HTC Vive VR Kit Hands-On Preview: Room Scale Virtual Reality Has Arrived

HTC Vive Intro, Specification, and Bundle

Whether or not this latest push for virtual reality resonates with consumers and brings the technology into the mainstream remains to be seen. But it appears that all of the major players in the space, from the GPU manufacturers, to game developers, and VR leaders like HTC, Oculus, Samsung and Sony (among others) are all in it for the long-haul this time around. Some of us here at HotHardware have witnessed everything from the introduction of the Nintendo Virtual Boy to Virtuality pod-laden movie theaters first hand, and can say with certainty that the latest wave of VR technology is head and shoulders above anything that’s come before it and the companies involved are infinitely more optimistic than ever before. Virtual reality’s time may be now.

htc vive headset and controller

Samsung’s VR Gear has been on the market for quite some time. One of the most talked about VR products of the last few years, the Oculus Rift, just recently begun shipping. And Sony is readying its PlayStation VR headset for a Q4 release. Today though, it’s HTC and Valve’s turn, as retail-ready HTC Vive kits begin to roll out to those that pre-ordered the device.

htc vive vr kit
The HTC Vive Headset, Wireless Controllers, And Base Stations

We have had the privilege to use the HTC Vive at multiple stages throughout its development cycle, and to this point, even though the hardware and software weren’t quite finished, we believe it offered the most compelling VR experiences yet. We just got our hands on a final, shipping version of the HTC Vive, however, and want to give you our initial impressions. What you’re going to see on the pages ahead is indicative of what consumers that have pre-ordered the HTC Vive will receive. Before we dive in though, here’s a quick look at the HTC Vive’s main features and specifications...

HTC Vive VR Kit
Specifications & Features
HTC Vive Headset
  • 32 headset sensors for 360° motion tracking
  • 2160 x 1200 combined resolution and 90 Hz refresh rate
  • 110° field of view
  • Front-facing camera blends real-world elements into the virtual world
  • Interchangeable foam inserts and nose pads provide customized comfort (Fits most glasses)
  • Adjustable headset strap provides balanced comfort for extended use
Handheld Wireless Controllers
  • Multi-function trackpad with HD haptic feedback
  • Dual-stage triggers with HD haptic feedback
  • Two handheld controllers each have 24 sensors for accurate motion tracking
Base Stations
  • Two base stations deliver 360° motion tracking for room-scale VR
  • Base stations sync wirelessly and only require a power cable

There is quite a bit of hardware included in the HTC Vive retail kit. Everything ships in a heavily padded, heavy-duty box, which is broken up into multiple compartments.
htc vive box
HTC Vive Retail Box

Inside the box you’ll find the HTC Vive headset, along with a pair of wireless controllers, a pair of base stations – which are used for the room scale motion tracking – and a slew of cables and accessories. The Vive headset connects to a simple link box, which in turn connects to a PC, and there are charging cables and power adapters included for the base stations and controllers. There are also mounting kits for the link box and base stations in the package, along with a pair of earbuds, an alternate (narrower) face cushion, HDMI cable, a few micro-USB cables, and a cleaning cloth. In all, the HTC Vive retail kit includes everything you’ll need to get started and help maintain the device.

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