VRS OVERALL RATINGRecomended Not Recomended
The Valve Index offers quite possibly the highest quality VR experience of any mass-produced HMD at the time of writing. It’s the first-ever headset manufactured by Valve corporation, but not the first one they’ve helped design. That honour goes to the HTC Vive, which Valve co-designed. Valve and HTC have now parted ways when it comes to VR headsets, with Vive creating the Cosmos. Thanks to this bit of history, the Index is actually a second-generation of product.
It’s also got quite a bit of legacy baggage, depending on how you look at it. It’s backwards compatible with controllers for the Vive and Vive Pro, the Lighthouse tracking system and Vive base stations.
The optimal Index experience is in combination with the latest peripherals, such as the Index controllers. However, Valve are essentially offering a variety of upgrade paths to their customer base. Who can keep all their accessories and just upgrade the HMD if they please.
Despite its relatively high cost, users love the experience of incredibly high refresh rates, a wide field of view, pin-sharp room-scale tracking and premium components. However, what really sold many units of this expensive HMD was the release of Half-Life Alyx.
A long-awaited new title in the Half-Life franchise that pushed the envelope of VR. The Index needs to be combined with a high-end PC to live up to its potential, so it’s still hardcore and relatively niche product. You can also use a $299 Oculus Quest 2 to play all the same games and have the option of untethered portable VR. However, for those with the disposable income, there is no substitute for the next-generation VR fidelity that the Index offers.
Only time will tell how Valve will deal with competition from more affordable, yet also high-quality rivals. We like to think that they’ll continue to push the envelope at the high end, but the idea of a Steam-based standalone headset of some sort is also exciting. Either way, Valve is a characteristically quiet and mysterious company. So speculation is all we can do.
|Refresh rate||Up to 144Hz|
|Field of view||Approx. 120-130 degrees|
|Audio||Integrated headphone and headphone jack|