Virtual reality

Your connection between real and virtual world

Valve Index – the highest quality VR kit on the market

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Valve for now still dominates the VR headset market with its Index headset, one of the most impressive VR headsets ever.

Valve is a company that is responsible for a lot of things in the Internet and gaming industry, primarily the Half-Life game series and Steam. They launched their VR headset, Valve Index in 2019. The Index is intended primarily for users who are interested in the premium route of accessing virtual reality. Rejecting the new trend of wireless VR devices pushed by hedsets like the Meta Quest 2, Index is a wired-connected VR hedset that must be connected to a computer in order for it to function. It's a pretty powerful computer. Also, instead of internal controller monitoring, valve index tracking is based on base stations – devices that must be placed in your room and turned to look towards you as you move in space. Tracking can work with only one base station, but it is recommended to use two for the best possible results. Valve opted for this tracking mode for greater accuracy of recording and replicating more complicated movements in the game.

Since Index is connected to Valve's Steam VR platform, acquiring Index immediately opens up a huge offer of VR content that you can access immediately after you've finished setting up the hedset. Also, when using Valve Index, there are no restrictions that will lock you up in any particular virtual ecosystem, but users are encouraged to use their hedset and PC in as many different ways as possible and to browse through and discover what is possible with this hedset.

But, as is usually the case with quality and advanced technologies, with Valve Index comes an extremely high price. So, for the full Index kit you will currently have to allocate 1079 € or 8110 kn, which Puts Index on the finished top as far as prices are concerned. Because of this, Index is by no means a cheap way to enter the world of VR. But it's worth it: What you pay, that's what you'll get. In other words, if you're looking for the best VR-headset of all, you're in the right place.

Valve Index design

Valve Index's looks are simple and elegant. The plastic from which it is made shines slightly and has a pleasant appearance. The front panel made of glass gives it a rather futuristic look, even slightly reminiscent of astronaut helmets. When you put it on your head, you really feel like you're entering some new, yet unexplored world. Once you put it on your head, that's when its exceptional ergonomics come to the fore.

Valve Index is covered in a generous amount of very soft fabric that helps it stand comfortably on your face and head and prevents your skin from touching any hard plastic parts or sharp edges. This makes it extremely comfortable to wear, especially if you plan to wear it for extended periods of time. Weight redistribution is also an aspect of Index to which Valve has paid a lot of attention, so the hedset is comfortable to wear for a long time, without over-fatiguing due to its weight. The sealing sponge that touches the face is very easy to remove, allowing for easy maintenance. Since the part of Index that goes to the eyes is quite spacious, the hedset can be easily used by users who wear glasses, but users who have a prescription are highly recommended to get contact lenses for as much immersion and comfort as possible of using the hedset.

The tape that connects the Index to the head is adjustable and allows fine-tuning to get a better wearing experience and a cleaner image. It is possible to change the distance between the eyes and lenses and it is also possible to increase or decrease the distance between the lenses in order to achieve the best angles of glide and thus a better and sharper image.

As for the speakers, they hang from the hedset itself and are located next to the ear, but do not touch it. This might seem like a disadvantage at first, but in fact it's exactly the other way around; speakers provide cleaner, more pervasive and more precise sound than almost any other hedset on the market. Also, the advantage of your speakers not touching your ears is that you are not completely isolated from the outside world and you can still hear what is happening around you as you move around the virtual world.

In short, the Valve Index is designed to be comfortable, with superior ergonomics and excellent speakers that eliminate the need for headphones.

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Setting valve index and performance

When you start thinking about acquiring Valve Idex, it would be a good idea to first log in to Steam and download their "Are you ready for Valve Index" program to confirm that your computer is strong enough to run the hedset. It makes no sense to buy Valve Index if your computer is not equipped with all the necessary connectors/ports and powerful hardware that is needed for index to function properly. This is already an expensive sport in itself, as the official Valve Index website says you need an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card and Quad Core processor or higher to run the hedset. But if you're about to invest in a VR hedset this strong, you also need to make sure you have a strong computer that can run it.

Minimum computer requirements to run Valve Index:

  • OS: Windows 10, SteamOS, Linux
  • Processor: Dual Core with Hyper-Threading
  • Ram: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / AMD RX 480
  • Connectors/ports: DisplayPort (Version1.2) and USB (2.0+)

Recommended computer requirements to run Valve Index:

  • Processor: Quad Core+
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 or better
  • Connectors: USB (3.0+) for Pass-Through camera

Source: Steam

Once you have determined that you meet all the requirements related to the harver and the launch of Index and after you have acquired the hedset, the hedset setup follows. The setup itself consists of relatively many steps and the Valve Index itself has a lot of parts and things to set up, but don't let yourself get scared; Once you get down to setting up index, the program guides you through the whole process in detail and systematically, so in the end it's not so terrible. However, setting up Index is not nearly as simple as setting up Meta Quest 2, which consists of putting a hedset on your head and outlining the free space around you with a controller, but once you set Index, it's worth every second of the effort.

In your Valve Index VR kit, you'll get two base stations that will look up to you and determine the space in the room you intended for gaming. Base stations can be mounted on walls, but they are quite versatile – you can place them on any object. Once you've installed and plugged them into an outlet, it's time to plug your Valve Index hedset into an outlet and connect it to your computer via USB 3.0 and DisplayPort. It is necessary to connect the hedset to both ports, not just one.

As long as you have enough room in the room (2 m x 1.5 m is recommended) and you can place your PC and VR hedset near the base stations, there should be no problems. Valve Index can be used while sitting and while standing and the hedset itself is very easy to adapt to smaller places than recommended. After this, all you need to do is connect the controllers via bluetooth, download Steam VR. When you start Steam VR, you will find yourself in a room that is inspired by the game Portal and the program will guide you through further setup.

Source: Valve Corporation

The setup itself shouldn't take you more than an hour or two, depending on how you decided to set up base stations. When you're done setting up, running Steam VR puts you in a virtual room that you can just tune to your liking. From that room, you further access your games. But perhaps the most important thing of all is that you are not limited to this. Valve Index also allows you to make the most normal use of your computer's desktop, search the Internet, and generally use your computer's full potential in VR.

The performance of the hedset alone is really impressive. Meeting up close-ups with animations and characters in games like Half Life: Alyx is a stunning experience, especially if you have a computer strong enough to maximize graphics. Valve index provides one impressive complete experience that is limited only by the power of your computer. Other, less powerful VR headsets like Playstation VR or Quest 2 can still conjure up and provide their users with a wonderful virtual experience, but there are always graphical compromises associated with the hardware limitations of the console or VR headset. With Valve Index, you won't have to worry about that for a moment.

As for Valve Index controllers, they are a couple of light years ahead of their competition. The controllers of other VR headsets, compared to Index's controllers (also called Knuckles), seem primitive and clumsy. Knuckles offer complete freedom to your fingers, following each finger individually. Precisely because of this, with Knuckles you can do things that with other controllers you can only dream of. You can receive things with two fingers, squeeze objects with your whole hand, touch objects with one finger… The possibilities are almost limitless. The controllers also have solidlong battery life and are equipped with adjustable safety straps, making them comfortable with long-term use. Overall, the Knuckles bring a whole new dimension of freedom to your hands as you explore virtual worlds.

In short: Valv Index has many parts to take care of when setting up, however setting up is easy and fluent. Index performance depends on the computer you use to run it. Valve Index controllers are extremely impressive and provide the best finger-tracking technology currently available on the market.

Software and games available to Valve Index

The Steam VR game library is enormously large and the vast majority of popular VR titles currently available on the market. So, on Index you can play titles like VRChat, Beat Saber, Pavlov, Blade & Sorcery and more.

One big advantage of Valve Index is that as soon as you're done adjusting the hedset, you'll be able to play one of the best VR titles there is – Half Life: Alyx for free (it's free only for Valve Index users). You will also be able to play some of the games you may already own, such as Payday 2, Phasmophobiae, Astroneer, No Man's Sky and others. The list of games you can play in VR is really sizable.

Half Life: Alyx Service trailer (Source: Steam, Valve Corproation)

General Specifications of Valve Index

  • Platform: Steam VR
  • Price: -full set=1079 €, 8110 kn

-hedset+controllers=799 €, 6000 kn

-hedset=539 €, 4050 kn

-controllers=299€, 2250 kn

-base stations=159 €, 1200 kn

  • Resolution 1440 x 1600 per eye
  • Refresh rate: 80 – 144 Hz
  • Controllers: Valve Index controllers (Knuckles), HTC Vive controllers, HTC Vive Pro controllers

Source: Valve

If you want to learn more about HTC VR devices, you can do so here.

Valve Index Price

Valve Index is a premium quality VR hedset and this is reflected in its price, which currently stands at 1079 € or 8110 kn for a full kit. This is quite expensive when you consider that you also need a strong gaming computer, which could cost you that much more. The good news is that you really get what you paid for if you have a big enough budget and are looking for arguably the best VR experience that can be obtained right now. You can lower the price a bit, if you opt for HTC Vive controllers (they are compatible with Valve Index), but Knuckles controllers are so good that we would not recommend saving on them.

Should you get yourself a Valve Index?

If you are looking for an uncompromising VR experience and are willing to set aside a hefty sum of money to make your experience as good and quality as possible, then Valve Index is the best option for you. It's expensive, but it's also a gateway to a whole new world that offers you the most thorough and exciting virtual experience you can get. On top of that, you'll be able to experience VR in the enviable comfort of Index's great ergonomics and excellent sound system. All in all, if your budget allows, we definitely recommend Valve Index, because it's the best VR experience you can have right now.