We own two Oculus Rift setups and I have always wanted to add the HTC Vive, so I finally purchased one from Best Buy. I also purchased the Vive's Deluxe Audio Strap as I immediately noticed there were no stereo headphones in the online photos. Of course the Deluxe Audio Strap was an additional charge of Ninety-Nine bucks. Compared to the Oculus Rift, they include the equivalent stereo headset at no additional charge. (Start striking stars off right here.) If you choose not to purchase the Deluxe Audio Strap, your audio is left to using either the enclosed earbuds (low-end quality) or your own; plugging them into the dangling 3.5mm female jack located with the other cables that connect to the front of the Vive's headset. Oculus Rift does have an earbud option as well, and make a product simply called 'Oculus Rift earphones' (UPC 8 15820 02004 2 and Best Buy SKU: 5665534) for Fifty bucks (a totally unnecessary accessory, but if you're into earbuds, you're covered).
Upon opening the Vive box, the first thing I noticed was the size of the Vive's controllers; HUGE! And not only huge, they are HEAVY! (More on the weight later.) The baby blue safety straps on the black controllers is another thing that immediately grabbed my attention (not in a good way... You never get a 2nd chance to make a GOOD first impression) and I was left wondering "Why in the world would [whomever] chose such a color for the straps?" It really does take away from the sophistication of the entire look. Like getting smacked in the face with a snowball while enjoying a leisurely stroll looking at Christmas lights! OUCH! :o/
The Vive headset is also heavier than expected and the finish is not as polished looking at the Oculus Rift's. The Vive has what looks like pockmarks on the face of the headset, which is where the sensors are located. Aesthetics? Perhaps. But I'd be willing to bet when you picked out your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, etc., you didn't set out to look for the most unattractive broke slob with pockmarks either, did you? (Rhetorical question, btw. lol.)
Also, the Vive has three cables placed right over the top of your head vs. the Oculus Rift having one, which is off to the side of your head.
Let's start comparing the weight of the Vive to the Oculus Rift.
Each Controller: Vive = 7.2 oz. with internal rechargeable batteries vs Oculus Touch 5.6 oz. (with two AA-Duracell batteries installed)
Vive's Deluxe Audio Strap (by itself) 7.9 oz.
Headset: Vive's w/ Deluxe Audio Strap: 1# 12.8oz. vs Oculus 1# 7.6oz.
This doesn't sound like a lot of difference, but weight does make a difference in comfort. Especially if you don't have the Deluxe Audio Strap, the Vive headset feels completely nose-heavy. That is, the strap that comes with the Vive (without replacing it with the Deluxe Audio strap) is much less supportive.
The HTC Vive has two wireless sensors they call base-stations, which is a plus in the Vive column, as both of the two Oculus Rift sensors are wired and require a USB port on your PC.
After completing the setup process, the Vive system informed me that a firmware update was needed for both controllers and both base-stations. Okay, fair enough. It gave me line-by-line instructions on what to do, and I followed it to the letter. Here, I must add, this step was a real pain in the backside, as it required me to take the base-stations down from the wall mounts (that I just installed) to do the firmware updates. The reason for this is the base-stations must be plugged into a USB port to the PC (one at a time). The instructions suggest using the same micro USB cable that the controllers use for charging the internal batteries, which are only around 12-inches in length. (Compare that to Oculus Rift's updates which only require a mouse-click and the rest is automatic.)
And this is where I really ran into problems. In the line-by-line instructions, they require you to (after connecting the micro-USB to the PC) restore power to the base-station while simultaneously depressing a channel button, all located in close proximity to one another on the rear of the base-station. The first base-station ("b" as they call it) updated without a hitch. The second base-station ("c" as they call it) failed miserably as when I depressed the button while restoring power, the button would not "spring" back up to its normal position, thereby rendering this particular base-station totally and utterly useless! UGH!
Needless to say, at this point, I was forced to box the Vive back up and promptly make a trip to our local Best Buy store for an exchange. Once there, the Best Buy associate informed me the HTC Vive was not an In-Store item (unlike the Oculus Rift which is readily available In-Store). That said, it would take over a week for a replacement. I opted for the full refund. Kudos to Best Buy for having such great people to help with such matters!
SIDE NOTE: (BTW, some have said it is required to have at least three sensors for the Oculus Rift setup, and that is absolutely untrue. You can add an additional one or two sensors, for a total of 3 or 4, but it is not required. I do have one of our two Rift setups with three sensors, but that is because the room I'm using is over half of our upstairs total space and being it is such a large play area, I thought it would help.)
Another side note... I read somewhere here on the Best Buy reviews (before I purchased the Vive) where one reviewer had stated they noticed "ridges" in the lens. I thought to myself "Self, I wonder what they are talking about?" Self had no clue. Then, as it was, this all came back to me (and self) when I noticed that when I focused on the lens (kinda like when your eyes are focused on the rain-drops on your windshield, the items beyond that focal point is blurry), concentric rings on the lens from the center outward. I assure you this is not the case with the Oculus Rift.
Price! Currently the Vive is 599 USD + 99 (audio strap), totaling 698 USD before tax. Compare that to the Oculus Rift at 399 US Dollars.
I feel this is one of those rare instances where "You get what you pay for" DOES NOT HOLD TRUE.
Personally, I'll wait until the HTC Vive catches up to the Oculus Rift in both quality and price. At that time, I'll take another look at the Vive and hopefully be more pleased. In the meantime, for myself, the Oculus Rift is the clear winner.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading and I truly hope it helps in your decision making process while shopping for the right VR setup for you and yourself! ;o)