5 annoying design quirks of current VR headsets

What a time it is to be alive, right? We now have real virtual reality at our disposal, the kind that can transport us to different worlds and experiences. And so far, this niche segment seems quite convincing thanks to the help of two particular models that showcase what VR is all about – unlike those mobile solutions, which claim to be real VR, but are still in fact static experiences.

Virtual reality is still widely regarded to be in its infancy, but the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive is ensuring that this isn’t just a short lived fad. Instead, they’re rich in hardware and development, to immerse us with their unique experiences. We’ve experienced them firsthand, having checked out their respective implementations for quite some time now. While we enjoy what they bring to the table, their designs are still from perfect.

Most people probably won’t be too nitpicky about the designs of current VR headsets, since we can argue that they still haven’t achieved mass adoption, but considering that we’ve logged in some serious time in the VR world with them, we’re able to methodically pick apart every single, minute quality that we don’t like. So, with that in mind, here are 5 annoying design quirks of current VR headsets.

They mess up your hair style

You don’t need to own any of the existing VR headsets to know what they can do to your hair. A short stint demoing one of them is convincing enough about how they demolish your hair style. Due to how they need to be secured tightly around your face, VR headsets are equipped with straps that not only wrap around your head, but over as well. Therefore, if you’re sporting some intricate hairstyle, it’ll be flattened like a pancake the moment you put on a headset – and there’s no way of getting around this predicament.

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Cables get in the way of moving around

You know that real VR is here when you’re able to move in space to some degree, and have the VR world react accordingly. However, what’s preventing most users from moving quickly is the cable attached to them, which also means that developers need to be mindful about this tether. For the HTC Vive, it’s more problematic because of the way it heavily relies on movement – so if you’re not careful, it’s possible to get tangled in it or worse yet, trip over it.

See also – HTC Vive cable management

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The displays can become very foggy

Breathe through your mouth. That’s the advice you’ll be given if you plan on doing VR for a long period of time, seeing that the displays in the headsets can get a bit foggy if you’re a heavy nose breather – or due to improper ventilation of the room you’re using for VR play. Based on the designs of the Rift and Vive, there doesn’t appear to be any sort of shafts or channels that would allow for air flow into the headset. Sure, it’s a nagging issue, especially when you’re in a heated situation, but it’s something that can be remedied by taking off the headset, and then proceeding to wipe it with a microfiber cloth.

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Gross padding after heavy use

This one didn’t come to us until we spent time going through the halls of E3 2016. Using a headset at home generally means that only a single person will be using it most of the time, but at a busy tradeshow, a single headset being used there will be used by hundreds of people – even thousands. The worst part about it all, too, is that moment when you put on the headset to find that the previous person sweated like a pig all over it. The padding is a soggy mess, to the point that some people would be hesitant about putting it on.

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No dedicated power button built into the headset

This last point didn’t come to our attention until one day, we woke up to realize that the HTC Vive was acting up it was just display a grey colored image through the displays. We also noticed that it was warm to the touch, indicating to us that the headset remained on throughout the night. That, of course, didn’t sit too well with us to know that juice was continually being fed to the headset. So that got us thinking, why don’t headsets have dedicated power buttons to turn them on/off at will? That would be significantly easier than unplugging the power cord from the link box.

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Overall, there’s a lot to love about current gen VR headsets, and things will likely get even better in the future. Still, nothing is perfect and those are just a few of our gripes. For those that have used the Vive or Rift, do you agree with these pain points? Any other issues you can think of we didn’t mention? Let us know down in the comments.


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