Valve might be known for its games and the Steam store, but in the past few years they’ve been doubling down on the idea of virtual reality. And while they did help create the HTC Vive, they have now released their own VR headset named Valve Index. Let’s take a quick review if the Valve Index is worth it in 2020.
- High Resolution and a wider field of view than other headsets
- Makes use of the cool Valve knuckles controllers
- Room Scale VR
- Price – one of the most expensive VR headsets
- Need to setup base stations
- Game library on the low side
The Valve Index runs a dual LCD display with a 1440 x 1600 resolution per eye. The refresh rate is set to 120Hz and also comes with the ability to increase it to 144Hz if your computer can handle it. One welcome addition is the wider field of view (FOV), with the Valve Index you will see 130 degrees. Offering an extra 20 degrees compared to the Vive Cosmos 110 degrees of binocular horizontal FOV.
Valve Index tracking
Though the Index has cameras, they are not created for inside out tracking like WMR headsets. These are mostly suitable for developers to experiment and create new experiences.
Instead, the unit works with the previous base stations from Vive, or you can buy the Base Stations 2.0 which brings in even better accuracy and tracking using SteamVR tracking technology and is currently the most accurate tracking set up on the market. This does, however, come with the trade-off of having to set up base stations around the room and make transporting the system difficult.
Comfort and convenience
The Valve Index also has a headstrap, it’s created from high-quality materials and you will be quite impressed with its build quality for the most part. They did include a removable face casket which is easy to clean, that also means third parties can customize those face caskets as they see fit.
The Valve Index also has headphones. Their approach is distinct because they have off-ear immersion. But they also bring you the sound on the outside of your headphones a little bit.
Controllers are quite interesting. These are knuckle controllers and they offer you a perfect grip. The focus here is on complete immersion, so these controllers are designed as an extension for your hands.
Minimum requirements: Valve Index
The minimum requirements for the Valve Index are:
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, AMD RX480|
|Video Output||Display Port 1.2|
|CPU||Dual Core with Hyper-Threading|
|USB||1x USB 2.0+|
|OS||Windows 10, SteamOS, Linux|
Like all VR units, you will have a much better experience if you own a state of the art graphics card and a quad-core processor. It’s important to note that the product will adapt to your specs to provide the best possible experience and results.
Naturally, the Valve Index works well on Steam VR. This instantly gives you access to over 3,000 VR titles in steam including the Skyrim VR, Boneworks, Pistol Whip, Beat Saber and the much anticipated: Half-Life: Alyx. The great thing about Steam games is you can always pick them up cheaply during summer sales or on Green Man Gaming.
You can buy the full VR Kit with the headset, controllers and base stations, but you can also acquire every part individually or in smaller packages. The complete VR kit is $1000, the headset and controllers are $750 and the headset itself is $500. If this is your first headset we suggest picking up the entire kit. You can go to Steam to purchase, they’re currently shipping to 31 selected countries. For international shipping, you could try Amazon but be warned of inflated prices and make a smart decision.
As you can see, the Valve Index is quite an extraordinary piece of engineering. The prices might be a bit high, but there’s definitely a lot of value and quality for the money. Certainly, this is more expensive than the Vive Cosmos and the Oculus Rift S, but it also seems to deliver even more immersion, so if you’ve got the rig and got the budget it looks like the Valve Index is worth it.