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HTC, You’re Giving Us Good Vive-brations

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in an HTC Vive—join us as we escape into virtual reality. Excuse us for being a little rhapsodic, we just really like VR technology. Which means it’s our lucky day: Hot on the heels of the Oculus Rift launch, HTC answers back with their first-gen VR headset, the Vive.

We see your Vive, HTC—and we raise you a teardown!

Peekaboo, Vive! We’ve got eyes on you.

The construction of the Vive reminded us a lot of the Oculus dev kits—straightforward construction, easy to take apart. (It’ll be interesting to see if subsequent versions of the Vive follow in the footsteps of the now much-sleeker Oculus Rift.) Where the Vive really shines, though, is in its controllers—which feel highly influenced by Valve’s Steam controller and incorporate the same sensor technology as the headset.

HTC Vive teardown highlights:

• The head tracking system in the Vive is the exact opposite of the system we found in the Oculus Rift. The Rift uses a desk-mounted camera to track the IR emitters in the headset, whereas the Vive headset sees light from the mounted IR emitters without actually “tracking” its location.

• Holy sensors, Batman! The Vive’s got more sensors than you can shake a stick at: 32 individually numbered sensors on the headset and 24 on each controller.

• Unlike the hybrid lenses we encountered in the Oculus Rift, the Vive’s lenses appear to have a uniform contour. It seems that HTC opted to control focus through adjustment of the eye relief (lens-to-eye distance).

• We’re super feeling the Vive’s vibes, right now. Straightforward to take apart, no weird screws or fancy tools required—this Vive scored a solid 8/10 for repair. Galileo Figaro, magnifico!

Want more virtual reality in your real-life reality? Check out our full teardown, complete with step-by-step disassembly images and analysis, on iFixit.com.