We've known about Valve's own VR headset for quite some time but now after months of waiting, the hardware has been officially revealed. The Valve Index will open up for pre-orders today and begin shipping in June but with no announced Valve software to look forward to, buyers will need to be heavily enticed by the technical specifications above anything else.
As previously predicted, the Valve Index focuses on fidelity and optics above all else, which does mean that affordability is sacrificed in hopes of offering a markedly improved experience compared to other current-gen VR headsets. The Index packs two 1440×1600 RGB LCD displays, which are capable of running at 90Hz, 120Hz or 144Hz. These displays are also super low persistence, so there shouldn't be any blur when you move your head. Beyond that, the display are angled in a way that boosts field of view by 20 degrees over the Rift or VIVE, while also doing more to combat the ‘screen door effect'.
The Valve Index does have an IPD slider, so you can adjust lens spacing for your own eyes but beyond that, there is also a slider to push the lenses further back, or bring them closer. This is a feature that has been overlooked in many other headsets and will provide better comfort to those who wear glasses.
There are two 960×960 full colour cameras on the front of the Index, in addition to an add-on space that Valve refers to as the ‘Frunk'. Valve does not have any plans for its own add-ons at this point in time but hopes that modders play around with it. This image below will give you a look at the full technical spec sheet:
The Valve Index will ship in three forms- as a standalone headset (£459), as a bundle with the Index controllers (£689) or as a full bundle with the headset, controllers and base station sensors (£919). It is an extremely pricey set up, although it is cheaper than the VIVE Pro full bundle, all while offering better features. Valve has said that it plans to release a ‘flagship VR game' at some point this year but so far, the company is remaining silent on what it is.
The Valve Index opens up for pre-orders today for the USA and most of western Europe. The first shipments are expected to go out by the end of June.
KitGuru Says: I am tempted by the Valve Index but I am surprised at how expensive the controllers and base stations ended up being. The Index controllers cost £260 on their own, while the base stations are £140 each. Still, if you want the very best VR headset that Valve could come up with, then this is it.