HTC vs Oculus: Who Makes the Best VR?

The two biggest names in VR are undoubtedly HTC and Oculus. These two companies have developed a fierce rivalry in the VR hardware space and this doesn’t look set to change. While there are other players in the field such as Sony and Valve, it’s Oculus and HTC that dominate VR hardware sales. So which should you choose from? Each company has more than one headset to choose from, usually an advanced option and a more budget friendly. In this post we are going to compare every headset offered by HTC and Oculus and see which comes out on top.

SpecsHTC Vive CosmosOculus Rift SHTC Vive ProOculus QuestHTC Vive FocusOculus RiftHTC ViveOculus Go
Max Resolution2880 x 17002560×14402880 x 16002560 x 14402880×16002160×12002160 x 12002560 x 1440
Field of View110°115°110°100°110°110°110°100°
Refresh Rate90Hz80Hz90Hz72Hz75Hz90Hz90Hz60Hz
Tracking6DOF Room Scale Tracking6DOF Inside Out Tracking6DOF Room Scale Tracking6DOF Inside Out Tracking (wireless)6DOF Room Scale Tracking6 DOF Constellation camera optical 360- degree IR LED tracking6DOF Room Scale Tracking3DOF Orientation Tracking
SensorsSteamVR Tracking, G-sensor,
Gyroscope, IPD sensor
gyroscope, 5 x Internal Cameras
SteamVR Tracking, G-sensor, gyroscope, proximity, IPD sensorAccelerometer,
gyroscope,  5 x Internal Cameras
G-sensor, gyroscope, proximity, IPD sensorAccelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometerSteamVR Tracking, G-sensor, gyroscope, proximityGyroscope
ControllersVive Controllers x2Second Gen Oculus Touch x 2Vive Controllers x2 (when purchasing “full kit”)Second Gen Oculus Touch x 2Sample textOculus Touch x 2Vive Controllers x2Go Pointer
WirelessNoNoNo (Wireless adaptor available)YesYesNoNoYes
SoundStereo Headphones, 3D Spatial AudioInternal Speakers & Headphone JackHi-Res certificate headphones (removable),
High impedance headphones support
Internal Speakers & Headphone JackBuilt-in microphones, built-in speakers, 3.5mm stereo audio jackInternal Speakers & Headphone JackIntegrated microphoneInternal Speakers & Headphone Jack
Requirements4GB RAM, NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB or AMD Radeon R9 290 or better8GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 1050Ti or AMD Radeon RX 4704GB RAM, NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB or AMD Radeon R9 290 or betterNoneNone8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti / Radeon RX 470 or greater.GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD RadeonRX 480, equivalent or betterNone
PriceCheck AmazonCheck AmazonCheck AmazonCheck AmazonCheck AmazonCheck AmazonCheck AmazonCheck Amazon

The Difference Between HTC and Oculus Headsets

These two companies are the leading producers of consumer VR headsets. While they all achieve some level of VR immersion each company uses different technology and focuses on different aspects of VR. The rivalry is similar to that of PlayStation and Xbox, however I’d say the difference in these VR headsets is even greater than those gaming systems.


Since being purchased by Facebook Oculus has focused on creating headsets that appeal to the masses. One of the issues VR faces is ease of use and availability, with the first VR headsets requiring powerful desktops and wired connections. Oculus has been working to reduce the barrier to VR while still developing high end headsets. Oculus headsets tend to feature slighting weaker specifications which is the trade off for accessibility; you’ll also find that Oculus headsets tend to be cheaper compared to their HTC counterparts. Since being acquired by Facebook Oculus has had plenty of cash to play with which allows them to sell the VR headsets at a loss in the hope of future software sales. Oculus headsets are great for gaming and media consumption and there is a huge library of games to play in the Oculus Store.


Once one of the largest mobile phone companies in the world HTC has recently been refocusing its business to other areas of tech since Apple and Samsung began to dominate. The company ended up partnering with Valve and began development of the main rival to Oculus, the HTC Vive. HTC has not focused as much on lowering the barrier to VR but instead aims to create the best experience possible regardless of price or extra requirements. Their flagship headsets tend to feature superior screen resolution and refresh rates as well as full room scale tracking. Thanks to their partnership with Valve the HTC range of headsets has access to SteamVR Tracking, an advanced system to track your whole body and other objects in the VR space, as well as a huge library of games and experiences. The downside to HTC’s apparent technological superiority is the very high price of their headsets, sometimes hundreds of dollars more than their Oculus counterparts. Some of their headsets also require extra accessories to work and some are designed with business use in mind rather than consumer.

Let’s take a look at each individual headset from both companies along with their strengths and weaknesses. The headsets are ordered from the most recently released first.

HTC Vive Cosmos

The Vive Cosmos is the most advanced headset ever produced by HTC and is currently their flagship device. It features the highest resolution screen of any HTC headset and also beats out every Oculus device in this regard. A refresh rate of 90Hz means that moving objects appear smooth making the Vive Cosmos great for fast paced gaming.  The Cosmos is a tethered system which means you’ll need to attach it to a fairly powerful laptop of desktop. HTC’s tracking system has been revamped from the original Vive and now features internal cameras instead of external ones, making the system setup process far simpler. With the Vive Cosmos you’ll be getting one of the best VR experiences available to consumers as well as a huge library of games.

On the down side the Vive Cosmos is among the most expensive VR headsets and with so many competitors you may be able to find a better deal. There’s a wireless adaptor available for the Cosmos which can make the system wire free, but it’s an extra $300 on top of the already high price of the headset. Some users have also complained about tracking issues when using their headset in low light – this is a minor issue as it’s always advisable to use your headset with some decent light (even if artificial).

  • Highest Resolution Screen
  • Simplified Hardware
  • Good Audio Options

  • Expensive
  • Some Issues with Low-Light Tracking

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Oculus Rift S

The second generation Oculus VR headset is their most advanced device. The Rift S represents a step up from the original Rift but not a complete overhaul. It features the highest resolution screen of any Oculus VR headset and redesigned controllers for more accurate tracking. Like the Vive Cosmos the Rift S features internal cameras for tracking but does require a tether to a computer in order to render the high quality graphics in VR. Unlike the Vive there’s no wireless adaptor for the Rift S so you’ll have to contend with the tether permanently. On the other had the Rift S features similar tracking abilities as well as access to equally high quality games for a significantly lower price. So while the Rift S may not technically be as advanced as its HTC counterpart, it does offer a similarly high quality VR experience for a more reasonable price.

  • High Resolution Display
  • Excellent Tracking System
  • Wide Field of View
  • Lower Price than HTC Cosmos

  • Lower Refresh Rate
  • Tethered System
  • Requires Powerful PC

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HTC Vive Pro

The Vive Pro is the second device in the “Vive” range of VR headsets and improves upon the original Vive in several key areas. HTC redesigned the Vive Pro to be more comfortable to wear and implemented new screens to bump up the resolution and reduce the dreaded “screen door” effect. The Vive Pro has been designed with business use in mind rather than consumer; you’re more likely to find  Vive Pro in an architects office than a gamers living room. The Vive pro utilises external tracking that is room scale and controllers designed for precise control rather than for gaming. The Vive Cosmos is HTC’s gaming system where as the even more expensive Vive Pro should be left to professionals looking to utilise VR in their work-space.

  • High Resolution Screen
  • Excellent Refresh Rate
  • Large Room Scale Tracking

  • Very Expensive
  • Accessories are Extra
  • More Complicated Set-up

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Oculus Quest

Since the start of the current VR development cycle we have been waiting for a VR headset that offers the a real VR experience with no wires, that headset finally arrived when the Oculus Quest was released in early 2019. The Quest represents the most accessible and easy to use VR system ever made; it’s entirely wireless and provides a full 6DOF experience. Thw Quest is powered by a mobile processor so it cannot display the same high quality textures as tethered systems, but it can still play the most advanced VR games. This is a sacrifice worth paying as a wireless experience is what VR should really be about.

The Quest is designed to be the first VR gaming system and there are a huge number of very high quality games available to play; you’ll also have access to all the media apps such as YouTube, Netflix and a wide range of 360 videos. The Quest features a decent quality screen with a fairly high resolution however the refresh rate is significantly lower than other Oculus and HTC headsets so you’ll notice a frame rate drop. The price of the Quest is more than reasonable and you won’t need anything else to play it. For anyone looking for a full VR experience without the need for a powerful laptop the Quest is the only option in town right now.

  • Fully Wireless
  • High Quality Screen
  • Huge Gaming Library
  • Second Generation Controllers

  • Low Refresh Rate
  • Non Expandable Memory
  • Lower Quality Textures

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Owner of Writer, photographer and videographer. You can see my YouTube channel for guides of how to shoot 360 video. I've written for The Times, Digital Photography School and Sunday Express. 

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