Valve Index VR HMD priced at $999 with controllers & sensors

The Valve Index virtual reality headset is almost here, and the company revealed the specs and price of the latest PC VR HMD to join the market.

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Valve Index is joining the already crowded landscape for virtual reality headsets, and the company powering Steam believes their high-fidelity solution will be enticing to VR enthusiasts. Valve announced the price and release date of the Index VR HMD today.

The Valve Index VR HMD appears to have a lot of ergonomic improvements for extended gameplay experiences.
The Valve Index VR HMD appears to have a lot of ergonomic improvements for extended gameplay experiences.

The Valve Index VR HMD will cost $499 by itself and will also be sold in a bundle with the new trackers and Knuckles controllers for $999. Preorders begin tomorrow in the United States and European Union. The targeted release date is July 1 for these brand new virtual reality headsets.

The Valve Index VR HMD with the new Knuckles controllers and sensors costs $999.
The Valve Index VR HMD with the new Knuckles controllers and sensors costs $999.

The company described the genesis of the Index product in their press release today: "Valve game teams requested increased fidelity to support AAA VR content development." The result is what Valve is calling a high-fidelity VR experience with best-in-class visuals and audio. They also boast natural input, reliable tracking and comfort for long-term usage.

The company's fidelity first philosophy applies to the audio, visual, and ergonomic design of the product. Valve Index features nearfield off ear speakers that do not make contact with the user's ears. Valve believes this audio solution will offer better immersion and comfort while providing a high-fidelity audio experience. 

Valve Index will feature two very low persistence LCDs boasting 1440x1600 resolution for each eye.
Valve Index will feature two very low persistence LCDs boasting 1440x1600 resolution for each eye.

Valve Index features dual low persistence 1440x1600 LCDs. The company also claims the Index HMD pixel layout will enable full resolution RGB and 50% more subpixels than a typical OLED. Valve Index's low persistence LCDs (0.330 ms) are reportedly five times better than the HTC Vive. The Index VR HMD features a custom dual-element lens design that aims to achieve sharpness across large FOV and allow for a large human range of travel (eyebox). Users should expect an increase in FOV of about 20 degrees relative to HTC Vive. Lenses will be able to be adjusted to allow for maximum FOV. Many VR enthusiasts will also be happy to hear that the Index HMD will also feature mechanical IPD adjustment. Another high-fidelity feature of the headset is the frame rate. Valve claims the HMD will be capable of hitting 120 Hz with full backwards compatibility to 90 Hz while also introducing a 144 Hz experimental mode. These are big steps on the visual fidelity and comfort design fronts.

The Valve Index aims to be one of the most comfortable VR HMDs on the market.
The Valve Index aims to be one of the most comfortable VR HMDs on the market.

Valve was highly focused on designing hardware that will be comfortable during increased play-session length. This goes beyond the visual improvements detailed above, as the headset is designed for ergonomic comfort as well. The HMD features high-quality fabrics and padding, reduced weight, and careful geometry targeting 95% of adult heads. The Index will also be easily modded as Valve has included a "Frunk" USB space and stereoscopic front-facing cameras. The company will also be providing CAD, specs, and sample code to users who want to get their hands dirty.

Tesla may have invented the
Tesla may have invented the "Frunk," but Valve is trying to perfect it.

It's knucklepuck time, Shackers! The Knuckles controllers are finally here and they are packing 87 sensors per controller. These optical, motion, capacitive, and force sensors will all work together to determine user intent and enable finger tracking. Human interface devices are hugely important for VR experiences, and Valve has spent a lot of time to make sure that the controllers are comfortable while allowing for backwards-compatible VR experiences. The company claims that the controllers will be able to last for seven hours on a single charge. 

Valve Index Knuckles controllers will allow for some of the best hand and finger presence ever experienced in VR.
Valve Index Knuckles controllers will allow for some of the best hand and finger presence ever experienced in VR.

Valve is also launching their new Base Stations 2.0 alongside the Valve Index. They provide longer range, wider FOV, and are compatible with both Index and Vive Pro HMDs. The Index HMD and controllers are also compatible with Base Stations 1.0. Base Station 2.0 will sell individually for $149. The Knuckles controllers will sell as a pair for $279. The Valve Index HMD costs $499 by itself. Valve is also offering a HMD & Knuckles Kit for $749 or customers could go for the $999 VR Kit that will come with 2 Base Stations 2.0, 2 Knuckles controllers, and the Index VR HMD. 

Valve Index VR HMD preorders go live tomorrow for US and EU customers and will hopefully ship on July 1. Are you going to pick one up? Let us know in the comments section and keep it locked on Shacknews for more information about all the latest VR HMDs.

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Asif Khan is the CEO and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

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