There are a ton of accessories available for your HTC Vive that often have something to do with either comfort or hygiene.
You know the foam padding around the inside of your head-mounted display? The part that soaks up the most sweat? The part that can still be damp and (now) cold when you come back to your Vive after a break? There's an alternative to that foam.
I've been enjoying the HTC Vive since about the time of its release, and, up until recently, I was exclusively using the stock foam padding. There's no doubt about it: people are going to want to try your Vive when they visit, and due to its room-scale capabilities, they're probably going to get a bit heated while they play. You can imagine the result of three or four people passing around the headset.
You can proactively clean your headset before and after use, but HTC doesn't recommend immersing the foam in water — many of you do it, myself included, but it's definitely not made to stand up to that type of cleaning. You can rub it down to get some grime off; just don't use a white cloth. The results are on the bad side of terrifying.
VR Cover's purpose is to make your VR experience more comfortable and more hygienic. They make a bunch of different products for Vive, Rift, and Gear VR, ranging from foam replacements to covers to carrying cases. I picked up a two-pack of 18mm velour memory foam replacements for the Vive to test them out and see if they were worth adding to the head-mounted display.
Easy to install
The stock foam padding on your Vive is held in place with Velcro, and VR Cover took advantage of this to make swapping out the padding super easy. There is no guiding tooth to fit into the headset like the stock foam has, but there's really no way you can screw things up.
Time to try it on! Is this going to be the new best way to enjoy VR? No, because my glasses don't fit. Here's the thing: frames can vary widely, so you might not have a problem getting yours into the Vive with a VR Cover. I tried repositioning the cover to be wider, and I could sort of jam my face and frames into the Vive, but it wasn't worth continuing. This is sort of a big deal when you take into account about half (rough estimate) of us use some sort eyesight correction. To contact lenses!
Keep in mind, this is the 18mm version — there are also 6mm pu leather replacements that no doubt cater to glasses much better.
Without glasses, the replacement padding works as it should. When testing out the Vive before turning it on, I noticed that there was a bit of light being let in along the bottom — the thickness of the padding doesn't let your face sit quite as flush against the Vive's rubber nose-piece. Once I had the Vive's display running, though, it was a small enough gap that I no longer noticed any light getting in.
The velour is undeniably soft and has yet to get itchy, even when sweating a bit along the brow. It doesn't get as sodden as the stock foam, either, probably thanks to the dense memory foam inside. A note on that density — if you like your Vive tight, you'll notice immediately there's not quite as much give. Still, when you have it really tight (like during Raw Data sessions), you won't feel the hard plastic that normally sits under the stock foam.
When the velour does inevitably get grimy, you can throw it in with the wash. The website recommends a cold wash and no tumble dry, but I washed in hot water with my normal laundry — it took about a day to dry after wringing it out. It looks about the same as before I washed it, and neither of them seem like they'll break down anytime soon.
The bottom line
These 18mm velour memory foam replacements are a pretty good deal; a two-pack costs about $30. Having these on-hand is quite useful, especially when you often have friends coming over to test out your hardware. Since I don't regularly use contact lenses, the covers pretty much sit waiting for when friends with great eyesight happen by.
If you wear glasses and aren't satisfied with the stock Vive foam, you can always check out the thinner pu leather options, but anyone who doesn't wear glasses and wants something a bit more comfortable will probably be happy equipping their Vive with these replacements.
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