With its Vive Wireless Adapter, HTC has now released its own system for the HTC Vive and HTC Vive Pro that replaces the annoying cable between computer and Vive. They are not the first, but the simplest system currently available. Admittedly, TPCast is the only competitor.
Scope of delivery / Installation
HTC supplies everything you need for your operation. Beside the receiver, which is attached to the VR headset, only a cable goes down to a power bench which you have to clip to your belt. Then you can remove the annoying cable and replace it with a short one.
Note that HTC offers one set for the HTC Vive and another set for the HTC Vive Pro. Both sets differ in the way the receiver is attached to the headband and the cable that connects the receiver of the Vive Wireless Set to the Vive. So don’t just order the cheapest set if you have a Vive Pro.
The installation on the other side becomes a bit more complicated for one or the other. Here a PCI-Express card has to be installed in your PC. So you can’t use the set with a laptop. The transmitter/receiver is then connected to the PCI-Express card by cable. This should be placed as high as possible in a corner of the playing field.
Here it fails then also with us in the test. The cable of the transmitter is ~ 2 meters but short on the right and we had to rebuild it a bit so that the transmitter fits well and will not tear it down a few seconds later because we stumbled over the cable. A computer on the desk instead of on the floor is certainly an advantage here.
So once we’ve done the open-heart surgery on the computer, we’ve already done the hardest part.
In short, the wireless adapter software from HTC is downloaded, installed, started and cursed. Why the hell doesn’t the software recognize the Vive headset even though the Power Bank is on?
- Here we jumped over our male pride and asked for the manual.
- The solution was quite simple because the Vive logo on the adapter is a button. You have to press this button when pairing for the first time.
- Press the Zack button and the software recognizes the headset and the game can begin.
- No settings in Steam or anywhere else, it just works. HTC could not have made it much easier for the user.
Power supply and battery life
The wireless adapter on the headset and the headset itself are fired via a Power Bank. This is a normal Power Bank that supports the Quickcharge 3.0 standard. So you can easily buy 1-2 more at Amazon & Co and always have enough power for longer gaming sessions. The included Power Bank is enough for ~2.5 hours playing time. Doesn’t sound like much now, but compared to normal PC games it certainly isn’t, but for VR games you should take a break anyway. Then you can simply change the Power Bank.
Wireless in use
The one questions themselves now must be wireless really? Clear answer it doesn’t have to be, but without cable it’s simply more convenient. We’ve tested quiet games like theBlu but also movement-intensive games like Holopoint. Everywhere you have noticed and loved the new freedom.
Whether you’re standing on one spot and looking forward like Beat Saber or spinning and moving like Vacate the Room. It always worked without any dropouts and you didn’t have to worry about stepping on the cable. Even the calmest player who always doesn’t want to step on the cable will have cursed it a couple of times because it was in the way again or was completely twisted.
Also you don’t need to be afraid that the view between receiver and transmitter is blocked. Even if we had both hands behind our head, the connection still worked. We really had to cover both antennas on the adapter with our hands until it failed.
Unfortunately, here we come to the probably most painful point of our review. The Vive Wireless Adapter costs a proud 345€ whereas the Vive Pro users have to add another 75€ for a Pro Attachment Kit. Thus, we speak of 345€ or 420€ for an accessory that replaces a 45€ cable. With regard to the HTC Vive, this is more than twice the price of the HTC Vive. Whether the luxury for wireless is worth 345€ to one, everyone has to decide for himself.
Since the release of HTC Vive, we’ve had countless hours of fun in the office and have already spent several hours wirelessly in the virtual world with cables. For us it’s clear that we don’t want to go back to a wired HTC Vive, but we’re also aware that wireless VR is not necessary for most games.
Because we put the HTC Vive on and off several times a day and move around the office, the luxury and convenience is worth the money for the Vive Wireless Adapter.
However, those who only rarely use the Vive and then also predominantly use games without much movement, especially when it comes to turning, should rather wait until the technology around the wireless VR experience becomes cheaper.