HTC Deluxe Audio Strap First Impressions

I’ve never really found the Vive uncomfortable.  Sure it may have been front heavy, but once you ratcheted the straps to your face it was perfectly functional.  The real reason I was interested in the deluxe audio strap wasn’t the new fit, but rather the inclusion of integrated audio into the strap (or maybe its just that I have to own ever Vive product I can).

A well loved standard strap (Photo: Kial Natale)

I haven’t been able to do much VR development, but when I am working I find myself skipping out on headphones just because it is too cumbersome to add and remove them over and over and over again.  I also find it annoying to have to deal with when giving demos, or when the headphone cable gets unplugged during a flailing sword attack.

I purchased the Deluxe Audio Strap from the Microsoft Store and received it within 30 hours from FedEx (FedEX FTW).  After waiting weeks for headsets, trackers and RMA controllers, receiving the audio strap so quickly was shocking, and perhaps borderline unnerving.  Is this how things are supposed to be?

Hello, new friend! (Photo: Kial Natale)

The packaging was lightweight with some great presentation.  The instruction video for replacing my tattered, old headstrap was one of the most polished presentations I have ever seen.  The whole process of swapping it out took less than 7 minutes, and aside from some terrifying applications of force on the side swivels, was extremely easy.  Already it felt like a brand new headset… and I hadn’t even put it on yet.

The deluxe audio strap sans headset (Photo: Kial Natale)

Overall, the new fit is great, and distributes the weight more evenly over your whole head.  Strangely, however,I found more pressure on my brow, but it can’t be any more than what it was when I pulled the old headset to circulation inhibiting levels.  Putting the headset on is much easier, and the cable management is a welcome addition, although some members of the Vancouver VR Community said they preferred when the cable ran out of the back.

While the Deluxe Audio Strap is really expensive (in Canada), so far I’ve found it surprisingly useful in ways I never initially desired or even considered.  I never noticed the ‘residue’ or dissolving foam issue that others initially reported, so I can’t really speak to that, but everything has exceeded my expectations.  That said, I can only really recommend it fully to people who use their Vive a lot!

Ready to rock! (Photo: Kial Natale)

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