HTC Vive Teardown Reveals Intricately Assembled And Highly Repairable Virtual Reality Masterpiece
It's game-on between the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, both of which are battling for supremacy in the virtual reality space, but is one better than the other? That's a point of debate—both have their pluses and minuses, and while you're putting check marks underneath each one for various categories, go ahead and give one to the Vive in the teardown section.
The Vive proved slightly easier to operate on than the Rift, according to the experts at iFixIt who don't get a bit wobbly in the knees when tearing down expensive hardware. Just as they did with the Rift last month, the fearless crew made quick work of disassembling the many parts that make up the Vive, starting with the interchangeable foam insert that's attached with Velcro to the headset.
Things start off easy enough, first with unscrewing the eye relief adjustment on the lens and then pulling back the outer shell to reveal all 32 sensors. You'll need a steady hand at that point, as the next order of business is flip the switch on several ZIF connectors (they tend to break real easy, in our experience) and remove some ribbon cables. There's also a hidden press connector behind the front-facing camera to be aware of. Once dispatched, whole sensor array lifts right up "easy peasy."
If you need to tear into a Vive for any reason, you might want to take notes or pictures along the way so you can follow your trail back. Disassembling the Vive isn't terribly difficult, but there are a lot of parts to keep track of, "many of them quite delicate." The folks at iFixIt suggest obtaining a service manual before attempting surgery.
Other than that, the only real complaint with the Vive's construction (from a DIY standpoint) is the use of adhesive. It's used sparingly, but can be found holding the lenses, Lighthouse base station covers ,and sensor arrays.
The Vive earned praise for its removable head strap and face pads that don't incorporate any sensors or electronics that might be prone to failure. It's also appreciated that HTC used standard Phillips and Torx screws throughout. And as far as replacement parts go, reuse of the touchpad hardware from the Steam Controller suggests that some replacement components might are already be available.
In the end, the Vive earned an 8 out of 10 Repairabilty Score, edging out the Rift by a single point.