Battle of the VR Kings: HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift vs Samsung Gear VR

HTC finally launched the consumer edition of its much touted Vive VR system and the day finally came when we could compare it with similar VR gadgets like the Oculus Rift and Samsung's Gear VR systems.

All these VR headsets, despite being first-generation ones, are a result of years of research, design and breakthrough technologies on virtual reality. We take a look at these systems to find out if they're really as revolutionary and worth trying as their manufacturers tip them to be.


Launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Vive VR consumer edition brought with it an advanced headset and game controllers. The system primarily aims at letting you enjoy new immersive VR experiences containing 3D graphics and advanced gaming options.

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Running on Steam VR OS, Vive also lets you control your movements and progress through games with an improved visual system, two wireless VR controllers, room scale movement sensors, an HMD featuring a built in camera and phone and the two VR titles.

In terms of design, Vive VR comes with a redesigned head strap for greater stability and balance and the visual system is also much brighter than before. With advanced features like 90Hz refresh rate, context awareness control and hand movement tracking among others, the possibilities that the new device can achieve are limitless. You will be able to experience and control situations from as simple as walking through a street to as complex as looking at Earth from outer space.

Apart from these advanced features, Vive VR also includes HTC's new Vive Phone Services which will let you send and receive calls and texts as well as checking calendar invites.

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The Vive VR system costs £689 and its utility will rise further in the coming days with HTC planning to launch new VR experiences based on fields like entertainment, retail, education, design, healthcare and automotive.

Oculus Rift

After years of development and testing, the consumer version of Oculus rift finally became available for pre-orders in January this year. Not only did Oculus beat HTC by over a month, the Rift is also priced at £499 which makes it more ideal for people to try out and share their experiences.

Despite not being around in the VR business for long, Oculus isn't exactly a rookie that you can easily dismiss. The firm has the backing of Facebook which means that it has the cash needed to perfect the Rift and invest in technologies that others may want to defer to save cost.

The final consumer version is very much like the Crescent Bay development kit that Oculus launched in September last year. This kit brought in a lighter frame, a headset with OLED display and attached headphones with 3D audio and afforded users with 360-degree head tracking and expanded positional tracking capabilities.

What you need to know about the Oculus Rift

The latest Rift also supports augmented and virtual reality in all light conditions, indoors or outdoors. Also included are finger tracking capabilities on the Rift's Touch controllers. This may apply to gestures like pointing, making a finger gun and the quintessential thumbs up.

To use the Rift, you need to basically wear the headset to be able to view virtual reality movies or to play games which have been configured as per the gadget's specifications. The lighter weight as well as better ergonomics of the gadget ensures that you won't have to hold on to the gadget with your hands which playing it.

Samsung Gear VR

Weighing at just 318g, Samsung's Gear VR, unlike HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift, costs just £80 and offers almost every experience that these pricier VR headsets bring to you.

The latest Gear VR is 19 per cent lighter than its predecessor and will feel more comfortable around your skull thanks to its new foam cushioning. Despite its compactness, it sports a larger touch pad than its predecessor and the touch pad offers easier and more accurate control.

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Even though the design of Gear VR isn't as futuristic as that of the HTC Vive, both devices are quite similar in terms of comfort and ease of usage.

Gear VR also offers a 96-degree field of vision and will enable you to view 360 degree videos and gaming content. Samsung is offering a range of games and experiential content in its online store that you can play or view on your Gear VR, which is a lot better than just three VR experiences that the first users of HTC Vive will be able to enjoy.

To use the Gear VR, you need to own any of Samsung's premium phones like the Galaxy S6 edge+, S6 and S6 edge and S7 and S7 Edge phones. This is because the device requires a Super AMOLED display to provide the colour, clarity and performance needed for an amazing virtual reality experience.

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  1. Guest
    Guest2nd Mar 2016

    This articles title was totally misleading. What a waste of time. Where are the comparisons. Should have called it Ad for the Gear VR. CLICKBAIT!!

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