Valve Index Review
The Valve Index is the best consumer VR headset out there. It may not be for everyone considering the price and the premium features, but for serious VR users and buyers, you really can’t get any better than this.
It’s been a little over two years since the release of the Valve Index, and in that time, it has established itself as one of the premier VR headsets on the market. But with newer headsets like the Oculus Quest 2 and HTC Vive Cosmos Elite now available, is the Index still worth your money? We are going to take a look at what the Index has to offer in 2022 and whether or not it’s still a good purchase.
Debating on what VR headset to buy? Check out our article on the HTC Vive vs Valve Index!
Table of Contents
- What is The Valve Index?
- Is it Wireless?
- Is the Valve Index a Standalone VR Headset?
- Is it Glass Friendly?
- How Does The Valve Index Finger Tracking Work?
- Valve Index Pros
- Cons of the Valve Index
- Is The Valve Index Worth it?
What is The Valve Index?
When it comes to high-end virtual reality, the Valve Index is one of the options that consistently come up. It’s a powerful system, but it’s also one of the most expensive. So, what is the Valve Index, and is it wireless? The Valve Index is a virtual reality headset that was released in June 2019.
It’s the successor to the HTC Vive, and it was developed by Valve Corporation in collaboration with HTC. The Index uses two high-resolution displays (one for each eye), and it has a wide field of view. It also supports refresh rates of up to 120 Hz and has a resolution of 1440 x 1600 pixels per eye.
Is it Wireless?
The Valve Index headset is not wireless, but you can buy a wireless adapter for it. The adapter uses the DisplayPort connection on the back of the headset, and it streams video to the headset. The adapter is available for purchase from Valve, and it costs $250.
Is the Valve Index a Standalone VR Headset?
The Valve Index is not a standalone VR headset; it requires a connection to a PC in order to work. The headset uses Valve’s SteamVR platform, which is also compatible with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
Is it Glass Friendly?
The Valve Index is not compatible with prescription glasses. However, Valve sells a separate accessory called the “Lens Lab” that allows users to insert their own prescription lenses into the headset. The Valve Index is considered to be one of the most comfortable VR headsets on the market. However, some users have complained about the weight of the headset, which is 1.1 pounds (0.5 kg).
How Does The Valve Index Finger Tracking Work?
Valve’s Index Finger Tracking is an update to the company’s SteamVR Tracking technology that enables SteamVR-compatible devices to track the movement of a user’s fingers. The update was first demonstrated in a video released by Valve in February 2019 and is currently in beta.
How does it Work?
The update makes use of a new type of sensor, dubbed “Optical Fiber Tracking.” This sensor uses two infrared cameras to track the movement of a user’s fingers and is capable of sub-millimeter accuracy. The sensor is placed on the user’s hand and is used in conjunction with existing SteamVR Tracking base stations.
What are the Benefits?
The primary benefit of the update is that it enables a more natural and intuitive way of interacting with virtual objects. For example, users will be able to pick up and manipulate virtual objects more easily, as well as perform gestures such as pointing and waving.
The update also has potential applications for gaming, as it opens up new possibilities for player interaction with virtual worlds. For example, players could use their hands to interact with in-game objects or perform gestures that would be mapped to in-game actions. Overall, the motion control is phenomenal and easily one of the best in any VR headset.
What are the Drawbacks?
One potential drawback of the update is that it requires the use of additional hardware, in the form of the Optical Fiber Tracking sensor. This could increase the cost of SteamVR-compatible devices, as well as the complexity of the setup process.
Another potential drawback is that the update is currently in beta, which means that it may not be ready for general use. Additionally, the update is only compatible with SteamVR-compatible devices, which excludes a large number of potential users.
|Display||1440 x 1600 LCD|
|Refresh Rate||120 Hz (144 Hz Experimental option available)|
|Connectivity||USB 3.0, 12V power supply, DisplayPort 1.2|
|Tracking sensors||SteamVR 2.0 sensors|
|Inter-pupillary Distance||58mm – 70mm|
|Optics||Canted double element lens|
|Weight||1.78 lbs ( 809 gm) without cable|
Valve Index Pros
Let’s look at some interesting pros of the headset.
- The display is incredibly clear and bright.
- The field of view is very large.
- The “Lighthouse” tracking system is very accurate.
- The controllers are very comfortable to use.
- There are a lot of great games and applications available for the headset.
Cons of the Valve Index
The Valve Index has a lot of great features. However, there are also some potential drawbacks that you should be aware of before you decide to purchase one.
- The headset is very expensive.
- The controllers require AA batteries.
- Some people have reported issues with the “Lighthouse” tracking system.
- The headset is not wireless.
Design and Comfort
The first thing you’ll notice about the Index is its unique design. Unlike most other VR headsets, which use a single display panel, the Index has two. This gives it a much wider field of view than other headsets, which is great for gaming and other immersive experiences.
The Index also uses Valve’s “frunk” design, which places the majority of the headset’s weight on the front of your head, rather than the back. This helps to evenly distribute the weight and makes the headset much more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
The Index also comes with a pair of Valve’s new “knuckle” controllers. These controllers are similar to the Oculus Touch controllers, in that they allow you to track the individual movements of your fingers.
This allows for much more natural and intuitive gameplay than traditional controllers. The knuckle controllers are also very comfortable to use, thanks to their ergonomic design.
Display and Lens Quality
The Index’s dual-display setup results in some of the best image quality of any VR headset on the market. The displays have a resolution of 1440 x 1600 pixels per eye and a refresh rate of 90 Hz. This means that you’ll never have to worry about image quality issues, such as the screen door effect or the “jelly effect”. The Index’s lenses are also some of the best in the business. They’re designed to minimize distortion and provide a clear image.
The Index uses Valve’s “lighthouse” tracking system. This system uses a pair of base stations, which emit infrared light, to track the position of the headset and controllers. The base stations have a range of 10 meters, so you’ll have plenty of room to move around. The tracking system is very accurate and responsive, so you won’t have to worry about any lag or tracking issues.
The Index comes with a pair of high-quality headphones. The headphones are designed to provide a natural and realistic sound. They also have a great range, so you’ll be able to hear all the sounds of your virtual environment. The headphones are also very comfortable to wear, thanks to their over-ear design.
Is The Valve Index Worth it?
To answer that question, yes. If you’re a casual gamer or just want to dip your toes into VR, the Index is probably not for you. There are cheaper headsets out there that will do the job just fine. But if you’re a hardcore gamer or enthusiast who wants the best possible VR experience, the Index is definitely worth the money.
The resolution and field of view are the two most important factors in determining image quality, and the Index is the clear winner in both categories. It has a resolution of 1440×1600 per eye, which is nearly double that of the next best headset (the HTC Vive Pro).
And its field of view is 120 degrees, which is again nearly double that of the competition. This means that the Index can render incredibly detailed and realistic images, and you can see a lot more of them at once. Let’s take a look at the make-or-break factors:
Valve’s Index VR kit is one of the most advanced virtual reality systems on the market. The result is a VR experience that feels incredibly immersive and natural. Games like Half-Life: Alyx is designed specifically for the Index, and takes full advantage of its capabilities. If you’re looking for the best possible VR experience, the Valve Index VR kit is just for you. We hope our review of the Valve Index helps you to make an informed decision.