Valve’s most legendary franchise- the Half Life- is returning this year with the launch of the Half-Life: Alyx game on March 23, 2020. The announcement of the game late last year has already triggered a buying spree for VR headsets many of which ran out of stock in early this year.

It’s a going to be a momentous launch. This will be the first Half-Life game since 2007 and fans are eager to lay their hands on this latest installment. There are many great headsets that you can use to play the Half-Life: Alyx game such as Oculus Quest and Valve Index. However, these aren’t the only ones. Here is a look at some of the best VR headsets for the game. All of the headsets have been selected based on the technical specifications, price, accessories and Half-Life: Alyx compatibility.

Valve Index

Resolution: 2880 x 1600

Field of View: 130 degrees

Tracking: Base station tracking

Refresh Rate: 120 to 144Hz

Price: $999

The Valve Index VR headset currently provides the best way to play the Half-Life: Alyx. Developed by Valve, the game has been developed to fully leverage the hardware specs of the Index.

It offers a combination of 130-degree and 2880 x 1600 resolution with a true RGB subpixel arrangement. This provides for a sharper image than you would get with the AMOLED Pentile screens that are used in many other virtual reality headsets.

Valve Index Headset
Valve Index Headset

The screen of the Valve Index also features an ultra-high refresh rate of 120Hz to 144Hz. This is a refresh rate that approaches those of the PC gaming monitors, giving users a smoother experience. However, this requires a powerful PC to run.

The Valve Index headset uses base stations to operate which offers users excellent tracking capabilities. However, the base stations require some setup. Currently, the Knuckle controllers are the best of class available since they provide a per-digit tracking.

The Valve Index also has great audio. Its built-in speakers give users a very convenient and immersive experience. These sets of impressive features make the Valve Index the go-to headset for the best Half-Life: Alyx experience.

In spite of its high cost of $1,000, it’s literally flying off the shelf and it will be a rare commodity as we approach the March 23 launch date for Half-Life: Alyx.

 

HTC Vive Pro

Resolution: 2880 x 1600

Field of View: 110 degrees

Tracking: Base Stations Tracking

Refresh Rate: 90Hz

Price: $599

This is another high-resolution VR headset option suitable for Half-Life: Alyx. It’s more readily available online than the Valve Index headset and it is also cheaper.

It has an AMOLED display with a resolution of 2880 x 1600 that delivers superior graphics. It also has a fairly good refresh rate 90Hz. Its 110-degree of field of view is narrower than that of the Valve Index. Additionally, it has a Pentile subpixel arrangement that will have less finer detail in spite of the headset’s high resolution.

HTC Vive Pro Headset
HTC Vive Pro Headset

The HTC Vive Pro provides tracking via base stations. This requires some setup but they offer very accurate tracking. Vive Pro’s controllers aren’t as sophisticated as those of the Valve Index or Vive Cosmos. However, you can still purchase Valve Index’s controllers and use them with the HTC Vive Pro to get individual finger tracking.

If you are unable to find the Valve Index headsets due to supply issues, this can be a strong option for you. It’s also fairly affordable, costing just $599.

 

HTC Vive Cosmos

Resolution: 2880 x 1700

Field of View: 110 degrees

Tracking: Inside-out tracking

Refresh rate: 90Hz

Price: $399

The high-fidelity resolution Vive Cosmos headset is also a strong contender for some of the best VR headsets for Half-Life: Alyx. It has a resolution of 2880 x 1700. Like the Vive Pro, it has a refresh rate of 90Hz.

It has an LCD screen that offers three subpixels per pixel thereby delivering clarity in very fine detail. Rather than using base stations, it relies on inside-out tracking. This provides much convenience as the user doesn’t have to buy or set up additional equipment. However, inside-out tracking reduces the tracking accuracy in the Vive Cosmos.

HTC Vive Cosmos VR Headset
HTC Vive Cosmos VR Headset

The Vive Cosmos headset can, for example, lose track of the controllers if they are too close to the user. This is not only frustrating but it also breaks the immersion at a critical point in the game when you might be aiming your weapon to shoot on an encroaching foe.

The Vive Cosmos tracking is also very light-sensitive compared to other headset so for optimal results, the user must game in a space that is well-lit.

Poor tracking might be its weak point but the Vive Cosmos has a much better design than the earlier HTC Vive Pro version. The design even allows the user to flip up the goggles which can come in handy if the user wants to do something off the headset such as drinking tea or avoiding obstacles. Unlike the Vive Pro headset, there is no option to upgrade your Vive Cosmos’ controllers to the Valve Index controllers.

Overall, if you value the visual fidelity of the Cosmos more than hand-tracking accuracy, then you can go for this headset. It costs $699.

 

Oculus Rift S

Resolution: 2560×1440

Field of View: 90 degrees

Tracking: Inside-out tracking

Response Rate: 80Hz

Price: $399

The Oculus Rift S headset was launched alongside the Oculus Quest headset and is Facebook’s most advanced PC VR headset. It offers reasonable specs but at a cheaper price than the HTC or Valve headsets. The Rift S is thus the best-value Virtual Reality headset for Half-Life: Alyx.

It has a slightly lower resolution of 2560 x 1440 on an LCD display. It also has a lower refresh rate of 80Hz. The Rift S has very impressive tracking with its inside-out tracking that does not have to rely on external base stations but one which still provides great accuracy.

Oculus Rift S VR Headset
Oculus Rift S

The Rift S price of $399 is for the headset and includes two touch controllers. In-game, these deliver excellent performance in spite of not having the more advanced single-finger tracking found in the Valve Index controllers.

The Rift S headset is a great and affordable option without sacrificing too much in usability, visual fidelity and performance.

 

Oculus Quest

Resolution: 2880×1600

Field of View: 90 degrees

Tracking: Inside-out tracking

Response Rate:72Hz

The Oculus Quest headset is a standalone virtual reality headset with integrated storage and tracking. However, through the Oculus Link connection, it can connect to a PC to enable you play games like Half-Life: Alyx.

The Oculus Link cable costs $79. You can also purchase the much cheaper but high-spec USB-C cable that costs as little as $19. The Oculus Quest headset has a better resolution than Rift S at 2880 x 1600. It uses an OLED screen that has a Pentile subpixel arrangement so you won’t get some of the fine detail.

Oculus Quest Headset Finally Out
Oculus Quest Headset Finally Out

It has a refresh rate of 72Hz that is the lowest in the Alyx-compatible headset line-up. Additionally, connecting the Quest headset to a PC through a USB connection will create some compression issues that will be more noticeable in darker scenes.

Oculus Quest has inside-out tracking so you won’t require base stations. This provides a more reliable tracking performance than many of the other headsets in its class. Oculus Quest includes two controllers which will be great for Half-Life: Alyx. However, these do not have many buttons and do not offer single-finger tracking like the Valve Index controllers.

Quest is a little front-heavy but you can use a few modifications to fix this and make it more comfortable. It also doesn’t provide very good quality audio so you can augment by the audio quality by using in-ear headphones.

For Half-Life: Alyx, the Quest headset is a good affordable option that also provides reasonable quality and performance.

 

Windows Mixed Reality Headsets

The Windows Mixed Reality headsets offer the cheapest option to play the Half-Life: Alyx. There is a good variety of WMR headsets from various manufacturers like Samsung, Microsoft, HP and Lenovo. The headsets vary a bit in their specifications. It is reasonable to expect resolutions of up to 2880 x 1440 with a refresh rate 90Hz.

The Windows Mixed Reality headsets offer tracking without the base stations and every headset comes with controllers. These headsets aren’t always available although you can always find some on the Microsoft store at reasonable pricing.

Samsung HMD Odyssey+
Samsung HMD Odyssey+

The Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is undoubtedly the best Windows Mixed Reality headset. On Microsoft’s U.S. store, this goes for $230. It has the same features as many of the other Windows Mixed Reality headsets but it has a higher resolution of 2880 x 1600 AMOLED screen. Its field of view (FOV) is wider at 110 degrees and a refresh rate of 90Hz.

The Samsung HMD Odyssey+ tracking is based on a sensor-free inside-out tracking and it must also be powered by a PC. The Odyssey+ is also compatible with most of Steam VR games in addition to its own native Windows Mixed Reality software.

The headset is not very comfortable to wear and both the headset and controllers are not as nicely built as the VR hardware from the competition. The Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is often heavily discounted and you can get deals as low as $230.

http://virtualrealitytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Both-Oculus-Quest-and-Oculus-Rift-S-to-ship-at-USD399-600x335.pnghttp://virtualrealitytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Both-Oculus-Quest-and-Oculus-Rift-S-to-ship-at-USD399-150x90.pngSam OchanjiHardwareTechnologyVR HeadsetsValve’s most legendary franchise- the Half Life- is returning this year with the launch of the Half-Life: Alyx game on March 23, 2020. The announcement of the game late last year has already triggered a buying spree for VR headsets many of which ran out of stock in early...VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive News - Cryptocurrency, Adult, Sex, Porn, XXX