Vive to Valve Index - First impressions

I took delivery of a Valve Index last week so wanted to share first impressions. My previous setup was an original Vive with updated 3 in 1 cable, audio strap and I had done the gear vr lens swap.

I decided to go for the headset only option. This is fully compatabile with the original lighthouses and vive controllers. My play space is fairly small and never had any real issues with tracking to justify the newer lighthouses. The new controllers do look good but are not supported to their full extent by many games, these may be a further update later on down the line. I do however now have a vive headset that I cannot really sell on however looking at ebay resale prices for the original Vive now it made more financial sense to get just the headset.

Very simple swap just removing the link box and plugging in the headset cable (no link box on the Valve Index). This then just worked, no software or additional setup needed. The vive controllers needed to be re-paired and that is it, the most painless upgrade I've ever had.

First look was around standard steam home, looked much clearer and FOV is much improved, I did find the headset a little less forgiving though if a little loose and not sitting quite right things got blury quickly but a quick tighen and everything looks sweet again. The headset is defaulted to 90hz with 120hz (and beta 144hz) response options available, switching to 120hz and everything was a lot smoother. I have not tried the 144hz option yet.

I tried a few other games first, part of me was worried ED would let me down again when I see it in VR, don't get me wrong I loved it on the Vive but compared to other games it was a bit dissapointing. Beat Saber is excellent, with the 120hz refresh everything felt smoother even if it didn't feel wrong before. The only game that looked slightly questionable was Brookhave Experiment, the Valve Index uses LCD instead of OLED panels which are not as good with black levels. This showed and there was a greyness to the game when it was normally dark. I have not noticed this in any other game though with black levels being just as good.

So ED... I think the simplest word that sums it up is WOW! Everything looks great, the extra FOV is much more noticable and the text is crystal clear and easily readable. Playing ED on the Vive I got used to the text being a pain and enjoyed the immersion, the Valve Index just takes this to a whole new level.

Finally I will mention the speakers, with the audio strap on the Vive I was in the habit of leaving these off my ears in the out position as they got a bit uncomfortable after a while plus totally blocked outside audio. The Valve Index has two speakers in a similar position but they are designed as speakers and not headphones sitting ~20mm away from your ear. This in no way impacts on their quality or power. Spatial awareness playing Brookhaven Experiment was perfect and the clarity and bass when playing Beat Saber was spot on.

All in all a worthwhile investment. OK the headset alone is nearly the same cost as the full Vive kit was when that came out but the simple swap and backwards compatibility don't render your previous purchase worthless unlike normal generational upgrades. Definitely recommended.
 
What about glare? I found it very distracting, especially when I travel near stars or in the game menu.
Only times I have really noticed glare is using FSS or title menus. Can't say for sure it's not noticable in other areas of the game but for me it hasn't been enough to distract me from gameplay.
 
My index has arrived in my hands this morning. I'm excited I tried VR for first time at lavecon, I was hooked and bought one a.s.a.p.

I'm hoping it all works well
 
its cool, I just need to figure out the best steam vr settings and in game settings to have. I also want to test if the steam vr settings provide more headroom than in game settings. has anyone tried and tested the difference?

also, steam vr has removed the interleave reprojection option, where do you untick this and leave async reprojection on.

haha, steam put the option back please :)
 
What about glare? I found it very distracting, especially when I travel near stars or in the game menu.
It is there, definitely, but very dependent on the content and how well the HMD is placed on your head. In ED Index is better than Vive in that regard (and basically everything else).
its cool, I just need to figure out the best steam vr settings and in game settings to have. I also want to test if the steam vr settings provide more headroom than in game settings. has anyone tried and tested the difference?
Are you referring to super sampling? Yes, SteamVR is more granular since you can choose a percentage scale. Be aware, that 100% resolution scale in SteamVR is already 1.4x super sampling. I choose some busy HAZRez in rings and tweak my graphic settings, so my GPU is at about 80-85% load. That provides some headroom. In star ports reprojection will kick in, but to me that is acceptable.

also, steam vr has removed the interleave reprojection option, where do you untick this and leave async reprojection on.

haha, steam put the option back please :)
Yes, really bad decision not be able to control these options separately. You can only use Shift-A in SteamVR mirror window:
Pressing Shift+A has the same effect as disabling async, disabling interleaved reprojection, and enabling “always-on reprojection”
I never used these combinations in ED, since the frame times are too unstable.
 
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