So, that’s what Valve says. What’s it like to actually use the headset? I got to test Index across several different demos and came out very impressed with what I saw.

Photo by Road to VR

The upgrades to the display—both in low persistence and refresh rate—really make the VR world look more ‘solid’ than ever before. 144Hz looks buttery smooth and feels closer to what you’d expect the real world to look like by pushing latency even lower than typical 90Hz headsets. These two elements are arguably a bigger improvement to the visuals than the upgraded resolution which, indeed, brings a sharper image, but is still far from eliminating the screen door effect.

Field of view is definitely higher than the Vive—thanks to the eye-relief adjustment easily allowing me to dial in the maximum field of view—but the difference didn’t exactly blow me away despite being nice to have. I was able to pull the eye-relief adjustment in as far as it would go while still being perfectly comfortable (some folks might pull back a bit to stop their eyelashes from touching). At that range, I could slightly make out the edges of the display in my peripheral view on the sides and bottom, though I could have easily pulled the eye-relief back just a touch to make that more apparent.

While Valve’s dual-element optics might be focused on a wide field of view and large sweet spot, it seems to have come at the cost of an increase in internal reflections (god rays). Moderately high contrast scenes cause significant glare which unfortunately detracts from the other benefits in clarity.

Photo by Road to VR

On the audio front, Valve has done an excellent job with their new headphone design. Index easily has the highest quality audio solution I’ve ever heard in a VR headset. It’s miles ahead of any of the sound-pipe solutions seen in headsets like Go, Quest, and Rift S, and even better than Rift’s headphones which were considered the best, until now. What’s cool is that not only do they sound better than the previous leader, they also feel better—or perhaps they don’t feel like anything… because they don’t actually touch your ears at all, they just hang next to them. This simple but smart design means Valve was able to use larger and more powerful drivers which are capable of greater range than other audio solutions. Index’s headphones get plenty loud and deliver a ton of bass.

SEE ALSO
Index's 'Off-ear' Headphones Are Its Most Surprising Innovation

Valve says that going with off-ear speakers benefits not just audio quality, but ergonomics too. Not only are they not in the way at all when you put on the headset, they also don’t exert any pressure on your ears as you play, helping another fatigue vector.

One surprising omission from Index is eye-tracking. For all the work that Valve has put into getting the details right, eye-tracking could have synergized very well—everything from telling the user their exact IPD and how to set it, to whether their headset is adjusted for optimal clarity, to foveated rendering to make it easier to achieve stable 144Hz gameplay, and plenty more. We haven’t gotten an answer from Valve on why they opted not to include eye-tracking.

 – – — – –

Beyond the headset, Valve is of course pairing Index with the Knuckles controllers and pulling everything together with their SteamVR Tracking solution. Even though it creates more friction for use compared to inside-out tracking, Valve believes the quality of their tracking solution is critical to the fidelity of the experience.

Photo by Road to VR

So then what about the cameras on the front of the headset? Valve said that they are “very good computer vision cameras,” but they don’t plan to use them officially for tracking; inside-out tracking “isn’t quite there for us.” They don’t exactly have a firm use-case for them right now, but wanted to make sure they were on board for experimentation and, at a minimum, pass-through video. That said, they plan to release all the code behind the cameras so that developers can play, and more than likely someone will try implementing an unofficial inside-out tracking solution for the headset.

SEE ALSO
Report: New Valve VR Headset Appears in Leaked Images
Photo by Road to VR

The cameras are one of several ways that Valve hopes Index will be moddable. They call that big gap behind the magnetic faceplate the ‘frunk’ (which I can only assume is a portmanteau of ‘front’ and ‘trunk’), and say it’s purely a generic expansion port for whatever mods people might dream up that rely on a USB 3.0 port. They claim not to have any specific use-case in mind for the frunk, but hope that people will experiment.

The ‘frunk’ expansion port hides behind a magnetically-attached faceplate | Image courtesy Valve

Further on modability, Valve says they will release full CAD models of Index to make it easy for people to design different things for the headset, like the foam face padding which is magnetic and easily removed. Using the CAD models, someone could print a new design for the padding bracket to better fit their face.

– – — – –

So, Index looks and sounds pretty damn good, and seems like it will achieve Valve’s goal of moving the bar forward on VR fidelity. Yes, there are higher resolution headsets out there, like HP’s upcoming Reverb, but Index brings more than a spec sheet to the table—it offers high-end quality across the spectrum.

That said, Index—openly admitted by Valve—does little to address the challenges of cost and ease-of-use.

Photo by Road to VR

The full Index kit (with headset, controllers, and base stations) will cost a cool $1,000—that’s more than the original Vive at launch (but less than Vive Pro). The outside-in tracking necessitates setting up and maintaining a VR space with some cords running around the room, and the headset’s many adjustments need an experienced user to understand how to dial everything in to achieve top fidelity.

SEE ALSO
Preview: Valve Index is the DSLR to the Oculus Rift S Point-and-shoot

And then there’s the content. These improvements in fidelity are exciting to me and plenty of other enthusiasts, but they just don’t matter that much in the end if they aren’t backed up by excellent content. Despite thousands of VR games on Steam, only a small fraction of those are truly worth playing, and existing enthusiasts—which Valve says Index is positioned towards—will have already gotten their fill of much of that content.

With the reveal of Index, Valve is saying that they plan to release a “flagship VR game” at some point this year, but—incredibly—still aren’t ready to offer any details at all (not even a name, IP, or genre), even as Index is about to become available for pre-order and then launch within the next two months.

Facebook, of course, is taking nearly the opposite approach and focusing not on fidelity, but ease of use and affordability, and they have a strong content library (and a handful of exciting titles coming down the pipeline) to back it up.

Image courtesy Valve

But that’s not to say one approach is right and the other is wrong. Valve has chosen their fight, and they want to take on the challenge they believe they’re best equipped to handle. And for Index, that’s pushing the quality bar to show everyone else what the next level of fidelity looks like.

– – — – –

Got more questions? We’ve got more answers. Drop us a line in the comments below.


Disclosure: Valve covered travel and accommodations for Road to VR to attend an event where information for this article was gathered.

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  • mellott124

    Yikes, more glare. The current Vive headsets have too much glare. Was really hoping for higher resolution panels as well. 2k x 2k. Some what conflicted about the change back to LCD. I understand it for pixel fill but blacks won’t ever be as good. Still think overall their system is the best and will probably buy.

  • Nepenthe

    The ear speakers are similar to the old Sony MDR-F1s or maybe the AKG-K1000s — both head speaker drivers that floated above / outside of year ears.

  • M Rob

    day 1 purchase

  • Zachary Scott Dickerson

    How does it compare to my pimax 5k+ ? I like my high resolution and big FOV, but hate the way it fits my face, wonky software and performance hits. I mainly want the better controllers.

  • Nepenthe

    “Frunk” is what we call the front trunk on the Porsche 911.

    A few bummers. Seems a good $749 upgrade for original Vive owners who don’t care about wireless. A Vive Pro Wireless owner might not be persuaded to get the headset but surely the Knuckles controllers are where it’s at for them.

    Enhanced FOV and the higher refresh modes are nice developments. Will have to see what the increased god rays do to the screen as well as how the contrast and blacks are — does a bright sunny day in a racing sim look overcast in the Index, for example.

    Really like the audio solution and the focus on audio (audio alone is one of my favorite parts of positional tracking).

    Yes, wish it had eye tracking and wireless. And the Reverb (2160×2160) has this beat on resolution (and I think there’s a second new WMR with the same res).

    • Christopher John

      I’m in that boat.. I have a Vive Pro and Wireless kit and I don’t think I can give up wireless and now hearing it has some glare issues I may not grab the HMD and just go for the controllers only.

  • Kyokushin

    Still low resolution, SDE will be visible especially when FOV is greater, finally perception will be similar to Vive.
    I will keep my money for Reverb or something different.

    • dk

      hmm and for the price of the whole thing …..u can get a reverb + something for 400
      it’s expensive …but I wouldn’t call it overpriced like a vive pro

      • Kyokushin

        Honestly it will be worse than Odyssey+ which is the best headset at now.

        • dk

          it can’t be worse except for the black levels ….but it will be somewhat similar and massive price difference

  • Bob

    ” it seems to have come at the cost of an increase in internal reflections (god rays). Moderately high contrast scenes cause significant glare which unfortunately detracts from the other benefits in clarity.”

    Is it really that bad Ben?

    • wheeler

      My major concern right here. I haven’t seen anyone else mention this yet

    • benz145

      The glare does seem to be worse than other recent headsets, but these things only manifest in a particularly distracting way during high contrast scenes, so it’s really content dependent.

      • wheeler

        How would you say it compares to the Rift (CV1)?

        • benz145

          I didn’t get to go hands on with them side by side, but I would venture to say about as bad.

          • Rosko

            Oh dear. This dual lense design is cool but not sure i can deal with god rays in a £920 upgrade.

      • Christopher John

        Ah damn that’s too bad. I just reduced my glare on my Vive pro with the mod.

      • Fluke

        Any chance of a bit of clarity here, as it’s sparking debate on the subreddit.

        Would you say it’s worse than the OG Rift and Vive, or do you mean in comparison to more recent specific headsets?

    • wheeler

      Just to contrast this impression, here is what Norm from Tested said:
      “I didn’t notice significant god rays, and Valve intentionally put us in
      dark demos like Beat Saber and Big Screen theater. Once I found the
      sweet spot in the eyebox, image was remarkably clear almost to the
      edges.”

      https://old.reddit.com/r/ValveIndex/comments/bj5r6z/handson_with_valve_index_and_impressions/em5ohre/

  • Kilgore Trout

    Any word about wireless support?

    • benz145

      There’s no plans that we’re aware of for Valve making an official wireless solution for Index.

      • Nepenthe

        Deal-breaker for any Vive Pro Wireless user… at least as far as the Index headset. Going back to tethered is like a dog being chained up. Knuckles controllers on the other hand are a definite buy.

        • Gerald Terveen

          I wonder if the Vive Pro Wireless adapter will see a compatability pack for the Index.

          • Nepenthe

            That would be great if possible, as long as the Index can drop to 90Hz.

          • Gerald Terveen

            90, 120 and 144Hz … but to be fair, once one is getting used to 144Hz it might be tough to go back

          • @geraldterveen:disqus

            Why would HTC do that when the Vive Pro is now basically the expensive “OLED contrast and wireless but everything else is worse” headset on the market?

          • Gerald Terveen

            I admit I am not uptodate on the current options for wireless, but I think the first Vive wireless adapter was not from HTC.
            And HTC can’t compete with the Index for consumers, but they still are the ones with the business care packages … so offering the wireless solution might not really impact their prosumer oriented business while selling additional wireless systems could help them make money off the back of the Index.

      • Does that mean you asked and they stated to have no plans for it? Or do you simply mean you don’t know (not asked, not commented by them)?

  • Adrian Meredith

    Anyone else really disappointed with this? This has DOA all over it

    • Jerald Doerr

      Yes… It’s not going to be DOA… Good for new guys…. I really wanted a entire 2nd unit but might have to settle for a Pimax and Index controller upgrade.

      Disappointments…
      Resolution 25%
      FOV 25%

      Still going to Pre-order the full kit.

      • kontis

        Index with 130 FOV make Pimax absolutely pointless, especially because of its ton of optical issues.

        • victor

          pimax has 170 FOV so not pointless. Index with only 130 FOV is pointless! I have the pimax5K+ and the ONLY complaint I have is contrast issue in dark scenes due it being LCD. Index unit will also be LCD so we’ll see if they can do better as far as that’s concerned.

          • Mike

            Pimax has terrible edge distortion beyond the small 120 degree setting.

          • Rosten

            Does it matter so much? You rarely turn your eyes all to the side, so what’s displayed at the sides can be low quality since human peripheral vision is very low res.

          • boniek

            You are not always staring at the center of the screen. Nobody moves whole head when they want to see what’s off center. So yes it does matter very much. Just like other minimal improvements Index makes. They all matter.

          • Jerald Doerr

            I think Mike is saying because of the large lenses on the PiMax the Image you view is distorted/warped… Kinda like a video with a fisheye camera lens… I believe this can be fixed with software but I’m not sure if PiMax has solved this yet?

          • victor

            BULL!
            Do you actually own one?
            Cuz I do

    • kontis

      Anyone serious about being competitive in multiplayer games has pretty much no choice and will have to buy this headset (144 hz and lighthouse give it a huge edge).

      Resolution is disappointing, but at least Valve pushed another round of multiple innovations (lens, fov, lower persistence, new type of headphones, advanced controllers), while Oculus mostly downgraded Rift CV1 and outsourced it to Lenovo (hopefully not their their last PC headset – that would be a shame).

      • johann jensson

        Yeah, but after waiting for 4 years, i can finally afford a Rift S (which even has better PPD than Valve’s HMD), whereas the Index is completely out of my reach at that crazy price.

        • Rogue Transfer

          About one tenth of a PPD difference, taking approx. monocular FOV(each panel’s horizontal res must be divided by a single lens’s FOV and binocular FOV for headsets over 90° have more periphery not shared between each eye’s panel).

          But the price is crazy, not that the Rift S being more than double WMR prices for lower res & refresh rate is worth it either, compared.

          • Rosko

            But you get better tracking controllers & software with the rift-s vs wmr. Life would have been so much simpler if the Rift-s had the same resolution as the quest with better headphones. I have money in the bank to spend & i juts can not make a decision on an upgrade.

      • Mike

        “lens” Except according to the review, “god rays” are WORSE than ever. That alone is a dealbreaker. The Index is “a few small steps forward, a few large steps backward”.

        Why can’t HMD makers design two versions, so people willing to pay more can get a better product? It worked for the Vive Pro…

      • Nepenthe

        Are there competitive multiplayer games in VR? No snark intended, I just didn’t know.

        • spoonikle

          Pavlov is highly competitive.

        • Icebeat

          Echo?

      • Bob

        The sub-millisecond persistence is a quite nice breakthrough in consumer VR displays.

    • dk

      well it’s expensive but it’s not overpriced like the vive pro

    • Kev

      Yeah I thought the Index would be far better than it turned out to be. Low res, LCD, God Rays etc… Seems… underwhelming.

  • nejihiashi88

    disappointed i wanted higher resolution, and at least psvr like face mount not a head strap.

    • Skoczek

      I ordered hp reverb in amazon a few days ago…

      • Francesco Fazio

        How comes it is already available on Amazon (they dont ship to Europe unfortunately) if HP did not yet made the release announcement ?

        • Skoczek

          I’m from Poland. I buy by:
          usgobuy

      • The Bard

        nie jest dostepny, wiec co sciemniasz? :)

        • Skoczek

          Kupiłem 30.04 i na zamówieniu mam: Arriving Jun 12 – Jul 25 (trochę długo…).
          Aktualnie na stronie przedmiotu jest info że niedostępny ale wcześniej też tak było a po zakupie określili termin.
          PS. Na stronie HP jest info że wersja PRO będzie dostępna od 6.05.
          Pzdr. ;)

          • Tom Ba

            Hey neighbour.

            Thx. Found the updated Date “Available May 6”.
            Greetings from Germany to Poland.

      • Erilis

        did you get your money back?

    • Anders Eismann

      it is much better clarity comparing HTC Vive Pro because of the subpixels which is much better regarding resolution. And isnt 144hz screen refreshrate alone reason to buy this? Its very big difference comparing to 90hz One thing is resolution but there is other things to take account but if you dont know these then you hink its same but its not. And also two lenses help to reduse SDE. People dont know how good this is but wait reviews and you will see how easy is to pay this 1000 bucs

      • The Bard

        Are you sure? You are wrong. With this low resolution you see screen-door effect as they were not smart to license anti-SDE from Samsung. The display is very 2017 like. Odyssey+ is better.

        • Anders Eismann

          Have you tryed valve glasses? If not, then you dont know what you talking about. First, try yourself, then we talk again ;)

          • Erilis

            Very few people have tried the index. Ben Lang didn’t sound to lyrical about his experience of the visuals. I for one have high hopes on optics, but Ben was clear that the god rays are the same as ever, but I don’t mind those. Overall, I’m pretty convinced that it’s the new standard system. God, I just hope I don’ have to cover every single glossy object for the lighthouse2 every time I use them

        • Jean Bon

          The display is not from 2017 it’s a state of the art LCD display, 144hz with just 0.33 ms response is the best you can hope right now if you go the LCD route. But you’re right the samsung display is better but that’s the only advantage of the odyssey because from what i’ve read the tracking is crapy AF

          • Erilis

            it’s okish, oculus is putting sticks in the wheel for one, making the tracking much more difficult on their titles, so you eventually give up and get one of their headsets. I wonder if anyone has attempted to Frankenstein the two

        • Hans Wurst

          PSVR uses an RGB screen and has very little SDE. Lower than Vive Pro.

          • Erilis

            interesting. I can see them having good optics.

        • Erilis

          My odyssey+ looks a little smudgy. The antialiasing is driving me crazy. I hope the optics better be improved, double fresnel lenses and all. I had high hopes for Reverb, total-recall on that department. I’m going to have to take this index.

          • The Bard

            Not Odyssey’s fault, but your settings. Set Application supersampling to 200% per each application in Steam VR, Video supersampling to 100%. There is no any antialiasing. What are you playing?

          • Erilis

            Sorry for delay in getting back to you. I couldn’t remember the word, but it’s technically not antialiasing that’s the problem, it looks a little similar, but x10 worse: chromatic aberration. Normally not a problem in games, but If I try to do productivity and every single line has 3 different colors around it when I do artwork development on virtual desktop, forgetaboutit. The general consensus is that 1.4 is a good amount of supersampling for odyssey+, after that it just eats processing power. I love my odyssey+ though, for beautiful immersive experiences.

      • Jordy

        I hope you have you have a video card that can run this headset at 144 FPS…
        144Hz means nothing to me, I’m happy with 60+ FPS in my Rift CV1.
        I have a 2080Ti and I render at 200-300% for a better image clarity. Resolution is more important and that’s why I will buy HP Reverb.

      • nejihiashi88

        resolution is more important that’s why oculus is going with more pixels and less hertz they went from 90hz to 80hz in the new rift S and also on the quest they went for 72hz also psvr low hertz and more pixels with rgb oled, so it’s clearly the more pixels the better, why didn’t they make 4k with rgb pixels instead of that they wasted the resources and efforts on gimmicks like usb frunk and the cameras, and even if they didn’t do native 4k the lower sde will help in the immersion.

  • Justos

    Wasn’t the Rift S dead due to the LCD ?

    I guess when valve does it, its ok.

    • Jerald Doerr

      Valve privilege…. Does it exist bro?

    • Mike

      Disappointing. Seems no new top-end PC headsets use OLED. They better have better colors and black levels than the Pimax 5K+… that display is terrible.

      • Bob

        RGB OLED not just “OLED” which for the majority of cases uses Pentile.

    • kuhpunkt

      It depends on the panel. LCDs have gone a long way.

      • Sebastien Mathieu

        and at least it has 2 panels… unlike Rift S

      • Jonathan Winters III

        Blacks tho.

    • Rosko

      I think that’s what they initially thought until they learned a bit more. Its been rumoured the index was getting lcd for over a month.

    • saintkamus

      Rift S is using a single screen for both eyes so it’s wasting a lot of pixels. It’s lower refresh, and lower resolution.

      This screen, along with the ones on Reverb and OJO, are made for VR from the ground up (a first for VR headsets)

      It still has the typical shortcomings of LCD compared to OLED. But it doesn’t look like Samsung is interested in the VR market, at least not enough to make screens only for VR headsets.

    • dsadas

      to be frank it has two panels which means 25% more pixels used than one panel and IPD adjustment. More so, their LCDs have bigger resolution and are 144 hz.

    • KOSTANTINOS KOD

      This nice paint-job makes this headset so much better than xtall and start vr and those pathetic oled- amoledsz..

  • Marek Järve

    Is it known how much space is needed to play?

    • Jerald Doerr

      It should be exactly the same as the Vive.. Seated at a minimum.

    • JesperL

      Same as Vive. I would say 2×2 meter is minimum, but ok, since you mostly need space to rotate and sving your arms =)

  • cataflic

    When I red the first bunch of lines without any mention of resolution I just know what to expect….
    VR is moving like a snail….one small step for Vive…we will wait for giant leap for mankind until 20XX…in a galaxy far far away…lol

    • namekuseijin

      do you know how many decades since the invention of tv in the 30s until color tv? And from that to HDTV?

      you kids complain too much about Dreamland-like wonders of today

      • Jistuce

        And the first devices we would today recognize as VR headsets were invented in the 1960s.
        Also, the first high-definition broadcasts were in the 1990s. Japan-only.

    • Jistuce

      IN AD 2101 WAR WAS BEGINNING, AND VR WAS FINALLY GOOD

  • Lucidfeuer

    So besides the specs (3K – 130° – 144hz) which are very interesting, and the design which for once is okay besides the crap and unacceptable head-strap that should be dead and gone in 2019, I’m torn.

    Don’t know what to think, but at least it’s interesting unlike the Oculuses.

    • Nepenthe

      You mean the top strap? I heard that that addition the Rift S (vs. the Quest which doesn’t have it) helped a lot with fit and comfort.

      • Lucidfeuer

        The Rift S has a headband design, it doesn’t need the upper-strap even if it can add confort, the Index still does and if I can’t change that, fuck this headset, we’re in 2019 this is a no no.

        • Nepenthe

          Okay. I guess I don’t understand why it’s so bad but I’m sure I’ll get to compare them all by two months from now and see.

          • Mrfox Babbit

            Gets in the way of his fashion bubblegum-punk mohawk. ;)

          • Lucidfeuer

            Depends on your approach of ergonomics, design and confort, it might not bother you but for me this has been a definite no-go since 2017.

  • vrlink

    @benz145:disqus How is Virtual Link support handled? Is it GPU > Breakout > Headset or is the headset itself connected with Virtual Link and the breakout is only for legacy connections?

    • benz145

      AFAIK, the headset natively support VirtualLink and the breakout is for legacy connections. If you get the optional VL cable it replaces all three plugs (USB, DP, power) with a single VL plug.

    • Popin

      There isn’t a breakout box like the Vive from what is described. It comes with a breakaway “trident” (breakout) cable for power, USB, and DisplayPort. Think of the original Xbox controllers that had the 6” breakaway cable.

      You can replace the trident breakaway cable end with a Virtual Link breakaway cable and everything (power, usb data, and video) is done over that one USB-C port

  • VR Cat

    How heavy is it?

    • KOSTANTINOS KOD

      As if they will tell, words like black and weight are taboo.

  • RadRAW

    Does it use VRlink?

    • benz145

      There will be an optional VirtualLink cable sold as an accessory.

    • Nejham Mosquera

      You can buy the cable for $40.

  • kontis

    High framerate gaming is mostly CPU-bottlenecked, so eye tracking / foveated rendering wouldn’t help that much (except for some high fidelity games), because it would only fix the GPU limitation, not CPU.

    • Bob

      Not sure if my Sandy Bridge 2600K can get framerates up to 120 with this HMD.

  • brandon9271

    Stop reading at: “…an increase in internal reflections (god rays)” Seriously this is my NUMBER ONE gripe with all current VR headsets and it’s kind of pathetic that Valve didn’t sort this out. Seems like a major oversight.

    • xxHanoverxx

      I almost stopped reading at no inside out tracking, but then laughed and shut my browser at $1,000.

      • kuhpunkt

        How is this arrogant? Inside out tracking isn’t as good yet. You will always require something external if you want more tracking than what the cameras can see.

        • Nepenthe

          Inside-out headset tracking is, granted good variation on the walls and floor and adequate light, about as good as Lighthouse headset tracking.

          It’s the controller tracking where Lighthouse is clearly better so far (although I’ve only used the WMR two-cam tracking, hoping to try Quest and Rift S soon).

        • namekuseijin

          Just 2 cameras certainly won’t cut it

          • Popin

            Lighthouse Base Stations aren’t cameras

        • dk

          “You will always require something external if you want more tracking than what the cameras can see” external satellites always being better no matter what is a completely false idea
          …..high end systems will have inside out in the controllers too when in a couple of years an equivalent of the sd835 is much cheaper ….that will make high end inside out far batter than using external satellites

          in this case the guy most likely means that just prefers the lack of any room setup with headset cameras tracking the controllers

          • kuhpunkt

            And how will you track your body with inside out tracking on your head?

          • dsadas

            simple…. by putting cameras facing downwards.

          • dk

            first of all basically no one is using body tracking ….and basically no one actually needs it
            second it can be done in various ways …..just like it’s done with the vive trackers but with inside out trackers….or with clothing sensing which area is stretched and which is compressed ……….and good amount of cameras on a headset can actually see what your body is doing just fine so that’s not impossible either

          • kuhpunkt

            No one is using body tracking YET.

          • Christer Söderlund

            What makes you think everybody would need or want that?

          • kuhpunkt

            The future. You think the immersion will stop with your hands?

          • Christer Söderlund

            No but I do think standing up and moving is annoying with VR.

          • kuhpunkt

            So you want VR only for Flight- and Racing sims? And there are lots of people who want to move around in VR. That’s at least 50% of the point of it.

          • Christer Söderlund

            Well in that case. We still have to find a good game. As all the games involving movement I’ve seen so far are complete and utter teenage garbage.

          • kuhpunkt

            What a mature response.

          • Galf

            Then you’re not interested in most of what VR has to offer.
            And I say this as someone who mainly plays cockpit games in VR, but god, moving around is THE POINT of VR. Not glorified TrackIR.

          • Tabp

            The fact that people already want it? The fact that popular celebrities like Paris Hilton have been talking about partying in VR, which would need full body for dancing? VRChat exists. People are using body tracking right now. It’s the most impressive thing VR has for those normal masses Facebook says they want. No amount of internal downwards facing cameras can do it. Lighthouses (which are actually inside-out) are the only consumer option that exists.

          • Christer Söderlund

            This is niche. Not interested in this at all. And ffs what Paris Hilton wants is something everybody else should avoid.

      • wow

        insideout is garbage

        • xxHanoverxx

          Putting crap up on your livingroom walls is niche and is NEVER going to catch on with the masses.

          • Nepenthe

            I would point out that you can’t really take your Quest outside either (see the Quest review from Tested).

            We need markerless inside-out tracking for the actual controllers themselves, but that’s still a couple of years away. For now we have the higher end Lighthouse tracking and the more modest but more accessible systems like Rift S, WMR, and Quest.

          • xxHanoverxx

            Yeah, I saw that after I posted this. I can still take it out in my garage, or in my living room that’s actually larger than my cave.

          • Nepenthe

            Of course, after I said that, a video emerged showing a guy using the Quest outside!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V_UCN8HTAk&t=9m7s

        • Dynastius

          Supposed to be really good on the Rift S / Quest. I think the problem with inside out til now has simply been the tracking volume restraints caused by 2 camera systems.

          • wow

            Tbh rift s tracking wont be that much better than WMR. It’s still the same general area being covered

          • Jordy

            It’s the same tracking, Rift S rely on windows WMR tracking.

      • Jordy

        I would have paid $1,000 for a better resolution

        • Jean Bon

          You have a better resolution, there is 50% more pixels than the vive pro but it’s not written on paper because Valve is not a cheating company like HTC ( in the vive pro you have a shared subpixel that effectivly reduce the image clarity)

          • Jordy

            It’s the same resolution like vive pro, 1440×1600 per eye with more subpixels… I don’t expect much improvement.
            HP Reverb have 2160×2160 per eye, I’ll buy this one.

    • Gerald Terveen

      It certainly was not an oversight and more a compromise. And it seems there are no more rings, so the pattern is gone which should make it a lot less distracting.

      • Sam Illingworth

        The rings are gone? That should be mentioned in the article, that’s quite big deal (and could make up for increased godrays, which is indeed a bummer).

        • Gerald Terveen

          it was mentioned in another review from the other big VR focused news site

    • Hans Wurst

      I call BS on that one. It doesn’t even have fresnel lenses.

      • brandon9271

        There’s a pic of the optics in this article and they sure LOOK like fresnel lenses.. Maybe they aren’t.

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    Interesting but is this true Gen 2?

    • Mike

      Nope.

    • Engineer_92

      Hmm, I’d say Gen 1.8 lol. If they had eye tracking I would then consider it a gen 2 product.

    • Bob

      According to one of the reviewers on the Tested video it’s more Gen 1.5 than Gen 2.0

  • Duane Aakre

    So, most of the field of view increase seems to come from moving the lenses closer to the eye. What about those of us who were glasses? Will we still be at the same 110 degree we currently have with the Vive?

    • Rudl Za Vedno

      Yep, we’re F…ed.

      • Nick Herrick

        See my post above. Please don’t spread misinformation. It’s relative. It will be approximately 20 degrees better than Vive with the headset adjusted “for you”. so if you wore glasses in vive, then whatveer fov you experinced in vive, will be approximately 20 degrees better in Index, once you have adjusted it for you, and your glasses.

    • gothicvillas

      Tested channel guy wears glasses and he said FOV feels considerable bigger. Watch their hands on.

      • peteo

        also i’m sure there will be 3rd party lense inserts like on the vive

      • peteo

        also from polygon’s hands on:
        “According to Valve, the new headset offers a “typical user experience” field of view that’s 20 degrees larger than Vive. This is aided by a custom dual-element system in which the user can move the lenses themselves.

        For me, this means moving the lens right up to my spectacles. The effect is that I feel way more comfortable playing with my glasses on than I’ve ever felt with previous VR units. It’s a much more intuitive, rewarding design than the Vive’s setup of sliding the entire headset forward and backward. Plus, there’s no outside-the-headset light leakage to impede my virtual world”

    • Trip

      Similarly, what about those of us who went to super thin facial interface foam and already have the lenses of our Vive brushing our eyelashes?

      Partial answer, they say the lenses are canted outward 5 degrees or so on the Index, so we should see some improvement but probably less than the already underwhelming 20 degrees.

    • That’sright

      You’re not missing anything because that’s bull, my headset currently touch my eyelids and I don’t see a difference in fov.

    • Gonzax

      I wonder why they don’t offer prescription lenses inserts. It’s ok to make it comfortable for glasses but I’d still prefer to use inserts, not only for the bigger FOV but for convenience.

    • Nick Herrick

      No. It’s all relative. That’s why Valve worded it the way they did. “An increase of approximately 20 degrees fov for the average user.”

      So, if you experienced 90 degrees fov on Vive with your glasses on, and the headset adjusted properly, then you can expect approximately 110 degree fov on Index with it adjusted similarly.

      User without glasses that experiences a 110 degree fov on Vive without glasses can expect approx 130 degree fov on Index, with it adjusted “for them”.

    • Etailer

      prescription inserts

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Lots of God rays? This is very bad for €1079 ($1250) price tag. I’d expect way more from the headset to be willing to open my wallet.

  • Michael Hill

    Kinda surprised so many people say they are disappointed and then cite unrealistic feature sets that only exist in headsets that cost a several grand.

    This announcement was pretty much in line with my expectations and I’m pretty happy. I have about $1000 budgeted I’m going to blow on VR towards the end of the year and it’s going to the best set-up I can get for that price. So far the Index seems like the best bet but I have a few months to see if that changes.

    • Mike

      The reverb is much better and only $600 for the total package. Only downside is the controllers and slightly smaller FOV. But the Index controllers can be bought separately and used with the Reverb. 120 Hz would be nice, but is a minor thing, and would need an extreme GPU.

      • Ryan Lafave

        having just a higher resolution does NOT make the reverb better. The other improvements in the index with the displays and lenses will offer a top-notch visual experience far better than just a headset with only higher res.

        • Engineer_92

          I don’t think people are understanding the improvements made in Valve Index’s display. The low persistence and high frame rate will have a big impact on clarity

          • Mike

            Most people will have to turn their supersampling WAY down to hit 120 Hz, greatly reducing image quality. And I never noticed any persistence issues on Vive.

          • Engineer_92

            Well, according to the price, most people who buy the index should have the GPU to to handle the native 120 Hz.. Also, persistence isn’t an issue with Vive because of OLED panels. There are trade-offs for both OLED and LCD. Persistence used to be an issue with LCD panels, but it seems Valve has solved that problem. So on top of having more subpixels with an LCD screen along with effectively solving blur, the clarity should be greater than the Vive Pro

          • Rosko

            On my oculus black smear is really poor so i guess it would improve that.

          • Trip

            Wait are you sure about that comment on persistence not being an issue with OLEDs? I really had thought that it was still a thing with either technology but my memory could very well be wrong.

          • Cl

            Its kind of like how people think 60fps in games, or even 30, is perfectly fine,
            until they try 100fps. You dont notice it until you try something
            better.

          • Trip

            This is pretty much what I was going to say, but I don’t think that’s a very good example. I’d just say that regardless of the fact that you didn’t see an issue in this regard with your HMD you will be amazed at how much better it looks overall. I’m not saying compared to the Reverb, because I haven’t seen a direct comparison yet, but compared to say Vive Pro.

          • Rosko

            It depends what you play. I mostly play simulators & need as much resolution as i can get. So i would have to consider is it really worth it. Maybe if there was a bunch of vr games coming out on steam i might be swayed just to play those games but lets face it there isn’t.

        • Mike

          The ways in which the Index is visually better are less noticable than the ways the Reverb is better.

          I never noticed any of this “pixel blurring” they supposedly fixed. Worse god rays is a VERY bad thing. FPS greater than 90Hz is nice, but minor, and very GPU-intensive (even compared to 4K, since most people with good GPUs already supersample around 4K). 15 degrees more FOV isn’t much, and it may only be due to closer lenses, which the Reverb can surely match by using thinner padding.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Have you actually compared the Reverb to the Index? No.. You’re only basing your believe in the Reverb being better on written specs.. Maybe the Reverb displays are much worse, not as fast and not so good at representing colors.

          • Trip

            I don’t think I’d call that a sure thing without testing both side by side but you are probably essentially correct (depending on application). The general consensus seems to be that the Index is much better than it looks on paper.

      • Michael Hill

        I’m not sold on inside out tracking, especially not with only two cameras only facing forward, plus I don’t need 4k res, 1440 with good pixel layout seems good enough. So I was never really interested in Reverb. The main thing I care about is FOV, it the biggest thing I notice with every headset I’ve tried, swiveling my neck around rapidly and constantly shot by an enemy right next to me.

        Guess it’s good there are so many different headsets, it’s like buying a laptop, so many different features and trade offs in one package so everyone will always prefer something different.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        You do know you’ll need the basestations to be able to use the index controllers..

    • Andrew Jakobs

      I think most people here expected the whole set to cost around $600, not $999. You were expecting a more realistic price I guess (so did I)..

    • Lordken

      price is pretty bad imo. Its more expensive than gen1 right?
      Also base stations 2.0 were supposed to be much cheaper to manufacture yet they cost more than HTC 1.0 For 160eur I would expect two stations not one.
      Same for controllers more expensive then existing 1.0

      This is eventually only good deal for existing users which just replace their headset, but even then 550eur is not best deal.

      For new users this sucks. I was really looking forward to get index – was ready for ~600eur price but 1100eur for full kit is nogo and BS. May just get reverb even that I believe external tracking is superior.

      • Paul Ryan

        You get two base stations for that price.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          ‘only get two with the bundle’, like you need more for decend tracking.. the range of the 2.0 is much larger..

          • cryoburner

            What he means is that when buying them outside the bundle, the base stations cost upward of $150 each, instead of coming as a set of two, like when bundled with the headset.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            I understand, but lighthouses have always been expensive if you need to buy them again, and in most cases only 1 of them breaks (at a time), so having to buy them in a set of two doesn’t make it really logically.. But then again, these days you can buy standalone headsets from different brands which require lighthouse..

          • Paul Ryan

            It doesnt matter what the range is you’re still going to need two of them they cant track behind you.

        • Trip

          As mentioned above, the real kicker here that hardly anybody seems to be mentioning is that while developing Lighthouse 2.0 we were told repeatedly that one of the main reasons for the redesign was to significantly reduce the cost. So far we are definitely not seeing any reduced cost of the lighthouses passed down to the consumer.

      • cryoburner

        I agree that pricing is pretty bad. $500 for the headset alone might be “okay” as an upgrade for owners of the original Vive, but the accessory pricing really kills this.

        $280 for the controllers, which require another $300 worth of base stations to function, will ensure that these controllers only see limited support for the near future. Who is going to spend around $600 just to upgrade the controllers of another headset? A pair of base stations alone cost more than many Windows Mixed Reality headsets with their controllers combined. What happened to Valve’s suggestion that the new base stations would cost significantly less to manufacture than the old ones due to their simpler design? It seems the “VR tax” is still going strong at Valve. The markup on these devices must be substantial. This also ensures that we won’t see any budget-friendly VR kits bundled with the Index controllers anytime soon.

        If they want to charge $1000 for a premium headset bundle, that’s fine, but I would expect the headset to at least offer some groundbreaking feature at that price point. How about eye tracking? Make the headset worth $750 and add $250 for the base stations and controllers. Then make a budget headset more akin to the first-generation units, and charge closer to $500 for that bundled with the new controllers and base stations. High pricing arguably killed momentum for the first-generation consumer headsets, and I can’t see the Index doing much to get more people excited about VR.

        Even if some are fine with these prices, most will not be, and in turn developers will be less likely to support the extra features of the new controllers. Finger-tracking sounds cool, but how many developers are going to put much effort into something that only a tiny portion of VR users will be able to make use of? And if you can’t utilize the main features of the controllers in many games, what’s the point in paying a premium for them?

        I was hoping Index might be a sign of Valve finally recovering from this downward spiral they have been stuck in for years, but signs are not looking good. I would have thought Valve would want a widespread userbase for SteamVR as a way to promote their platform, especially in light of other companies like Epic getting more competitive lately, but it seems they haven’t woken up quite yet.

    • MW

      Price is absolutely unacceptable. For end user it will be around 1200usd for a pheripheral toy for pc. It will lower the sales by 50-70% comparing to 500-600usd price tag. It’s more than average cost of entire PC rig (not enthusiast but average user).

      It’s more than unacceptable, it’s idiotic.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        You’re being completely unrealistic. This is what the hardware costs at this point of time. Knowing Valve they’re not like Apple with 50+% profitmargin on the the hardware. That you’re not happy is something else but that’s more due to your own unrealistic expectation. The price is what it is if you want this kind of technology, yes in a year or so the price will drop because the costs for manufacturing will drop.
        Hell it would even sell much better if it would have a price of around $200, but that’s just unrealistic at this moment.
        The only thing idiotic here is your unrealistic expectation of what they should ask for the whole package. Mind you, if you already have a vive, you can get by for now with $499 for the headset alone..

        • MW

          Say what you want. For me, and many many others is just no deal. That’s the end of discussion for me.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            But then you are not the targeted group of people.. It’s also quite possible that they released it with this price so professionals will buy it to produce content for it, and later they drop the price so regular consumers will buy it.
            But to me you’re just unrealistic as the price is quite acceptable in regard to what is provided. It just cost a lot of money to produce stuff like this.

          • AJ_74

            If doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is truly the definition of insanity, then Valve is truly insane. What leads you to believe there is a market for a $1000 headset? We all understand that the Valves and Facebooks of the world can’t just give their products away. A child understands business economics enough to know that.

            What you seem to not be grasping is basic supply and demand. If there is little to no demand for a product, you can’t charge a premium and expect a sale. What you also don’t seem to be considering is how these companies have also monetized software. They get a cut of all software sales through their store. They make money on 1st-party-developed software. They make money on publishing and co-development. They make money on (GASP!) data collection and advertising within their respective platforms. Point being, they don’t actually need to make a profit on the hardware for the hardware to be profitable.

            Console makers learned this lesson years ago. Sony and Microsoft sell their consoles at cost or a loss at launch. They only start profiting on hardware later in their lifecycle as manufacturing and component costs decline. Even then, most of the profit comes from software sales and subscription fees. Think about that for a moment. Their product has actual demand, and they don’t launch trying to make a 2:1 or 3:1 profit off the hardware.

            Only Nintendo sells their hardware for profit at launch, but their hardware is much cheaper to produce than the competition’s and they don’t make nearly as much money off of digital sales and subscription fees. And again… demand. There’s tremendous demand for a new Nintendo console.

            If VR tech was a hot commodity, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It’s not. There’s almost zero demand for VR outside a small number of tech enthusiasts. The pricing/feature-set of 2nd-gen VR tech is not in line with demand. In fact, FREE is a lot closer to being in line with demand than the current pricing.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Well, yesterday showed clearly there is a market for a $1000 headset….. It’s sold out and backlogged at this time till september.. Even if they didn’t have that much units, it still proves you’re wrong.

          • AJ_74

            Here is the reply I made to another commenter making the same point. It perfectly applies to you as well:

            “You’re as delusional as Valve is. There is no overwhelming demand.

            A) They’re manufacturing these in-house, which means there are likely only going to be 10,000 or so available at launch. It shouldn’t be a shock that they’re already having to go into manufacturing round 2 to satisfy pre-orders.

            B) What happens when all of the 1 to 200,000 fervant PC VR enthusiasts with lots of disposable cash have already purchased an Index? Then who are they going to sell them to?

            C) Sony is by far the most successful VR manufacturer in terms of hardware sales and software monetization, and yet PSVR still isn’t profitable for them.

            You seem very naive about what it costs these companies to develop, manufacture and market these VR products. Any sales at all doesn’t equate to profit. They need to sell in the millions to make it profitable.

            Let me just restate, in case you missed it, that to date only 10 million VR headset from ALL MANUFACTURERS have been sold. That’s 10 million in 3 years, with Sony accounting for over 40%. If Sony isn’t profiting, you can be damn sure Facebook, HTC, HP, Samsung, Lenovo, and Acer aren’t either.

            I’m also pretty damn sure Valve won’t be profiting with a $1000 headset, no volume component discounts, and no manufacturing partnership to defray costs.

            That all being said, let us know when you’ve received your $1000 bargain/Valve Index. I’d love to know your thoughts on it.”

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Bullshit, PSVR is very profitable for Sony, thay’s why they are dedicated to support it on the PS5.
            And at the moment the valve index will have been bought by businesses/developers. VR is a long term business, but a lot of people here only look at it from a very closeminded shortterm view.
            For larger adoption things like the Quest and it’s ‘low’ price are needed because most people don’t have the GPU’s to drive even the current generation of headsets.

          • Tabp

            I’m here to laugh at how foolish you are, saying this after the $1000 headsets already sold out. Keep fantasizing about doom and gloom. Here in the real world, they can’t build enough headsets to satisfy the overwhelming demand.

          • AJ_74

            You’re as delusional as Valve is. There is no overwhelming demand.

            A) They’re manufacturing these in-house, which means there are likely only going to be 10,000 or so available at launch. It shouldn’t be a shock that they’re already having to go into manufacturing round 2 to satisfy pre-orders.

            B) What happens when all of the 1 to 200,000 fervant PC VR enthusiasts with lots of disposable cash have already purchased an Index? Then who are they going to sell them to?

            C) Sony is by far the most successful VR manufacturer in terms of hardware sales and software monetization, and yet PSVR still isn’t profitable for them.

            You seem very naive about what it costs these companies to develop, manufacture and market these VR products. Any sales at all doesn’t equate to profit. They need to sell in the millions to make it profitable.

            Let me just restate, in case you missed it, that to date only 10 million VR headset from ALL MANUFACTURERS have been sold. That’s 10 million in 3 years, with Sony accounting for over 40%. If Sony isn’t profiting, you can be damn sure Facebook, HTC, HP, Samsung, Lenovo, and Acer aren’t either.

            I’m also pretty damn sure Valve won’t be profiting with a $1000 headset, no volume component discounts, and no manufacturing partnership to defray costs.

            That all being said, let us know when you’ve received your $1000 bargain/Valve Index. I’d love to know your thoughts on it.

          • Caven

            The same thing happened with computers, cellphones, and GPS, and things didn’t change for any of those technologies overnight. Yet despite very high prices and limited market penetration, not only did all those devices eventually become indispensable to today’s society, they managed to basically merge into one device.

            Sure, it would be quite nice if VR was inexpensive, powerful, and everywhere, but that’s going to take time. The first commercial cellphone cost nearly $4000. For decades they were out of reach of the masses, yet now it seems like everyone has a cellphone these days and they’re far more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Like it or not, VR is going to take time, too.

      • Bob

        ” For end user it will be around 1200usd for a pheripheral toy for pc.”

        Describing VR as a “peripheral toy” already gives indication that this is hobby is not for you because you’re obviously not willing to take it seriously. Perhaps you should do something else that you believe is worth more of your time like watching movies on your smartphone? :)

        • MW

          I know people with many different, and very expensive hobbies. So what? Yes, VR HMD, for now (and for many years ahead) is a peripheral toy for PC/PS gamers – especially from marketing point of view. And wishful thinking of some VR enthusiast will not change that.
          “Perhaps you should do something else that you believe is worth” – nice… Are you in some cult, or something? This is just a toy. My answer is – get a life…

          • Bob

            But you’re commenting on Disqus on a VR website. Are you sure you’re not the one that needs to get a life? Why are you on here buddy?

          • MW

            So,you ARE treating VR like expensive hobby, a niche for small group of enthusiast? Big mistake.
            I’m not an enthusiast, I’m more important guy – consumer. I’m interested with this product, but it is not satisfactory. So, buddy, that’s my right because I have a power – a wallet.

      • Etailer

        Price is relative. I feel that it is a great price considering that it is a solid Gen 1.5 headset.

  • Rogue Transfer

    Disappointed not only in the res & pricing, but also in the article writer not remembering that the tracking is not done from the “outside-in”, but from the sensors “inside” the Index headset+controllers “out” to the Lighthouses.

    It would be better to just describe what is needed for tracking rather than using commonly misconstrued technical definitions in reverse. When comparing to tracking done by onboard cameras, it’d be clearer to everyone if the term ‘inside-out’ was avoided and just use the easily understood term: ‘onboard tracking’ to signify not needing external units.

    • IanTH

      Well, this fine reddit user did some digging and found that both Valve and Unity seem to categorize Vive tracking as “outside-in”.

      All I feel this proves is that there is so much confusion around these terms that not even those in the industry are on the same page :-p

    • Popin

      It’s amazing to me that writers who should certainly know better continue to conflate the directionality of tracking with the method of sensing. It’s not that hard.

      Optical Computer Vision (OpticalCV) can also be done both inside-out and outside-in. Rift uses outside-in OpticalCV tracking using multiple cameras to track the LEDs on the device(s). Rift S uses both inside-out and outside-in OpticalCV tracking. Inside-out with multiple cameras on the HMD, and outside-in for the controllers using the same cameras on the HMD.

      SteamVR Tracking uses inside-out using synchronized IR laser sweeps. Alan Yates, the inventor of the lighthouse technology has said on multiple occasions that it is inside-out tracking.

      What perspective is the tracking being done from? That is the directionality, inside-out vs outside-in.

      How is the tracking done? That is what is being incorrectly conflated.

      • benz145

        We’re not ignorant, but our audience (and the VR industry in general) uses these terms differently than you are. If that could be changed easily it would be nice, but, pragmatically speaking, it’s outside the scope of an article like this.

        • Tabp

          The reason those people in the audience are confused about the terms is they keep seeing them being misused. Why don’t you simply use internal or external? Did Facebook’s marketing department ask you to use their misleading terms?

    • brelstad

      TL;DR: Tracking is calculation and the calculation is done outside, hence Lighthouse is an outside-in solution.

      The term “tracking” refers to the place where the actual calculations (positional and rotational) are done.
      The term “Inside” refers the object being tracked, and “outside” loosely means everything surrounding it.

      The basestations sends out horizontal and vertical laserlines (infrared),
      and the sensors on the headset/controllers have several sensors that can detect the laser lines.

      Due to fact that the sensors are “inside, looking out” to the base stations,
      it could be viewed as an “inside-out in a way” solution.

      However, since the calculation (=tracking) is done outside, in the computer,
      Lighthouse in its current form is an outside-in solution.

      And this makes sense, no point using ASIC, FPGA or other expensive chips in the controllers when the outside
      computer already has a GPU ready for action.

      If Valve at some point decides to move the positional/rotational calculations into the headset/controllers,
      Lighthouse would be a full inside-out solution.

      • Tabp

        Lighthouse-based tracker devices can do the calculations themselves.

        Inside-out and outside-in refer to where the sensors are looking. They have nothing to do with calculations. By your logic, if I strapped a laptop to an Oculus Rift CV1, Constellation cameras would become inside-out.

        The PC is not ready for action, but instead busy with the game it’s running. The heavy load CV1 tracking puts on the PC is one of its major drawbacks.

        • Popin

          They don’t actually do the solve themselves. They do however have an ASIC called Watchtower that does the temporal translations to hand SteamVR on the PC an array of all of the sensors that registered a sweep after the sync pulse so the solve on the PC is significantly easier math.

          You are correct that inside-out or outside-in has nothing to do with where the calculations take place. It is the directionality of the reference frame that the calculations are done from. e.g. “where the sensors are looking” or another way of saying it, “where is the thing being tracked?”. OpticalCV inside-out tracking is “tracking” the features of the environment from the perspective of the HMD, just like how your optical mouse is tracking the features of the surface. SVRT is tracking the base station(s) location from the perspective of the HMD/Device

        • brelstad

          This is not my logic, this is a scientifically accepted fact.
          Tracking is the process where calcula

        • brelstad

          Tracking refers to the location of the calculations, not where some of the sensors are “looking”.
          This is not my logic, but a scientific fact, please refer to “https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/1046626” for correct information.

          Also, the position/rotation is calculated from many types of sensors, including IMUs which are “self-contained” and don’t have anything to “look” at.

          • Tabp

            “Sign in to Continue Reading” nope. The preview says nothing about the subject. We’re not talking about the definition of tracking in the first place, so you seem to be changing the subject.

            IMUs “look” at their own movement. Either way, the IMUs are clearly inside.

          • brelstad

            There is a free copy on of the mentioned report at “https://www.eecs.yorku.ca/course_archive/2005-06/F/4471/readings/cga02_welch_tracking-2.pdf”.

            The first word in my TL;DR section is “Tracking”.
            The first line in the full-text section starts with “The term ‘Tracking’ refers to…”.

            If you read my post again, you will discover that we are indeed talking about tracking.
            I’ve built an optical tracking system and I use the IMUs to calculate the tracking when optical tracking is blocked.

            IMUs uses gyroscope, accelerometers and magnetometers (some also use air-pressure sensors), 9 internal MEMS sensors in total (10 with air-pressure).
            These sensors also contributes to the tracking calculations.

            Which means they are not “looking” in any specific direction, hence tracking, using IMUs, is not inside-out or outside-in.

            Tracking is: using many different sensors and try to calculate the rotational/positional coordinates in a 3D space.

            If you need more information on IMUs and the MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) technologies used inside them,
            you can find it at: “https://community.arm.com/cfs-file/__key/telligent-evolution-components-attachments/01-1998-00-00-00-00-68-58/Whitepaper-_2D00_-An-Overview-of-MEMS-Sensors.pdf”.
            You don’t have to sign in to get it.

        • brelstad

          Tracking is defined as where the calculation takes place.
          This is not my logic, but a well defined scientific fact.
          Please educate yourself by reading more at “https://www.eecs.yorku.ca/course_archive/2005-06/F/4471/readings/cga02_welch_tracking-2.pdf”.
          It is free and open.

          My post was about tracking.
          The tracking solutions I’ve built have all been based on optical tracking,
          and assisted by IMUs when the optical sensors are blocked.

          IMUs don’t really “look” at anything, they are measuring gravity/acceleration, magnetic fields, etc.
          Hence, you can’t define tracking by where they are “looking”. Tracking is defined by where the calculations take place.

          And for the record, the CV1 uses IR cameras and a lot of the resources are used to filter images and extract information from them.

          • brelstad

            Agree?

  • Andrew Jakobs

    “We haven’t gotten an answer from Valve on why they opted not to include eye-tracking.”
    Uhm price? eye-tracking adds considerable expenses, and they propably didn’t have a good set that performed like they wanted. The headset is already a pretty hefty price, and to be honest, I expected more from Valve.. Ahwell, we’ll just wait until it drops in price and who knows..

    • gothicvillas

      That mod section in front.. wouldnt they be able to add eye tracking module somehow? Just a guess, don’t really know how it works.. I’m just little underwhelmed, I still want to upgrade my og vive but somehow Index didn’t set me on fire. Fck, still want it :D

      • Jistuce

        Eye-tracking needs to be able to see your eyes. That mod section in front has a solid plastic back. Even if it didn’t, there’s a bunch of electronics and two screens between it and the wearer’s eyes.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        I think the mod section in front is exactly the measurements of an leapmotion (which still is a shame they never released an updated version, but then again, the original works pretty good with the new software).

  • peteo

    “The outside-in tracking” technically lighthouse system is inside out tracking. The photo sensors (cameras) are on the HMD and controllers looking out to the base stations. PSVR is an outside in tracking same with the original rift.

    • dogtato

      This conversation happens a lot, but it is actually classified as an outside-in system. It shares the performance characteristics of outside-in systems, such as requiring external equipment and precision being lower the further away you are from said equipment. Lighthouses are a clever implementation of outside-in.

      • Popin

        It does happen a lot, and people still incorrectly conflate sensing method with directionality. Lighthouse is a marker-based inside-out tracking system.

        https://youtu.be/xrsUMEbLtOs?t=4m20s

  • JesperL

    Ahh.. Damn… It is exactly there in the grey area between a sure preorder, and a no go…
    Its better… but still too little.
    God rays sound bad, but I never gave it a thought on my old Vive, so not a big concern.
    I was hoping for a little better resolution, and not just a Vive Pro match.
    Also 130 FOV is ok, but this is not a guaranteed 130 FOV, its more like “if you cut your eyelashes, you might get lucky”??
    No word on weight and comfort? Comfort is a main reason I avoid Pimax..
    And then no wireless.. I really hoped for that.
    Last for me is price.. I would gladly pay 1K for a bit better than this. But its a hard sell, with that pricetag, and medium upgrades compared to the market..
    Need more reviews..

    • BonWOLF

      I think they will lower the price and include the new VR game. The price for the headset is fine ($499) but $249 for the controllers and $200 for some base stations is overpriced. I think they will drop it too $799 by the Holidays for the lot of it.

      • Miqa

        Agreed. While lighthouse might be best in class (consumer focused tracking), I can’t help fiding it outdated. Judging by the prices posted lighthouse bears a cost of at least $300. Think about that. In a system for $1000, the tracking alone is responsible for 30% of the cost. Tracking is something that needs to work, but other than that, it doesn’t really bring anything to the table. Imagine what they could have done with $300 more for the optics, screens or whatever. Better yet, just pass the savings on to the customer.

        • saintkamus

          Agreed. While lighthouse might be best in class (consumer focused tracking), I can’t help fiding it outdated.

          You’re not alone. Valve isn’t competing with computer vision from 2016, where they had a clear advantage over Oculus.

          Inside out tracking may not be the best for the total number of poses it can work on with out occlusion, but it’s far more practical and should have been included as a fallback.

          • jinngonqui

            Actually, bad tracking, dead zones, etc are bigger immersion breakers than less additional resolution or FoV. Those are already in non-techy-folks’ happy place; they’re no what those folks complain about. Those same folks jump ship super fast when the FPS drops or the tracking stinks even a little. If you use it other than entertainment, then those concerns are top-of-the-list, big time. Even Rift tracking stinks by comparison, hands down. The lighthouses aren’t just another chunk of hardware on the price-list, they’re an integral solution to a major part of the system as a whole.

      • The Bard

        Most people need to buy controllers and base station, so…

    • Leon Jimenez

      My favorite thing about my Pimax is the comfort and what I hated about my Vive (both with the Deluxe Audio Strap ).

    • Nepenthe

      I’m a dude, what use do I have for eyelashes? Of course, cutting them safely could be tough…

    • Jistuce

      “Also 130 FOV is ok, but this is not a guaranteed 130 FOV, its more like “if you cut your eyelashes, you might get lucky”??”

      They actually CAN’T guarantee a given field of view angle, because field of view is dependent on the geometry of the eye space. It changes with distance from the lens, and thus varies from user to user. If they told me I could get a 130-degree field of view, they would be lying once the lens distance was dialed out to make room for my glasses(assuming that the distance CAN be adjusted far enough to accommodate glasses).

      Basically, they’re trying to be honest.

      • JesperL

        I know – I just wanted like a 130 minimum.
        They compete against the 150+ with Pimax.

        • superdonkey

          with pimax you have regular 16:9 rectangular LCD screens, the index has 4:3 square screens. that immediately puts me off.
          but yeah pimax quality is poor.

      • peteo

        “If they told me I could get a 130-degree field of view, they would be lying once the lens distance was dialed out to make room for my glasses(assuming that the distance CAN be adjusted far enough to accommodate glasses)”

        The key here is the lenses themselves can be moved away or closer. This makes it so face shape does not matter and you have a high chance even with glasses on getting that extra 20 degree.. With the Vive the whole HMD moves in or out. Also with Pimax there is no adjustment you have to use different face pads.

        Also there are already companies working on prescription lens inserts for the index. I have them on the Vive and they work great and you do not lose any FOV https://widmovr.com/product/valve-index-prescription-lens-adapters/

    • Haliff Roslan

      i am gonna cut trim my eyelashes if it means 20 degree more fov
      no eye tracking means its not gen 2 hmd by any means

    • Jonathan Winters III

      Haha! Yeah. My CV1 has 130FOV, because I tighten it to my face – so close that my eyelashes sometimes touch the lenses.

    • Evol Love

      Pimax 5k/8k is quite nice with a HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap attached.

    • Hans Wurst

      How can it have godrays when it’s not using fresnel lenses?

  • NooYawker

    This sound pretty good but I’m not buying anything until they release their flagship VR game. Content is still lacking for existing users to pay out on a new device.
    If this were my first VR device then I’d happily buy it.

  • Pizzy

    Starting to regret selling my second wireless Gear Lens modded Vive. Damn Valve kind of disappointing info dump. I will still probably buy the Headset and Controller sku. I preordered a Quest today lol.

  • Dynastius

    I sold my Rift a few months ago figuring I could get more out of it at that time and go without for a few months and upgrade to one of the upcoming headsets.

    But so far I’m really disappointed by everything that’s been released or we have specs for:

    HP Reverb looks great except it’s saddled with the standard 2 camera inside out tracking of all Windows MR headsets

    Rift S – Finally good inside out tracking…but only software IPD and a very modest resolution boost over Rift.

    Quest – Love the idea of it being so easy to setup / use…but I’m nto crazy about the limited processing power for visuals.

    Index – $1000 (!?) for the feature set given here just doesn’t make sense to me. If Index had a bit higher resolution and eye tracking, I’d go for it even though I’d prefer robust inside out tracking.

    My last hope (for now) is the Cosmos….no idea if it will have the right combination of features and price for me though.

    • Jistuce

      Honestly, as quiet as HTC is being about Cosmos, I’m thinking there’s something seriously wrong with it. That or they just don’t want to be caught between Valve’s and Facebook’s marketing engines.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      I think the Cosmos will propably have the same displays as the Index.

      • Dynastius

        I think it may have the same displays as the Reverb because on the Cosmos page it says it will have their highest resolution display of any headset they have made so far. Crossing my fingers for that.

    • AJ_74

      I’m in the same boat. It’s frustrating, to say the least, but at the end of the day I believe it all comes down to one thing: VR manufacturers are still riding the VR hype train, seemingly unaware that it has derailed.

      In 2016, analysts predicted 80 million total VR headsets sold by 2020:

      https://news.ihsmarkit.com/press-release/technology/consumer-spending-virtual-reality-entertainment-hit-33-billion-2020-ihs-mar

      It’s now Spring 2019 and that number is well under 10 million, on pace for less than 15 million by 2020 (assuming continued market growth, which is highly suspect):

      https://www.statista.com/statistics/671403/global-virtual-reality-device-shipments-by-vendor/

      10 million total VR headsets sold in 3 full years, with Sony accounting for more than 40%. That’s abysmal. Pardon the pun, but there’s virtually no demand for VR outside the echo chamber you, I and other VR enthusiasts dwell in.

      Each headset you listed has serious flaws (pricing and/or feature-set) because they’re all designed and priced with hardware profit margins that aren’t justified by demand, especially considering each company has monetized software through first-party development, publishing and/or royalties.

      The strategies may seem vastly different, but they’re really just two sides of the same coin.

      Oculus is making 2 cheap-to-manufacture headsets and selling them at 2:1 margins. That’s why the Rift S doesn’t have hardware IPD adjustment or high-resolution panels, and why the Quest has a 2-year-old Snapdragon 835 powering it and a paltry 64GB of storage (on the base model). The storage on Quest isn’t upgradable, surprise surprise. Instead, fork out another $100 if you want to double it, just like the premium smartphone market (except that there’s actual demand for premium smartphones). In reality (again, pardon the pun), we should be getting the best of both headsets in one $499 package.

      HTC and Valve are designing premium VR headsets and pricing them closer to 3:1 margins, though they’re also cutting corners to preserve profit. HTC is still bundling the awful 1st-gen Vive Wands, while Valve is bringing us a $1000 headset with LCD panels (they might be great LCD panels, but great OLED panels are always better).

      And then there’s HP and Acer, bringing us 1st-gen WMR tracking and controllers with a resolution bump that still doesn’t justify the price.

      I wouldn’t hold out any hope whatsoever for Vive Cosmos. HTC is the leading the pack with their delusions. A full year after release, a Vive Pro bundle that includes Vive controllers and base stations (as in the original black wands and 1.0 base stations) still costs $1100.

      Notice I haven’t mentioned Sony, our real last hope to save VR. I believe that so strongly I’ve decided to sell my gaming PC gear (Rift headset included) to finance a PS4 Pro, PSVR bundle ($299 for headset, camera, controllers and 2 of the best games available in Borderlands 2 VR and Beat Saber) and 65″ 4K HDR TV. I might even throw in a new recliner with the money I save.

      PS5 and PSVR 2.0 are the only next-gen VR tech in my future.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        You really think the Oculus Rift S and the Quest have a profit margin of 50%? and HTC and valve 66%? They’re not Apple.. I think they profit margin, especially with valve, isn’t even 10-20%..

        • AJ_74
          • dsadas

            yeah man, I always find it weird how much vr headset costs. pocophone f1 has 8 gb of ram, Snapdragon 845, 256 GB memory, 4000 mah battery, fingerprint sensor, 3 high resolution cameras/ high quality cameras and costs $299 dollars yet a oculus rift s costs 399$ without having any of these. EXPLAIN! And this stands true to most of them… especially vive pro. Something like rift s should cost $200 AT BEST. I think rift s margins are like 2.5 to 1.

      • Bob

        From Oculus Rift to PSVR? You have very strange tastes don’t you?

        • AJ_74

          What’s strange about liking great VR content (which PSVR has in spades), great value ($299 complete, and then some) and investing in the VR ecosytem I plan to stay in for the next 5-10 years?

          Sony is the only company not miserably failing their VR customers right now, and they’re committed to VR for the foreseeable future. I don’t mind supporting and reinforcing their efforts with my hard-earned dollars.

          Maybe this seems strange to someone that’s blindly loyal to PC, values graphic fidelity above all else, or has unlimited disposable income. I’m not blindly loyal to PC. I don’t value graphics above all else. I don’t have unlimited disposable income.

          I wanted to choose Quest, but Facebook purposely omitted a video input for PC connectivity that would have cost them next to nothing out of sheer greed. I also wanted to choose Index but, again, sheer greed.

          PC VR companies are committed to screwing the captives. I’m no longer one them.

      • Tiny Rick

        The only VR headset I own is the PSVR. It’s been a great headset and I’m glad Sony is pushing VR forward. I’m currently looking for a VR headset for the PC and so far I’m leaning towards the Rift S.

      • dsadas

        yeah, I will wait until early 2021 when sony are very probably going to release psvr 2.0. Seeing what a success psvr 1.0 was for them despite being a shit headset, than I think now they will put good money in the next one. I expect minimum 2k per eye, 140 fov, inside out tracking with at least 5 cameras. Would not surprise me if we get 4k per eye with eye tracking and wireless.

    • Francesco Fazio

      Same boat here dude. I still have my Rift though. I am very disappointed by these new models (Rift S, Valve Index and Hp Reverb). All of them have some big drawbacks which makes me staying away from upgrading.

      First of all they are not wireless which is dumb really really dumb. Still having to mess up with a cable that wraps around you and ruins totally the immersion.
      I am playing wireless with my Rift using Tpcast modded with opentpcast and it works like a charme I could never go back to the stupid cable … the freedom the wireless gives you it is incomparable.

      – Rift S has very little improvement on graphics and still has the cable
      – Valve Index has a little improvement on graphics, still has the damn cable and does not have inside out tracking.
      – Hp Reverb. Great boost of graphics quality (2160×2160 per eye) but it is not wireless still needs you to be tethered to the PC with a cable.

      How is it possible on earth there is not even ONE HMD that represents a real concrete improvement ?

      • Bob

        Get Xtal if you have money.

        • Francesco Fazio

          You cant be serious Bob. For 6000 dollars I want something that brings me to the moon. 6000 dollars LOL those people are a joke

          • Bob

            That’s why I said if you have money which in my own personal terms means “you’re filthy rich”. If you don’t then settle with Oculus products or better yet Google Cardboard.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        You’re serious? you expect a headset of $499 to be wireless (connected to a PC)?
        Yes they can add wireless, hell they can add anything, but every enhacement makes the headset more expensive. It’s not like the parts and research doesn’t cost anything..
        You can have the best headset you can dream of for multiple thousands of dollars (but don’t forget to also add thousands of dollars an advanced GPU’s to drive those displays)..

        • dsadas

          yes he is serious…. gave himself said 2 years and a half ago in 2018 we will have wireless headsets. And yes, vr headset are overpriced as fuck… pocophone f1 has 8 gb of ram, Snapdragon 845, 256 GB memory, 4000 mah battery, fingerprint sensor, 3 high resolution cameras/ high quality cameras and costs $299 dollars yet a oculus rift s costs 399$ without having any of these. EXPLAIN! And this stands true to most of them… especially vive pro. Something like rift s should cost $200 AT BEST. I think rift s margins are like 2.5 to 1. Vive pro probably 3 to 1.

        • AJ_74

          Uhh… how much do you think it would have cost them to include a USB-C video input if it had been designed that way from the get go? $3? If they bundled a cable, $8? From a strictly manufacturing cost standpoint, it would have been nominal. From an engineering standpoint, it would have been child’s play. The headset already has everything it needs to function as a PC VR headset, save for the intentionally omitted video input and some additional software functionality.

          When you consider that even smartphone-based VR systems like Gear VR and Daydream can be hacked to work with SteamVR via USB cable, you know the powers at Facebook have gone to great lengths to make sure Quest couldn’t.

          Would they need to charge $499 for a Quest that could interface with PC to preserve the existing Quest’s hardware margins? Hell no. They could charge $429 and it would be the same margin. At the end of the day they could have charged $499 and actually increased their margin, and would have sold at least as many Quest headsets, if not many more (I strongly believe it would be many more).

          Better still, they could have made it a hybrid headset with a much more powerful AND more power-efficient Snapdragon 855 and 128GB of storage as standard and preserved their current margins at a $499 price point. Not only would I buy it without hesitation, many other people who (like me) aren’t buying Quest would have as well.

    • CHEASE

      There’s another lenovo headset that looks like the reverb but with physical IPD.

    • markiej

      Yeah – I’m on a measly Odyssey (not-plus), and even though I not only have the cash for this, and a PC which could possibly take advantage of the 120hz displays (on many games), this doesn’t feel like enough of an upgrade to be worth it. My next headset will have a significantly wider FOV, resolution, and some sort of foveated rendering. I actually Oculus is onto something with their latest offerings – easy-to-use headsets for every-day consumers at attractive prices. And since a lot of experiences/games will run pretty well on 1060-class GPU’s, the cost of entry is even less. Gotta get the overall numbers up before we can start to see the big investment required to give us a true next-gen experience.

  • polysix

    GOD RAYS are a killer in VR.
    Bad black levels are killer in VR.

    Index has increased both of this anomoiles? Ima pass and stick with rift CV1 for now.

  • Trenix

    God rays is why I stayed away from VR. $1,000 for even worse god rays? That’s a deal breaker.

  • Trip

    @roadtovr Hey guys, this article is missing a major component! A subjective analysis of this headset vs. others to help us decide whether or not to buy it! I want to upgrade, and at the moment my choices are Index or Pimax 5K+. I feel a lot more comfortable with the index in terms of being sure compatibility won’t be an issue but for the price of the Index I don’t know what to do. =(
    PS- Also you told us about the increased reflections, but you didn’t say how the overall god ray situation compares to other headsets (again, looking for subjective opinion here).

    • Kev

      with all the firmware updates the pimax has become really, really good. They’ve come a long way since it’s release.

      • Trip

        Thanks Kev, I’m more and more thinking I’ll go a few more months pinching pennies and go for the 5K+. I do think (based on Ben being really impressed and Tested’s comments etc.) that a lot of people here are missing the fact that apparently the super low persistence etc. apparently add up to an exceptionally good experience that’s it seems is not easy to quantify in a way that people can relate to without trying it.

        • Trip

          Also funny thing, I LOVED the headphones on these until I suddenly realized they won’t work for me. Much of my time in VR is spent on my motion simulator and I depend on the headphones to block out the mechanical and electrical sound of it working.

          • cryoburner

            Sound-isolating covers could likely be installed over them. Valve apparently wants third-parties to produce accessories for the headset, and something like that seems like a logical addition.

          • Trip

            Well I bought it so I suppose I’ll find out! I’ll just have to crank the volume up to hearing damage levels to drown out the motion sim noise. =P I did this with speakers at one point and it wasn’t too bad.

        • Kev

          I think an ideal setup at the moment would be a 5k+ with the Valve knuckles controllers. I think those controllers are a massive upgrade on the HTC ones. Btw for sims the 5k+’s horizontal pixel layout is super useful, I wonder what the index layout is like.

          • Trip

            That’s exactly the setup I’m looking at. What I care about most is Sim flight and Sim racing, but I’ve got a bunch of “regular” VR games waiting for me that I dug in and refused to play until I can ditch the horrid Vive controllers. Knuckles are a given for me, the headset is the trick. I don’t like relying on PiPlay and worry about quality. Performance is always an issue too, I have “only” a normal 1080 not a ti, but it’s overclocked at least.

          • Trip

            I’m going back and forth on this like crazy. The last thing I need is another layer of software to worry about; as it is I’m running the sim game (DCS, XP11, P-Cars), through SteamVR with OpenVR Input Emulator using Vive Tracker data to compensate for the motion of the simulator, plus Ian’s BFF 6DOF software to run the motion simulator itself, and SimShaker software to run the tactile transducers. Adding PiPlay to that scares me. Maybe I really should just suck it up and order the Index HMD + Controllers but Pimax 5K, damn that FOV looks amazing and everyone says the god-rays and SDE are excellent on it.

          • Jordy

            I think ideal setup at the moment would be HP Reverb with Valve knuckles and base stations for tracking.

          • Kev

            Once you have the high field of view it’s impossible to go back. I tried the reverb and it’s basically the regular small fov – a non starter for me. It’s also basically the same res as a 5k+.

          • Jordy

            5k+ have 2*2560*1440 screens and 200 degrees FOV, that means 2*2560/200 = 25.6 pixels / degree horizontal.
            Reverb have 2*2160*2160 screens and 114 degrees FOV =>
            2*2160/114 = 37.8 pixels / degree horizontal
            I have no idea what is the vertical FOV for both headsets but let’s say it’s 100 degrees, that means:
            5k+ – 1440/100 = 14.4 pixels / degree vertical
            Reverb – 2160/100 = 21.6 pixels / degree vertical
            More pixels / degree means less SDE and a better image clarity.
            Now, depends of your preference, if you want higher FOV Pimax 5k+ or 8K is the only choice afaik but if you prefer a clearer image and you don’t have any issue with the current FOV on Rift/Vive, HP Reverb is better.

        • FireAndTheVoid

          Trip, I’ve got the 5K+ and I would be hesitant to recommend it to you without you trying it first. I’ve been into VR for years. I have the OG Vive, Vive Pro, Samsung Odyssey, and Pimax 5K+. The only headset that I’ve had issues with is the 5K+.

          My primary complaint is that, in order to achieve a wider FOV, Pimax sacrificed the headset’s binocular overlap. Binocular overlap is the region of the image which both eyes can see at once and which gives the sensation of depth in VR. Pimax reduced it from 110 degrees (in traditional headsets) down to 70 degrees. 70 degrees is smaller than it sounds. For me it’s about four widths of my fist at arms-length. It caused my brain to have difficulty fusing the two images into a single image and caused a general feeling of discomfort – it feels almost like I am cross-eyed.

          My second complaint is that even at the medium setting (150 FOV), where warping at the edges is not supposed to happen, I can still easily detect warping when moving my head from side-to-side. After forcing myself to spend time in it for upwards of 30 minutes, my brain started to get used to these features but at the cost of eye strain and the beginnings of a headache. When I took of the headset, the real world looked weird because my brain had adapted to the view in the headset.

          I seem to be in the minority on this one. I have found a few Reddit threads where people experience the same discomfort that I do. But it seems that most people don’t notice these shortcomings. However, since you are about to drop $1000 on a new headset, I thought you should know what you are getting into if you go with Pimax. I do know that the Valve index does sacrifice a little binocular overlap in order to achieve higher FOV (maybe because the screens are canted away from each other by 5 degrees), but I expect Valve has done a better job in general.

          My recommendation is to see if you can try out the Pimax first before you buy it. If you go with the Index, you are probably safe.

          • Trip

            That is extremely helpful, thank you. I actually had the “cross-eyed” issue when I tried the old Pimax 4k. After spending much of the night reading forums and watching videos I decided to go with the Valve Index as it’s a much safer (if less exciting) bet. I also think that this particular article has given people the wrong impression of the Index. Ben says that he came away very impressed which for him is saying something, and UploadVR’s article on the Index is a glowing review. Tested also was very impressed, the one that actually tried the Index said he’s pretty sure he’s going to buy it. I wish the FOV were bigger, but if you stop and think about it there’s probably a reason Valve decided not to go that route and maybe you just revealed it.

            Anyway digging a little deeper on the internet revealed that a lot of people have had a lot of complaints about the 5K+. Not everyone by any stretch, but enough to make me feel justified in being worried that it might not be a good choice for me.

            I’m really happy to support Valve’s efforts to push for a better VR headset instead of a cheaper or more convenient one.

    • That’sright

      Pimax got a next gen fov so yea pimax

    • benz145

      Hey Trip, we try not to give firm recommendations until we can do a full review (which means having the headset in our hands and allowed to test it however we want). The context of this article is that Valve was controlling what content we saw, and what we could do with the headsets, which is why this is a hands-on/preview and not a review.

      I was mostly using Vive and Vive Pro as the basis for comparisons, and while I still need to get a real side by side with them and Index, my feeling was that the internal lens reflections were as bad or maybe a little worse than what’s seen on Vive/Vive Pro.

      As for Index vs. Pimax—again, tough to say definitely before a full review, but my feeling is that Index is going to win on clarity by a good bit, and the excellent built-in speakers are a great benefit over Pimax which currently relies on a separate audio solution. That said, the jump to Pimax FOV is big, so it depends how much you value that over clarity.

      • Trip

        Thanks for the reply Ben, that makes sense. I don’t mean to criticize seeing as you are my favorite VR columnist but it seems like the resolution spec, the comment on the god rays, and the overall impression that the FOV increase is pretty small and possibly near nonexistent for some users caused people to forget about the headline and your comment that you were very impressed. That comment seems counter to the god rays description so maybe there needs to be a reminder in that paragraph that the net result was still a big step forward visually? I assume that is the case based on your headline and statement that you “came out very impressed”.

      • VRMAN66

        Please, tell me which form of FOV was in Valve Index – symmetrical (vertical and horizontal FOV are about the same) or elongated (horizontal FOV is more than vertical)?

      • KOSTANTINOS KOD

        Clarity? You mean index uses all the screen? If not its the same low ress crap that already exist.

  • That’sright

    Disappointed I thought they would give us next Gen fov, the binocular fov in these headsets are gimmicky to me now.

  • Trip

    Love the sound solution. Ok with the resolution. Not sure about the FOV improvement. Worried about god rays. Ben said he “came out very impressed” though, so apparently the bevy of little improvements add up to something substantial despite the god rays.

    • Popin

      Multiple other individuals from the hands on noted a marked improvement in regards to god rays specifically in games that are dark with high contrast elements. Norm from Tested mentioned a few times how impressed he was with the optics

  • MW

    Reading, reading, reading… 1000USD!!!! Bye:)

    • Andrew Jakobs

      same fov? I guess you didn’t read it at all, and LCD might acually be even better than OLED in a lot of regards, OLED isn’t perfect, many previous headsets already shown that. But ofcours the price is pretty hefty, but that’s propably what it costs to manufacture it with only a small profitmargin (not like the 50+% Apple has on it’s hardware).

      • MW

        Yes. same fov. Trick with getting lens closer to eyes is a joke. LCD is step back=HMD should be cheaper. It’s more expensive. Sorry dude, but you not convince me.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Who says this LCD is a step back? have you actually seen the LCD in action or are you just basing it on your thought of older LCD panels? LCD doesn’t mean it’s gonna be cheaper, high quality LCD screens based on newer technologies might be actually more expensive than OLED (which also isn’t flawless).
          And it’s not a trick, the lenses are optimized so the screens can get closer, which widens the FOV..

          • MW

            Man, if you want this thing – buy it, is’t your money. I do not care about general statements about LDC. For me it’s absolutely not worth this ridiculous price. I can do the exact same thing on hardware which is 3x cheaper (like first Oculus).

          • Andrew Jakobs

            No you can’t do exact the same thing on hardware which is 3x cheaper (otherwise I could also say, my forte VFX-1 from 1995 can also do exactly the same….)

            And look, it’s sold out already……. So I guess a lot of people thought the price wasn’t ridiculous…

          • VRMAN66

            Valve have same maximum FOV as Vive, same lens diameter, its just give you more deep eye relief adjust. Just wear Vive without face cover and its will same.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            It’s a completely different lensdesign…

          • JustNiz

            Still got a Fresnel element though. That badly needs to go.

  • Jistuce

    I’m impressed that Gabe’s pubes can have opinions, much less share them.

  • immersive_computing

    Did Valve learn nothing from the Vive release…3 years with no Valve content except for “The Lab” (a series of short demos)?

    Content is King. Shiny new headset, no content from Valve. Do we replay the same old games we’ve already played?

    Valve should have released at least 1 title with the Index. Otherwise why should i spend nearly £1000 on their VR kit? This is much more disappointing than any issues with resolution, god gays, lack of wireless….

    • JesperL

      I agree. But I also think, that if they deliver a super title in like 6 months, then it will still work, just with a delayed effect.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      The Index isn’t released yet, and they already said they will release a game when the headset actually ships.. but they are tight lipped on the title.. My guess it will be Portal VR (and not like many ofcourse scream, HL3VR).

  • oompah

    nice nice nice
    but speakers should have been bone conduction ones
    Also
    1. some balancing weight should have been provided at back side of head , mechanics , u know can be bitchy.
    2. A USB-c port addl. should be there for..
    3. Connecting to an backside attachable game compute unit or a mobile phone to make the device stand alone:
    a. The game compute unit can be developed in future , it can use snapdragon etc
    proc with steam loaded on it to run games directly , also it will have the benefit to
    replace & upgrade the game compute unit whenever required.
    b. The mobile phone connectivity , if provided, can be very useful so that google’s
    games, youtube VR videos , any other ;-) vr videos can be played within.
    4. Should come with a free game (or 2). Top ones say Elder scrolls VR
    5. In future develop light weight sliding goggles inside a helmet like device that user wears on head ( as of pilots of fighter airplanes).
    i. The job of sliding goggles should only be to reflect images from inside
    ii. The images should be projected from sides
    iii. The images should be built using small RGB lasers or as in hololens
    iv. The helmet can have holes so that air conditioning can take effect
    v. If its structure & safety is similar to real helmets then these can also be used while
    driving / travelling so that google maps etc can work (or as in movie terminator) to
    give info about places, people or events.

  • Muckylittleme

    Disappointed. It is too expensive for the spec.
    Also SD noticeable and God rays?
    How does it compare with Pimax 5K+ re clarity, FOV, SD, etc?

  • JesperL

    What I REALLY need right now, is more previews/reviews/testimonials before that damn preorder opens.

    I am really interested, but they did not present a MUST Preorder version here.
    Why the hell are they not smart enough to discribute test versions to the biggest VR youtubers, so we could get som honest input?

  • Tabp

    Lighthouses are inside-out, not outside-in. It appears you meant internal and external instead. Inside-out and outside-in refer to the directionality of the sensor elements, not the presence or absence of external markers.

    Also, I’ve heard people claim that the god rays depend on the adjustable lens positioning. Can you comment on whether repositioning the lenses affects them?

    • dz11

      Nearly every single vr publication calls it outside-in tracking on the Index. Why do they always get it wrong?

  • Mrfox Babbit

    Man, I kept expectations very low on this and price completely aside I’m still on the fence. Maybe once hype drops and solid reviews are in and knuckles games mature…. ehhh and those god rays though… kind of a last gen deal breaker right there. I dunno, we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • gothicvillas

    I waited eagerly on Valve to drop info. Now I’m confused. Not sure if to get Pimax 5k or Index + index controllers. I’m on og Vive now.

    • Cless

      I’m in the same place as you. No OLED is problematic. I will wait for the reviews to hear about the contrast on the Index compared to OLED and then decide… The index controllers are a no brainer though.

  • That’sright

    So the resolution is Same as vive and the fov is the same, so what did they upgrade?

    • Engineer_92

      Try reading

    • benz145

      Resolution is the same on paper, but because they went to LCD there are more sub-pixels which, in a way, means higher resolution, and also better fill factor.

      I believe the FOV in general is a bit higher than Vive (all things the same), plus the ability to bring the lens very close to your eyes means many users will be able to achieve even higher FOV than would be possible with the Vive.

  • Francesco Fazio

    @Ben “Hands-on: Valve’s Index Headset Sets an Impressive New Bar for VR Fidelity”

    The only impressive thing in this piece of junk is the price really. Valve deeply disappointed me.

    • benz145

      Sure, that would be impressive too, if it existed, but this article is about what does exist and is available presently.

      • Erilis

        For me, pass through front cameras are my biggest hope for having a keyboard visible for virtual desktop. 960 x 960 I think I heard, not anything anyone seems to care to report about. Any camera earlier, especially for WMR haven’t been enough to see what it says on the keys. FragmentVR is what I hope to be using. I mean, any hope for doing any kind of productivity in VR has to start with a keyboard. Do you think we have any hopes for a keyboard in VR, Ben?

  • Tiny Rick

    “Valve is saying that they plan to release a “flagship VR game” at some point this year”
    HL3 confirmed!

  • Randy

    Cant beat Pimax 5k plus at the moment, with its wide FOV and clarity. Once you experience the wid FOV, its difficult to go back to 110 degrees FOV. Will purchase
    Oculus Quest for it mobility and ease of use.

  • Trip

    After thinking hard on it for about 24 hours I decided to go for it (HMD+Knuckles). Wasn’t able to get my order to go through until 17 minutes after purchases went live due to technical issues which I assume were caused by too many people trying to purchase at once. Ben and Tested seemed to indicate the headset was exceptional, and though I really want the FOV of the Pimax I don’t think I want to risk having issues from going outside the mainstream.

  • Well, this thing is looking to me like a much better option than anything from Oculus.

    Not everyone is interested in using a cheap piece of shit for VR.

    If you strap something to your face it had better be damn good… and probably expensive. Those are your only eyes. Just sayin.

  • VF

    After these announcements I decided to stay with the Rift CV1 for the short term.

    In 6-12 months we’ll have more reviews available on the hardware and see how things are improving on the software side. In case you already have a reasonably working VR setup, the best choice may be to hold on your money this time.

    For those worried about the pace of VR adaption: It depends on the availability of affordable and reliable hardware and a quality software library. For that respect Oculus is doing the right thing. It has the side effect of disappointing most VR enthusiasts with their specs. We are just not the marker they are targeting.

  • VRFan

    1.85 ms illumination time on the Vive; is the Vive Pro the same?

  • The Bard

    2160k x 2160k OLED is what it is missing. Also lighthouse thing is a nonsense. 5 cameras would be way better.

  • CHEASE

    I want a company to release a truly high end headset. $1500 for the headset alone. 4k+ resolution, 120 hz, eye tracking, half of the weight and size of current headsets. People buy $1500 headphones and call them a bargain. This is a bit too safe of a move from valve to get me excited.

  • Bjørn Konestabo

    Still Fresnel lenses, so there will be God rays. I’m disappointed.

  • KOSTANTINOS KOD

    Lcd , straps,overlapping , 500$ for valve controls,the words -weight and black- are a taboo ,everywhere you see it.. OK..
    We are gonna get crap tech so they can resell after a while..

    • KOSTANTINOS KOD

      120-144hz refresh rate ,LOL i think they are hand to hand with nvidia on that resell better next year.

  • Harold T

    So with this resolution, what monster card do you need to run this thing? In my Vive, my eye lashes already feel close to the lenses, so I’m curious about how much better this will be. Seems like an incremental improvement, but the software choice still lacks depth. It’s not enough for me to dole out $500+ for an upgrade to gather dust on because the games aren’t captivating.

  • Thanks for the amazing review, as always!

    It’s strange that TESTED guys told that there are no god rays and you say there are more than expected…

  • That’s a great review. When I read about the 144 Hz display I thought “but…why?”. Then reading this and the other reviews, I got that it is indeed incredibly important to have more comfort and a more immersive VR

  • Trenix

    Am I the only one that believes this headset will be extremely uncomfortable by looking at it?

  • Hans Wurst

    How can the headset have increased internal reflections if it doesn’t use fresnel lenses? Care to explain.

  • Ellie 187

    Ok i’m convinced.. i’m going to upgrade to the Index… very exciting.

  • KOSTANTINOS KOD

    Yeeeeaa that 70hz oled Xtal and that amoled starvr will be trash now vs this amazing 144hz screen.

    • LOL you toddle off and buy your LCD headset with fresnel artefacts… XTAL has the best display of ALL headsets.

  • Virtual Fairy

    Valve is right to focus on outside in tracking and not prematurely switch to inside out tracking.

    I have two Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and an Oculus Quest.

    And the tracking, is not good. While improved on the Quest, it is far away from what it should be. And I have run into lost tracking hundreds of times now on Quest. Inside out tracking needs to be many times better than is what is on the Quest for it to be a viable option, especially for home, room scale VR. While it may be the only option for portable VR, desktop VR deserves better. Inside out tracking, at least on the level that Quest is limited to, is an exercise in frustration. A huge downgrade over outside in.

    I feel like inside out evangelists are setting people up for irritation and disappointment. As from personal experience, the inside out tracking is simply nowhere near “good enough” to be an adequate replacement for outside in. Its limitations are very obvious and very frustrating. And do not, by any means, compensate for the ‘hassle’ of setting up sensors around your playspace.

  • JustNiz

    > Index Sets an Impressive New Bar for VR Fidelity

    No it REALLY doesn’t. Why have you totally ignored the Pimax which has already been out for ages, and has a MUCH higher PPI and FOV?

  • david vincent

    “an Impressive New Bar for VR Fidelity”
    With grey blacks ? Yeah, surely !