Virtual reality was one of the big themes of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), with both HTC and Samsung unveiling new headsets. But the HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR for Galaxy S6 work very differently, so which one’s the best? We’ve compared them to find out.
HOW THEY WORK: THE BASICS
The HTC Vive is powered by technology from gaming company Valve, the maker of Half-Life. That makes it heavily focused on computer games. So Vive doesn’t just have a headset, it has handheld controllers that are tracked by sensors so you can move and use your hands in the virtual world.
The headset has lots of sensors too. They let it accurately track your head movements so you can look around the virtual world naturally, and even track your position in a room so you can walk through a virtual reality (VR) game.
The Samsung Gear VR is a lot simpler. It doesn’t even have a built in screen, instead you plug a Galaxy S6 or S6 edge smartphone into it, giving a brilliantly high resolution display. To control things, the Gear VR has a track pad, so you can move around the virtual world, and a back button on the side. Aside from that, it’s full of sensors to track your head movements so you can look around your virtual reality.
HOW DO THEY COMPARE?
The HTC Vive is definitely the best for gaming. It lets you walk around the physical world to move through the virtual one and has fantastic handheld controllers that mean you can easily use your virtual hands. And HTC has tackled the problem of bumping into walls, tripping over tables and knocking down TVs by marking real obstacles in the virtual world.
Games will also look great on the HTC Vive as its built in screens are specially designed for VR. They have a high refresh rate of 90 frames per second (24 is what humans see as moving images, 90 is needed to stop motion sickness in VR) and a really high resolution for great detail.
But the Samsung Gear VR can keep up with the Vive if you’re looking for a headset that shows great detail in everything you view. That’s because it uses the Galaxy S6 screen, which is the sharpest mobile screen around.
The Gear VR also has the big advantage of only costing around £200 (assuming you already have the phone). HTC hasn’t announced pricing for the Vive yet, but we’d expect it to be a lot more than that as it’s such an advanced system. That makes the Gear VR a great option for immersive 3D movies, simple games and cool apps that guide you through places, like a villa in Tuscany.
WHICH SHOULD I BE SAVING FOR?
If you’re an avid gamer, there’s no competition for the HTC Vive at the moment. But if you’re thinking virtual reality would make your favourite movies look even better, save some money and get the Samsung Gear VR and upgrade your phone to the Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 edge.
Which do you prefer, HTC Vive or Samsung Gear VR? Tell us why in the comments below.