HTC Vive Wireless Adapter initial review: VR cord cutting at its best | Apple
While at Gamescom in Germany, we got the chance to try out Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, a VR-specific game set in Bethesda’s twisted World War II-flavoured world. We thoroughly enjoyed it, with the series’ usual crazy action combined with stunning graphics.
But perhaps the most interesting aspect was that Gamescom was also the launching ground for the HTC Vive Wireless Adapter, which has great potential for making Wolfenstein and the myriad of other Vive experiences and games more accessible than ever before.
It’s not the first wireless adapter to work with the Vive – we tested the TPCast system ourselves, earlier this year – but this latest accessory is fully HTC branded and works very well indeed.
It comprises several elements: a PCI-e card for your PC, a transmitter/receiver, battery pack and the adapter itself, shaped like a “T”, that sits on the top band of your HTC Vive or Vive Pro.
The latter part is large and looks cumbersome but is far from it when worn. Indeed, it is light and you do not notice it sitting on top of the headset. And no matter how unusual it looks externally, it has seemingly no effect on your enjoyment when immersed in a VR experience.
We wouldn’t have minded if it did add a little more weight, as getting rid of the chunky wires that usually spew from the rear of the headset is a much-welcome tradeoff, so it’s a bonus that it doesn’t.
You aren’t completely wireless though, as the battery pack for the headset is wired to the main device. You wear it on your belt, like a wireless microphone pack or the like. Again though, that really doesn’t get in the way and a great improvement on the traditional cables.
HTC claims the battery lasts up to two-and-a-half hours on a single charge – which is more than enough for us as that’s beyond our cutoff point for playing VR games anyway.
The adapter is a little limited, in that its wireless range is a maximum of six metres from the PC, but that is more than enough for most home situations. It uses Intel’s WiGig specifications and has super low latency. We’d need to test it fully in the near future, but we understand there is little difference between wired play and using the wireless device. It certain seems that way at least.
One slight concern is the price: £299 for the original Vive version, £364 for the Vive Pro (the one tested at Gamescom). The latter needs a separate, additional add-on which makes it more expensive.
However, if you’ve already invested in a HTC Vive or Vive Pro – neither of which could be classified as “cheap” – you will likely be interested in more investment to make the whole system wire-free.
Price is definitely a sticking point but what the HTC Vive Wireless Adapter represents is worth even more. It is the first step in eliminating one of fully-blown virtual realities biggest stumbling blocks – something that has hampered its growth as a consumer technology.
Being completely untethered, yet still getting the supreme experiences only PC VR can provide is a major breakthrough and we cannot wait to try out this seemingly essential accessory when it arrives in Pocket-lint’s testing labs.
Hopefully, that’ll be soon as it will be available for pre-order from 5 September and will ship a few weeks later, from 24 September.
Check out HTC.com for more on pricing and purchasing details.