Despite the giant “Not available in your country” splashed all over its launch page when viewed by us plebeian Aussies, Valve have in fact made their first official VR headset available for pre-order.
The whole kit and caboodle well set you back US$999, which certainly ain’t cheap when you compare that to yesterday’s newly announced Oculus S at US$399 from Facebook but the Index is a whole lot more VR machine. Or is it?
The Index despite having cameras mounted on its mask aren’t there for inside-out tracking like the Oculus S, they’re there to provide passthrough of the environment to the wearer, meaning that you’ll still be sticking up sensors around the room so it can tell where you are.
The Index too makes use of an older tech for its display, opting for an LCD panel instead of the shiny new darling of the display world, OLED. Their reasoning behind this is the ability to ramp up its refresh rate running the larger 1440 x 1600 per eye displays at 120Hz and currently testing pushing that further to 144Hz.
Another bonus of the Index’s display system is a much larger field of vision said to be 20 degrees larger than its 3rd party step bro the HTC Vive. This varies however as a result of the headset being about to adjust based on the distance between your eyes.
Reportedly, the Index is one fo the most comfortable and best at preventing light leakage even whilst the user is wearing glasses and can function with two base stations to cover a large 10m x 10m space.
You are still tethered (as you are with the Oculus S) and it will require setup, placing the base stations in the corners of the room as well as a beefy PC behind it all to power those high res displays.
Source: Valve Index