The Valve Index VR headset sets a new bar for high-qual…

The Valve Index VR headset sets a new bar for high-qual...

After several weeks of teasing, Valve has unwrapped its VR headset. It’s called the Valve Index, it ships in June, and it’ll cost you a cool $1,000.

That comprises of the $500 headset, $279 controllers and $149 base stations, all of which can be bought separately. The headset has a pair of 1,440 x 1,600 LCD displays with an impressive 120Hz refresh rate, which can be boosted to 144Hz in an experimental mode. But 120Hz is impressive enough considering high-end headsets have mostly topped out at 90Hz (PS VR has a 120Hz option, but just for cinema mode).

Read this: Best VR headsets 2019

Also impressive is the 130-degree field of view, 20 degrees more than you’ll get on the Vive Pro, along with an IPD slider to adjust the lenses for the distance between your eyes.

With the Valve Index come those knuckle controllers we’ve long been waiting on. Valve says there are 87 sensors on each, which includes finger tracking, and should afford more realistic hand interactions in VR than we’ve had to date.

Sadly, unlike the new Oculus Quest, this is still a fully tethered experience, so you’ll need a PC to run it. That also means no inside-out tracking, meaning you really do need those base stations to use the Index. Valve says the cameras on the front, which we saw in earlier images, are just for the passthrough mode.

The headset has built-in stereo speakers too (that’s right, speakers, not headphones), but you plug your own headphones into the 3.5mm jack if you’d prefer.

If that price is putting you off, there’s a bit of good news: the Index works with the Vive Pro’s base stations 2.0 (remember they’re based on Valve’s technology anyway) so if you have those, you don’t need to buy them again. The à la carte option also means you can buy those new controllers separately and use them with your existing Vive system.

Valve Index headset revealed in all its glory

Valve’s entrance in the headset market is especially notable given the company had, according to recent reports, gutted its VR division. Expectations were that Valve was backing down on VR – obviously we now know that’s not the case.

Until now, Valve’s VR efforts have been largely focused on software and behind-the-scenes R&D, while HTC has brought much of Valve’s tech to market with its Vive headsets. A Valve-made headset suggests the two companies are now going their own separate ways.

As for games, the system is compatible with everything you can play on the Vive right now. Valve is also teasing that it might have something of its own to share soon, but no clues on what that might be. Last year it was reported that the company was working on a Half-Life game to launch with the new system.

The Valve Index goes up for pre-order on 1 May and will start shipping 28 June.

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Valve's long-awaited VR headset is coming, and it's called the Valve Index

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