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HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift S

  • June 27, 2020Updated on
HTC Vive and Oculus Rift Comparison

As most VR gamers know, tethered VR gaming headsets are often more powerful than other VR headsets on the market. Even though the wires may seem like a nuisance, gamers still prefer these headsets for a better overall virtual gaming experience.

Whenever tethered VR gaming headsets are mentioned, 2 names often come to light, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift S. Both VR gaming headsets are not only suitable for a premium VR gaming experience but also cost less than other VR headsets out there.

Users are often unable to distinguish between the two headsets as they’re more similar than people may think. But in reality, certain factors differentiate one from the other. So, when it comes to HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift S, which of these two is the better VR gaming headset? Let’s find out.

HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift S – Which VR Headset Wins The Race?

HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift S – Technical Specifications

Much like any other gadget, knowing the technical specifications of a VR headset is of foremost importance before making a buying decision. Let’s go through the comparison between HTC Vive and Oculus Rift S based on their technical specifications.

HTC Vive Oculus Rift S
Weight 7.54 lbs. 5.92 lbs.
Refresh Rate 90 Hz 80 Hz
Display Resolution 2160 x 1200 (combined resolution), Dual AMOLED screen 2160 x 1440
Single LCD screen
Interpupillary Distance Manual Software
Controllers Vive Wands Updated Oculus Touch
Audio Output 3.5 mm jack for headphones Integrated audio speakers as well as 3.5 mm jack for headphones
Tracking Mode External tracking using 2 “Lighthouse” base stations Internal tracking using Oculus Insight trackers
Field Of View 110° 110°
Cables Needed HDMI Cable and USB 2.0 cables DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.0 cables

HTC Vive is the lighter of the 2 VR headsets and has a better refresh rate. Oculus Rift S has an edge when we talk about audio as it allows you to use both internal stereo speakers and your headphones against Vive’s only option of using headphones. However, we still feel that HTC Vive has the better overall technical specs.

Winner in Terms of Specifications: HTC Vive

HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift S – PC Requirements

Before you buy a VR headset, it’s necessary to have a PC that is compatible with the VR headset you’re planning to buy. Let’s look at various PC requirements of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift S.

HTC Vive Oculus Rift S
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4590AMD FX 8350(Or better)Intel Core i5-4590AMD Ryzen 5 1500X(Or better)
GPUNVIDIA GTX 1060AMD Radeon RX 480(Or better)NVIDIA GTX 1060AMD Radeon RX 480(Or better)
RAM Requirement4 GB RAM or higher8 GB RAM or higher
Video OutputDisplayPort 1.2 or HDMI 1.4DisplayPort 1.2
USB OutputUSB-A 2.0USB-A 3.0

Most of the PC requirements of both VR gaming headsets are similar. However, the 4 GB RAM requirement certainly makes HTC Vive a more accessible VR headset than Oculus Rift S. Also, to use Oculus Rift S, you must ensure you have a DisplayPort, as well as USB 3.0 output, compared to the more simplistic HDMI and USB 2.0 output of HTC Vive.

Winner in Terms of PC Requirements: HTC Vive

HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift S – Display

One of the key points of consideration when choosing a VR gaming headset is the display quality. As mentioned above, Oculus Rift S has a higher display resolution of 2160 x 1440 in comparison to HTC Vive’s 2160 x 1200. This leads to the users getting a clearer picture with a hardly noticeable Screen Door effect.

But, Oculus Rift S uses a single LCD screen instead of dual AMOLED screens that are being used by HTC Vive. The advantages of using OLED screens are deeper and more accurate colors. So, if you’re a fan of dark-themed games, HTC Vive should give you a much better gaming experience compared to Oculus Rift S, thanks to the AMOLED screen.

Although Oculus Rift S has a better display resolution, HTC Vive has a higher refresh rate. Therefore, the likeliness of users feeling nauseated is far less while using HTC Vive. Another edge that HTC Vive has over Oculus Rift S is the manual interpupillary distance (IPD) adjustment.

The IPD is managed by the software on Oculus Rift S. This can be frustrating if you do not find a suitable setting for yourself. HTC Vive has a knob on the side that allows you to manually set the IPD, allowing for a better and more accurate view.

Winner in Terms of Display: HTC Vive

HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift S – Design

To begin with, both VR headsets have a modern look. HTC Vive has a mainstream head strap that holds the VR visor against your face using velcro.

Oculus designed the Rift S with a halo-style headband, with an additional strap going over the users head. The halo headband comes with a knob at the back to adjust the headband per the user’s comfort.

HTC Vive is a lighter VR headset with better weight distribution, allowing for a more comfortable VR gaming experience, but in reality, the difference isn’t that noticeable.

As for the audio output, HTC Vive has no built-in speakers and comes with a 3.5 mm jack to use external headphones for audio. Oculus Rift S has built-in directional stereo speakers inside the headset that even though lack the bass and clarity, provide a more accurate sense of direction for the sounds.

Oculus Rift S gives you the alternative of using your own headphones via a 3.5 mm audio jack, similar to HTC Vive.

Lastly, both VR headsets have built-in cameras but for different purposes. HTC Vive has a single camera on the front of the visor but solely for the purpose of looking into the real world, and not for any tracking purposes. Oculus Rift S has a total of 5 cameras on the headset – 2 in front, 2 on the sides and 1 on top. These cameras make the Oculus Insight tracking system.

Winner in Terms of Design: Oculus Rift S

Read Also: Oculus Rift S Review

HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift S – Tracking System

Oculus Rift S comes with an internal tracking system called the Oculus Insight. It uses the 5 cameras onboard the headset to help with motion tracking. These insight cameras scan your surroundings and report the results in tandem with the accelerometer and gyroscope atop the headset, once per millisecond. The absence of any external sensors allows for a quicker setup time and makes this VR headset more portable.

HTC Vive uses an external tracking system. It uses its two Lighthouse base stations that need to be mounted on the walls of the room you plan to have your VR experience in. These tracking stations need an AC power source to function. This makes the setup process a bit lengthier than what we get on Oculus Rift S, but the results of the tracking system are almost flawless.

The Oculus Insight system is still new and has bugs. However, otherwise the experience with tracking is just fine. All in all, both VR headsets give you full scale VR experiences. You get all 6 degrees of freedom (DOF), allowing you to move freely inside your virtual world.

Winner in Terms of Tracking System: HTC Vive

Final Words

It would be unfair to call either of the headsets better than the other, seeing both have their own advantages. Oculus Rift S is a more portable VR headset with the absence of external tracking sensors. It also has an edge when we talk about the integrated audio system, as well as a better screen resolution. Lastly, it’s also cheaper than HTC Vive.

HTC Vive comes with a completely flawless tracking system, a better refresh rate, better colors with the AMOLED screen. It also has lower PC requirements which makes a lot of difference, seeing that most gamers would want to use their current PC setups for their VR gaming experience.

But, if we had to pick one of the two headsets, we would go for with HTC Vive, by the slightest of margins. HTC Vive’s VR experience is a bit more powerful, natural and wholesome than that provided by Oculus Rift S. You can say that HTC Vive is a more premium VR headset than the more budget-friendly Oculus Rift S.

If you have any queries, questions or suggestions, feel free to let us know in the comments section below!


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