HTC Vive vs. Oculus Rift vs. Windows Mixed Reality: What’s the difference?

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Standalone Vive Focus VR headset replaces HTC’s Google Daydream plans

In the battle for the best VR headset, HTC won’t concede an inch to Oculus. On Tuesday, the company announced the Vive Focus, a standalone mobile VR headset that doesn’t need a phone or PC to run. Oculus revealed the similar $199 Oculus Go a mere month ago.

HTC isn’t providing too many details about the device. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip powers the Vive Focus, and like Windows Mixed Reality headsets, HTC’s will offer inside-out position tracking so you can wander VR worlds without the need for external base stations. That suggests the Vive Focus may be more expensive than the Oculus Go and phone-dependent headsets like Gear VR and Daydream View, which only track the way your head is facing, not the position of you or your controllers in relation to the outside world. The simple controller in HTC’s Vive Focus images appears identical to the ones provided by the competition, though.

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SteamVR is coming to Windows Mixed Reality next week

A new world of experiences will open to early Windows Mixed Reality adopters next week, when a SteamVR preview comes to the Microsoft-powered headsets on November 15.

Windows Mixed Reality headsets just launched alongside the Windows 10 Creators Update on October 17, and the Mixed Reality apps in the Windows Store currently number in the dozens. SteamVR—which appeared in Steam when the HTC Vive launched in early 2016—offers more than 2,000 VR apps. Most are games but SteamVR also holds some interesting non-gaming software, such as Google’s superb Tilt Brush.

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HTC has a VR bundle with a Vive, GTX 1070, and Fallout 4 VR for $800

For those who want to get into virtual reality but lack the hardware, HTC is offering a nice deal on the Vive VR system and a graphics card. Right now for $800 at Vive.com, you can get the HTC Vive base system, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, and a pre-order of Fallout 4 VR.

Overall this is a great deal. The Vive is normally $600; at today’s prices, the 1070 goes for about $400; and Fallout 4 VR is currently $60. All told, HTC’s deal gives you a discount around $260. Not bad for a beginner’s dip into the world of virtual reality.

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HTC Vive vs. Oculus Rift vs. Windows Mixed Reality: What’s the difference?

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Don’t be fooled: Windows Mixed Reality headsets are just VR headsets

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Hands-on: Oculus Santa Cruz proves stunning wireless VR isn’t a pipe dream

Going into my hands-on demo with Oculus’ Project Santa Cruz headset, think I forgot how it felt to be surprised by virtual reality. We’re coming up on three years since the last major advance in VR, which I’m going to peg as the first time I tried the HTC Vive’s room-scale experience. Since then we’ve seen a few refinements—Oculus Rift’s built-in headphones and lighter form factor, the remarkably comfortable and intuitive Oculus Touch controllers—but the fundamental tech has stayed pretty similar to the Vive demo I saw in 2015.

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Oculus Go is a standalone $199 VR headset that doesn’t need a PC, a phone, or wires

“The sweet spot.” It sounds like that’s going to be VR’s new focus, as we head into Oculus Connect’s fourth annual iteration. And what is that sweet spot, exactly? Not mobile VR, not PC-based VR, but a blend of both. No wires, but the same high-fidelity experience people get from the Oculus Rift.

That’s still probably a ways off, but Oculus took its first steps in that direction at Connect, announcing its new $199 Oculus Go headset, plus giving us our first look of the upcoming “Santa Cruz” prototype with inside-out position tracking.

Let’s dig in.

[ Further reading: HTC Vive vs. Oculus Rift vs. Windows Mixed Reality: What’s the difference? ]

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Oculus Rift + Touch bundle price slashed to $400 as VR inches toward affordability

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