Oculus Rift Vs HTC Vive: Is the Oculus Rift’s Universe Superior to That of the HTC Vive?


After long being a pipe dream of 90s cyber-culture, virtual reality has now made meaningful inroads as a serious consumer technology.

Nowadays, you can obtain a full virtual reality headset that covers your eyes, tracks your motion, and has other advanced features for a few hundred dollars, rather than spending hundreds on low-resolution video glasses.

The Oculus Rift, which began as a cheap development kit a few years ago and has already had a full retail release, is often credited with reviving consumer interest in virtual reality. In its place of a prototype, the once-promising virtual reality (VR) ecosystem is now owned by Facebook and developed in partnership with Samsung.

Hot on the tail of the Oculus Rift was the HTC Vive, the product of HTC’s collaboration with Steam to offer a non-Oculus gaming headset for PC players. In comparison to the Rift, the Vive has experienced improvements since its release, including a more powerful Pro version and an anticipated wireless adapter.

The Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are the most popular PC-tethered VR headsets on the market, and while they are from quite different places, they both share the distinction of having the largest libraries of VR games and other software, as well as the most refined motion controls.

Now that they’ve each had a couple of years to grow and refine their experiences, let’s put them head-to-head and compare every feature and characteristic of the headsets to find which one is superior!


The virtual reality headset is the heart of any VR setup. VR depends on a head-mounted display that can cover your field of view with a picture and properly track every minor movement you make while gazing around. It’s just the most significant component of virtual reality. It’s also where you’ll notice the biggest similarities between the Rift and the Vive.

Oculus Rift Vs HTC Vive

Each eye sees a 1,080-by-1,200-pixel picture at a refresh rate of 90 hertz, and the headsets’ combined field of view is 110 degrees. Each device incorporates motion sensors and can sync with external beacons or sensors to provide precise head tracking. Both are equally effective at recording video and detecting motion.

With its twin 1,400 x 1,600 monitors, the HTC Vive Pro provides a noticeable improvement in movie quality. It’s a near alternative to the Vive, but it costs $799 and doesn’t include the necessary motion controllers or base stations that the conventional Vive does.


It’s easy to forget that video always comes with sound when the main focus is on a visually stunning image that transports you to another place. The Rift and the Vive both use headphones for audio.

Unlike the Vive’s 3.5mm socket, which is limited to the bundled earbuds, the Rift’s on-ear headphones may be swapped out for any other pair of headphones. It’s a matter of personal preference, but I find the Rift headphones to be more convenient to use than the Vive’s.

The Vive’s physical jack means there’s yet another wire to keep track of while you’re using the headset, and it can be tricky to get headphones to fit comfortably with the Vive on your head. The headsets in question also feature integrated microphones for use in voice chat and command.

System Requirements

A strong computer is required for operation with either VR headset. It is safe to assume that if one virtual reality headset (the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive) is compatible with a given system, the other will be as well.

Either headset requires a computer with a minimum Intel Core i5-4590 CPU and Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 GPU. While HTC suggests a minimum of 4GB of RAM for the Vive and Oculus suggests a minimum of 8GB for the Rift, it’s best to err on the side of caution and aim for at least 8GB of memory for either headset.

The primary distinction between the two systems is in their connectivity requirements, with the Vive requiring only one USB 2.0 port in addition to an open HDMI port, and the Rift requiring at least two USB 3.0 ports in addition to an open HDMI port (and a third USB 3.0 port will be necessary when the Oculus Touch controller is released).

In our in-depth coverage of both VR headsets, we used gaming laptops that were significantly beyond the minimum specifications. Both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive were put through their paces on an Origin EON17-X and an Asus ROG G752VT-DH72, respectively.

Virtual reality is best experienced with a 16GB RAM, Intel i7 CPU, GTX 980 M GPU, and a large storage capacity. Look into The Best Graphics Cards for VR for additional information.


The past generation of gaming consoles taught us that controlling games with motion is a tremendously tough thing to get correctly. Moving your virtual hands about in a virtual environment so that it looks like you’re doing it is significantly more difficult in virtual reality.

The Oculus Rift now comes standard with a pair of motion controllers, which weren’t included at launch. Right out of the box, the Vive included a pair of controllers.

Oculus Rift Vs HTC Vive

The Vive uses buttoned wands as motion controls, which it tracks with impressive precision in 3D space. In the real world, a motion controller can be anywhere; in the Vive, it will appear in the virtual loading area precisely where it is, allowing you to pick it up with your hands while wearing the headset.

There are triggers and large touchpads on each controller.

We love the Oculus Touch motion controllers, which were originally launched as optional extras for an extra $100 on top of the purchase of the headgear.

Their ergonomic design makes them easier to use for longer periods of time, and their analogue sticks perform better than the touchpads on the Vive motion controllers for the vast majority of video games. The inclusion of the Oculus Touch controllers with every $399 Rift has swung the category in favor of Oculus.


There is still a long way to go before every action can be replicated in VR, but the HTC Vive comes close with its support for whole-room setups. Your play area can be any size up to 6.5 x 5.0 feet and is defined by placing the two included sensor beacons at opposite ends of the wall.

You may walk around freely thanks to SteamVR’s Chaperone and Vive’s front-facing camera (which is dedicated solely to this function). If you get too close to the edge, virtual walls will appear, and the camera will activate so you can check your footing and avoid falling off the edge.

As the original Oculus Rift only included a single motion-tracking camera meant to be placed on a desk, its range of motion was restricted. Due to the inclusion of Oculus Touch, the Rift now ships with not one but two cameras in addition to the motion controllers.

The Rift, equipped with its two cameras, can provide room-scale virtual reality on par with the Vive. This once again makes the category a draw, this time in Vive’s favor.

Whole-room VR is effective for its intended purpose, but it is hampered by wires, a problem that no major VR headset has yet solved. Both headsets have lengthy cables to give you freedom of movement in virtual reality, but since you can’t see them while you’re wearing them, you’re practically asking to trip over them.


Despite the technical complexity of virtual reality, it can be easily implemented in a variety of settings. Although both headsets have very straightforward setup procedures, the Rift’s is noticeably less complicated than the Vive’s.

To get started with your Oculus Rift, you’ll need to download the software, find a free USB 3.0 port and HDMI output, and connect the headset and external sensor. Then, when you’re ready to play, you may place the Rift on your head and utilize it after going through some brief orientation procedures in the program.

The Vive adds a layer of complexity. It connects the headset to your computer via a little box called a “Link Box.” Connect the Link Box to your computer using the provided HDMI and USB cords, and then connect the Link Box to your headset using the accompanying 10-foot bundled HDMI/USB cable.

To power the Link Box, you’ll need to plug it into an available wall outlet (a dedicated power jack for the Link Box can be found on the headset cord). After completing all of these steps, you will finally be able to put the Vive to good use.

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Video game consoles need video game software, and virtual-reality headsets like the Rift and the Vive have their own content stores. The Oculus Store is the Rift’s exclusive digital marketplace.

SteamVR, Valve’s virtual reality platform for the Steam store, comes preinstalled on the Vive (the biggest and most popular digital PC game store on the Internet). There are several excellent virtual reality (VR) experiences available in both stores, but neither has a AAA title that is likely to sell many VR headsets.

The Rift is more versatile than the Vive because it is compatible with SteamVR and the Oculus Store. The selection on Steam is a bit more limited than it is for the Vive because of the lack of motion controls, but the access is there. Meanwhile, Vive owners are barred from the Oculus Store (at least, not without a hack that neither HTC nor Oculus endorse). To learn more, check out our list of the Top 5 Games on the Oculus Rift.


Both headsets have seen price drops of several hundred dollars since their initial releases. Price drops bring the Rift to $399 and the Vive to $499 from their previous $599 and $799, respectively. The Oculus Rift is more cost-effective due to its built-in motion controls and whole-room virtual reality functionality.

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Who Wins, the Rift or the Vive?

It’s a toss-up, and in the end, it’ll come down to the user’s individual tastes and the functionality they require. Nonetheless, we recommend the Oculus Rift. It’s simpler to set up and has access to two complete VR content stores without any annoying workarounds.

Unlike the Vive, which requires you to run cables from a central link box to the headset, your PC, and a power outlet while also making sure two extra sensors on the walls are plugged into their own outlets, this setup only requires a USB 3.0 port and the headset and sensor.

To top it all off, the Rift is the superior headset for anyone who plans to use VR on a daily basis due to its superior comfort.

Above and beyond that, the Rift is now cheaper than the Vive while providing identical functionality. Because of these factors, we recommend the Rift to anyone looking for a virtual reality headset that connects to a personal computer.

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How About the Oculus Go and the Vive Pro?

The HTC Vive Pro is technically the best headset on the market. It has better clarity and comfort than both the standard HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. But it’s also by far the most expensive.

It costs $800 just for the headset, and you need to spend another $300 for the Vive Accessories Starter Kit to get motion controllers and the necessary external sensors. So, it costs much more than twice as much as either headset. So, unless you have a lot of money to waste, we can’t recommend it over the Vive or the Rift.

On the other end of the scale is the Oculus Go. It’s a $200 VR headset that works on its own and lets you try virtual reality without any other devices. It’s cheap and easy to get, but it doesn’t work as well as the Rift or the Vive.

It’s basically just a mid-range smartphone built into a Samsung Gear VR, so the graphics and processing power aren’t even close to what you get with a VR headset that’s tethered to a computer. It also has much less motion tracking, with only three degrees of freedom (3DOF) for both the headset and the one controller that comes with it.

This means that it can only tell which way you’re facing, not whether or not you’re moving. It’s a fun and cheap way to try virtual reality, but it can’t compete with the Rift and Vive for serious, immersive experiences.

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