VRR: HTC Vive accessories

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Hello everyone, hope the new year is treating you blah blah blah, let’s get the pleasantries out of the way.

“How’s the offpsring?”
Don’t care.  Great.  On with it!

Over christmas hiatus I received a few accessories for the HTC Vive that I thought could use a bit of reviewing, what with the newness of the device and increase in accessories for said device.  These are just a few little things that I’d like to express my opinion about.  Please note: MY OPINION!  While I will articulate my thoughts and reasonings to the best of my ability to showcase why I have come to a particular conclusion it is, again, just my opinion and if your opinion differs let us know why. Please and thank you!

Hyperkin HTC Vive GelShell Wand Silicone Skin:

These things have been around in some form since controllers have existed and are most popular now with mobile phones and the people who frequently drop them.  It’s a simple, rubbery and thin material stretched around the device in question to protect it against short drops, or in the case of controllers “I totally didn’t throw it against the wall I just dropped it, get off my back, mom.”

So why bother reviewing these?  Here’s the thing:  You swing these VR controllers around like a mad man wearing a headset that doesn’t do the best of jobs informing you that you’re an inch from a wall.  Any protection for these expensive wands are going to be a bonus.  While the Vive Wand Controllers are build very well and are pretty durable, these sleeves are going to help against scuffs, scratches and will redistribute shock from an impact which can reduce the likelihood of a crack or break.

Mine are a fashionable red…because I like red.

They feel pretty alright, you don’t notice them that much while playing.  They do feel a little smoother, but not actually anymore slippery which is good or else it might defeat the purpose all together.  The grip button, system and menu buttons are all covered but with the headset on you find those by feel anyway and the rubber overlay doesn’t make it any harder to find them.  Applying them is easy, you just stretch them over the wands, line up the hole cut-outs so the lighthouses can see the sensors clearly and boom, you are good to go.

They are $19.99 on Amazon right now, which isn’t too bad, but I think $14.99 would be the sweet spot.


Hyperkin HTC Vive GelShell Head Mounted Display Silicone Skin:

Another rubber thing, yay!  Same as before, but you may think this is less important than the wand covers I just talked about (remember, up there?) and you are right to an extent.  But here is the thing and I’m a little embarrassed to admit this; I’ve smacked my headset more than a few times with the wand controller while trying to look at something I’m holding in my hand in a few games.  Yeah, it happens more than you might think.  So why not protect your face too?  lining up the sensor holes takes just a little bit more time than the wands and the installation is a bit more involved.  For one thing you can’t just stretch the protector over the face and call it good because there is a cut-out in the rubber sheath for the cables that come out of the top of the headset.  So we gotta pull that thing off and unplug the cables in order to get the hyperskin over the HMD.  If you are interested in how that is done check this quick walkthrough out, it’s not that hard.  You’ll find that the headset also has a spare USB port!  No shit!… just a USB port right there to use for whatever you want, not kidding… I’d advise headphones, but if you wanna go crazy and plug an external HDD to your face then hey, I’m not going to judge your definition of a good time.

If you want to pick up the HMD cover head over here, a link to the red again and this costs $14.99, about where I’m comfortable paying so, …that’s good.


HTC Vive Memory Foam Face Foam Replacement by VR Cover:

 

There are a lot of these on Amazon right now but these specifically are by VR Cover and they advertise “Better FOV” which is them claiming that their foam replacements give you a better field of view while using the Vive.  That claim is shady, but not unfounded.  The reason they could say that is because their faux leather face foam replacement is less than half the thickness of the foam that comes with the Vive.  so your face sits closer to the lenses.  In practice this means your lenses could fog up quicker too.

OEM Foam Faceplate (Above) VR Cover Faceplate (Below)

These things are a mixed bag, honestly.  While the leather texture feels nice, and it makes cleaning the eye piece much easier and way less gross feeling to get back into a game, long play periods just aren’t comfortable.  There is a seam around the outer edge of the foam that digs into your skin after prolonged use.  This would be remedied by having more actual foam stuffed into them, but then they can’t claim “Better FOV.”  You can see from the image above that it is WAY thinner.  Over time this equates to less comfort and shorter play times.

I can’t really recommend them based on comfort alone, and I doubly can’t based on price.  Amazon has them for $29.99 for a 2 pair.  Ouch

Well, those are a few accessories available for the HTC Vive right now.  We’ll have more as more are released.  Right now none of these I would call vital, although the rubber protective sleeves for both the wands and HMD can aid in the longevity of your VR setup, the foam replacements…these in particular, are a pass for me.

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