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Valve Index Vs HTC Vive Pro: Which Should You Buy?

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2019 seems to be a good year for VR and AR enthusiasts, and with the release of the Valve Index, we can say that this technology just took one giant step forward. At first glance, the Valve Index seems to be the simpler of the two design-wise, but don’t let that fool you. It is hiding one heck of a punch. This article compares the Valve Index vs. HTV Vive Pro and helps you decide which you should buy.

Let’s dig directly into how the two VR devices differ.

Valve Index Vs HTV Vive Pro: Display

As mentioned earlier, there is a difference in both devices’ field of view and refresh rate. The Vive Pro has two AMOLED screens with a total resolution of 2880 × 1660 and a refresh rate of 90Hz. One of the disadvantages of OLED displays is the gate effect that can impact the VR experience, but the definition of Vive Pro eliminates this problem.

Yet again, the Valve Index comes out on top here, too. The device is equipped with two LCD screens offering a combined definition of 2880 × 1600, similar to the Vive Pro. However, its LCDs display more subpixels than the pentile OLED displays, which gives us better clarity.

COPYRIGHT_NOVA: Published on https://www.novabach.com/i/valve-index-vs-htv-vive-pro-which-should-you-buy/ by Daniel Barrett on 2022-09-06T15:16:58.000Z

Valve Index Vs HTC Vive Pro: Lenses

The Index and Vive Pro both include a manual dial so you can fine-tune the IPD, giving more people the chance to see a perfect fit. On top of IPD, eye relief — how close the lenses are to your face — can be adjusted in both headsets.

Tracking Differences

The Vive Pro and Valve Index are based on an “outside-in” tracking system that requires external sensors. These sensors must be arranged around the play area delimited by the user.

Both headsets use the same tracking system: SteamVR Tracking (1.0 and 2.0), developed by Valve. The sensors to be arranged in the room are the “Lighthouse” stations. Just place two of them at two opposite corners to delimit ample play space and follow the headset’s movements and the controllers at 360 degrees. However, the installation and configuration process can be long and painful, plus most never get it right the first time.

Valve Index Vs HTC Vive Pro: Controllers

The Vive Pro works with the same Wand controller as the first Vive. So we find a trigger, two side buttons, and a touchpad. Unfortunately, this controller is somewhat limited because it does not allow you to use your fingers in virtual reality. On this point, the Vive Pro is, therefore, behind compared to its competitors.

However, the Valve Index controllers are far superior. First, straps allow to keep them in the hand of the user without having to keep them. In addition, thanks to different sensors and capacitive buttons, the accessory can follow each finger independently. It is, therefore, possible to use each finger in VR realistically and naturally.

Weight

Unfortunately, both headsets are pretty weighty. The Index is lighter with 809g than Vive Pro’s 1017g, but HTC’s product has a more balanced weight. That being said, carrying either of these headsets is no small task for our neck.

Valve Index Vs HTV Vive Pro: PC Requirements

You ultimately want the best desktop PC for VR to get the best experience with any system. Many games will require more performance than what VR manufacturers state as minimum hardware requirements, so keep that in mind when pricing your setup. Still, HTC and Valve offer a starting point for PC hardware. Note that both HMDs require USB-A and DisplayPort to connect and Bluetooth for the base stations.

Valve recommends at minimum a dual-core processor (CPU), 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD RX480 graphics card (GPU), though you’ll get a far better experience with a quad-core CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU. HTC, on the other hand, recommends at minimum a quad-core CPU, an NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 GPU, and 4GB of RAM. For a better experience, you should shoot for an NVIDIA GTX 1070 or AMD Radeon Vega 56 GPU (or better). In either case, you’ll need a beefy dedicated GPU and a modern CPU. If you’re looking to save money on PC hardware by going with a lesser HMD, the Index and Vive Pro should not be near the top of your list.

Don’t miss: Is PlayStation Virtual Reality (PSVR) Worth It?

Pros and Cons

Valve Index

Pros

  • Higher 144Hz refresh rate for display
  • Higher 130-degree FOV
  • Adjustable lenses and IPD
  • Comfortable fit with built-in audio
  • Precision external tracking

Cons

  • LCD display with less impressive contrast

HTC Vive Pro

Pros

  • AMOLED display with better contrast
  • Adjustable lenses and IPD
  • Comfortable fit with built-in audio
  • Precision external tracking
  • Wireless adapter available

Cons

  • Lower 110-degree FOV
  • Lower 90Hz refresh rate
  • Considerably more expensive

Valve Index Vs HTC Vive Pro: Price

Price will undoubtedly play a significant role in your final decision, and the Index has the Vive Pro beat. For a complete setup, including Vive Pro HMD, two base stations, and updated wands, you’re looking at dropping about $1,399. This gives you six-month access to Viveport Infinity, HTC’s gaming subscription service. To get your hands on a complete Index setup, including HMD, Knuckles motion controllers, and two base stations, you’ll spend about $999. That’s a considerable saving, only adding to the Index’s appeal.

You can buy parts separately for both systems, though you’re still going to pay more for the Vive Pro. The HMD alone costs close to $732, while you can grab an Index HMD alone for about $499. So even if you opt for the Vive Pro HMD and cross over with Knuckles controllers, you’ll pay more.

The Valve Index delivers a stellar VR experience at a more affordable price than the HTC Vive Pro. Its LCD display might not have quite the same contrast as AMOLED, but it’s superior in nearly every other way. It’s all contained in a modern, comfortable headset, and Knuckles controllers deliver the best motion-tracked input.

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About The Authors

Daniel Barrett

Daniel Barrett

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