Oculus Quest 2 vs. Valve Index: Which VR headset must you purchase?

We’re looking at the high and low end of VR headsets today as we head out to the Oculus Quest 2 vs. Valve Index.

VR has come a long way over the years; If you’ve finally decided to take the plunge into virtual reality, this is an excellent time to do it. The graphics are better than ever, there is now a huge selection of videos, apps, and games, and the technology is so advanced that you can enjoy intricate experiences and huge, detailed worlds instead of simple technical demos.

You should also make sure you’re using one of the latest VR headsets, and that’s why we’re looking at the Oculus Quest 2 (first released in 2020) and the Valve Index (2019). They are two very different VR offerings with their own clear advantages and disadvantages, as you will see.

Worried about investing money in a new technology only to have support disappear within months? With these two headsets, you shouldn’t be. Oculus, which was designed specifically for VR, was bought by Facebook in 2014. Valve is the company behind Steam, the incredibly successful PC software distribution platform. Both companies know what they do when it comes to technology, and both run the risk of running out of money soon.

Oculus Quest 2 vs. Valve Index: Design

In a way, the Oculus Quest 2 is the VR experience you might have dreamed of as a kid. Completely wireless and without connecting to a PC to work, it is ready to use right out of the box. The headset is surprisingly light, which makes it comfortable to wear even during longer sessions. It also comes with an easy-to-assemble glasses spacer for those of us with glasses who don’t want to scratch the VR lenses (or actually our glasses).

The minimalist design of the controllers may raise eyebrows, but they are intuitive and up to the tasks of any game or app. Unless you’re spending extra money on the “elite” version of the strap, however, attaching the headset is a fiddly affair that involves playing around with a buckle loop. Fine when you’re the only one using it, annoying when you want to share the wonder of VR with friends and family.

Valve Index VR headset

(Image credit: valve)

The Valve Index has a high quality headset strap with a dial for easy tightening or loosening. There’s also a second dial that puts the lenses closer or farther from your eyes, a first clue that this is a luxury kit. The second clue is that the controllers, which at first glance appear similar to those of the Quest 2, can track the movement of individual fingers. The number of games and apps that support this is relatively few, but it’s an impressive innovation.

The Valve Index, however, is the complete opposite of the Quest 2 pick-up-and-play experience. It doesn’t do anything on its own depending on whether a PC or laptop works with the software (and specs) required. In addition, as a room-sized headset, you need enough space in your play area to place physical base stations for the headset. The motion tracking is very impressive, but you have to work for it.

Winner: Oculus Quest 2

Oculus Quest 2 vs Valve Index: Specifications

Surprisingly, the significantly cheaper Quest 2 with 1832 x 1920 per eye offers a higher resolution per eye than the 1440 x 1600 of the Valve Index. After that, both headsets can display 120 Hz, but Valve’s offer is beginning to gain acceptance without any problems.

The index offers a premium field of view (more important than resolution for many VR users) of 130 degrees versus 89 degrees on the Quest 2. Plus, the Index’s 12GB of storage is twice that of the Quest 2, and usage from base stations – although the setup is cumbersome – results in excellent space and motion detection. The end result is a luxurious VR experience.

Winner: valve index

Oculus Quest 2 VR headset

(Image credit: Oculus)

Oculus Quest 2 vs. Valve Index: Cost

There are no two options: This is an easy win for the Oculus Quest 2. The cheapest version is $ 299 / £ 299 and the more expensive version (with 256GB instead of 128GB of storage) is $ 399 / £ 399. You get absolutely everything you need to get started in the box.

The Valve Index offers a luxury experience at a very luxurious price. A package with everything you need – headset, controller, and base stations – will cost you $ 999 / £ 919. You get at least the critically acclaimed Half Life: Alyx included …

Winner: Oculus Quest 2

Oculus Quest 2 vs Valve Index: Exclusive Games

All Oculus Quest 2 games are downloaded from the Oculus Store. While many former exclusive titles have been ported to other formats since their launch, such as the three-part Star Wars experience Vader Immortal, a small number remains. For example, another Star Wars title, Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge, is exclusive to Oculus (at least for now). The zero gravity multiplayer future sports title Echo VR is fun, Oculus exclusive, and free!

Oculus Quest 2 VR headset

(Image credit: Oculus)

As a headset that is dependent on external hardware, the Valve Index gives you access to the huge number of PCVR games available. The specs are only limited by the hardware you plugged it into, so in theory no VR game is out of reach (as long as your computer is powerful enough). You might not get these Oculus exclusives, but to be honest, it’s not a huge loss.

Winner: valve index

Oculus Quest 2 vs. Valve Index: Verdict

Both headsets shine in different ways. If money (and space) is not an issue, the Valve Index is certainly the way to go as it offers the most immersive experience on the market. The Oculus Quest 2 isn’t too far behind though, and can also be plugged into a PC or laptop to work as a PCVR headset if you pay extra for an appropriate cable (or you can defy the wireless connectivity option if you are .) Trust in your WLAN). However, pay close attention to the Oculus Link specification requirements and compatible graphics cards.

Overall, the benefits of the Valve Index are just not enough to justify the huge price difference, so we recommend the Oculus Quest 2. Remember that linking your Facebook account is mandatory and you may decide to delete it for whatever reason you also delete all of your Oculus purchases. If you agree and there are a lot of people, then welcome to the world of VR.

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