HTC’s extraordinary virtual-reality headset

The immersive Vive provides a mind-blowing experience

Image: Hugh Threlfall

Whatever you think of virtual reality now, I predict that one day you will have a headset for both pleasure and business – even for watching the news.

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This one, the HTC Vive (along with the imminent release of the Oculus Rift) might seem ungainly in a few years, but don’t be discouraged from getting one now – it is that fantastic.

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It’s fair to say Vive blew my mind. In one “experience” I tried, I was diving in tropical waters, and it was extraordinarily realistic. When a huge jellyfish or a shoal of groupers floated by it was impossible not to step aside to avoid them. In another weirdly emotional experience, I was on a mountaintop accompanied by a robotic dog. Most of the VR you can now download is in this kind of CGI game form, rather than real 360-degree video, but it’s still awesome and so immersive you won’t believe it. Vive comes with a pair of room sensors to track your position, so ideally you will dedicate a special room to it to save you setting them up every time you don the headset; consider it future-proofing, as one day most HTSI readers will have a dedicated VR room. To use Vive you also need a gaming‑quality PC – HTC’s website will guide you towards machines of the right calibre. Allow an extra £1,000 plus.

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