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Valve Index vs HP Reverb (my thoughts after trying them both extensively)

Yes i have tried both the HP Reverb and the Valve Index.

2,5 weeks ago i received my HP Reverb and last Friday i got the Valve Index. One of them is boxed up and leaving today, the other one is still connected to my PC guess which one i'm keeping :)






I pre-ordered both HMD's because i wanted to eliminate all doubt whether i got the right one. I have been using the HP Reverb for more than 2 weeks and the Index for almost a week now and for me the Valve Index is the clear winner.

I liked the HP Reverb for the pixel density, but there were 4 major cons that really made the HMD definitely lose the battle from the Index

- Big bulky cable with gigantic connecter
- Comfort. There's a really sharp edge behind the nose flap. If your nose is bigger than average, the HMD will touch it there up to a point you can't even use the HMD anymore
- Build quality : loose connectors, earpod broke down after 1 week already
- Windows WMR: very buggy, lot's of restarts


HP Reverb

I really wanted the HP Reverb to work, so i

-3D printed a clamp for over the connector the battle the disconnects
-3D printed a special cable holder that was velcro-ed to the back of my GS-5
-Added a extra head strap to prevent the HMD from touching my nose
-Created the right routine by calibrating the HMD first, mounting the cable to my GS-5 before starting other programs

The picture quality dead center is amazing, but the sweet spot is very narrow. As soon as you look around in the HMD things get blurry pretty fast. When looking at a distance the HP Reverb was giving me crossed eyed vision, it was way too bright and the colours looked washed out. The brightness can be fixed in Iracing, but not in all sims.

So i started to develop a love hate relation with the HMD. Loving on some parts but really hating it on others. I even put it up for sale for a short while, but removed the add a day later.

Windows WMR
WMR is a PITA. You always have to put the HMD on and look left and right and down before you can start your sims, but if i launched simcommander and simfeedback before calibrating the HMD the tracking was jittery and only a restart would fix it. Sometimes WMR decided that my mouse only should work on the desktop and not in VR. There's a quick key to switch it back in to VR (win+y), but that key does not always work. Only a windows restart fixes this.

Comfort
The HMD itself is really light and comfortable, but the cable is so heavy that if you stand up and let it hang, it skews the HMD. The bulky connector hangs around your neck and is again not the best solution out there. With quite some effort i got this fixed. The biggest problem was however the sharp edge behind the nose flap.The HMD has a very narrow sweet spot to adjust it on your head, i had to adjust mine that this sharp edges is only a mm or so above my nose. During racing with motion it started to touch my nose very frequently, so much that the day after my nose would hurt when putting reading glasses on.

Image quality
Dead center, really awesome sharpness. Unmatched by any HMD, but as soon as you look of center thing get blurry really fast.

apex-in-Formule1.jpg


When you drive into a corner, the center of the HMD is looking at the APEX in the picture above because this is were you are naturally moving your head. This part is really clear and crisp. But in a race, you often find yourself doing a quick glance with your eyes at the car in front of you. This car is, like the one in the picture above, of center and it becomes much more blurry when looking at it with only your eyes and not moving your entire head.

Like mentioned above, dead center really sharp but when looking at the distance it gave me a crossed eye view. Not sure how to describe it was like there's a rgb pixel blur around the edges of objects in the distance. Mura is there if you look for it (looking at the sky), but hardly a factor when driving.

Tracking
Tracking in of the HP Reverb is fine as long as, you are not using heavy motion or you don't have a monitor beside your rig.
Unfortunately i have both. Large and fast left/right movements resulted a lot times in viewpoint shifts. The internal gyro can make the image inside shaky when using heavy motion

Not being able to place the monitor directly beside me gave me all sort of discomforts when launching steam / simcommander ect ect when i was already strapped into the GS-5. No being able to see the icons because the monitor was too far away.

Build quality
The headset is light and feels cheap, but if it works that's ok, right? In the end the cheap build quality is what saved me. The bad connectors and the already broken earpod gave me the opportunity to send it back to HP as a DOA and get my money back.




Last week even before the Valve Index arrived and before i considered the possibility to return my Reverb to HP, i decided i would not be keeping the HP Reverb. I had a pretty bad concern that the Valve Index with the lighthouses 2.0 could have a tracking issue cause by the EMI of the Servo.

I have 4 SFX100 servos, 1 seatbelt tensioner servo, 4x GS-5 servos and 1 AccuForce servo, plus 2 seaflow blowers.

So the concern that the Valve Index would have EMI tracking issues was pretty big. That's why i wanted the HP Reverb to work, having seen that clarity, i could never go back to the Rift CV1. I decided if the Valve Index would not work, i would give up on VR and buy a Samsung 49" widescreen.


On june 28th i got the pre-ordered Valve Index.

As soons as i opened up the box, i immediately sensed that this is a different product. The whole build quality of the HMD is in a different league. The comfort is unmatched. Everything feels so premium.

This was my initial impression before connecting the HMD to the PC. With high anticipation it was time to install and connect it to my PC

SteamVR automatically sets my resolution to 150% since i'm using a 2080Ti. Getting used to the HP Reverb quality i expected the worst, i loaded up a race sim a put the Index on my head.

I was blown away with the difference between the Valve Index and the HP Reverb. The colours were bright, but spot on, good contrast, good blacks, but mainly the overall clarity was mind blowing. The FOV was quite a lot bigger, most of the gain is horizontal though. I can't explain why but i'm getting a better depth perception.

The sum it in one word: presence

screen
The total pixel count of the Valve Index is lower than the HP Reverb. The HP Reverb is sharper dead center, but looking at the entire image inside the HMD from left to right the Valve Index wins for me. Just slightly looking with your eyes of center results in a much clearer experience. Displays on steering wheels can be read much better with just moving your eyes only.
The colours are vibrant, the contrast and black levels are spot on. You have multiple choices between the different Hz modes and running it at 120Hz is pretty cool, but..... only for hotlapping.

Running a full grid with a decent 150% supersampling and good ingame details will set you back to the smoothing of steamVR at 60fps.
There has been a lot talk about running in 120/144Hz but the current hardware is just not fast enough to run it permanently at those frames on demanding tracks with a lot of cars on screen. Most of the FOV gain is vertically, i still have to physically move my head to see the mirrors.


Build quality
Everything about the Valve Index feels premium and well constructed. The construction of the head strap adjustment, the speakers and the eye relief knob are all great quality. The cable is nice and long and not heavy at all. Very easy to swap between different face gaskets is just the icing on the cake.

Comfort
The comfort of the Index exceeds the comfort of the Reverb in such a way that it's in a entirely different category. The face gasket is nice and thick and feels really good. With the HMD on your head, you can easily turn the knob at the back to tighten or loosen the head strap. Even while racing on the straight. Depending on the intensity of motion i'm running, i can tighten or loosen the head strap without having to take the HMD of. I don't feel the cable pulling at all. There's plenty of room for my nose.It did take me a couple of day to recover from using the HP Reverb.

Audio
Class leading, period. I was afraid since the speakers don't isolate my ears, that the noise of the motion and the very noisy GS-5 still could heard when driving. I'm glad to say that this is not the case. It does a better job at masking the motion sounds than my rift CV1 did. Crewchief or any other digital race engineer can be heard a lot better, but he/she also hears you a lot better because of the high quality mice that is used.

Steam VR
In steam of WMR / SteamVR just works, the mouse in where you want it everytime, audio switches to the HMD. It's almost trouble free

Tracking (with motion)
You can run it with one lighthouse and you don't need the controllers to do the setup. 2 lighthouse does give better tracking when looking down or extremely left or right. The tracking with motion has been flawless. Obviously the lighthouses are placed of the rig.

There's an issue with loss of tracking when i touch the HMD with my hands at the front when the motion servos are powered. This will result in a grey screen, which immediately come back. However if i hold it too long it the tracking because lost and a restart of steam VR is necessary. I found a way around this by either temporary disabling the motion or move the HDM at the very front of the head strap.

HMD not starting
However there's one rather big issue with the Valve Index. As soons as the Index is connected to my PC, it takes about 4-5 min longer to booth. After boothing often the Index is not recognized anymore and needs to be re-plugged. I suspect this is happening because the PC is trying to booth from the Index and somehow sets it in an error state.

This issue is "currently under investigation" by Valve.

I initially had cancelled my Virtual Link adapter for the Index, but have re-ordered it since i believe it will solve this issue when the HMD is plugged into the back of the 2080Ti.

summary
Overall, i'm glad i got to try both HMD's. Otherwise i would have always been wondering if i should have gotten the other one. The best VR headset of the 2 is the Valve Index for me. Of course the ultimate VR headset would have been the Valve Index with the resolution of the HP Reverb. Because of the pixel count i always suspected that the HP Reverb would have been the clear winner, but in the end after having tried them both it's i can say it's not even a close battle
 
Im sure you dont care now :D But regards to the mouse not working in a WMR headset... If you press the menu button on the controller to bring the menu up... then press it again to close the menu, your mouse will work. Its a PITA... especially when you have to wake the controller first... but it does work that way. It must have taken me 20 hours of faff to work that out....

A question about the the sound on the Index if you dont mind... None of the reviews seem to mention this... Is the sound noticeable for other people in the area? Ie would it be distracting to somebody who was watching TV in the same room?
 
Great review, congratulations as always!
My HP Reverb has left my house today, too many defects, disconnections due to the bad cable connection, overheating, flickering, earphones that disconnected, and then the windows software that I don't like that much, unfortunately I didn't book the valve, but it will surely be a great VR, for the moment I will go to the Oculus Rift S hoping I won't be disappointed too much, having tried the magnificent resolution of the reverb.
 
Im sure you dont care now :D But regards to the mouse not working in a WMR headset... If you press the menu button on the controller to bring the menu up... then press it again to close the menu, your mouse will work. Its a PITA... especially when you have to wake the controller first... but it does work that way. It must have taken me 20 hours of faff to work that out....

A question about the the sound on the Index if you dont mind... None of the reviews seem to mention this... Is the sound noticeable for other people in the area? Ie would it be distracting to somebody who was watching TV in the same room?

Yes, i know but... that would require having the motion controller around :) With a motion rig and being strapped into the GS-5 it's difficult to keep them at close hand.

Yes others in the room can hear it clearly at high volume settings.
 
Thanks for this reveiling review!!

I have the GS-5 as well and find the seat wonderful but the noise it makes horrible. When using open headphones it still makes much to much noise. Only when I put my noise cancelling headphones QC Bose I do not hear it anymore. Do you really think that with the index's sound system I won't hear the GS 5?

And second question. I only have the GS-5 so no other seat mover or so. Do you think only one lighthouse is enough for very precise tracking (no need for controllers tracking)

Thanks a lot!!

Paul
 

saxxon66

Micha
Thanks HoiHman, great comparison / review / impressions.

The Valve Index is a great HMD, the best atm imho.
I do own most of the HMDs, and started to develop some VR apps in the early days with the DK1 and 2, owning the Vive, Rift, Samsung Odyssey+, Pimax 8k, Quest.
So I can put in relation and I can confirm your experiences.

The index gives you a special feeling of awarenes and presence.
The sharp and clear vision combined with a higher refresh rate is the key.
Colour reproduction is very good. Comfort is superb and one big part the speaker design floating over your ears and sounding great.
The fov is wide enough to bring you more into the world. Not like the pimax 8k, but wide enough.

For simracing you only need one base station and the index.
Here in Europe this will cost you 698,-.
 
Simple question for those that have both, or used both.

Pimax 5k (XR or otherwise) or Valve Index?
 

saxxon66

Micha
There is only one thing pimax is better at and that is fov. Unless you are not a fov junky, the answer is Index.

Index is better in every and each category but fov and the expirience is the sum of all factors.
And better is not the right word, Index destroys the Pimax for most parts like comfort ( even w/ the DAS mod), clearity, colors, ease of use and of course sound (pimax does not come w/ any) ...
 

Andrew_WOT

Premium
Im sure you dont care now :D But regards to the mouse not working in a WMR headset... If you press the menu button on the controller to bring the menu up... then press it again to close the menu, your mouse will work. Its a PITA... especially when you have to wake the controller first... but it does work that way. It must have taken me 20 hours of faff to work that out....

A question about the the sound on the Index if you dont mind... None of the reviews seem to mention this... Is the sound noticeable for other people in the area? Ie would it be distracting to somebody who was watching TV in the same room?
Win-Y does the same, I just have it mapped to voice command in Voice Attack.
 
Thanks for this reveiling review!!

I have the GS-5 as well and find the seat wonderful but the noise it makes horrible. When using open headphones it still makes much to much noise. Only when I put my noise cancelling headphones QC Bose I do not hear it anymore. Do you really think that with the index's sound system I won't hear the GS 5?

And second question. I only have the GS-5 so no other seat mover or so. Do you think only one lighthouse is enough for very precise tracking (no need for controllers tracking)

Thanks a lot!!

Paul

Yes on both accounts Paul.

Regarding the tracking : One is sufficient, two is better when you are frequently looking down or behind you/ l
 

Mr Latte

Premium
Hi Henk, that's an excellent review focusing on sim racing aspects too.
Enjoyed reading it, while not surprised which became the more accomplished and better product.

Can you follow this up in time with feedback on what fps performances are typical with the hardware you have. Also while the framerate thing may vary with different users. Do you find having higher refresh helps with your steering accuracy as well as maybe being less straining on the eyes for longer sessions?

Some are reporting of units heating up but with your wind sim this may not be happening.
Keep enjoying, look forward to getting one in the future and hopefully within the year GPU units have improved efficiency with VR as well as top end cards bring us closer to that 120Hz or higher with full car races.

Oh and one last query, how good is it with the cinema apps for movies?
We know its got good audio, good comfort, good display. All above the RIft which was a bit weak in this form of usage but none of the reviewers even seem to cover this "entertainment" aspect.
 
Thanks Rodney,

I'm not really sensitive to higher refresh rate, but i do have to admit that running AC @120Hz felt pretty awesome. No improvement in steering accuracy felt

With the amount of wind blowing at it through my seaflows there little to no chance the Index will ever become hot.

Movies are good in the Index to, but i don't think i wil ever watch an entire movie in an HMD, i might be old fashioned in that aspect. :)
 

Mr Latte

Premium
Thanks Rodney,

I'm not really sensitive to higher refresh rate, but i do have to admit that running AC @120Hz felt pretty awesome. No improvement in steering accuracy felt

With the amount of wind blowing at it through my seaflows there little to no chance the Index will ever become hot.

Movies are good in the Index to, but i don't think i wil ever watch an entire movie in an HMD, i might be old fashioned in that aspect. :)

Cheers, I get what your saying for a full movie but I think its good for trailers or fave scenes. I enjoyed it this way with Sonys 9.1 headphones.

Look forward to Dirt 2 getting support and your feedback as you use this more on your fave sims. Good choice I think over the Pimax options.
 
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RCHeliguy

Premium
That was a great review. I'm feeling a lot less like I'll have anything to add when mine gets here. I think I may just enjoy it. It appears all that is meaningful to be said about the Index has been said.

The next 4 weeks are going to be a long wait....

Do I need a 2080Ti to go with it or will a 1080Ti be able to keep up with the CPU bottlenecks?
 
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I'm really really disappointed in the latest Reverb reviews........ For me, the number one issue with current HMD's is poor resolution. Rez is important to me by a factor of 20 over all else. The HP was the first HMD that was to solve the resolution problem. That said, I don't want horrible looking washed out screens either. Perhaps I should just stick to the 5K+ since I already have one, and the Index resolution is no better. Is it really worth it if already owning the 5K? You say the Index colors blow away the HP, but are they "that much" better than the 5k? In other words, how does the HP colors compare the the Pimax colors? Are the 5K colors as bad as the HP's or somewhere in between?
 
Henk, how about god-rays? It's the one thing I've seen mentioned negatively in regards to the Index...are they there? Are they bad? How do they compare to Rift god-rays (which are awful)?
 

RCHeliguy

Premium
FYI,
His comments seem to come to this. The Pimax has less clarity and distortion on the sides. He said he is normally looking 50m ahead and Pimax isn't as clear there but the FOV is very interesting. He also called the plastic tacky and the head strap sort of DK1. He had no real verdict, he was just getting it going.

He did comment about the Pimax getting warm after about 10 minutes. I think he really needs to get some AC.

 
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