The Valve Index headset is more expensive and less user-friendly than its nearest competitor, the Oculus Rift S, but the experience it offers is the clear choice for VR enthusiasts who want to maximize immersion. Read on for our full Valve Index review to learn if this headset is for you.

As usual, we’ll start up top with a high level review summary followed up with an in-depth review further down. [Note: this review is an expansion and refinement of our previous in-depth preview, so some of the text may be familiar].

Valve Index Review Summary

Photo by Road to VR

Valve’s Index headset asks for a premium price and manages to deliver a premium experience. From the a hardware standpoint, the headset feels very well constructed and I find it to be the most comfortable headset currently available. That’s thanks to its thoughtful ergonomic design which offers a wide range of adjustments (including hardware IPD and lens-to-eye adjustments) as well as spring-loaded side struts which let you put on and remove the headset without tightening and loosening it every time.

Though it has the same 1,440 × 1,600 per-eye resolution as the Vive Pro, the move to LCD displays with RGB subpixels offers better fill factor and a bit less screen-door effect. Compared to the original Vive and Rift (both with 1,080 × 1,200 per-eye OLED displays), it’s a significant reduction in the screen-door effect, but still visible at times.

Understanding the Difference Between 'Screen Door Effect', 'Mura', & 'Aliasing'

LCD means worse black levels, so darker scenes have a greyish, low-contrast look compared to the rich blacks seen in OLED headsets. I haven’t been able to spot any ghosting from the Index’s display (which is more common with OLED displays).

Index supports 80Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, and 144Hz refresh rates. Most PC headsets run at 90Hz which looks and feels fine, but there’s a definite immersive benefit to going higher. With 144Hz on Index, everything just feels smoother and tracking even feels tighter (because latency is lower and tracked objects move more smoothly). However, to get the most out of the higher refresh rates, you’ll want to pair Index with a very high-end GPU (like an RTX 2080 Ti) and CPU, otherwise you may need to turn down the headset’s resolution to maintain high frame rates without continuous use of reprojection or motion smoothing.

Photo by Road to VR

Between its resolution, lenses, high refresh rates, and ultra low persistence, Index is the leader in visual clarity over pretty much any headset except (arguably) the HP Reverb, which offers much more resolving power thanks to 2,160 × 2,160 per-eye resolution concentrated over a smaller field of view (but is somewhat compromised by more than ideal mura).

Index offers the widest field of view than other headsets in its class, at around 120 or 130 degrees. This is thanks to larger lenses, but also a dial on the side of the headset that allows you to bring the lenses very close to your eyes, which enables more users to experience the optimal field of view. The improvement doesn’t feel like a night and day difference at first (like it does with the ultra-wide FOV Pimax headsets), but going back to other headsets makes it quite noticeable and you’ll be wishing you were back in Index.

The larger field of view also brings with it a larger sweet spot, which means the image sharpness doesn’t fall off as fast as you look toward the edges of the lens. The Vive headsets have a notoriously small sweet spot, and Index offers a nice improvement by comparison. As with any headset, dialing in the fit to get your eye to the center of the sweet spot is important for maximum clarity.

Unfortunately the new lens design brings quite a bit of glare with it, which illuminates the edges of the lens when there’s bright objects against darker backgrounds. At times this can be as bad if not a little bit worse than the original Vive, but as with pretty much any headset, you won’t see it unless you’re looking at something high contrast. The glare seems to concentrate toward the edges of the lens and you can reduce it somewhat by dialing back the field of view a bit.

The headphones on Index are simply excellent; easily the best of any headset on the market. The floating design is smart in the way that the headphones don’t touch your ears at all, but still offer tremendous audio quality with lots of power, deep bass, and a full audio profile. Compared to the Rift S (which has notoriously bad audio quality), it’s truly a night and day difference. Index also offers better sound than the Vive Pro and the original Rift (which was the audio quality leader, until Index).

Photo by Road to VR

The Valve Index controllers are a nice upgrade (finally) from the Vive wands thanks to the addition of a thumbstick and face buttons, as well as a more intuitive ‘grab’ input in the form of a force-sensitive handle.

It can be difficult to find a good fit around you hand with the ‘cinch’ design, but the controller works well once you do, allowing you to naturally clasp the handle to initiate a ‘grab’, or release it completely to release your grab. At the top of the cinch there’s a little metal piece which can be moved between four positions to make the cinch better fit different hand sizes but it can get in the way of reaching your thumb to the thumbstick and face buttons.

Index can track the position of all of your fingers, which is interesting, but frankly doesn’t seem to add much to the experience. There’s the novelty period of looking at your fingers move for the first two minutes of using the controllers, but beyond that, there’s few meaningful interactions that actually come from it. On the surface it seems like independently tracked fingers means you’d suddenly be able to intuitively interact with the virtual world using fine finger manipulations, but the reality is that this isn’t really possible with the limitations of this kind of finger tracking. Unless Valve’s upcoming VR game (or some other creative developer) shows that this finger tracking tech is truly compelling for gameplay, my gut says it might have been better to scrap the extra tracked fingers in favor of a controller that’s smaller, lighter, and cheaper, with a more concentrated center of gravity

While headsets like the Rift S are moving toward a more user-friendly approach by adopting inside-out tracking, Index is still reliant on the same external tracker paradigm as before. That means you’ll need a dedicated playspace with room to permanently or semi-permanently mount beacons for tracking. This makes for a longer and more complex initial setup process, but means robust and performant tracking in the end.

SteamVR (the component of Steam which is required for using Index) still feels like a power-user’s utility rather than an inviting portal into virtual reality. I’m a hardcore PC gamer who has been using VR for years now, and I still find some of SteamVR’s settings confusingly arranged and interconnected. Much of the options are simply not explained in any meaningful way, and novice users could easily degrade their experience by accidentally hitting a wrong check box. SteamVR is still finicky at times and will occasionally test your troubleshooting skills.

Photo by Road to VR

Despite having two decent cameras on the front of Index, Valve is presently doing almost nothing with them. You can double-press the system button to look through the cameras, but it takes far too long for the view to appear for it to be any use for quickly peering outside of the headset. Valve has teased some stylized pass-through modes previously, but it seems they’re still treating the cameras as a development toy instead of a proper feature of the headset.

By contrast, the pass-through view on the Rift S is used to make setting up the play boundaries easier (by looking through the passthrough view and tracing the play area) and also makes onboarding easier because you can look through the cameras to easily pick up your controllers after you put on the headset (which is much nicer than feeling around for the controllers and putting them on blindly). Valve really should steal these ideas to make Index a bit less cumbersome in the initial setup and onboarding.

– – — – –

The full Index package is pretty daunting to the VR novice. | Photo by Road to VR

The full Index kit runs $1,000 and comes with all of 2016’s VR caveats: set up permanent or semi-permanent tracking equipment, figure out how to use fiddly SteamVR software and settings, and learn how to dial in all of the headset’s adjustments. Not to mention that to get the most out of the 144Hz capable headset, you’ll want enthusiast grade PC hardware to match.

In this sense, I liken the Index approach to a DSLR camera—more expensive, but capable of taking great photos as long as you put in the time to learn the ins and outs, and have appropriate hardware to support it (like a good tripod and lens).

Oculus on the other hand is aiming more for the ‘point-and-shoot’ camera approach with Rift S—lower cost, less complexity, and more user friendly—but simply not capable of achieving the same level of fidelity.

For that reason, Index is a great choice for enthusiasts, but not a great choice for novice users or those who find themselves not diving into VR very often because of the friction of use.

Here’s what you need set up (plus a PC) to use the Rift S (left) and Index (right). | Photo by Road to VR

If you have a first-gen VR headset and find you aren’t using it very often, consider that ease-of-use (and not things like resolution, field of view, and refresh rate) might be the reason why—in that case, Index isn’t likely to make you use VR any more than you are currently. On the other hand, if you’re a diligent enthusiast who uses VR plenty already with a first-gen headset, Index will likely be a good upgrade to your experience.

Of course, a headset is nothing without content. Index is compatible with all SteamVR content, and while the controllers work fine for existing apps with legacy input bindings, developers will need to update their games if they want to make specific use of the controller’s new features. Hopefully Valve’s upcoming VR game will come along and show what the controllers are truly capable of, but they still haven’t announced a release date for the game, let alone even given it a name.

Previously, picking a SteamVR headset over an Oculus headset essentially meant being locked out from playing Oculus exclusive content; although it’s been technically possible to play Oculus games through the unofficial ‘Revive’ mod, the old Vive wands were a poor stand-in for the Touch controllers and made it a compromised experience. The Index controllers on the other hand seem to work much better for this purpose, making Oculus exclusive content finally feel truly playable on headsets like Index. And while that opens the exciting possibility of playing some of the best VR content from Oculus, it’s a bit of a gamble considering Oculus could break support for Revive at any time.

Valve Index In-depth Review



Photo by Road to VR

For my head, Index is the new bar for headset comfort, surpassing the Vive Pro. For pretty much any headset, long sessions mean regularly making small adjustments to maintain comfort; with Index it feels like I need less little adjustments over long sessions than with other headsets.

Ergonomics in VR headsets isn’t just about comfort though, it’s also about visual clarity, since getting your eyes well aligned with the lenses can make the difference between a sharp and comfortable image, or a blurry one with eyestrain. Without being able to get your eyes comfortably into ideal alignment, pretty much every visual aspect of the headset can be compromised.

Thankfully, Index has a physical IPD adjustment, which ranges from 58mm to 70mm, accommodating the vast majority of users. On top of that, the knob on the right side of the headset lets you bring the lenses very close to your eyes, maximizing the field of view and your ability to align with the lenses’ sweet spot. The Vive Pro has a similar lens-to-eye distance adjustment but it doesn’t let you get the lenses as close as Index.

The IPD adjustment is on the bottom of the headset. A digital indicator in the headset specifies the current setting down to the tenth of a millimeter. Compared to the IPD dial on the Vive and Vive Pro, it’s a little harder to dial in such a precise value, but easy enough to get down to the right millimeter. | Photo by Road to VR

From a comfort standpoint, Index’s padding is soft and comfortable; a knob on the back of the head-mount lets you finely adjust the tightness of the head-mount, and the visor rotates about the hinges to find a good resting place against your face. Though it’s fine for me, I don’t expect that the face gasket will fit everyone perfectly (it’s extremely similar in geometry to that of the original Oculus Rift, so if you have experience with that headset you’ll know what to expect). Thin-framed glasses ought to fit inside ok, and the lens-to-eye adjustment knob will make it easy to make space for them in the direction of the lenses.

In case it doesn’t fit everyone well, the face gasket is magnetically attached and easily removable; Valve says it plans to release CAD files to make it easy for third parties to make accessories for Index, which will hopefully mean readily available aftermarket choices.

Photo by Road to VR

While the padding is pleasant against the skin, it appears to be a covering of sorts over top of some underlying foam. As someone who plays a good bit of Beat Saber (which means sweating into the headset’s padding), the padding seems to want to hold onto moisture more than with other headsets which use foam with no covering. The ability to easily remove the magnetic face gasket is really nice for pulling it out for a quick cleaning after a sweaty session, but those planning frequent workouts in their headset may want to keep an eye out for a fitness-focused aftermarket gasket.

Index’s side struts are ‘springy’, just like the original Rift. This means that there’s some ‘play’ to the fit, such that you can put the headset on and take it off ‘hat style’ (back to front) without re-adjusting the tightening knob in the back every time. For the most part, that means that once you dial in the fit of Index, you shouldn’t have to fiddle with it often. That’s a nice improvement over headsets like Rift S and Vive Pro, which generally need to be tightened each time you put them on and then loosened before being taken off.


Photo by Road to VR
Field of View

Thanks to Index’s ergonomic design, it’s easy to get your eyes right into the sweet spot of the lenses for the best visuals. This matters not just for clarity, but certainly for field of view too. Between the displays and the ability to bring the lenses very close to your eyes, Valve says they expect that most users will get a field of view that’s roughly 20 degrees wider than they’d see with a Vive. The difference at first doesn’t seem massive, but going back to headsets like the Vive and Rift S makes it abundantly clear that Index has the widest and most desirable FOV of the bunch.

It’s possible to bring the lenses so close that you can start to see the edges of the displays in your peripheral vision. This is generally undesirable, but tolerable if you want the maximum possible FOV. If you’d prefer the soft round edges of the lenses as the limit of your FOV instead, it’s incredibly easy to dial the lenses back just a bit until you don’t see the display edges anymore.


With a resolution of 1,440 × 1,600 per-eye, Index uses an LCD display with RGB subpixels which are known for having better fill-factor/less screen door effect (SDE). It’s a notable reduction in SDE and improvement in resolution compared to the original Vive and Rift (both use OLED displays at 1,080 × 1,200 per-eye); SDE is still visible, but easily melts away in darker scenes and against textures.

Understanding the Difference Between 'Screen Door Effect', 'Mura', & 'Aliasing'

Compared to the Vive Pro (1,440 × 1,600 per-eye OLED) however, there’s little overall difference in SDE. This is likely partly due to the larger Index FOV (which serves to reduce pixel density compared to a smaller FOV), and the fact that RGB subpixels create a slightly more defined (if smaller) SDE structure compared to the offset pattern seen with PenTile OLED displays.

Though the Rift S has a lower resolution (1,280 × 1,440), its concentrated over a smaller field of view than Index, making the sharpness/resolving of the headsets quite similar.

Mura (inconsistencies in brightness and color between pixels) is fairly minimal; it’s improved over the original Vive, on par with the Vive Pro, and a bit more visible than the Rift S.

Overall clarity on Index pulls ahead of the Rift S and Vive Pro however, which is thanks to the super low persistence, high refresh rates, and lens differences. Index’s overall clarity even competes well with HP’s Reverb headset, which has much higher resolution of 2,160 × 2,160 (and thus more resolving power) but quite a bit of mura, and can’t run at such high refresh rates or with such low persistence.

Refresh Rate & Low Persistence
Index displays on a test bed | Image courtesy Valve

While most PC VR headsets have a 90Hz refresh rate (with the exception of the Rift S at 80Hz), Index is capable of 80Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, and 144Hz.

It’s hard to explain exactly how a higher refresh rate makes the view through Index look more immersive and solid, but it definitely does. Even though the 80Hz or 90Hz of other headsets is plenty comfortable and looks good, it’s still far from the ‘perfectly smooth’ motion of real life. At 144Hz, everything just looks that much more smooth, adding to the ‘solidity’ of what’s around you. It probably also helps that a 144Hz refresh rate means lower latency too.

The high refresh rate works in conjunction with Index’s ultra low persistence to keep the image sharp even during movement. Persistence is how long a pixel remains lit, and in VR, lower is better because illuminating pixels for less time reduces blur during head movement. All decent headsets use low persistence, but Valve says that Index is the first headset to offer sub-pixel persistence, which in theory means virtually zero persistence blurring.

I would go so far to say that the higher refresh rate and ultra low persistence together are the greatest contributors to the increased immersion with Index, perhaps even more so than the increase in field of view.

Sweet Spot

Index’s sweet spot (the area of the lens which offers the best clarity) is also noticeably improved over the Vive and Vive Pro. It’s not ‘edge to edge’ sharp when you rotate your eyes about the scene, but the sharpness doesn’t fall off nearly as fast as with the Vives. The end result is that it feels more natural to look around the scene with your eyes rather than your head, compared to other headsets, which is especially good considering the wider field of view on Index.

God Rays & Glare
Photo by Road to VR

For the most part, everything described above about Index’s visuals is either on par or an improvement over headsets in the same class, but there is one area where Index makes a compromise: glare.

While most other headsets use single-element lenses, Index uses dual-element lenses. I suspect this was done specifically to expand the sweet spot, but I also suspect it’s the reason why glare has become more apparent than other headsets like the Rift S, Vive, and Vive Pro.

I want to be clear here because the terminology surrounding what many users call ‘god rays’ and ‘glare’ is not particularly precise—so I’m going to explain what I’m talking about with a little extra detail.

When it comes to various light-related lens artifacts in VR headsets, there seems to be two major components. The first is what I believe most people are talking about when they say ‘god rays’—that would be the lens flare-like light that seems to directly emanate from bright objects against darker surroundings. God rays are the lines of light you can see coming directly from objects in the scene. These lines are quite defined, and typically point directly toward or away from the very center of the lens; you can see them rotate around their host object as you move your head. A good example is white text on a black background—the text appears to flare in a quite discrete way, directly against and around the text.

Then there’s internal reflections, which generally equates to what some users call ‘glare’ (and that’s how I’ll refer to it here). Glare is the broader light scattering artifacts that don’t appear to emanate as directly from the object in the way that god rays do. Glare scatters around the field of view more globally than god rays.

With that in mind, when it comes to Index, god rays are an improvement over Vive, and look to be about on par with the Rift S. But glare is worse than Rift S, Vive, and Vive Pro, and can be pretty obnoxious when you have large, high contrast elements against darker backgrounds. The glare on Index seems to be brighter and more defined than with other headsets. It also tends to fall toward the outer edges of the field of view, which I suspect makes it more noticeable because of the way that our peripheral vision is more sensitive to both movement and contrast than our central vision.

I suppose this was a necessary concession to achieve other objectives in the lens design, but I’m surprised with how apparent the glare can be at times.

As ever, both god rays and glare go away in scenes with lower contrast. Smart developers can mitigate god rays and glare by avoiding high contrast elements in their content (Lone Echo being the premiere example)and frankly that would benefit other headsets too if more developers were cognizant of this; maybe Index will be a good wake-up call.

Black Levels & Ghosting

As far as black levels are concerned, Index is on par with other headsets using LCD displays like the Rift S and Oculus Go. Many first-gen VR headsets (like the Vive) used OLED displays that are capable of incredibly dark blacks, which look great in darker scenes, but could be subject to ghosting. LCD can be prone to ghosting too (in different circumstances), but I haven’t spotted any on Index.

Blacks in Index have that classic ‘LCD grey’ look to them, which makes for poor contrast in darker scenes compared to OLED. It’s not a deal breaker, but if you play especially dark games like space sims and are used to OLED headsets, you’ll definitely miss the rich blacks.


Photo by Road to VR

The floating headphones on Index are just flat-out excellent. When you put the headset on, you don’t even know they’re there because they don’t touch your ears. Then the audio comes in and boom—powerful, full-bodied sound; easily the highest quality integrated audio in any VR headset to date. As these are technically speakers rather than headphones, they’re going to be audible to other people in the room, but you’ll want to use them anyway. If you’d prefer another audio solution, you can remove the Index headphones with an allen wrench and plug in your preferred headphones with the on-board 3.5mm jack (hidden under the face gasket).

I’ve already written in-depth about Index’s headphones, though I will share an anecdote.

For me, a true ‘audio upgrade’ is when the upgrade allows you to hear things you’ve never heard before in audio content that you’re intimately familiar with. I’ve logged dozens of hours in The Lab over the years, but it wasn’t until I was using Index that I was struck by how intricate and detailed the sounds are from the little robot dog. It has a bunch of different animations, each accompanied by subtle noises that highlight its movements. I wasn’t even specifically testing the headset’s audio, it was just something that caught my attention as the dog ran around me.

And that’s pretty freaking cool. The Lab came out in 2016and I’ve explored damn near all of it—but three years later I experienced something that I never really noticed until better hardware came along and revealed it.

I spoke with a VR developer who had this same experience with Index of newly noticed audio details, but in their own application that they work on every day.


Photo by Road to VR

Index makes use of Valve’s SteamVR Tracking tech, and supports both 1.0 and 2.0 base stations. Tracking feels as tight and robust as ever on Index. Especially with the higher refresh rate of the headset, tracking makes movements in fast paced games like Beat Saber feel slightly easier to control.

With two base stations mounted at opposite corners of my playspace, I didn’t notice any occlusion issues while I played despite the front of the headset having many fewer tracking sensors than the Vive headsets.

Valve doesn’t advertise any specific performance improvements from the 1.0 to the 2.0 base stations, though 2.0 can support larger playspaces and up to four base stations for more robustness to occlusion (though the latter benefits scarcely apply to in-home users). Indeed, I haven’t been able to notice any tracking differences between the 1.0 and 2.0 base stations.

For those who ordered the Index full kit (which includes two 2.0 base stations), you’ll also get some mounting hardware included. Each base station comes with a mounting bracket that can be screwed into the wall with included screws. The mounting brackets are also designed to sit on flat surfaces like a table or bookshelf for those who don’t want to screw them to the wall. The standard tripod screw on the bracket can fasten to the corresponding screw holes on the back or bottom of the base stations, making either orientation work.


Photo by Road to VR

Valve calls the opening hiding beneath the magnetically attached face-plate the ‘frunk’. There’s a USB 3.0 port in the side, and Valve envisions it as an expansion port for people who want to experiment with adding various peripherals and add-ons to the headset. Valve says they have no specific plans for the frunk. Unless someone comes up with some highly essential add-on that fits in the frunk, it seems like a waste; without it, Index presumably could have had a slightly smaller footprint and less weight (especially with removing the plastic faceplate and corresponding magnets).

Index Controllers (Knuckles)

Photo by Road to VR

The Index controllers (formerly called Knuckles) can work with any SteamVR headset, and finally offer an upgrade over the Vive wand controllers.

From an input standpoint, the Index controllers are much more aligned with the Touch controllers by adding a trackpad, face buttons, and a much more natural grabbing input thanks to the force-sensitive handle.

Knuckles is unique in two significant ways. First of all, it’s ‘worn’ by tightening a cinch around your hand. This allows you to completely ‘let go’ of the controller while it remains in your hand. The idea is that this will work with the force-sensitive handle to allow for natural grabbing and releasing of virtual objects by simply gripping or not gripping the handle.

The second unique thing is independent finger tracking. The handle has embedded capacitive sensors which detect each of your fingers to animate your virtual hand to match. The trigger and all of the face inputs (stick, trackpad, and buttons) are also capacitive, which means your whole hand position can be pretty effectively tracked and represented virtually.

Merely by having more comprehensive inputs, a more natural gripping input, and a more central center of gravity, the Index controllers are an upgrade over the Vive wands. But the unique selling points of the controller (independent finger tracking and the hand cinch) feel less obviously valuable.

It took a while to find a decent fit for the cinch. My initial instinct was to pull it tight and snug, but after about 15 minutes it started to feel uncomfortable so I had to dial it back and find a balance between keeping it tight enough to keep the controller on my hand but loose enough to stay comfortable. The way the cinch is tightened makes it easy to put more pressure on one side of your palm than the other. I found after tightening the controllers that I’d usually have to adjust the position of the straps against my hand to prevent that pinching/pressure sensation.

Photo by Road to VR

There’s a metal piece that protrudes from the top of the strap and can be moved into four different positions (by pushing it ‘into’ the controller and then rotating), which offers an important adjustment, but I also found that the metal piece sticks out too far and easily gets a bit in the way of reaching for the thumbstick and face buttons.

In the end, the Index controllers can be comfortable, but you’ll need to spend some time really figuring out how to make them fit you.

Then there’s the independent finger tracking, which so far only really matters for the first two minutes of using the controllers—you’ll stare at your moving fingers and then move on to games which make no use of them. Yes, over time more games will add support to correctly animate your fingers, but for all the complexity this adds to the controllers it’s hard to imagine that this is an essential feature. The expectation seems to be that this will make VR more immersive, but without any means of realistic manipulations of virtual objects with your fingers alone (which can’t be done without force-feedback), it really doesn’t seem to be adding much except for those times where you want to stare at your fingers for the novelty of the fact that they are tracked.

Not to be underestimated however is the social presence that can seep in when users have more defined finger tracking. Although clearly an edge case, sign language users might also find Knuckles to be a step in the right direction in translating actual finger movements to VR.

Continue Reading on Page 2: Experience »


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  • Nepenthe

    Sounds amazing, wish I’d ordered one… although, still waiting to hear if wireless will be compatible, and it isn’t a slam dunk due to the loss of the color and contrast of OLED.

    Beyond the blacks, the question about the LCD for me is, does a sunny a day in a racing simulator (PC2 or AC) feel sunny, or overcast?

    • Buddydudeguy

      The black levels ( which were FINE) that we all experienced with the CV1 Rift are what you get. Unless you went mucking about, SPUD off reduced black level quality to the equivalent of a LCD panel. No one noticed or cared. Now we KNOW what black level the screen is capable of and it’s suddenly a topic of conversation…I don’t buy it, and I wish people would stop bringing it up. No one is playing VR with a black-0-meter, and no one is complaining about black levels.

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        If you primarily play space sims like Elite dangerous or horror games, black levels matter. But I agree in other genders black level difference is not so obvious.

        • Les Vega

          To be honest I didn’t expect too but I vastly prefer the Rift S over my old Cv1 on Elite Dangerous, the problem was that while the blacks were good and dark, the godrays or glare totaly ruined them, I mean it isn’t even close the rift S absolutely kills the cv1 on ED for me.

          • Rudl Za Vedno

            I went from lenovo explorer to odyssey+ and I couldn’t go back. Oled blacks and color vibrancy is just too good. I never tried cv1, so can’t compare.

          • Buddydudeguy

            Odyssey’s anti SDE blur is terrible, and so are WMR headsets with their two cameras. Rift S’s clarity is really quite something, and very noticeable in Elite Dangerous.

        • Buddydudeguy

          Black levels and what is fine is subjective. My point was, if you played Elite Dangerous on Rift, and thought the blacks were fine…they’re just as ” fine” on Rift S. SPUD was gimping black levels. Funny thing is most people weren’t even aware of it. Along comes Rift S and people are all ” mah blacks bro!” It’s stupid. Blacks are the same-ish as they were before.

      • Nepenthe

        As I mentioned, my bar is more about color and brightness than about blacks per se (although great blacks were something the original Odyssey did really really well). There are a couple of tests — does ChromaLab “pop” like it does in Vive Pro? In a racing game, does a bright sunny day feel bright and sunny like it does in Vive Pro or Odyssey, or does it feel overcast like it did in one of the other WMR headsets?

      • Seanm57

        I have to disagree. Some experiences…..Titanic is a good example….are worthless with LCD. Hard to feel like your sitting in a life boat in the ocean when everything is a gray blur. No stars can be seen. Everything just feels fake. If I use the Quest through Alvr to steam, the immersion is much much better in that experience. That’s just one example.

        My ideal would be Samsung Odyssey oled panel in the rift S. I’m seriously considering a Vive Pro with index controllers. I feel like that might be the best experience available right now. However, that is even more money than the index bundle.

        • Ratm

          Pimax 5kxr and there swordsense controlers sound better atm. Index thumpstick gets bad reviews also. But best choise is to wait for samsung.

    • Les Vega

      Embrace the change my friend RGB benifits far outway any slight perceived color contrast that you wont notice after the first 10 minutes, though way outside my Sanity zone for its price I welcome our new LCD overlords.

    • Jarilo

      What worse is these assholes don’t realize that it’s not even just the blacks. In general OLED has nicer colors over all. Red, Blue, take your pick has more pop and vibrancy on OLED.

  • Bartholomew

    Valve Index = A Lamborghini without gas…

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Glare, grayish blacks for €1053? Thanks but no thanks. I’ll keep my cheap (€330) Odyssey+ and keep praying Samsung releases new HMD in a few months time as promised. If it has curved OLED panels with 200 FOV like Samsung’s patents predict, I’m prepared to pay €1K for it. Index simply doesn’t cut it for us Elite Dangerous freaks.

    • kontis

      Patents mean nothing. These companies make some ridiculous patents of things they have no idea how to manufacture or even prototype.

      Valve is limited by the same physical, optical and technological challenges everyone else is. There is a reason Apple currently stays out of it. Just as Tim Cook said, current technology is not good enough for mainstream.

      Samsung is so advanced and ahead of everyone they needed a little startup (Oculus) to improve their cardboard implementation called GearVR. It was awful initially, but Oculus turned it into something decent.
      Yeah, they will totally ship a 200 deg FOV headset with 8k x 8k run by alien GPU. Totally.

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        Samsung has developed oled curved micropanels alreday. 210 fov optics has already been implemented by Acer and Xtal so it’s definitely no rocket science. The question remains can Samsung do it for the sub $1K price tag. And you don’t need 8K res, high quality optics with double 2160x1600px rgb oled panels would do the trick and would perfectly fine with gtx 1080/2070 gpu.

        • Krzysztof Kiersznicki

          lol 1080…..some games on rift lag on 1080/2070 and you want 2160×1600 on it….sure….

          • Rudl Za Vedno

            Reverb has min specs GTX 1080 and it works.You just can’t use SS, but hey still no SDE and has 2x2160x2160. Sure you’d need 1080TI or better 2080TI for good experience but if you’re buying 1K headset $400 2nd hand 1080TI should be a problem.

          • Jarilo

            Then buy the Reverb?

        • mellott124

          Then buy a PiMAX because that’s what you’ll get. StarVR looked good but still had image issues. You also needed dual Titan GPUs to drive it.

      • Gerald Terveen

        Making these headsets is a game of compromise … and I want an Index, but if my main use case were Elite Dangerous then I would pick something different too.

        So I am glad we are beginning to see some serious choice!

    • Ratm

      Its washed up and the resolution is streched vs the original odyssey.
      Odyssey comfort and tracking suffer but this its not really an upgrade…all the cost is on lenses and screen,and they didnt invest for index. I cant believe they call this high end ff.

      • Adam

        They call this high end because it is. The best controllers on the market, the best tracking on the market, the best refresh rate on the market, not quite the best resolution but it sure is a lot better than the CV1 or OG Vive. It is definitely an upgrade from either of those, but from an Odyssey, resolution won’t be a jump, but that headset isn’t made for the same people as this.

        • Charles

          LCD is terrible for VR. Bad contrast and black levels are immersion-breaking – especially in dark environments.

          • Adam

            Have you tried the Index? Everything I’ve read says it isn’t noticeable in normal usage, and that it’s more than made up for by the 144hz refresh rate.

            If you’ve tried the rift s and that’s your comparison, different LCD panels have different colours and some have better black levels than others

          • Immersive_Computing

            No complaints from me, it’s an awesome piece of kit. Thoroughly enjoying the experience, presence is considerably increased.


          • care package

            Have you tried the Index? Are you saying it’s better than the Rift S? Because that isn’t what this review says. Not sure how a higher refresh rate is going to make black levels darker.

          • Charles

            I’ve tried the Reverb and the Pimax 5K+. Returned them both. They also have LCD displays. I read a bunch of first impressions of the Index on the ValveIndex subreddit – lots of people are describing my exact experience of how the terrible black levels and contrast are immersion-breaking – especially in dim environments. Valve really should have gone with an OLED screen even if it would have cost a little more.

        • Ace of Spades

          Best Controllers? Best Tracking my ass
          2 power blocks, limited tracking zone.
          Best Controllers and Tracking goes to Rift S

          • duked

            Valves lighthouse technology currently offers the best/most accurate tracking.

        • Ratm

          Screen is a huge step down from the original amoled odyssey,
          That same resolution lcd is 30% zoomed in.
          About controllers and tracking if they are the best (after cosmos gets a release we will know about tracking)you can always buy separate.
          Its comfort, lenses and screen that define a headset.
          I would call high end Xtal not this device.

    • Trip

      I will admit, there is a possibility of buyers remorse if that actually does happen. Not willing to spend another six months or a year with my OG Vive waiting for the next big thing though.. I did that last year when Vive Pro came out. So far I’m happy with the Index purchase overall.

    • Francesco Fazio

      The real change will be next year or in 2 years. The devices out now are not worthing an upgrade from the Oculus Rift. I will change when there will be something literally break through these devices including the Valve Index are BS

  • Thunk

    It’s a great headset, but it’s just not worth $1000, especially with the glare and poor black levels.

    Also, the knuckles controllers will soon be made redundant, as inside out tracking cameras will soon be used for finger tracking: &

    • kontis

      Adding camera-based finger tracking to Oculus Touch will not allow you to grab things intuitively without pressing any buttons.

      • Thunk

        It will as more universal API’s and deep learning techniques continue to be developed over time. It’s not only VR, but AR that’s moving towards camera based finger tracking, and it’s going to become an industry standard over time. The tech demos we’ve seen with Magic Leap, etc, are already really impressive, and there are ways to optimise finger tracking even further, for cheap, using UV light glove/bands, etc.

        • Jarilo

          Nice, so 2023 then? damn, why did I get these Knuckles? lmao

          • Thunk

            Possibly. Until most PCVR headsets on the market have finger tracking parity tracking, most PCVR developers aren’t going to exclusively develop features for a very niche $279 game controller. If you think they are, you’re delusional. At most, you’ll now be able to see your 3 extra fingers moving if you’re using Knuckles in a couple of SteamVR games, but that’s about it; for now it’s just a visual superfluous gimmick, and isn’t worth the investment. It’s not perfect finger tracking, either; it can’t detect all forms of finger movement, such as crossing fingers or curling fingers, and more. Furthemore, the analog stick placement is terrible, and the pill trackpad should have been removed, not been placed prominently in the center. Plus the controllers are large and bulky. It looks like a typical gen 1 product, which will get slimmed down and improved upon over the years.

          • Jarilo

            You clearly haven’t used them, they are not bulky. The Wands are bulky, these are not. Whatever helps you sleep at night though. You say they won’t be supported well but I’m already satisfied with a ton of content today. Keep waiting for your camera finger tracking though, I’ll enjoy my Knuckles now.

          • Thunk

            You’re enjoying superfluous gimmicks, which objectively aren’t worth the current asking price, and anyone with common sense knows this. We all know that Oculus Rift has the largest % of VR users on Steam, and developers aren’t going to spend much development time and money on an incredibly niche % of users that will but a $230 peripheral, whose only read draw is that it allows you to pose 3 extra fingers.

          • Jerald Doerr

            Don’t get mad cuz some of us can afford stuff… Oh by the way that gimmick your talking about SOLD OUT in less than 30 minutes after it popped up on the Steam website.

          • Thunk

            Again with the false equivalency of equating valid criticism of a device that isn’t worth its current asking price to not being able to afford stuff. And for the record, the Oculus Rift still has the highest % of Steam VR users. If you think a $1000 headset is going to grow the SteamVR userbase in Valve’s favour vs Oculus’ $400 headset, which most reviewers are dubbing the best value for money PCVR entry level headset, you’re completely delusional.

          • Jarilo

            Oh he mad. lol

          • Jarilo

            They already have, learn to read so you can understand what I said. I mean I must be playing all these imaginary games. You can map anything you want as well. I don’t give a fuck what other users are doing, it doesn’t change the fact that these are the best VR controllers on the market today. Sucks to be you.

    • Jistuce

      The extra inputs provided by the “top-side” thumbstick and buttons provide a convenient place for commands that don’t readily map to hand gestures. Selecting weapons in Space Pirate Trainer comes immediately to mind, as does teleporting in Robo Recall(I am a man of simple tastes, and I like blowing up robots).

      There’s also issues with single-location hand-tracking. If a hand or arm is blocking the camera’s view of the other hand, then the input extrapolation issue becomes much more severe versus a device that is suddenly just tracking with accelerometers and buttons. Exterior cameras could avoid this, but it seems like it would be missing the point.

      Don’t get me wrong, it is a useful tool to have. But it isn’t the best choice for all situations.

      Heck, today there are some VR games I play with a gamepad(or cheap flight stick, depending). In the future, there will doubtless be some I play with optical tracking, and some I will prefer with a motion controller in my hand.

      But there’s none I play with keyboard and mouse, and I don’t see that changing. The “one true input device” continues to be the worst option. Sorry ASWD-ers.

      • Thunk

        That’s where machine learning algorithms and other software implementations will come in to place when occlusion gets in the way.

        At the end of the day its all about lowering the friction factor. It’s about putting on a VR headset, without having to pick up anything else, and I don’t see the knuckles controllers as lowering the VR friction problem, but only making it worse.

    • Trip

      I’ve spent about 12 hours in the Index so far and keep forgetting to look for lousy black levels LOL and I’ve been in basically fully black scenes. hell the end of the Knuckles orientation puts you in the dark. Coming from my OG Vive and CV1 I haven’t noticed it, but everybody is different and in this case that means sensitive to different things. The glare is annoying, but I’ve been dealing with it for years and mostly ignore it.

    • Jarilo

      Ah yes soon, the forever waiting for something crowd.

  • Bob

    “Overall clarity on Index pulls ahead of the Rift S and Vive Pro however, which is thanks to the super low persistence, high refresh rates, and lens differences.”

    I think that would be “motion clarity” rather than actual clarity.

  • Les Vega

    Overall an awesome headset seams rock solid but the lens artifacts, God Ray’s, or glare as you called them were the most maddening problem I had with my Cv1 and between those and the dated stationary but robust light houses I may have to take a harder look at Pimax or at least wait and see what’s over the horizon in a few months, till then the Rift S is still Frustratingly the only logical choice to recomend freinds at a price that wont roll their eyes out of their heads….but if your a power builder with money to burn hell yeah go at it!

    • Seanm57

      Just a heads up. If you don’t like the lighthouses, don’t go looking to get a Pimax. It uses lighthouses for tracking.

    • Jarilo

      If my friends roll their eyes at this epic piece of tech I’m getting new friends.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Get a index or a quest and rift s with no pc or phone needed on the quest and no sensors needed on the rift s using the 200 remaining to get material in software.Jesus is my Lord and Savior !

    • MAGA Man

      Get all three! Trump Saves! MAGA 2020!!!

      • oompah

        but Trump must announce a universal basic income
        of say 2000 $ permonth for every unemployed household
        else whats the use of a savior

  • Great, now let me order one from Canada, you hosers :-(

  • Simon Graham

    Just spent nearly 8 hours with mine. Disappointed. The SDE is visible ALL of the time. not just “at times” pfft. Not a big step up from the original Vive, despite the long list of improvements. The God rays are obvious when watching films. My advice? Skip this if you already have the original Vive/ Pro / Rift and look again in 12 months.

    • JesuSaveSouls

      Return it and get both a quest and s and have two hundred left over.

      • Trip

        And still not have a decent VR headset. =P

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      • Jarilo

        Jesus uses a Valve Index.

        • Francesco Fazio

          Jesus used to have a Valve Index until he met Chuck Norris ……

          • Jarilo

            Chuck Norris uses a Valve Index

          • Francesco Fazio

            No man. Chuck Norris uses this:


            The best HMD in the world. Way superior to everything on the market now. It can be yours if you have 3200 $ to spend :)

        • FrankVVV

          Jesus doesn’t need a Valve Index. He creates reality :)

          • Jarilo

            Then his creations create virtual reality haha.

    • Gus Smedstad

      I’m mostly curious if the visual clarity has improved. I have a original Vive, and one thing I’m very aware of is that text isn’t very legible unless you’re next to it or it’s very large. Sometimes I feel like I’m back in the 80’s when color graphic cards couldn’t present anything more than 40 columns of text clearly.

      • Immersive_Computing

        Yes, it’s dramatically improved

        • mellott124

          Yeah, me too. Image quality for me looks great (at 90Hz. At 120 and 144 I get a lot of blurring). Way better than my Vive Pro. The god rays are gone but replaced with something else. Kinda of appears in swirls. Black levels are better than I was expecting based on people complaining about it. Yes its not OLED black but its damn good for LCD. Also still SDE but I expected that. We will have to live with SDE for a while. At 130 degrees FOV you need an 8k panel for most people to not see the pixels (20/20 acuity). Controllers are nicer than wands but slightly uncomfortable for me. I’m still tweaking them to see if it approves.

          • Immersive_Computing

            “Beat Saber” loading screen with the logo shows the lens artifact issue, perhaps not god rays but more of a glare? Rarely see it in game.

            I’m getting great performance at 120hz and good performance in 144hz using high grade PC (8086k@5.2ghz / RTX 2080Ti).

            Black level surprised me too, it’s very good especially for LCD. I was expecting similar to my Lenovo Explorer WMR which had murky greyish black, but Index is far better.

            Agreed controller are slightly uncomfortable. I believe the issue is the hard plastic controller body. I can feel the strap pressure (it’s okay) but the plastic body is pulled against the palm and it’s slippery in beat Saber. Controller skin could be a massive improvement.

          • Trip

            I found that it takes a bit of fiddling to figure out how to get a really good fit on the controllers. I actually push the upper adjustment arm thingy forward/out a bit for non-gun games and back a bit for gun games. I’ve more or less settled on the two middle settings of the four. Also, it helps a lot after you put them on, to use your opposite fingers to pull the strap across the back of your hand toward your wrist.

    • Trip

      Disagree on the statement that it’s not a big step up from the original Vive, that’s the upgrade I just made and I’m thrilled with it. I did have realistic expectations, which helps. Reading text in the cockpits of DCS World aircraft went from a blurry mess that you could kinda read most of if you knew what it said to crystal clear. The total nonexistence of motion blur is also fantastic, and the lenses are crystal clear almost all the way to the edges. It’s also super comfy, even coming from my deluxe audio strap. God rays/reflections are not improved at all, though a bit different. Increase in FOV coming from super thin facial interface is still a little bit noticeable. Glossy front cover is super easy to knock off so I just leave it off. Sound quality is amazing… true directional audio finally and with no ear pain from hours of wearing it. I’ve paid nearly $200 for headphones that are nowhere near as good as these so I figure I can deduct that from the price of the HMD. =P Mura is a bit worse than I hoped but not bad. SDE is to the point where you definitely can still see the pixel pattern but I have excellent vision and can no longer actually look at and focus on a single pixel. The controllers are great, but I’m surprised that most software hasn’t been updated to use them properly yet. Even Valve’s own “Lab” has you using the triggers to grip items instead of gripping. I imagine that will come with time. Anyway, I think it’s a great upgrade if your expectations are realistic and you aren’t suffering from the excessive hype trap.

  • Rosko

    Glare in this headset is way worse than i thought it would be, same with the grey blacks. Those 2 issues make driving at night in assetto corsa impossible, same with flying in DCS. Sound is not as good as i thought it would be, it lacks bass & volume i think this is because i do not have a wide head & my ears are far from the speakers they should have made them adjustable. Index controllers also have issues reaching the a button and lower part of the slider should maybe have had larger controllers available. Not sure whether to return it or not as the clarity & fov is very good.

    • Rosko

      Also steamvr seriously what a pile of crap. nothing but issues with it.

    • gothicvillas

      I’ll buy it off you. Send me PM.

    • Jarilo

      Yea yea whatever, my question is how do you get night in Assetto Corsa? You got a mod for that?

      • Rosko

        you need the custom shader patch & also sol mod for day night transitions & weather. You probably need content manager as well as it makes it super easy to install & update.

        • Jarilo

          I have mods installed, I just never knew about this one. Thanks.

  • wcalderini

    I’m just agitated that my index, that was SUPPOSED to arrive Friday (and I even took a day off work in anticipation), accidentally got rerouted by Fed-Ex 2 states away. It’s all set to arrive Monday, while I’ll be at work of course, but half of the fun of early adoption is being able to get on here and praise or bi%#@ about the product while it’s all still “topical”. (I am indeed a small and shallow person.:)) But regardless, I’m really looking forward to seeing how it stacks up against the Pimax 5k plus. Yep. An idiot and his money and all, I’m sure I wasted some, somewhere here, I just want to know which company to blame.
    But minus the snark, 2019 is shaping up to be a great year for VR. (The best since 2016) and although it has not gained the traction many predicted, it does seem to have found sticky enough ground to not slide away completely.
    Still waiting for the Killer app.
    My Ideas?
    1. Hulk Smash. Simple game, Me. The Hulk. In a city. Smashing stuff. (all the stuff) No winning. No losing, just realistic smashing. And throwing. Definitely throwing.
    2. Somebody, somewhere, should buy the IP to the Dark Tower Series and make a nice long, ever expanding quest game out of that. I could groove on training as a gunslinger (or a wizard, man in black) and searching out the Dark Tower. Single player, Campaign, MMO.

    So. If this happens. Just have them send a check to me. I’ll be waiting. Until Monday at least. When my Index arrives and I can go get lost in the upcoming four day 4th of July weekend.

    Just venting.

    • Seanm57

      Yesterday I was playing Apex Construct for the first time. The beginning when you are in the constellation area(don’t know it’s really called), reminded me of the gunslingers meeting with the man in black for some reason. The realization of existence thing. I just read the first book last week. So your comment was quite the coincidence for me.

      • wcalderini

        You are in for quite a treat if you continue. The first book was the weakest in the series IMO. And although it gets a little weird and flaky towards the end, BUT the middle books are what I consider to be some of Kings best writing. As for Apex Construction, I have not tried that yet but looking forward to it. And since Fed-Ex just informed that I’m not getting my delivery until TUESDAY, I’m a bit P.O.’ed and impatient. Hopefully good things come to those who wait though. I hope you enjoy the Gunslinger series, and maybe you’ll see why I think it would be a great VR experience/game/mmo.
        Good luck.

  • Do the theater screens look bigger and more real in bigscreen beta?

    What about you, Reverb users?

    • Jarilo

      Reverb users are crying over their broken headsets.

  • Jason Mercieca

    What about wireless ?????
    No wireless no HMD…

  • Ace of Spades

    3 Power Blocks, 2 Sensors LOL
    You have to be insane to use this

  • Adam

    The CV1 had a 110° FOV, this is a 20° improvement, get your facts right.

    • Seanm57

      Your misunderstanding what he is saying. He is saying that the lcd resolution is stretched over a larger field of view which makes the pixel density the same as cv1. I’m not sure if that’s accurate, but it’s what he meant.

      • Ratm

        Yep the density values are almost the same if the difference is ~30%
        And after mrtv mesured it i think it its close to 30.
        Even if i get a 10% wrong they are still really close in density.

    • Ratm

      Did you messure it? I dont know a first gen headset that did gave 110 for real,maybe Asus… In reddit they say 94 horizontal,so i took it from there.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Wires,sensors and a big price tag but to support valve is not a bad idea.I dont like getting banned on steam for being a Christian but I do like their refund policy.

    • Simple O’Rourke

      How did you get banned for being a Christian?

      • Baldrickk

        You don’t.

        But I bet you get banned for harassing other players.

        • Justos

          or spamming the same christian bullshit on it

    • callen

      If you like their refund policy because you abuse it to get free demos, then Jesus will NOT save your soul (and that’s probably why you got banned). REPENT!

      • Jerald Doerr

        JesuSaveSouls believes Jesus forgives all….. That’s why I can’t stand CRAZY religious people…. You see, they cheat the system buy doing whatever they want in life because after they die Jesus will forgive them.. I mean JesuSaveSouls proves my point with his hole “Steam” thoughts.

  • MW

    I will not buy it for ONE reason – lack of content justifying this ridiculous price.
    I can have the same fun in much much cheaper HMD, save 600 bucks for something much more useful.

    What’s the point of Index for average gamer? To spend a pile of money and feel good about being ‘enthusiast’?
    When game like ‘cyberpunk’ will be available for VR , than we will talk;)

  • Amazing and unbiased review as always… thanks for sharing!

  • oompah

    still a box on ur face

    • Jarilo

      You want balls on your face ?

  • Justin Davis

    “The Vive headsets have a notoriously small sweet spot”
    Not my OG Vive with 6mm vrcover and DAS. It has a great sweet spot. In fact, my Index might be worse.

  • MosBen

    It’s awesome to see VR hardware steadily improving. This is well outside my price range, particularly because I’m rocking a 5 year old PC with a GTX 1070. I’ll need to upgrade my PC over the next year before upgrading my HMD. Hopefully by then there will either be a great new option in my price range or this one will have seen a few price cuts.

  • brubble


  • Jarilo

    Amazing VR kit. Wish it had OLED and optional wireless but oh well. I do believe Valve is tinkering with wireless solutions for it.

  • Jason Mercieca

    it is my opinion that it is not the time to change HMD if you have a Vive/Vive Pro, tech still needs more upgrades to make the expense worthwhile.
    Also any new HMD needs wireless, i have an original Vive with the wireless adapter, and like all or nearly all VR users that has moved into wireless we cannot go back to wired setup, wired setup VS wireless well, i would not even consider buying any new HMD without wireless feature, it would be a major downgrade going back to wired.
    I was in wired for 1year, then i got wireless and just cannot accept wired setups anymore.

  • Jarilo

    He’s just making excuses in his head cause he doesn’t own them. It’s a psychological thing. People hate on what they don’t have and get overtly defensive about what they do.

  • Jerald Doerr

    Finally got my Index today…. and its still in the box unopened…. I went to Ebay just to see how much the scalpers are selling them for…. wow… I believe some sold for $1,700 … So for all you guys saying its not worth $1,000… some people are paying a 50-70 % increase… I would not sell mine for $1,700 plus ebay fees and shipping.
    Can’t wait to take it out!!! Its like the end of Christmas where you get that last gift and you know wtf it is!!!!

  • Romulo de Castro

    I have an Index reserved for August 31st. I have sold my Vive and bought a Rift S for playing VR in the meantime, but now I am in love with it, I`ll probably going to pass the Index. I have a narrow IPD (60) but the carity and sweet spot is so much better that the original Vive. The blacks are surprisingly good and even, not to mention the screendoor reduction, and glare control. The lightness and the halo design really beats the Vive with the Deluxe Audio Strap in confort. About the cables, just pass them trough the strap headband, it will feel in the right place behind your head. Try the Mamut Grips on the Touch, to emulate the Knuckles controllers hand holding design. I also recommend buying the Plantronics RIG 500HX headphone, it is very light, great sounding, fits perfectly over the halo strap and it is cheap. Passtrough + makes easy to get and put it over. The tracking is great with the new 1.39 firmware upgrade, I actually had more ocasional jitters and hiccups with my gen 1 Vive Lighhouses. The only real downside comparing to my Vive is the horizontal field of view, it feels narrower and more squared, in the Vive it looks to me a bit larger and rounded, it must be great on the Index.

  • Jarilo

    Me and you both buddy, me and you both. lol

  • duked

    The clarity, comfort, Hz and Index controllers are really tempting. Wondering if I should go for Index, Pimax 5K XR or XTAL (consumer version)…

  • JesperL

    First impressions..
    Its all good, except that problem with the buttons on the controller that dont click as they should.. And also finger tracking is inaccurate, probably depending on what size/shape hands you got.

  • Romulo de Castro

    I have an Index Kit reserved for August 31st. I have sold my Vive and bought a Rift S for playing VR in the meantime, but now I am in love with it, I may probably pass on the Index. I have a narrow IPD (60) but the carity and sweet spot is so much better that the original Vive. The blacks are surprisingly good and even, not to mention the screendoor reduction, and glare control. The lightness and the halo design really beats the Vive with the Deluxe Audio Strap in confort. About the cables, just pass them trough the strap headband, it will feel in the right place behind your head. Try the Mamut Grips on the Touch, to emulate the Knuckles controllers hand holding design. I also recommend buying the Plantronics RIG 500HX headphone, it is very light, great sounding, fits perfectly over the halo strap and it is cheap. Passtrough + makes easy to get and put it over. The tracking is great with the new 1.39 firmware upgrade, I actually had more ocasional jitters and hiccups with my gen 1 Vive Lighhouses. The only real downside comparing to my Vive is the horizontal field of view, it feels narrower and more squared, in the Vive it looks to me a bit larger and rounded, it must be great on the Index.

  • Aragon

    Valve Index is not really worth the $600 higher price over the Rift-S. Rift-S is more comfortable, has better tracking, better lenses while visuals are nearly identical. The wider FOV of the Index is not really that noticable. It is even contra productive because it lowers the Pixeldensity.

    Tracking with Rift-S is better because it works everywhere, in front of your PC, in front of wall, in any direction you can think of where the Lightbase Solution has often tracking issues if you hide the controller from it. And not only that, Rift-S Tracking is even more precise. Just try to hold both controllers close and it gets obvious.

    For whatever reason it seems that nearly every Reviewer on the Internet tries to highlight only negative things about the Oculus Rift-S and only positive things about the Valve Index.

    • benz145

      Whether Index is worth it is going to be up to each individual. For those who already invested in SteamVR base stations (many enthusiasts), the cost of Index is $500 for the headset and another $250 for the controllers.

      I’ve used SteamVR Tracking for many years and it has been more performant and reliable than Rift S tracking in my experience. It also has objectively much more coverage than Rift S, so most players will experience less controller occlusion than with Rift S.

  • Thunk

    “Product value is decided buy the people who perches the product….”

    Wow, enlightening stuff.

  • Nads

    Wow what an improvement! Huge difference between this and Vive and rift S. I never thought I would notice it, but it’s clearly visible as soon as you put it on. The clarity and fov is the biggest improvements for me. I now get zero door effect and the fov just seems huge! Audio is astonishing also, the controllers could actually be better but it’s still a huge improvement also especially over the Vive wands.

    However, steamVR is a huge piece of junk. Horrible software, it took me ages to setup and update the devices. Once setup I then ran into other issues.

    For example, when I load some games up in steamVR it opens up the oculus store and the game loads up in rift S instead of index!!! It’s so frustrating and I don’t know how to fix this!!!

    I’m also having issues of games lagging on my pc even when set to 90hz. I have gtx1080 and some games are literally unplayable, I have to test out what’s hogging my pc I guess cause something seems wrong. Even beat sabre can’t run without hiccups at the moment.

  • I know I am coming late to this but again than you Ben for the superb, detailed and objective review. I have pretty much made up my mind when I received my dev kits for the Index controllers to adapt to “Excursion: 245 Minutes on the Moon” part of the “Apollo 11: ‘One Small Step For…’ VR Experiences, but sadly could not provide a dev kit or production model in time to show off at the 50th Anniversary Apollo 11 event scheduled at the Oregon Museum of Science & Technology.

    I guess I will have to find out myself how much the contrast glare and dark grey LCD background will affect the stark contrast of lunar surface and space, and if the nuisance star field will be viewable in shadow, which isn’t that much of problem with the Vive Pro, but the original Vive (early serial number) has Mura issues and frankly less than stellar blacks.

    I also looking forward to testing its sound field since I have worked hard to provide an ambient sound field that immerses you (and help confine you in believing you’re wearing a spacesuit). As mentioned before in another post on Road to VR, I plan to release part 1 and 2 on Steam Games (VR) and Vive Port for free on 11/29 and Kickstarter for the VRSCC (Virtual Reality System Control Center) that allows you to set up physical controls, eg switches, pots, joysticks and your own controllers and securely fix them to perforated surface to match their VR equivalent. This will allow the user to find and use the controls through the use of proprioception with a later Tracker wristbands for a SteamVR tracking solution and wide-spectrum light bands for Oculus & WMRs to further enhance the location of your hands in VR as well for virtual controls be manipulated. The goal is to combine VR cockpits with real world controls, as I had done in my first prototype used for “Ascent: Eagle Has Left the Moon” a LM simulator liff-off and docking with the CSM and part 2 of the “Apollo 11: ‘One Small Step For…’ VR Experiences for the 50th anniversary event and to showcase the use of VR for inexpensive interactive kiosk at museums.

    Here few promo videos over the past nine months leading up to and after the event:

  • Pre Seznik

    The more I read the less impressed I am. Especially concerned with how everyone’s praising knuckles as “finally an upgrade to the Vive wands”. Well yeah, Vive wands were utter shit. Not a very high bar there. How about comparing to Oculus Touch, which still seem way better than this in terms of ergonomics. And let’s not kid ourselves, finger tracking will most likely not be a focus point of many VR games going forward, so that’s just a waste, same as it was with Touch years ago. In any case, my Index is in transit so I’ll soon see for myself, but I doubt I’ll retire my CV1 because of it.

  • Vegeta2988

    “The full Index kit runs $1,000 and comes with all of 2016’s VR caveats: set up permanent or semi-permanent tracking equipment, figure out how to use fiddly SteamVR software and settings, and learn how to dial in all of the headset’s adjustments. Not to mention that to get the most out of the 144Hz capable headset, you’ll want enthusiast grade PC hardware to match.”

    If you think those are caveats then you don’t really understand the direction VR is headed. It’s not portable headsets and in-side out tracking it’s No headset and Full holodeck-style VR.

    Forwards, not backwards.