The Vive looks like a device pulled straight out of the future. The infrared tracking dots that appear across the face of the headset are indented from the rounded shape of the headset, creating a distinct, and more aggressive, look from the Oculus Rift and other VR headsets, which are more elegant and streamlined. Personally, we find the Vive attractive, at least in the sense that it looks as futuristic as virtual reality feels.
It helps that every piece of the kit, from the trackers, to the controllers, to the cables and the link box, is built from sturdy, thick plastic. It does mean the headset itself is pretty heavy, but as we’ll see, balancing weight properly is more important than shedding pounds.
The controllers are unique. While the closest resemblance might be to a Nintendo Wii Remote, even that feels forced. Their interesting shape is often replicated visually in-game, and the odd ring at the top becomes the perfect place to house gems, or grab objects.
Unfortunately, serious construction and solid connectivity comes at a price, and that price is the Vive’s cable. It’s thick and can be a little unwieldy, especially in games with a lot of spinning or moving around. You’ll get used to it after a while, but it isn’t the most elegant solution. We’re always a little afraid of tripping over your cord.
The cables run into a link box instead of straight into the computer. That makes it easy to run all the cables, power, USB, and HDMI, to the same place, without having a separate power cable. It also acts as a breakaway in case you get a little too enthusiastic, preventing you from yanking an expensive gaming PC off its desk.
The HTC Vive is the best VR headset in the world right now. The controls are intuitive to use, the resolution is incredible, with a 1080p screen per eye, and the base stations mean you can play in a space that’s 13 x 13 feet in size – that’s some serious playing space to swing yourself around in.
Like most of the entries on our list this is a premium product at a high price, but if you’re looking for the best first-generation VR headset around, then the HTC Vive is the one to go for.