It has been a historic week for fans of virtual reality games: just as Facebook revealed the details about the launch of the Oculus Rift S, Valve launched to offer its own details in its high-end Valve Index VR headset.
It was a double hit of premium virtual reality news that will radically change the virtual reality landscape that has been dominated, largely by the cheaper version, PlayStation VR focused on the console.
However, the only problem with all these new options is that two new headphones, plus the pre-existing HTC Vive Pro (and very good) could paralyze potential users of the high-end RV.
If all this valuable VR hardware is available, let us clear up the confusion, highlight the differences and, in general, compare the three headphones with the best performance we have in 2019.
This is how the HTC Vive Pro, Oculus Rift S and the Live Index are accumulating.
HTC Vive Pro
Oculus Rift S
As head-mounted devices, there are some similarities between these three headsets, but they all take somewhat different approaches.
the Oculus Rift S It uses a halo headband with a button that squeezes the band so that it fits comfortably on the head. This allows less pressure against your face from the screen housing. There is also an adjustable band that goes over your head.
the HTC Vive Pro duck Valve index Wear similar headband styles, with an adjustable band that goes around the sides of your head and a top strap. This is the result of a little more pressure on the front of the face. However, all three use a knob to adjust the tension, which makes it very easy to put on and take off and adjust to the different heads of the users.
the Rift S It has small speakers built into the band for stereo audio, but it also includes a 3.5mm headphone jack to use with your own headphones. the Live Pro It has built-in headphones that you can place over your ears as needed. Meanwhile, the Valve index It has an audio design similar to that of Vive Pro, but uses small speakers that do not press directly on the ears.
Installation, cameras and connectivity.
The three headphones require cables that go from the headphones to a powerful PC. the Valve index It has a cable that divides at the end into USB 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2 and 12V power connectors. the HTC Vive Pro The cable connects to a junction box with power, DisplayPort and USB 3.0 connections. the Oculus Rift S Keep it simpler with a cable splitter on a USB 3.0 and HDMI connector.
The three headphones also have cameras in them. the Valve index It includes two cameras on the front that point slightly down, but currently have no function. the HTC Vive It has two on the front that point to the front, and can enable the tracking of hands and fingers in some programs. the Rift S It has five cameras with two on the front, two on the sides and one on the top, and are used to track and pbad your environment when necessary.
If we explore more of this comparison, the Rift S only integrated cameras for VR. The Vive Pro and the valve index also need external base station cameras to track the movement of headphones and controllers.
The screens are an incredibly important aspect of the VR headset, as they can be used to make or break the experience. And, between Vive Pro, the valve index and Rift S, there are considerable differences in visualization.
Quite at the bottom of the stack is the Oculus Rift S. It uses a single 2560 x 1440 fast resolution LCD panel with an 80Hz refresh rate. While this improves the resolution of the original Rift, it slows down the refresh rate, and the LCD offers rich blacks or OLED panels. The headset uses enhanced lenses that reduce the reflective aspects we saw in the original Rift. But, there is only one software IPD setting (to establish the distance between the students), which has as much rank or effectiveness as a hardware slider that moves the screens and lenses.
the HTC Vive Pro Move things forward with your screens. It uses two separate AMOLED displays for a resolution of 2880 x 1600 and operates at 90Hz for a smoother movement. While AMOLED screens have their problems when it comes to a screen effect through virtual reality, the increased resolution of Vive Pro eliminates that problem mainly. The Vive Pro offers a 110-degree field of view and a hardware IPD setting.
the Valve index He leads the field in most aspects. With dual screens tilted to 5 degrees, it offers a degree of vision of 130 degrees with hardware IPD adjustment. And that view is sharp with a combined resolution of 2880×1600. When solving the Vive Pro, Valve uses LCD panels that have more than the typical PENTLICLE OLED displays, which allows for clearer images. And, Valve heads all of that with a refresh rate of 120Hz that can increase up to 144Hz, for incredibly smooth images that can dramatically increase immersion.
While LCDs in the valve index may not be as impressive as a contrast ratio such as OLEDs, the rest of the package looks like it will help you stay ahead of your competitors.
We will start with Oculus Rift S because it has a unique system compared to the others.
the Rift S It uses what is called tracking from the inside out. By using the five integrated cameras in the headset, the Rift S maps the area around you and, as you move, change your view in virtual reality. It does not need external cameras to follow its movement. This makes it easier to configure. The cameras also track the movements of the controller. But without cameras on the back of the handset, the Rift S has to guess its movement and can not accurately track them behind the users.
As he HTC Vive Pro duck Valve index use the outside-in tracking. This requires external cameras placed around to reproduce the movements of the headphones and controllers. Two cameras can create a large game space and track the movement of the controller just behind the users. However, the configuration process is more complicated. The overlap does not end there either, since both headphones can use the same SteamVR 1.0 and 2.0 base stations.
HTC Vive Pro
Image credit: TechRadar
Oculus Rift S
Image credit: TechRadar
the Live Pro uses the same wall controllers as the original Live. They have side grip buttons, triggers, two buttons for the thumb and a touch wheel on the top.
the Rift S uses new controllers with side grips, triggers, two thumbs, a menu button and an badog joystick. These buttons are also capacitive, so the Rift S will detect when your thumb is resting on them, even if they are not pressed.
the Valve index The controllers go much further. On the one hand, you must have them in your hands, so that you do not have to hold them to have them in your hands. They also have triggers, two thumbs, a system button, a vertical touchpad for the thumbs, an badog lever and grip sensors. The combination of buttons, sensors and sensitivity to pressure allows the controller to track each finger independently for a more realistic and advanced recreation of their hands in virtual reality.
the Oculus Rift S It really differs from the price. At $ 399 (around £ 300, AU $ 550), it's the cheapest one at the moment, and that price includes the headphones, the controllers and everything necessary to use the Rift S. The Rift S also has easy access to the list of exclusive Oculus games. (although other headphones can access many of these games through interim solutions). To facilitate access to virtual reality, this is definitely the winner, especially considering that it does not require as much of a PC to run.
The HTC Vive Pro and the valve index are very expensive. the HTC Vive Pro only the headset costs $ 799 (£ 799, approximately AU $ 1,045), and if you get two controllers and the SteamVR 1.0 base station package, you will add $ 299 (approximately £ 200 / AU $ 400) to the price.
the Valve index He actually manages two planes under the HTC Vive Pro. Just for the handset, he will pay $ 499 (£ 459, approximately AU $ 710). And, for a complete package that includes index drivers and SteamVR 2.0 base stations with improved range and field of view, it will pay $ 999 (£ 919, approximately AU $ 1,425).
If you already have some other VR hardware, however. Both headphones can use each other's controllers and tracking base stations. So, for example, if you have Vive base stations and controllers, you can simply buy the Index handset and get full functionality.
Even so, both devices are more expensive, and with their high resolution screens and high refresh rate, they also require more powerful (read) PCs to run them.
So, which one is right for you?
Without having the Valve Index in our hands and playing some games with it, it is difficult to say with certainty which high-end headphones will win the day. We like the most affordable price of the Oculus Rift S as well as how it tracks its movement without using external base stations, but its specifications leave much to be desired.
That said, if you want the most premium VR package, the Valve index It's worth the wait: your controllers add another layer of immersion to virtual reality and have a higher field of vision, a really important specification when it comes to virtual reality games.
Last but not least, the HTC Vive Pro It can be the most sensible for creatives and owners of virtual reality arcade thanks to its high resolution screen and compatibility with third-party hardware. However, it could become obsolete after the valve index arrives later this year. For now, however, it is likely that gaming headphones are a real improvement over the original Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
In general, we have high hopes that the Valve Index will be all that the company promised years ago when it was working in virtual reality, and it could be the game change hardware that the PC needs to catch up with PlayStation VR.