You’ll Want To Tighten The Screws In Your Vive When You Install A Deluxe Audio Head Strap (Updated)

Update, 6/2/2017, 1:40pm PT: We received a response from HTC Vive about the head strap issue. A representative of the company told Tom's Hardware that “We are aware of these reports and are working with both of the streamers to pinpoint the underlying cause. We will provide updates as the investigation continues.”

Original article: 6/2/17, 10:15am PT:

HTC is gearing up for the launch of the Vive Deluxe Audio Head Strap. The upgraded head strap goes on sale on June 6, but beware: there may be a reason for you to think twice about the upgrade on day one.

HTC revealed the Deluxe Audio Head Strap upgrade during its presentation at CES in January. The optional upgrade replaces the existing fabric head strap with a semi-rigid padded system that includes a mechanical adjustment system for easier fitment and integrated headphones, so you don’t need to use a third-party headset anymore.

After teasing us in January with the much-needed upgrade, HTC made us wait for 6 months to get our hands on the kit. From our experience, it’s worth the money for the upgrade. Some reviewers didn’t have the same experience. At least two YouTubers reported that their Vive headsets broke following the installation of the new head strap.

On May 30, a YouTuber who calls himself Bumble uploaded his “review” of the Vive Deluxe Audio Head Strap. The video starts off as any product review would. Bumble talks about the new head strap’s features and benefits and compares the construction to the standard head strap. He then proceeds to show his viewers how to install the kit, and how it fits on his head.

After telling the viewers that he was about to try the kit, the video cuts to him back in his chair with a forlorn look on his face and a strapless Vive in his hands. One of the connectors that holds the side straps to the HMD fell off his Vive before he could even try it out.

And Bumble isn’t the only one this happened to. Another YouTube channel called Cas and Chary VR uploaded an “early review” of the Vive Deluxe Audio Head Strap on June 2. In the video, Cas and Chary talk about running into the same problem as Bumble.

The culprit appears to be a small T6 Torx screw that holds the swivel connector to the Vive HMD. Somehow, the screw came out, and the pieces for the connector fell to the floor.

The head strap connector on the Vive is made up of four parts. There’s a light gray dial piece that allows you to adjust the Vive’s eye relief mechanism, a round cog-like piece that sits inside the dial, a plastic pin in the center, and the T6 Torx screw that fastens it all together from the inside.

In Cas and Chary’s case, none of their parts were damaged. They just had to locate them all and put everything back together with a T6 screwdriver. Bumble wasn’t so lucky, though. He found the three plastic parts for his kit, but he was unable to locate the screw to put it back together.

The loose screw issue appears to be the exception to the rule. There are many reviewers with Vive Deluxe Audio Straps, and most of them haven’t experienced a problem, Tom’s Hardware included. But it’s something you should be aware of before investing in the upgrade. If you do buy a Deluxe Audio Head Strap--and we still recommend that you should--it might be wise to invest in a Torx driver to tighten those screws after you upgrade your Vive. 

We've reached out to HTC to get its take on the situation.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.