Virtual reality is something that you should have already joined especially if you are a tech geek. So here, we will be comparing the Oculus Quest 2 and Valve Index for reference.
These two are very different because Oculus Quest 2 is the newest VR headset as of writing this post and the Valve Index, although recent, is one of the earlier models.
Valve is the company often known as the provider of games for VR headsets. So they have been around the VR world for a long time and they continue to succeed in it.
This company is the owner of SteamVR which is a gaming and store site where you can find the best games such as DotA 2, Red Alert, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and so many more.
While they are producing enticing games for other VR headsets, they also help other companies in building their headsets. They are even responsible for improving the headsets of Oculus.
Oculus is a Facebook-owned company that produces amazing VR headsets. Their newest release has been the talk of the VR world and so it is only right to compare it to the OGs.
Valve released the Index a little later than the pioneers of the VR gaming world so it has somewhat of a more advanced technology and features while also keeping the basics.
Oculus Quest 2 is an improved version of the original Quest so there are a lot of expectations for this VR headset. Shipping will be available in mid-October 2020 so grab yours now.
If you are kind of lost on which one to buy, or if you are more leaning towards the classic and proven headsets, then you should read on as your mind can change after knowing about these ones.
Table of Contents
Type Of Headset
Purchasing your VR headset involves selecting the right one based on how much you move around when playing, watching, or doing anything with the VR headset on your head.
Valve Index was released in 2019 and although that is a little bit recently, they did not put all the wires out of it. It is still tethered to the power source so your movement is a bit limited.
The cables that connect the Valve Index to the PC are not that invasive. However, there are also other wires that the Valve Index needs to be connected to such as the trackers and mounts.
Oculus Quest 2 is a different story. It does have cables that connect it to a PC but it does not necessarily need to be connected to a PC at all times as it can run by itself.
See, the Oculus Quest 2 headset is a hybrid headset that is both a standalone and a tethered headset. You can power it up by itself or improve it by connecting it to a PC setup.
This gives you a lot of options for you to move around and for games that require you to physically move. However, the wireless option has its downside such as low battery power.
The advantage of tethered headsets is that they can last for long periods of time. Since the PC powers them, you do not have to worry about the battery dying in the middle of playing.
The display is responsible for putting the images right on the lenses. The brighter or the more detailed the display is, the better the images will be meaning it will be crisp.
Both the Valve Index and the Oculus Quest 2 headsets use LCD for the display. This is a common type of display but they also differ when it comes to their features.
While the Valve Index display is able to produce images that are highly-detailed, it still has a slight screen door effect where you see the black lines in between pixels.
The lenses of the Oculus Quest 2 are more advanced where they can combine colors more accurately and can even smoothen up the display when the user is moving around.
Made out of a single-panel, fast-switching, and RGB-stripe LCD, the Oculus Quest is able to remove as much screen door effect as possible and takes nausea away as well.
The display should be combined with the resolution so that you can determine how detailed and clear the images are when they are displayed within the VR headsets.
The Valve Index has a resolution of 1440 by 1600 pixels per eye. This is slightly better than the Oculus Rift S but it can certainly be improved since it is a bit on the low-resolution side.
This type of display is able to produce images that are high-definition and can process videos with a resolution of a little bit lower than 4K display which will do for most videos.
As for the Oculus Quest 2, it has a higher 1920 by 1832 pixels per eye. This is much clearer than the Valve Index and it is able to produce detailed images that other headsets cannot.
When worn, the display of the Oculus Quest 2 burst with colors and so much detail that you can focus on a small object that is meters away from you in the display.
This is the combination of the RGB-stripe and single-panel display. They mix up colors so well that you can see objects far away from you and also displays it in full brightness with no issues.
The refresh rate of VR headsets is also a feature that helps in making the display clearer, or more appropriately, smoother. So the higher the refresh rate, the better the display.
The Oculus Quest 2, despite its amazing display and color combination capabilities, has one of the lowest refresh rates on the market with only 72Hz. Pretty low but it does the job.
72Hz means that the Oculus Quest 2’s display refreshes itself 72 times a second. While that may sound fast, it can certainly be improved for a smoother display when moving.
The Valve Index headset has one of the best refresh rates available right now. It has a refresh rate of 120Hz which gives a very smooth display, making it great for video games.
It makes sense that Valve made the refresh rate higher than most VR headsets out there. They are a gaming company so they need a fast-acting display for maximum immersion.
The display can certainly be improved for the beautifully-designed games available on their site but it is good that they have prioritized the speed first, still hoping for the display though.
As for the Oculus Quest 2, you do not have to be disappointed with its refresh rate because it is actually smooth. Meaning it can still put up a display that is immersive enough.
Oculus also made an announcement that they will be developing the hardware and soon enough, we will be having an Oculus Quest 2 headset with a refresh rate of 90Hz.
We have talked about the hardware of the Valve Index pretty much. As it is connected to a PC, it does not need too many hardware components inside the head-mounted display.
But with the Oculus Quest 2, it is a different play. It is a standalone VR headset so it needs a lot of hardware inside it so it can play videos and games without needing power from a PC setup.
Oculus Quest 2 has an improved processor. For its price, it is amazing that they were able to put a Snapdragon XR2 which is a very powerful chip derived from the Snapdragon 865.
Usually, headsets or devices with this processor are sold for over a thousand dollars. The Oculus Quest 2 has this processor and is sold for no more than half of that price.
While it can still be improved, the processor of this headset is enough to run games smoothly as it is combined with an also improved 6GB RAM that can handle multiple functions.
You can also now store more files in the Oculus Quest 2. It still has the base memory of 64GB like the original Quest but it is now upgradable up to 256GB.
Along with this amazing storage memory and processor, you can also improve them by tethering it to a PC to get even more power and storage for more entertainment.
Controllers and Trackers
The Valve Index is a pretty tedious headset to set up. It requires mounted trackers to accurately put the display and controller in line with the vision of the user.
The good news is that it is compatible with the Vive Lighthouse tracking system. So if you already have one of those at home, you do not need to purchase another tracking system.
This is one of the benefits of being involved with the production of other VR headsets. Valve actually designed this tracking system for Vive so their headsets are compatible with it.
All you need to do is connect the cables that are dedicated to the mounted trackers and then get familiar with the VR world. The controllers are tracked perfectly as well as the user’s orientation.
The two controllers included in the Valve Index are pretty standard. With different functions, you will be able to play games with smooth transitions and controls like most headsets.
Oculus Quest 2 has three different tracking systems that allow it to have a maximum immersive experience. It does require setup for the mounted tracking system for the user’s position.
The head-mounted display has cameras that are responsible for tracking the controllers with a 6 Degree of Freedom. This is pretty standard for inside-out tracking systems.
There are also internal sensors that are responsible for tracking the orientation of the user. This seems like you, the user, and the controllers are being tracked in a 3-dimensional system.
Gaming In The Headsets
Oculus has its own store so you can find games there. However, with the same system, you will also be able to get access to other websites for games such as SteamVR.
The Valve Index is no doubt available for SteamVR as both the store and the headset are owned by the same company. Get your account ready and get the best games from the store.
As for the experience itself, gaming in these headsets is really not that different. They have the same basic halo straps and over-the-head straps that can be both adjusted.
So it means that you can tighten or loosen the straps to your liking. The Valve Index is a little bit heavy at 800 grams but it is perfectly balanced so we found no issues with the weight.
The Oculus Quest 2 allows you to use it for long sessions. The straps can be improved but I do not see much need as the head-mounted display is very light and you can wear them for hours.
One disadvantage when using the Oculus Quest 2 as a standalone headset is that it has a weak battery. If it is not connected to a PC the Quest 2 will only last for about a couple of hours.
The Oculus Quest 2 will surely be the talk of the town when it arrives at the users. In fact, it is already making some noise because of the amazing features that it has.
Valve Index is a clear manifestation of a gaming headset. It has a high refresh rate which is perfect for moving around and displaying images that move a lot.
Both of these headsets can be improved but for now, they are enough for most functions. They have amazing displays and resolution and also, they can power almost any display you want.
The Oculus Quest 2 is a more comfortable headset compared to the original Quest. It is lighter and it also has more storage so you can save videos and games in it without a PC setup.
The Valve Index is also very easy to use. You just need to set up the proper tracking system and meet the requirements for the PC to power it and you are good to go.
Either way, these two headsets are very close to each other. So if you choose either one, you will not be disappointed, invest now and get yours to discover the world of virtual reality!
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