Exclusive: Here’s what using the HTC Vive looks like

EDGAR was invited to try out the the best VR device in the world. Here's what you can expect. 

Meryl D'Souza May 29, 2016

A little over a month ago, we were at the launch of the HTC 10. While we were interested in the phone, we were trembling with excitement about possibly getting hands on with the HTC Vive – HTC and Valve’s virtual reality device.

There was no mention of the Vive during the HTC event and when one journalist pointed it out, HTC couldn’t give us any details. Bummer. The HTC Vive has been the subject of glowing reviews ever since it started demos about a year ago and is considered to be the best VR device available. So when we were invited by London-based innovation hub, Flux Innovation Lounge in Media City, to try on the headset, we couldn’t keep calm.

In terms of looks, the Vive is anything but sleek. It’s large and bulky and – given the number of pores – looks like it could use a better facewash. That’s not us judging. Given that its competition, like the Oculus Rift, can look slick, we’re a little disappointed HTC didn’t make the effort.

From the looks of it, the Vive won’t be your average plug and play. There are lots of cables. And a pair of motion sensing lighthouse stations, placed roughly about six to seven feet off the floor at opposite corners, to determine your position in your VR playpen.

The headset is extremely comfortable to have on but can be a sauna for your face. Spending just 10 minutes with the Vive could leave your face a sweaty mess and turn the gaskets - the foam bit that touches your face to keep out the outside world - into a couple wet sponges.

But it’s the experience you care about and to that there is no rival. The Vive, unlike competitors, lets you explore the virtual world by physically walking around rather than just using joysticks. For all intents and purposes, this is The Matrix and you are Neo.

We played a couple of games on the Vive and although it wasn’t as realistic as one would hope for, it was immersive. So immersive, that while we took a dive into the deep blue sea and watched as Manta rays passed by and squealed (a little) while staring down a whale, we couldn't help but look over our shoulder expecting a shark to attack us from behind. So engrossed we were that we overstayed a welcome at the Flux labs, not that the staff there minded. 

We reached out to HTC about getting a Vive review unit. But turns out the product is still unavailable in the Middle East region. So for now, this is as close as you can come to experiencing the best form of VR in the world.