Valve Index Review: Price, Specs, Features & More
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After almost 3 years since its release, the Valve Index VR kit still remains the most wanted on the market. This makes it a big deal, considering the highly-competitive atmosphere in the field of VR technology.
The Valve Index headset itself doesn’t perform anything better than the competitors, except for delivering a smoother 120Hz refresh rate. But, the thing that sets this VR kit aside from its rivals, is the Valve Index controllers, impressing us with their genuine, immersive feel and unique finger tracking.
The Valve Index VR full kit is one of the priciest headsets on the market compared to the HTC Vive or the Oculus Quest. A free copy of the game Half-Life: Alyx is included in the price, so, for a dedicated VR enthusiast and PC gamer – it is definitely a bargain.
Is the Valve Index worth it? Read our Valve Index review as we take a deeper dive into its price, warranty, specs, features, easy of use, and more!
Valve Index Price
Even by the norms of virtual reality, the Valve Index is highly specialized and costly.
An Oculus Rift or HTC Vive will set you back $399 or $499, but the Valve Index costs $999. To use it, you will need a gaming PC. Because of this, it’s not the best option if you’re on the go a lot.
Even so, it’s a great product, especially for those who want to spend a lot of time in the virtual reality realm.
The Valve Index knuckles are compatible with other devices. You can buy them separately, for $279. The base stations come at a price of $149, whereas the Valve Index headset costs $499.
Valve Index Specifications
The Valve Index resolution is what separates this product from its rivals. The valve index resolution per eye is 1440x1600pixels, illuminated on two LCD panels that are full RGB. We can easily say that this feature is the strength of the product.
The Valve Index refresh rate stands at a staggering 144Hz, which is much higher than the refresh rate of its main competitors (Oculus Rift is at 80Hz and the Vive Cosmos 90Hz).
Valve Index eye tracking is not available with the present model, but the company announced it for the next one. Valve index full body tracking is possible, but you’ll need to acquire three Vive trackers, either 2.0 or 3.0 (we prefer 3.0), as well as a strap for each of the trackers.
Valve Index FoV offers 130-degrees, which is more than double what Reverb G2 delivers, and almost four times what Oculus Quest 2 offers. The Valve Index IPD may be fine-tuned down to a millimeter and it is between 58 and 70 mm.
There are two cameras that are positioned on the front of the Valve Index headset. Each Valve Index camera operates at a resolution of 960×960.
In order to operate, the 2 Valve Index sensors from the base stations need to be positioned around the play area. The new Rift S and the recently announced Vive Cosmos employ inside-out tracking, meaning, sensors on the headset – rather than around your room. It took us a while to get used to the Index’s more cumbersome sensor setup process.
Speaker drivers power the Valve Index headphones’ built-in near-field speakers, which float just over your ears rather than being attached to them. Aural isolation and a three-dimensional surround system may be found in the Index’s speakers. But, you won’t be entirely cut off from the outside world. Additionally, because your ears aren’t being pressed against anything, spending a long time in virtual reality is less taxing.
Using a dual-mic array, the Valve Index mic narrows down the directional response and zeroes in on the user’s speech. Dynamic compression is used in order to prevent loud sounds from being clipped. By using BMR drivers to maintain a sampling rate of 48kHz, external noise pollution is drastically reduced.
The Valve Index cables are the main setback of the product. Three connectors are included with the Index Headset. There is one that you need to Connect the headset DisplayPort to the graphics card connection on your computer. Then, there is the headset’s USB wire used to connect to a computer with a USB 3.0 port.
And finally, there is the Valve Index power adapter that you use to plug your headset onto a power source with the included headset power adapter.
Ordering a few cable organizers would be a smart thing to do.
Valve Index Requirements
As per the official Steam support page, these are the system requirements necessary for the Valve Index:
- Operating System: Windows 10, Linux, SteamOS
- Dual-Core Processor (with Hyper-Threading)
- 8GB of RAM
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / AMD RX 480 graphics card
- Broadband Internet connection
- Available DisplayPort (Version1.2) and USB (2.0+) Port required
- Quad-Core Processor
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 or better
- Available USB (3.0+) Port required for Headset Pass-Through Camera
How to Set Up Valve Index?
For the Valve Index setup, you need a location that provides enough space for your extended arms, including those of your controllers, to avoid touching walls, ceilings, or other objects. Clear the play area of all obstructions (including pets) to make sure there are no stairs or windows in your space. Room Scale VR requires a minimum of 6.5 feet by 1.5 feet of open area.
Remember that the Valve Index base station placement should always aim toward the middle of your play area, regardless of how high you place them. For example, you should tilt a base station toward the center of the play area if you set it above your head height. The Valve Index base station setup should be tilted upward and toward the center, if it is placed at knee height on a coffee table.
Valve Index Wall Mount Set-Up
As for the Valve Index wall mount, you will need 2 things: a drill fitted with a 1/4-inch drill and a Phillips-head screwdriver.
When you have the necessary tools, the following steps are:
- Remove the wall mount’s decorative hole covers and detach the wall plate’s ball and socket.
- Hold the wall plate in place on the wall where you want it to be mounted and mark where to drill in the wall using a pencil and the mounting holes in the wall.
- Drill a 1/4-inch hole into the wall at each of the marked spots.
- Each anchor should be pressed into the hole if you drilled through drywall. Avoid using the anchors if you drilled into a stud.
- Align the holes of the wall plate with anchors.
- Screw the wall plate using the Phillips-head screwdriver.
- Screw the base station’s ball and socket joint into place.
- Plug the power cord into the base station’s rear.
- Screw in the ball and socket joint to the wall mount.
- Point your base station toward your gaming area.
Valve Index Games
Virtual reality experiences such as Blade & Sorcery, Pavlov, Beat Saber, and VRChat are all available in the SteamVR collection. If you want to play Resident Evil 4 VR on the Quest 2 or Astro Bot Rescue Mission on the PlayStation VR, you can’t do so on the Valve Index. It’s possible to play just about everything, and there are workarounds for exclusive games if you need them.
As soon as you set up your VR headset, you’ll be able to play Half-Life: Alyx, the greatest game for VR. Half-Life: Alyx has a lengthy narrative that can be played again and again, as well as a vibrant modding community that is continually pushing the game’s boundaries.
The Valve Index will last you a long time even if you never purchase any more games for it. Some games that you already possess, such as No Man’s Sky, Payday 2, or Phasmophobia, may be enhanced by virtual reality.
Valve Index Accessories
It’s a lot of fun to play around with a VR headset bundle, but the headset, cords, and controllers may make a mess on your desktop when not in use. One of the most sought-after accessories is the Valve Index stand, which you may find on Amazon at a price of around $50.
Can you use the Valve Index With Glasses? The answer is yes. The lenses on the Index are adjustable, and you can set them up for use with glasses. However, make sure that the frame of the glasses doesn’t scratch the lenses. You can also use the Valve Index with eye-contact lenses.
Valve index prescription lenses are also available for ordering, but we advise you to check with your ophthalmologist before doing so.
Valve Index Warranty
In normal consumer usage, the hardware is warranted for one year from the date of shipping to be free of defects in materials and workmanship (the “Warranty Period”).
As long as you follow the return instructions, and if the Hardware fails to work as intended because of a flaw in materials or workmanship, Valve will, at its discretion, either:
- Repair the hardware
- Replace it with an identical new or refurbished product, or
- Refund your purchase price.
Valve Index 2
As of right now, there is no official word on the Valve Index 2 release date will be available, so any predictions are just hunches. In light of prior headsets that have taken at least two years to release, we should anticipate an announcement later this year.
However, because of the difficulties created by the pandemic in 2020, an official announcement in the middle of 2023 or later is most likely to occur. The best we can hope for is a release date for later this year.
A Final SayAs a VR platform, the Index is in the early stages of development. Compared to the Rift and Vive, it isn’t any better or worse. To increase the resolution, you won’t find features like eye-tracking or displays inside displays.
After the Oculus Quest’s wireless capabilities, the cable seems more constrained than ever. The index isn’t future-proof in the same way that a gaming PC or other gear with a known development cycle is.
VR systems may be used for very new purposes in a few years. For some people, the Index isn’t the finest virtual reality headset – at least not now. If the price doesn’t go down in the future, it’s just for those who play a lot of virtual reality games, wear headsets for business, or have a lot of spare cash.
The quality of the virtual reality experience isn’t perfect, but it’s totally worth it.