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Key Points

  • While the Oculus Quest 2 is a standalone device which costs $299, the Valve Index, which costs $999 is a tethered device and requires costly equipment to function fully.  
  • The Oculus Quest 2 features built-in inside-out tracking. The Valve Index requires three different base stations for an optimal tracking experience which must be purchased separately.
  • While the Oculus Quest 2 has better resolution, the Valve Index comes with a wider range of vision which makes for a more immersive experience.

Given that the Oculus Quest 2 is a standalone virtual reality headset while the Valve Index is tethered, there are some clear differences between these two popular devices. Still, it may not be obvious which is the better choice for you. The answer might just lie in your usage — are you an advanced gamer or looking for a budget-friendly and totally portable experience? From resolution and field of view to overall comfort level and general specs, we’re comparing them side by side.

Oculus Quest 2 vs Valve Index: Side-by-Side Comparison

Oculus Quest 2Valve Index
What It Is:Standalone VR headset Tethered VR headset
Primary Use:VR gaming, spatial computing, social media, remote workVR gaming, spatial computing, social media, remote work
Conceived:October 13, 20202019
Initial Release:October 13, 2020June 28, 2019
Technical Committee:Meta/Facebook/OculusValve
Influential Developers:Meta/Facebook/OculusValve
Open Format:NoNo
Technologies Influenced:VR gaming, spatial computingVR gaming, spatial computing
Oculus Quest 2
The Oculus Quest 2 can be connected via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and USB-C.

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Oculus Quest 2 vs Valve Index: What Are the Differences?

Standalone vs Tethered

The biggest differences between the Oculus Quest 2 (Meta Quest 2) and the Valve Index come down to the fact the Meta Quest 2 is a standalone device. The $299 price point is all it takes to strap on the headset and get right into a virtual reality gaming experience like VR Chat, Rec Room, Gun Raiders, AltSpace, Echo VR, and many other completely free-to-access VR games.

The Valve Index is purely a gaming PC peripheral. Without a powerful machine and GPU to push an HD VR rendered image at 144 Hz, the Index isn’t much of a powerhouse. That means that on top of the $999 price tag of the Index, you’ll need a $1,200-$2,000 gaming rig to run it properly.

Tracking

The Meta Quest 2 has built-in inside-out tracking. It makes use of four infrared cameras positioned around the front face of the headset. It also uses gyroscopes and altometers inside the headset and the Oculus Touch controllers for software tracking. Recently, Meta has added the ability to use hand tracking as well. It’s a rich experience that requires a little getting used to, but it’s easy to figure out.

The Valve Index is designed to be an in-room, tethered, premium VR gaming experience. The tracking system is made up of base stations that send out lasers to track the entirety of a room. The best tracking experience comes from a combination of three different base stations which do not come with the initial purchase. The base stations can take some time to set up properly, but the result is the smoothing of full-body motion tracking in the VR industry.

Resolution and Field of View

The Oculus Quest 2 has significantly improved resolution per eye over the Valve Index, but the Index has a wider field of view. The resolution makes a big difference when it comes to visual quality, but a wider field of view increases the overall immersion of the experience.

Physical Comfort

The Oculus Quest 2 is known to need extra support when it comes to comfort. Amazon offers a variety of compatible straps for the VR headset.

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The stock Oculus Quest 2 setup is lacking in comfort and ease. The Index is designed to be a complete purchase that may only require more sensors. That means comfort, weight distribution, face grip, heat, and the overall experience were at the forefront of the head strap and interface design. The Quest 2 is a modular design that is intended to lower the entry price at the sacrifice of a comfortable fit.

The Oculus Quest 2’s comfort problems can be fixed with the purchase of third-party accessories like the BoboVR M2 Pro, KIWI elite strap, or the Meta Quest 2 Elite Strap.

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What is Oculus Quest 2?

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The Meta Quest 2, formerly the Oculus Quest 2, is Facebook/Meta’s premiere standalone VR headset. It has sold over 10 million units worldwide and is quickly becoming a rising star and herald of the spatial computing era. While the Quest 2 isn’t near being the first VR headset or platform, it is the first to bring a great VR experience to an accessible price range.

The Meta Quest 2 is a gaming console and VR spatial computer all in one from the purchase. It doesn’t require a gaming PC to operate and has nearly all the features we’ve come to expect from modern smartphones. With a little practice, it can be a virtual/spatial workspace for remote workers. All of this is ready to go for the low price of $299.

If the standalone features of the Quest 2 VR headset weren’t enough, it can also be used as a tethered peripheral for PCVR games and Steam VR. With the highest resolution per eye and support for a 120 Hz refresh rate, the Quest 2 is a top contender in the PCVR market as well as mobile VR.

Oculus Quest 2 Specs

  • Operating System: Quest System Software based on Android 10 source, compatible with Windows
  • SoC (System on a Chip): Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2
  • Memory: 6 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB (discontinued in July 2021), 128 Gb, 256 GB
  • Display: 1,832 x 1,920 per eye resolution @ 120 Hz refresh rate, LCD
  • Graphics: Adreno 650 (~1.2 TFLOPS)
  • Field of View: 97 degrees
  • Sound: Two built-in, side-mounted speakers, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Input: 6DoF (6 Degrees of Freedom) inside-out tracking, Oculus Touch Controllers, Hand tracking, Voice recognition, Bluetooth
  • Camera: Four infrared cameras
  • Tracking: 6DoF (Inside-out)
  • Connectivity: USB-C, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • Weight: 503g (17.7oz)
  • Battery Life: Two to three hours
  • Online Services: Oculus Store, Steam VR (through Oculus Link)

What is Valve Index?

For a long time, the Valve Index was and is still sometime’s considered the benchmark for premium VR gaming. It was designed to work flawlessly with Steam VR and must be connected to a powerful gaming PC to get the full experience. Each eye has a resolution of 1,440 x 1,600 on full RGB LCD panels that can run 80 Hz, 90 Hz, 120 Hz, or 144 Hz refresh rates. While the resolution for each eye is lower than the Meta Quest 2, it has one big advantage. The Valve Index has a 130-degree field of view.

The two headsets were designed for different ends of the spectrum in the VR market which is indicated by the $999 price tag on the Index. It’s a bit much considering the Meta Quest 2 has more solid tracking and mobile features. When it comes to tethered VR headsets, the Index is at the top of the game.

Valve Index Specs

  • Operating System: Windows, Linux
  • Display: 1,440 x 1,600 per eye resolution, IPS Fast Switching LCDs, 80 Hz, 90 Hz, 120 Hz, or 144 Hz
  • Field of View: 130 degrees
  • Sound: Integrated headphones, 3.5mm audio jack, built-in dual microphones
  • Input: Valve Index Controllers
  • Camera: front-facing 960 x 960 stereo cameras
  • Tracking: 6DoF (marker-based)
  • Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0 expansion port
  • Weight: 809g
  • Online Services: Steam VR

Are They in the Same Category?

The honest answer is no. The Meta Quest 2 is trying to be the first to break into the mobile VR market and create an innovative platform that stands on its own. The Valve Index relies on a tether to a gaming PC to be of any use. To put it bluntly, the Valve Index is a gaming PC peripheral while the Meta Quest 2 is a mobile VR platform.

The reason the two devices are often compared is due to the limited nature of VR headset competition and the Meta Quest 2’s ability to be used as a PCVR headset. With the price of the Meta Quest 2 being a third of Valve’s Index, it’s a fair comparison to make.

In the end, the real comparison is to be made in the tracking. The Valve Index may be a little bit more finicky to set up, but it has a much smoother tracking than the Quest 2’s inside-out. It is often considered to be a luxury VR experience. I find the tracking of the Quest 2 to be adequate. Plus, the improvements in hand tracking are quickly becoming a revolution for more than just VR.

Oculus Quest 2 vs Valve Index: Pros and Cons!

Oculus Quest 2

Pros!Cons!
Lower prices at $299 and $399Short battery life
WirelessForced Facebook integration
Quicker tracking setupThe stock head strap provides little comfort
Mobile
Standalone operating (doesn’t require a PC)
Hand tracking
Can be used as a PCVR headset through Oculus Link
Higher per eye resolution than Valve Index
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Valve Index

Pros!Cons!
Larger FoV at 130 degreesExpensive price at $999
Can achieve 144 Hz refresh rates with powerful GPU assistanceMore difficult setup
Built for high performanceRequires a gaming PC
High-quality controllersHigh learning curve

Oculus Quest 2 vs Valve Index: Three Must-Know Facts

  • Oculus Quest 2 is more budget-friendly than its higher-priced counterpart, Valve Index.
  • Oculus Quest is 307g lighter than Valve Index, which is 810g to Oculus Quest 2’s 503.
  • Rumor has it that the Valve Index 2 may be coming in 2023.

Which One Should You Choose?

For newer gamers or those on a budget, the Oculus Quest 2 delivers a stellar experience. It’s also completely wireless, so if portability is a key factor for you, Oculus Quest 2 might be your headset of choice. With that said, more advanced and high-functioning gamers will likely opt for the Valve Index. It has a finicky setup, which may not be the best choice for first-timers, but expert gamers won’t be fazed by it. Expensive but worth it, the Valve Index has a wider field of vision, and it’s built for high performance. Additionally, many users deem it the most comfortable VR headset they’ve ever worn, making it a popular choice for extended gaming.

Up Next…

Interested in these devices and finding out what sets them apart from the rest or the key differences between some of them? Click on these links to find out more:

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Oculus Quest 2 vs Valve Index: Which is Better? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which is cheaper, Oculus Quest 2 or Valve Index?

The Oculus Quest 2 is significantly cheaper than the Valve Index. The Valve Index is priced at $999. The Meta Quest 2 is priced at $299 and $399 depending on the storage size of the model purchased.

Which has a better resolution, Oculus Quest 2 or Valve Index?

Even with the Quest 2 being a lower price, it has incredible specs. The optics have 1,832 x 1,920 resolution per eye at a 120 Hz refresh rate. The Valve Index has 1,440 x 1,600 resolution per eye with IPS Fast Switching LCD panels at 80 Hz, 90 Hz, 120 Hz, or 144 Hz refresh rate. While the resolution for the Quest 2 optics is higher, the Index optics can run at a faster refresh rate with a powerful GPU. The Index has one advantage with its 130-degree field of view against the Quest 2’s 97-degree field of view.

Which is better, Oculus Quest 2 or Valve Index?

Both headsets have a lot of similarities when it comes to VR experiences. All of the best games in VR like VR Chat, Contractors, After the Fall, and more can be played on either headset through Steam VR. When it comes to the actual experience, it’s important not to forget that the Meta Quest 2 has a battery life of 2-3 hours while the Index is powered through the gaming PC indefinitely. The battery life can be combated with third-party accessories such as portable battery packs or head straps with built-in battery extensions. If you’re the type to spend all day in VR, the differences in how long you can play the best games in VR before being required to recharge the battery or not having to recharge at all is a big deal.

Does the Oculus Quest 2 have more cameras than the Valve Index?

The Meta Quest 2 uses inside-out tracking with a system of four infrared cameras placed around the front of the headset. The Index uses base stations to monitor tracking and only has one camera directly in the headset.

Is the Valve Index worth it?

If you’re looking for the most premium VR experience available, you’ll want to build a gaming PC with massive amounts of storage and peripheral accessories to use in-game. While the Meta Quest 2 is an all-in-one package, it doesn’t have everything that VR gamers want when it comes to running the best games at the best quality. As you’ve probably deduced from the article, there aren’t many similarities between the specs of these two headsets. That’s intentional and a part of the direction of the experience that technology in the headsets dictates. Ultimately, I always recommend a trial before purchase.

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