There is no doubt that the “valve index” is the next-generation VR headset they are most in demand for: its ultra-sharp screen works quite well even with older GPUs, its wider field of view, its refresh rate higher The height and joint controllers of the valve, which can follow the movement of each finger.
All in all, it’s the complete package of virtual reality that we wanted three years ago.
But the future of virtual reality is inevitably expensive (the valve index is $ 999 / £ 1,219 (about $ 1,425)), and before considering Valve’s material as our savior of virtual reality , it should be noted that there is no problem (see: lack of convincing information.Virtual reality games in the process of solving Steam and SteamVR problems).
Steam valve index for £ 459
But are some of those problems breaking the deal for Valve VR headsets? In no way.
It’s easy to dismiss the valve index as another non-descriptive VR headset on the same line as an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset, but the devil is all in detail here: at the front, there’s a glossy plastic front on two front cameras that can be used for video via applications and possibly AR. Go put the earphones and feel the pads of gray stone lining the inside; It’s a Halo design similar to what Oculus does in the Rift S, and it’s comfortable.
To do this, you must use two quadrants: one on the left side that changes the physical distance between the lens and your eyes and the other on the back that makes the headband narrower or looser. The second is certainly important, but we’ve seen it before. This is the first truly innovative dial because it allows the Index to achieve its advanced field of view specification.
How are you doing this? The science of this is explicit, but basically, the closer a screen is to your face, the wider the field of view. The problem here is that, for people who wear glasses, they will not be able to get the lenses directly in their eyes, which means that they will see a field of vision similar to what they would get with the other helmets. over there.
In terms of specific numbers, the valve index uses a dual LCD screen with a resolution of 1440 x 1600 per eye. Unlike Oculus, which has actually reduced the update frequency of its displays for Oculus Rift S, the valve index has a 120Hz display, with the ability to go up to 144Hz. In comparison, the Vive Pro, which is more expensive, has a lower refresh rate and a smaller field of view, making it an excellent update.
Inside the box you’ll find the headset, the new valve index controllers (commonly known as “Knuckles” controllers), and the 2.0 base stations that need to be installed in your room. Now, if you already have a Vive Pro or Vive Pro headset, the first-generation base stations are compatible with the valve index, but you’ll probably want to start with second-generation stations if you do not have one yet.
We will not dwell on this aspect, but the fact that the Vive index uses base stations gives the impression of taking a step back, even if the end result is good, the valve index makes it possible to better follow the movements of the hand backward (a rare use case, we know it) than any other handset. Example: At no time during our training session did the system lose track of the controllers. Obviously, this could change with increased use, but so far, so good.
Even in this case, its dependence on external followers places the Index behind the Oculus Rift S, which performs virtual reality on the scale of the room without external tracking sensor to rest on a shelf. This is an exchange you will make when choosing the valve index on the Oculus Rift S, but it is worth it.
Surprisingly, while all these features seem to require more power under the hood of your PC, they worked well with our much older Nvidia GTX 980 GPU. This is a boon for people who do not have the money to upgrade their GPU after buying a $ 1,000 VR headset, and could allow more people to enter virtual reality.
This last point is important because, as more and more people adopt virtual reality, more and more developers will see the possibility of creating virtual reality games. At present, the choice of virtual reality steam is a little more compared to the main store in constant expansion, and even with the main titles selected. Most old titles that are better with Knuckle controllers are not the only ones to show new material (see: Space Pirate Coach, Fruit Ninja, Beat Saber and Arizona Sunshine).
That said, when we played new titles, like Valve Moondust’s show, we could not help but smile. Not only do the games look great on the high resolution screen, and they play smoothly, even on our less ideal hardware, but they feel more interactive with the index controller. Being able to release elements by opening your hand, an experience that is quite natural in the real world, does not seem natural at first glance after the use of normal RV drivers for two years, but once you have adapted, It becomes natural.
Unfortunately, not all titles will do anything more with the new valve index controllers. In fact, during our tests, we found a series of games that did not really work, that’s all. According to Valve, more helmet games will be optimized in the future, but for the moment, there are only about three dozen of these titles, a decent number before launch, but a fraction of the available virtual reality games on Steam. .
When you talk about virtual reality, you also have to consider the quality of the sound. The index valve uses an integrated solution that, for all intents and purposes, works incredibly well. You can hear a lot of details without distortion, and although it’s an inch of your ear, it can be pretty loud. It is also a bit more hygienic to pass the handset to someone else because their ears never touch the pads, although this is a minor detail.
During several sessions, we managed to do a lot, we played a little bit of the Beat Saber campaign, we cut fruits in Fruit Ninja and we destroyed robots in Space Pirate Trainer and, thanks to them, all controllers have kept their charge. At the end of the last day, the pilots were reduced to a life bar, but a safe assumption is to wait about five hours of reading before having to reload the pilots and about an hour of loader to send them back to Juice . full.
Configuration and SteamVR
The biggest problem we have seen with the headset after more than a month of use is that SteamVR can be capricious … and sometimes a malicious and loose platform.
As anyone who has used HTC Vive or Vive Pro knows, SteamVR does not always work well the first time. Are you saying something is unplugged or that your firmware is outdated even though it has been updated. you can find And it’s frustrating when you just want to jump and play the last pitch this week.
This happened several times during our tests, and it gave us a real sense of déjà vu: we can remember that we tested the Vive Pro a little over a year ago and we have the same problem. Friends and readers have also complained about the long and difficult installation process of Original Vive, to find a series of mistakes the next time they play.
In defense of Valve, the configuration process has become a little more fluid over the years. The headset seems to work immediately without problems and the base station 2.0 configuration seems to be a little faster than before. But there’s still the problem that if something changes in the room (base stations move because it cleans the shelf, for example), you’ll need to recalibrate and redo the entire setup process.
The valve index may well be one of the best virtual reality helmets ever published, but it has brought some of the most awkward aspects of virtual reality for travel. The configuration can be painful, the updates can cause connection problems and you may find a new error the next time you use it. But, if you can see beyond these problems, this is a very good VR headset. Its superior resolution screen and improved update rate have allowed us to use it for long periods without discomfort, and the index inductors represent a real improvement over those provided with the Vive.
But balance all these performance improvements in handset price, and it’s a lot of money to pay for something that’s not absolutely perfect, especially when Oculus has a great VR headset ( The Oculus Quest) which is available. less than half the cost of the index.
In the whole house, there is no doubt that the index of the valve will be our future VR headset by default. This is an important update for the HTC Vive, which works much better than the Vive Pro, a powerful VR headset that really struggles to keep the promises of high-end VR. However, if it is a more versatile headset than the Oculus Quest, it is currently being discussed; The valve index has the best specifications, but Quest has the convenience. In the end, the option you choose will depend on the experience you want … and the amount you have at the bank.