Valve VR Headset – A Comparison Between the HTC Vienna and the ValveVR headset

valve vr headset

Valve’s official website has released several images showing off the new Valve VR headsets. The site states that these are actually prototypes for a new Valve VR headset, which is said to have a flat frequency response and a high resolution similar to the Vive. One image shows two SteamVR photodiodes in the headset with two visible external cameras and an integrated headphone. The images do not show the lenses themselves, nor how the headsets will be held in the user’s hands. One photo shows a user holding his or her hands to one side of the face, the other holding them across the bridge of the nose. It seems that this may be done in a controlled environment similar to the SteamVR office environment.

Valve VR Headset

A close up of a flower

Looking closely at one of the images, it seems that there is actually some light leakage from the top of the headset. In the lower image, you can see the outline of a light-emitting diode behind one of the sensors. The diode could be a source of light for the tracking camera or could be used to track the head movements themselves. It would be interesting to see the HMD coordinate the light-emitting diode.

I was unable to find any information about pricing, where to buy, bundles, etc. The prices shown on the website are only lower than what is shown in some of the Valve videos but still very attractive. Of course, prices will most likely go down when these models start to reach the general market. If you want to get your hands on one of these headsets as soon as possible, my advice would be to check out the Valve YouTube videos and purchase your HMD headset as soon as possible.

Things To Consider

A man wearing a hat and sunglasses posing for the camera

Despite the fact that the images are not completely representing the final product, there are several things we can take from the images. For example, the front face of the HTC Viena has an almost square design, which looks almost similar to the early Valve models. Although I was unable to find any information about the manufacturing process, it does suggest that the headsets may have some resemblance to Valve’s older models. However, they do look rather large compared to newer products. Perhaps we will see a decrease in headset sizes or an increase in screen size?

In addition, the screen itself is also showing a slight curve in the center. It is hard to tell just exactly how much the curve will propagate through the screen. One of the main reasons this is being shown on the marketing images is to show the comfort level that the HMD will provide users. The curved edge will also allow for easier motion. There is no question that ergonomic design is important, but we should also consider screen-to-screen and eye-to-eye contact.

As you can see from the images, there is a bit of screen-door effect, which could cause some glare to be directed at the users’ eyes. There is also a small dip in the middle of the screen. These effects will be present, whether you are using the HTC Vienna or the Valve VR headsets. To me, it does not seem to be enough to make an experience in VR very positive.

VR Headset

From looking at the marketing material and the physical specifications of the two headsets, it is easy to see that Vienna may be equipped with a bit more natural noises and sounds. Although it doesn’t say anything regarding the quality of sound produced, it could be due to the increased bandwidth of the connection. From my experience, however, I am not overly impressed by the lack of external speakers compared to the Vive. This really makes a big difference when watching any type of VR media. External speakers would have certainly been appreciated.

Bottom Line

From what I have observed so far, the design of the HTC Vienna is slightly better than the ValveVR headset. The sizes are similar. In addition, it seems that the newer model does not have quite as large a display as the older models. This difference, though slight, does not seem to have made a significant impact on the overall user experience. In my opinion, Vienna seems to be slightly more comfortable to use, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time using the device. So, in terms of value for money and comfort, the HTC Vienna comes out on top.

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