HTC Vive has been favored by many as the best VR headset available today. With it’s unique design and overall quality, users have enjoyed spending time in the virtual space. Something that drastically separated the Vive from its competitors at launch was the lighthouse. The Vive bundle came equipped with special sensors that allowed players to enjoy full room-scale VR. But if you were to critique something about the Vive, it would lie in its comfortability and the lack of on-ear audio headsets. So to further improve the quality and overall experience of the Vive, HTC is releasing their very own Vive Deluxe Audio Strap.
This particular add-on offers many benefits for the overall experience of the ecosystem. It comes equipped with:
- Size adjustment dial and hard-sided construction
- Integrated on-ear headphones with height and angle adjustment
- Improved weight distribution and a cable management clip
The Vive Deluxe Audio Strap features a dial on the back that allows you to easily adjust the sizing of the headset. All you have to do is rotate it clockwise or counterclockwise to make the headset bigger and smaller in size. The original straps were quite cumbersome in instances where multiple people were having to use the Vive headset. You’d always have to re-strap the sides in order to adjust the sizing for a tight fit. In a party scenario, this would almost become exhausting.
The addition of a dial on the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap is a delighting feature that makes it a breeze for friends and family members who’s never put on a headset before.
While VR experiences get longer in story and length, comfortability becomes a critical component. And with the realization HTC has equipped the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap with much needed padding. You’ll find cushions on the top, the sides, and the back of the audio strap that provide proper cushioning for gameplay. When first putting on the Deluxe Audio Strap it was like night and day compared to the factory equipped straps. It made it a whole lot easier to stay in the VR space at longer increments and duration.
Another great feature about the padding is its improved weight distribution. You’ll notice that the display won’t be slumping down your face like it happens from time-to-time with the original straps; especially in room-scale experiences and settings where you have to move around a lot. This is a delightful add-on by the company to deliver more comfort.
Audio is a big factor in VR as it provides a heightened immersive experience. The original Vive headset didn’t come equipped with on-ear headphones, rather a pair of earbuds you can buy on Amazon for $4.99. To tackle this issue, HTC has included on-ear headphones for the Deluxe Audio Strap. The headphones provide quality sound with noise reduction design to properly engage with the virtual world. While some people might still choose to use their own personal audio headsets, the on-ear headphones found on the Deluxe Audio Strap provides easy access for people not wanting to put additional items on top of their heads.
HTC has also designed the headphones to be easily adjustable. You can swing the headphone outwards to hear the physical environment around you. The headphones can also be adjusted in height by moving it up and down. This will allow you to properly align the headphones to your ears.
While the Deluxe Audio Strap is almost a necessity for the Vive headset, it comes at a steep price point of $99. Having already invested $800 into the Vive bundle, it makes it a hard pill to swallow and dish out an extra $100 for the particular add-on. But just know that the Deluxe Audio Strap does make a world of difference.
We’re giving the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap a 9.1 out of 10 for its design and comfortability. We had to deduct some points due to the price point but the pros heavily outweighed the cons. The HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap is set to release on June 6, 2017 so make sure to order one today if you’re planning on purchasing the new audio strap.
Included is an instructional guide on how to properly install the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap.