Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Which One Should You Buy?

There is no denying that Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have ushered us into a new era of VR gaming and marked a significant milestone in the gaming universe. Both headsets offer amazing gaming experience, made better by the introduction of new games and peripherals which make it even harder to decide between the two.

Assuming you want to buy one of them, the question remains: Which is the better option – Oculus Rift or HTC Vive? The answer to that question depends on many factors – from the immersion level you want to the amount of cash you are willing to sacrifice. In this guideline we illuminate the bright lights and the gloomy darks in both systems to make it easier for you to determine which is the better option.

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Design


One of the key differences between the Rift and Vive is their design, with both headsets featuring different design aspects.

The moment you hold the Rift, only one thing comes to mind – lightness. This headset has been stripped down to the bare essentials without compromising on strength and looks. It comes with only one control which makes it easier for you to adjust the lens spacing. The Rift’s headsets are thin and lightweight, too, which allow you to achieve a firm grip on your head, thereby minimizing movement and rattle.

On the other hand, the design of the HTC Vive is full of bells and whistles. Its lenses are wrapped in thick, indented plastic that looks more stylish than that of the Oculus Rift. There is also a front-facing camera, a knob for lens adjustment, and a power button. While the Vive features an intriguing sci-fiction design, the Rift’s design looks more polished, and like a consumer-ready presentation. The other thing that makes the Rift outsmart the Vive in design is the build in headphones that gently fold down on your ears to deliver an immersive audio experience.

Winner: Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Controllers


There is no doubt that the HTC Vive has managed to effectively conquer the virtual worlds to a greater degree, owing to its superior controllers. The Vive’s wireless controllers triumph in both design and usability. You get two controllers – one for each hand. The triggers are perfectly placed to align with your index finger which makes shooting games such as Arizona Sunshine look like real-time shooting.

The Oculus Rift, on the other hand, comes bundled with an Xbox One controller. In December 2016 Oculus added touch-motion controllers to their lineup to better compete with HTC Vive. These touch controllers feature capacitive sensors which can tell the system where your fingers are located, even if you are not touching anything. However, they are not as ergonomic and comfortable as the ones in the Vive.

Winner: HTC Vive

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Games


When it comes to content, some gamers argue that Oculus is the winner, owing to its huge list of full stories that leave you wanting more. However, there are many factors at play that in my opinion give the HTC Vive an edge against the Rift.

First, HTC Vive is designed to work primarily with Valve’s Steam platform. Steam has a catalog of over 500 games, giving Vive the most extensive content library of any virtual reality headset available today.

Secondly, the VR market has seen the rise of some third-party software that has made it possible to play most of the Oculus Rift games on HTC Vive. Though you have to buy the games through the Oculus store, the important thing is that those games can play on your HTC Vive.

Winner: HTC Vive

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: PC Requirements

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive

On the gaming PC’s front the Vive requires a minimum of Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX8350, 4GB RAM with either DisplayPort 1.2 or HDMI 1.4, and at least one USB 2.0. As for the GPU, you’ll need to have at least AMD Radeon R9 290 or Nvidia GTX 970.

By contrast, the Oculus Rift can support lower-end PCs, thanks to its Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) technology.

The minimum your PC needs to run Rift starts from a Core i3-6100 or AMD FX 4350 processor and at least 8GB of RAM. For the GPU you’ll need at least AMD Radeon RX 470 or Nvidia GTX 960. However, unlike HTC Vive that can run on Windows 7, you’ll need at least Windows 8 for the Rift since ASW doesn’t work on Windows 7.

Winner: Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Phone Integration

Having the ability to answer phone calls or texts without removing the headset can prove to be very useful in this digital age. The Vive is enabled to synchronize with your smartphone over Bluetooth meaning you can easily answer calls and texts while still in the virtual world. The Oculus Rift lacks this feature.

Winner: HTC Vive

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Motion Tracking


Each headset follows a different path when it comes to motion tracking. The HTC Vive motion tracking system utilizes lasers that emit signals from the two base stations placed in opposing corners of your room. The Rift, by contrast, utilizes an optical sensor which you connect to your PC via USB. The downside of this system is that it allows for only a limited room scaling ability. Though the HTC Vive laser-based method is not without limitations, it’s more robust in larger areas than the Rift’s camera system.

Winner: HTC Vive

The Bottom Line

Based on the various parameters discussed, we can argue that the HTC Vive is the undisputed champion. However, it’s also important to consider other factors like price which can play a significant role here. While the HTC Vive is currently selling for $799, the Oculus Rift is nearly $400 cheaper, selling for $419 on Amazon.

Kenneth Kimari
Kenneth Kimari

Kenn is a tech enthusiast by passion, Windows blogger by choice, and a massive coffee imbiber. He likes watching sci-fi movies in his free time and tearing gadgets apart so he can fix them.

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