Samsung HMD Odyssey Plus vs. HTC Vive (2019’s Comparison)

There are so many good virtual reality systems available today that it can be difficult to know which is best for you. If you’re going to drop several hundred dollars on a headset, you need to know you’re making the right choice.

It used to be that the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive was the obvious front-runners.

However, lately, some headsets have come on the scene that gives them a run for that number one spot.

One of those impressive competitors is the Samsung Odyssey Plus. It boasts higher resolution graphics and room-scale motion tracking, but can it beat out the HTC Vive? Let’s find out.

Some Things to Decide First

Everyone is unique and what you want out of your VR experience may be different from what your friend wants. This means that a headset that is great for your friend may be a terrible choice for you.

So, before you buy your virtual reality headset, there are a few things you need to consider.

What Kind of VR Experiences Do You Want?

Are you an action, diving-around-the-room kind of VR player or are you someone who wants to explore 3D 360-degree travel destinations. If you are moving around a lot in virtual reality and using your hands all around your body, external motion tracking is a must.

If you are exploring VR environments or playing cockpit-style games, then inside-out tracking should work fine for you. With the Vive and Odyssey having different kinds of tracking systems, this is important for you to know.

Do You Want to Take Your Headset Out of Your House?

External sensors can provide excellent motion tracking. However, they are typically installed in one room. So, you need to be in that room to use your VR headset. When the motion tracking sensors are built into your headset, you can easily use it anywhere. You only need to have a computer capable of running the headset.

If you want to be able to take your headset to your friend’s house, you’re better off with a headset with the sensors built into the headset. If you only want to use your headset at home, external sensors are your better option.

Let the Battle Begin

The HTC Vive and Samsung Odyssey Plus are both high-quality VR headsets. Purchasing either will likely give you an excellent experience.

In fact, when comparing these headsets, I found many similarities. However, each has its strong points and weaknesses. So, the best headset for you depends on what you want out of your headset.

In this article, I’ll compare the key features and benefits of each headset so you can make the best decision on your purchase. These features include:

  • Visual Display
  • Comfort
  • Audio
  • Motion Tracking
  • Ease of the Setup
  • Wireless
  • What VR Apps You Can Use
  • Hand Controllers
  • Computer Requirements

Visual Comparison

Both headsets offer the same 110-degree field of view and have OLED screens. However, the Samsung displays are a combined resolution of 2880×1600 while the HTC Vive Headset is only 2160×1200. You would think its higher resolution would give the Odyssey a much better image, but the two headsets are surprisingly similar.

The Vive does have some screen door effect (it looks like you are looking at the image through a screen) which the Odyssey doesn’t have. Score one for the Odyssey. However, the Samsung’s image tends to be blurrier than the Vive. The Odyssey does win out, but in the end, there’s not all that much of a difference.

I also want to quickly mention the refresh rate. The HTC has a refresh rate of 90 Hz. The Samsung has either 60 or 90 Hz, depending on your PC setup. I highly recommend going with the better PC setup (called Ultra) or the 60 Hz refresh rate can cause your video to stutter or freeze.

Winner

Samsung Odyssey Plus – The higher resolution and lack of screen door effect cause it to edge out the Vive.

Comfort

Both headsets have adjustable harnesses. The HTC harness goes both around your head and over the top while the Samsung just goes around your head. The Samsung is a bit heavier, but that extra weight it well dispersed so you won’t really notice it.

User reviews are mostly positive for the HTC’s comfort. The Odyssey has more mixed reviews. Many people report the Odyssey being as comfortable as the Vive, but some people also say they have issues. Some report heat after prolonged use and others report discomfort on their forehead.

Winner

HTC Vive – While both tend to be comfortable, I’ve seen too many comfort issues reported by users for the Samsung to make this a tie.

Audio:

Both headsets have excellent 3D, 360-degree spatial audio. The difference is that Samsung has built-in headphones where the HTC does not.

You need to either use headphones you already own with the Vive or purchase their audio strap for an additional cost.

Winner

Samsung Odyssey Plus – I actually tend to prefer using my headphones for most VR headsets because I have very good headphones. However, the Samsung’s built-in headphones are excellent and shouldn’t disappoint, and they aren’t an extra cost.

Motion Tracking

The two headsets both offer 6-Degrees of Freedom and room-scale motion tracking. So, your virtual experience is very immersive with both. There is a critical difference, though, in the way the systems track your motion.

The HTC Vive uses external sensors, called lighthouses, to track both your headset and your hand controllers, even your fingers. The Samsung Odyssey Plus uses cameras on your headset to track your movement and your hand controllers.

Both headsets do an excellent job of tracking, but the HTC is a little better in general. Also, because the Odyssey’s tracks with cameras in the front of your headset, if your hands aren’t in front of you, it loses track of them. This interferes with your gameplay.

If you use virtual reality apps that don’t include using hand controllers or you play cockpit games where your hands are in front of you, the Samsung should work well for you. If you play more active games that use a lot of hand movement, the Odyssey can have problems.

Winner

HTC Vive – The Vive would win in motion tracking even without the Samsung’s hand-tracking issue. However, the hand-tracking makes HTC the clear winner for motion tracking.

Setup

The phenomenal tracking HTC offers comes at a price. You have to set up their lighthouse sensors around your gaming area. That makes setup of the Vive more complicated and time-consuming.

Winner

Samsung Odyssey Plus – Having the motion tracking built into the headset makes for a much quicker and easier setup.

Wireless

While both headsets typically tether you to your computer, the HTC Vive has an optional wireless adapter you can purchase. It isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, but losing the tether is a complete game-changer.

You won’t have to worry about tripping over the tether, hitting it with your hand, or getting too far from your computer. All this makes for a more enjoyable and immersive experience.

Winner

HTC Vive – It costs you a bit more, but at least you can get it if you want. There is no wireless option for the Odyssey.

App Library

The Vive has access to apps in both SteamVR and the Oculus Store. The Samsung has access to apps in both those stores and the Microsoft Store.

Technically, this means you have more virtual reality apps to use with the Odyssey. However, the Microsoft Store’s VR library of apps is relatively small and unimpressive. So, you aren’t missing out on much.

Winner

Tie – I know I said the Odyssey has access to more apps since you can use the Microsoft Store. I just don’t think those apps add much, if any, value to the enormous library of much better apps on Steam and Oculus.

Hand Controllers

Both the Vive and Odyssey have wand-style hand controllers with ergonomic controls and motion tracking. The Vives controllers are a little heavier. Some people think lighter is better while others think having something a little heavier feels more immersive when playing games with swords or guns, which would have weight.

How intuitive the controls of either system’s controllers are is a subjective choice. Some people like the HTC controllers better and others liking the Samsung. Neither rise up to the gold-standard of the Oculus Rift controllers, but both are good.

Winner

Tie – I know I said the Odyssey has access to more apps since you can use the Microsoft Store. I just don’t think those apps add much, if any, value to the enormous library of much better apps on Steam and Oculus.

Computer Requirements

Being a Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headset, Samsung has two sets of computer specs. One gives you the base VR experience and the other gives the ultra experience. Not only is the Ultra better, but due to the refresh rate (discussed above), I think it’s necessary. So, I’m comparing the requirements for Ultra.

The two headsets have nearly identical computer requirements (listed below). Both require a decent gaming computer, though nothing too crazy. However, there are a few differences. Specifically, the Samsung requires more RAM and a specific slot for your graphics card. The graphics card slot is important. Even if you have a graphics card that meets the requirements, you may have to upgrade your motherboard.

Also, know that with WMR headsets, like the Odyssey, feature updates only come included with OS updates. So, you have to put your entire OS into a beta state to get the most recent features. This may cause issues in other areas of your computer usage.

HTC Computer Requirements:​
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480, equivalent or better
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350, equivalent or better
  • RAM: 4 GB or more
  • Output: HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
  • USB: 1x USB 2.0 or better port
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 or later
Samsung Computer Requirements:​
  • CPU: Intel®Core™ i5 4590 (4th generation desktop), quad-core or AMD Ryzen 5 1400 3.4 GHz, quad-core or better
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR3 or better.
  • Storage: 10GB
  • GPUs: Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 470/570 or greater (Note: GPU Must be hosted in a PCIe 3.0 x4+ Link slot.)
  • Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 2.2.
  • Output: HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2, External or integrated VGA (800x600) monitor
  • USB 1x USB 3.0 Type-A or Type-C
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
  • OS: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update or later

Winner

HTC Vive – Both headsets have very similar requirements. However, the Samsung’s specific GPU slot requirement and tie-in to Windows updates give the Vive the advantage.

Conclusion

As you get ready to buy a VR headset, it’s essential you choose the virtual reality system that works best for you. You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars to find out you could have had something better.

So, which is better the HTC Vive or the Samsung Odyssey Plus?

Overall Winner

For my money, the HTC Vive is the better overall VR system. The motion tracking is second to none, and that is key to your virtual experience. The Samsung may have slightly better graphics, but the graphics quality of the Vive is still excellent. Also, the option to go wireless is a literal game-changer. I believe the HTC delivers the more immersive experience and that’s what VR is all about.

That said, if you are playing games that don’t require your hands to go out of sight and you don’t want to spend the money on the HTC’s wireless option, the Samsung is probably the better option for you…and it saves you a little money.

If you want unparalleled tracking and awesome graphics, check out the new HTC Vive Pro. It delivers the best of both worlds.

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