I’ve had a demo of the HTC Vive at the Microsoft Store in NYC.
As soon as I read online earlier today that demos were available, I had to go.
I had to wait near an hour for my turn — and word has gotten out, because ten more people showed up while I was waiting!
The demo is brief and has three components:
1) The Blu Encounter
2) Tilt Brush
3) Space Pirate Trainer
So, what did I think?
It was boss!
At first, I was a bit disappointed by the screendoor effect being there, just like on the Samsung Gear VR.
Let me tell you something, Steven Troughton-Smith was right. Mobile VR really doesn’t compare to dedicated headset/PC VR.
The 90fps makes a huge difference in terms of image clarity. Nothing had a “halo” around it like the Samsung Gear VR. Everything was sharp. And I had my reading glasses on underneath it all, to ensure I wouldn’t “blur out” in the demo.
Head-tracking also makes a huge difference. I was able to actually hit things in the Space Pirate Trainer. Usually I’m a total spaz in games. Not this time. And guess what? It was fun!
Tilt Brush was freakin amazing. I scrawled stuff all around me and walking through it was an unprecedented experience.
I’ve saved The Blu Encounter for last because it’s also demoed on the Samsung Gear VR. They are different bits, however, but I’m not sure that matters in the end.
I’m typing this post at the Best Buy closest to the Microsoft Store, on an Asus Chromebook Flip (a real lust object!). I went here because I wanted to try the Gear VR again. Samsung has switched things up. There’s no longer a choice of demos. Now they’re running a single canned demo with a variety of brief scenes,
One of which was from The Blu Encounter.
And let me tell you, the HTC Vive just slayed the Gear VR version.
Even though the Vive doesn’t have superior screen resolution to the Gear VR, the apparent effect of 90fps plus head-tracking makes it seem so. Images lack halos, are solid, move fluidly, and nothing has any blur whatsoever.
Really, get the hell to an HTC Vive demo if you can. Especially if, like me, all you’ve experienced is the Samsung Gear VR. The Vive really is a huge improvement.
My one disappointment is that they didn’t have any video I could see. Everything was CGI. I really need to see some video on it.
Huh, the irony: Samsung’s new Gear VR canned demo is all-CGI too, no video. So it’s a good thing I did all those Gear VR look-sees when it was still possible to choose things.
All this being said, I still want Alcatel to hurry the hell up and release their Idol 4s phone with the VR packaging. For one, I need a phone, Second, it’s all the VR I can afford right now.
But man, if I could afford that HTC Vive, I’d be on it.