PSVR2 vs Valve Index: Which VR Headset is Better for Gaming?

PSVR2 vs Valve Index: Which VR Headset is Better for Gaming?

Published: 02-03-2023
Updated: 30-05-2023

In this article, we will compare the PSVR2 vs Valve Index, helping you decide which virtual reality headset is better for you.

By the time PlayStation VR2 is released, the age gap between the Valve Index will be 2.5 years. Despite this, the choice of finding the best virtual reality gaming headset will get harder. If you should go with Console VR or PC VR.

We will cover:

Pros and Cons of PSVR2 vs Valve Index

Pros

PlayStation VR2

  • Superior immersion with headset haptic feedback and innovative controllers
  • Eye tracking and dynamic foveated rendering
  • OLED displays with crisp resolution and High-Dynamic Range (HDR)
  • Exclusive titles on Playstation Store

Valve Index

  • Extremely smooth 144Hz refresh rate
  • Best all-around headset for PCVR
  • Vast VR gaming library
  • Social and other entertainment VR content

Cons

PlayStation VR2

  • Dated fresnel lens
  • No wireless connection option
  • The refresh rate could be higher
  • Only works with a Playstation 5

Valve Index

  • Needs external tracking stations
  • The resolution could be higher
  • Expensive considering the competition

Are you feeling lost in the abbreviations and terms? See our extensive explainer for the phrases within virtual reality.

Specifications

Valve Index

PlayStation VR2

Winner

Resolution

1440x1600 per-eye

2000x2040 per-eye

PSVR2

Refresh rate

144Hz

120Hz

Index

Display engine

LCD

OLED

PSVR2

High-Dynamic Range

No

Yes

PSVR2

Optics

Double-fresnel

Fresnel

Index

Field-of-View

130° diagonal

110° diagonal

Index

Foveated rendering

No

Yes

PSVR2

Eye tracking

No

Yes

PSVR2

Tracking

6 DoF, outside-in base stations

6 DoF, inside-out from 4 integrated cameras

Index

Setup

Medium

Easy

PSVR2

Weight

809 grams

Less than 600 grams

PSVR2

Headset Haptics

No

Yes

PSVR2

Content Library

SteamVR and more

PlayStation store

Index

Video passthrough

960x960 color passthrough

Greyscale

Index

Processing

Gaming PC

PlayStation 5

-

Release date

May 1, 2019

Expected Q4-2022 or Q1-2023

-

Price

$999

Expected to be $399

PSVR2

Design and comfort

Aesthetics is always contingent on the viewer. Where PSVR2 will sport a contrasting black and white look, the Valve Index goes for a muted matte black with a white light line design.

However, the novel design of the PlayStation Halo strap is known to effectively distribute the weight of the headset onto areas where there is padding. Speaking of weight, no official metric has been released yet for PSVR2 but is expected to be just under 600 grams, whereas the Index clocks in at 809 grams. Secondly, the build quality of the Valve Index is premium with high-quality materials, little give or loose bits.

Lastly, from PSVR2’s integrated eye tracking, automatic IPD measurement and adjusting improves the comfort and the usability if more than is going to game on the headset.

VR Expert - Valve Index vs PSVR2 Optics (1)
Courtesy of Reddit-user GamerToTheEnd

Display

Determining the visual experience between PlayStation VR2 and Valve Index is a push and pull of several factors. PSVR2 has a higher resolution per eye and will feature foveated – optimized – rendering from its eye tracking. Whereas Index has a more novel lens design, wider field of view, and higher refresh rate for a smoother virtual reality gaming experience. The question is what you prioritize the most.

The dual-element fresnel lens of Valve Index

Valve Index uses a dual-element fresnel lens. This means that two separate lenses have been glued together to create one lens. Two lenses in one means that the headset controls the light from the display engine better, which means decreased visual distortion. 

However, two lenses also mean higher costs and weight. While such composite lens design also comes with more glare. Similarly, Valve Index also uses a screen diffuser to blur the image to reduce screen door effects. Or the visible space between pixels, looking as if they have dark borders around them.

Oppositely, to our knowledge, the PlayStation VR2 will use a standard fresnel optics design. But at the same time will have a higher resolution density than Valve Index.

The resolution, FoV, and refresh rate

PSVR2 will feature a higher resolution per eye with 2000×2040 compared to Valve Index 1440×1600 per eye. However, Valve Index has a larger field of view of 130°, whereas PSVR2 has 110°. Likewise, Index will feel much smoother with a 144Hz refresh rate when PSVR2 has 120Hz.

VR Expert - PSVR2 vs Valve Index or Valve index vs PSVR2 resolution comparison

Display engine of the PSVR2 vs Valve Index, which is better?

Where Index uses an LCD, PSVR2 will use OLED. This difference in the display engine means certain advantages and disadvantages for both headsets

An LCD engine for virtual reality means that the headset itself is thicker as a separate light source is needed for the display to function.

Oppositely, an OLED display engine combines the light source and display into one, effectively slimming everything down.

Because of this, OLED displays can achieve deeper blacks because each pixel acts as its own light source, meaning when a pixel is turned off it is completely black. However, it also means that the lifetime of an OLED display is lower than an LCD. LCD has higher brightness levels because it features its own backlighting.

In essence, PSVR2 with its OLED engine will deliver a better visual experience than LCD, especially with the added feature of High-Dynamic Range.

Foveated rendering

From the integrated eye tracking from Tobii for PSVR2 comes dynamic foveated rendering. This innovative feature will optimize the content being viewed in the headset to make what is seen crisper and what is peripherally viewed blurred. As a result, game developers can focus processing power and attention on what the wearer is looking at, delivering awe-inspiring virtual reality gaming experiences.

Tracking

PSVR2 takes the cake as it is an inside-out headset with integrated eye tracking for added features. Essentially, meaning that PSVR2 works without external tracking stations. Oppositely, Valve Index requires external stations to function – having its tracking outside-in – while it doesn’t have eye tracking.

VR Expert - Valve Index vs PSVR2 - 2

Several features are enabled by eye tracking on the PlayStation VR2, some of which are video-passthrough in greyscale for seeing the outside world from inside the headset and intent anticipation. Through this you can improve what you want to interact with and as a result deliver better interactive VR experiences.

Although, it should be mentioned that the inconvenience of Valve Index’s external tracking stations likely means a higher tracking quality. The Index is even able to track controllers behind your back!

Controllers

Interestingly, there is not much difference between the Valve Index controllers and the PSVR2’s sense controllers. However, the sense controllers will likely deliver a higher immersive experience. The reason is that the controller technologies from PlayStation 5, such as improved and dynamic haptics and resistive triggers, will also be seen in the PSVR2’s sense controllers.

Lastly, Valve Index features thumb and finger tracking, whereas PSVR2 only offers partial tracking from its capacitive sensors. This means that interaction will be more minute and detailed with the Index compared to PSVR2’s sense controllers.

VR Expert - Valve Index vs PSVR2 - 3

Content

When it comes down to pure numbers of virtual reality games, PCVR is impossible to beat. When it comes down to PC VR platforms: SteamVR is hard to compete against. In fact, SteamVR is so popular that we use it to assess the industry health of PC VR.

The reason is simply that Steam within PC gaming is the market leader by a huge margin and attracts both AAA titles and experimenting indie games. Additionally, PC VR has the added benefit of offering entertainment, online, and social VR content – something console virtual reality is lacking in comparison.

However, PlayStation VR has the backing of the leader within console gaming Sony Entertainment Studios, which means the release of exclusive first- and second-party titles not to be found anywhere else. Games like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood.

Initial Setup

For ease of setup, PlayStation VR2 will be quicker and more user-friendly, making up for the complicated PSVR setup back in 2016. All you need is the headset and to plug in the USB-C cable to your PlayStation 5, and you are golden. It even has automatic IPD adjusting to fit your eye shape and distance.

Oppositely, Valve Index comes with separate tracking stations and subsequently many more cables to set up.

Price

The PlayStation VR2 will be priced in the same bracket as Quest 2 and Pico Neo 3 Link, around $399. Interestingly, this makes it significantly less costly than the Valve Index, which comes in at $999 with controllers and tracking base stations.

Once considering the cost, the comparison gets skewed as the Index will likely run you over double that vs the PSVR2. It, therefore, comes down to you if the few differences justify the higher price tag.

Other notable differences

It is worth pointing out the added features that PlayStation VR2 comes with. For one, the inclusion of headset haptics has never been seen before and is still unknown what immersive effects this feature will have. But if it means you can feel raindrops on your head when it rains in the game world, sign me up!

Additionally, eye tracking comes with added benefits that most don’t consider, such as added security of iris scanning for logging in and games using eye tracking in their gaming experience.

Lastly, while both PSVR2 and Valve Index feature full video passthrough from integrated cameras, the Index brings better quality with color and higher resolution. In comparison, PSVR2’s video passthrough is in greyscale.

Conclusion

Deciding between Valve Index vs the PSVR2 comes down to a few factors. The breadth of gaming and other virtual reality content is better on the Valve Index coming from the development of PC VR. Oppositely, with PSVR2, you are likely to get exclusive VR titles nowhere else to be seen.

Likewise, if you prioritize a smooth gaming experience and mostly play first-person shooters, the Index is the better choice for you with the 144Hz refresh rate. Additionally, Valve Index has a larger immersive Field-of-View.

However, the general visual experience will be much better on PSVR2 with the higher resolution, HDR, and dynamic foveated rendering. Lastly, the added features of PSVR2, such as headset haptics and superior controllers, should also be on your list of factors to decide upon.

Ask yourself if the higher price tag of Valve Index justifies the access to PC VR’s larger content library and a higher refresh rate, compared to PSVR2’s other unique benefits.