep patterns after starting to use VR regularly are also worth watching out for. We don’t really know what’s going to happen to some people once VR really becomes commonplace, but knowing something is wrong is the first step to it all. That’s not the same as saying that VR will be bad for you – just that you should have awareness.


htc vive

HTC Vive Review

The HTC Vive was the first shot across the bow of VR pioneer Oculus after it released its Rift HMD. Backed by respected hardware manufacturer HTC (which is also known for phones) and Valve corporation (which is known for Steam), the Vive came out swinging with its technological superiority.

Thanks to the pioneering work that was done by Oculus, the makers of the Vive could look at what had been done and build on it. Sometimes it’s better to be second in line rather than first because then you can learn from your predecessor's fate!

HTC Vive Headset and Controllers

Cyberpunk Blues

The styling of the Vive leaves me in mind of Cyberpunk aesthetics. Think of shows like Ghost in the Shell, The Matrix, and other similar dark and gritty futuristic fiction. The front of the faceplate is covered in indentations that play a role in the tracking system. These make you look like some sort of spider robot, which I think is very cool indeed. Not that you’ll notice, since you can’t see yourself while wearing the system!

All Those Pretty Numbers

Compared to the Rift, its main competitor, in the Vive HTC has matched specifications on an almost point-by-point basis. Both have an OLED panel, both have a resolution of 2160 x 1200, and both have a field of view rated at 110 degrees. Both have built-in audio, HDMI, USB 3, and so on. So in terms of the base headsets themselves, there doesn’t seem to be much choice between these two products.

Track Me If You Can

The key feature of the Vive that sets it apart from the Oculus and most of the competition is the fact that it was designed for “room-scale” VR. What’s that? Simply put, with a system such as the Oculus Rift you are only meant to sit or stand in place. The tracking system is not designed to follow you around the room, but only track you within a small cube of space.

Thanks to the two “Lighthouse” base stations, you can be tracked within a 15 x 15 foot cube. It’s more than just a wide-range tracker. Valve and HYC have created a boundary system that warns you in the VR world when you’re reaching the edge of the tracked space. Hopefully this will prevent you from mashing into things as you walk around in the VR world.

Just remember that the Vive is still a tethered solution, so you still need to manage the cable. Vive (and just about everyone else) is working on a wireless display system, but it will be a while before the latency is low enough to make it practical.

Of course, Oculus has come to the party and you can get room-scale tracking by buying two more expensive tracking cameras. The Vive is, at the moment, the only product that does room-scale out of the box.

htc vive vr

In Control

The Vive kit comes with two motion controllers that look rather reminiscent of Oculus Touch. That’s a bit backwards, though, since the Vive actually beat the Oculus to the punch when it comes to getting its touch controller to the market.

I actually think that on a design level the Oculus Touch looks nicer and more comfortable. The Vive motion controllers are larger than the Oculus units, largely because the sensor rings tracked by the base stations are so chunky. Overall, the Oculus units are a little more refined, but the fact that the Vive system always includes the controllers and is designed for them from the ground up makes the overall experience better.

HTC Vive Bonusses

After dropping so much cash on a new toy, it sucks to also spend more money to buy software for it. The good news is that there is some free content that you can try right away the moment you have you Vive up and running. Three titles are included: the excellent Tilt Brush art program, Everest VR, and Richie’s plank.

Software Heaven

This being Valve’s own product, you can rest assured that support for the Vive is baked right into the Steam gaming software platform. There are hordes of VR games for the Vive, which all run through SteamVR. The Vive is really a very easy system to work with if you are already familiar with Steam.

Interestingly enough, the Vive does have its own digital storefront as well. It’s called “Viveport” and here you’ll find titles that are only meant for the Vive. Why Valve felt they needed to create a second digital platform when they already own the largest PC electronic gaming store in the world is beyond me. Still, it might make things easier for users that do not hail from the hardcore gaming crowd.

The Final Word

Thanks to the opportunity to watch the Oculus in the wild before going to market themselves, Valve and HTC were able to create a product that one-ups the Oculus in almost every way. Yes, it costs quite a bit more than the base Oculus, but if you consider what the standard equipment looks like and the price of getting an Oculus to have features parity, it’s actually pretty close. If you can afford it, the Vive is currently the best all-round PC VR system for gamers and general consumers.

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