As a tech-writers, we get requests to review items from readers and vendors and recently I got a request to take a look at the wireless adapter for the HTC Vive. This coming from a current Vive user caught my eye since we are on the verge of several VR headsets being released with updated tech.
How did a $300 adapter for an already pricey and older but not obsolete HMD like the Vive fit into this picture? Was it even a valid question given how old the underlying tech is?
At first glance, one would think no. The Vive is not worth the addition of that much cost when the tech is getting long in the tooth. New HMD’s might have a superior resolution or inside out tracking to name just a couple of features, all in the price range of the wireless adapter.
I decided to see if could find a discounted or used adapter as I really didn’t want to fork over three hundred dollars US.
The search didn’t go well but it wasn’t a total fail.
I found a restock special at an online retailer that ran about $230 US. Still, a big chunk of change but I use my Vive. Being hooked on Beat Saber and Iron Wolf I spend a considerable portion of my gaming time slicing and dicing or lurking beneath the waves. I also exercise with it.
There is no other way to put it that one can immediately grasp other than to say… the tether is a pain in the ass.
You always have to be aware of it. Don’t trip, don’t tangle.
Worse, don’t get the tether caught up in the pedals of your VR exercise bike which is one head jerking experience.
It kills the VR immersion, to say the least.
Having no plans to purchase a newer headset I decided I would use the Vive long enough to justify the purchase of the adapter… particularly during exercise.
Also, as was pointed out in the review request… it can add value to an older HMD extending its usable life span. With the investment most of us made on our Vives, that’s a welcome notion.
So, I bit and ordered the restocked adapter hoping everything was still there since you never really know what “Restock” means versus “Open Box.”
It was more like Open Box as everything was there… just repacked. Probably a return for whatever reason. So far, it’s been as solid as a new unit.
When the adapter arrived, I installed it onto the headset while charging the battery. Even though I was a bit hesitant it turned out to be an easy task with lots of information and videos online since the adapter has been out for a while.
The only downer was having to wait for the battery to fully charge as there was a warning to do so on first use and at this price, even discounted, I followed the advice.
Finally, I strapped on the Vive and powered up. After a few hiccups, the new wireless adapter was working flawlessly with Steam VR and I stepped… tether free... into Skyrim.
It was awesome. Not being tethered anymore was an amazing experience. So amazing… I’m not all that interested in the newer HMD’s about to hit the market as most of them are still tethered. The one that isn’t will have a limited library that may not include my favorites.
I didn’t go out my way to avoid trouble… I looked for it. Even picked fights with the local wildlife just to test my ability to swing the sword or wield an axe.
I was an untethered digital god daring anything… I mean anything… to cross my path wrong or look at me sideways.
Then I got tired and took a nap.
Being a VR digital god is hard on the body as one ages.
A funny thing… the power cable, a very small USB cable from battery to headset, kept hitting me on the elbow and my mind associated that with the old tether, so I moved the cable to where I could not feel it.
Simple minds require simple solutions.
Since that time, I have played through many titles that being wireless either revived interest or was interesting for the first time.
Simple install, simple setup. Toss the tether and dance… literally… if that’s your thing. The only downside is the cost. If you use your Vive enough then it’s a no brainer unless you are a hardcore gamer as you might want to consider a second battery. So far… battery life is not a problem for my usage.
I’m very glad I got this adapter and wish I had done so sooner as it has provided a much more immersive VR experience. All with no tripping, tangling or uttering of words that should not be heard in a family environment.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.