My pick for VR: the Valve Index.
– 120 Hz (with an experimental 144Hz mode)
– 1600 x 1440 LCD displays
– 2 speakers, one at each ear
– controllers are strapped so you don’t have to hold onto them
The Valve Index features a 120Hz refresh rate which decreases motion sickness, increasing overall smoothness. This improves the feeling of realism and makes it easier on the eyes after a long session of gaming. The excellent 1600 x 1400 LCD displays are one of the highest resolution screens in the industry, providing a wide field of view, which reduces the ‘screendoor’ effect allowing for greater immersion. The speakers at each ear are by no means super immersive because they do not cancel nor block out background noise, but they provide good audio throughout. The controllers are great and provide reliable tracking. They are able to sense each finger, as compared to the HTC Vive, which allows for more intuitive controls in situations like throwing an object. The headset is also comfortable with paddings, and can be tightened with a screw from the back for an optimal fit. The Valve Index is a premium VR set designed for enthusiasts, coming in at a steep price of $1,000.
I like the high refresh rates on the Valve Index as smoothness is an important factor to me when using VR. The wide field of view also makes the experience very immersive as there is no screendoor effect, which appeals to me. I also like the controllers, which are strapped to your hand so you do not have to grip them all the time and you can make hand gestures with it, which makes it feel more realistic and immersive in my opinion.
My pick for MR: Acer Windows MR headset.
– 2880 x 1440 LCD display
– Inside out tracking system: no external motion trackers
The Acer Windows MR features a 2880 x 1440 LCD display which is one of the highest in the industry. There is no noticeable ‘screendoor’ effect, however the 90Hz display means there are noticeable smearing effects. The inside out tracking system means that the system’s awareness of position is all calculated in the helmet itself rather than relying on motion trackers set up around the room. This makes setup easy and convenient but the VR performance is less accurate. This device also supports SteamVR, meaning it can play the latest VR games.
I like the easy setup of the device, it works right out of the box. The SteamVR support is also a nice feature, allowing you to play games on top of experiencing the MR in Windows. I like that you can navigate a 3D virtual Windows desktop rather than our conventional 2D screen of navigation. For example, you can traverse the Windows ‘world’ and find a Windows ‘bag’ 3D object, where selecting it would take you to the Windows store, which is a pretty cool way to interact with your desktop!