First I’ll begin with my VR background and then get into why I sold my StarVR One and kind of miss it, its pros and cons, and my hopes for the future of VR.
I first got into VR in March 2019 with the purchase of a Quest. I was amazed by that headset and the VR experience but I eventually found myself longing for less SDE and better resolution. So months later I had an Odyssey+ which I really enjoyed. Then in August 2019 I got the Index and had been using it exclusively until late June 2020 when I decided to buy a StarVR One after losing all patience waiting for my 8KX preorder which STILL to this day hasn’t shipped yet. Last week, I sold my StarVR One.
Pros and what I loved about the headset:
- Super wide FOV (170 degrees horizontal)
- No distortions or visual imperfections
- No eye strain and perfect 3D effect
- Beautifully rich and deep colours
- Practically no SDE unless I looked hard for it
- Very light and very comfortable headset
- Amazing sense of presence. Felt like I was actually driving cars and at places.
What I didn’t like:
The resolution is quite lacking. Level of detail is great up close, but farther out it’s a lot harder to make things out. Reading large text is fine but for smaller text I’d have to lean in. Sebastian is right that it is between CV1 and Vive Pro in resolution even though I’ve never tried those headsets.
Performance of the headset is sort of a mixed bag. It runs smoothly in titles like Half Life Alyx, Walking Dead, etc, and mostly smooth in racing sims, while other titles reproject a lot. The headset seems way more demanding than the Index, but with the new RTX 3080 or 3090 cards, I’m sure it will run much smoother. If and when StarVR releases a Unity plugin, I believe it’ll be easy to mod their SDK into all Unity games resulting in performance and resolution boosts for many titles.
Sometimes I’d be playing and 40mins later, the headset loses connection. I have to take it off, unplug one of the usb cables and plug it back in for the headset to detect again. This would happen occasionally but enough to be annoying. StarVR will probably fix it if you let them know about the issue. Keep in mind, I’ve had problems with certain USB ports losing connection in the past, so it could just be an issue with my PC and not the headset.
A minor thing:
- The headset cable is a bit heavy and when you wear the headset it will naturally try to tilt a bit sideways in one direction. I fixed this by using a simple ceiling cable management system which had no problem holding the cables up and really took the weight and tilt off. Here’s what I use:
I had been mostly playing custom maps in Half Life Alyx with the StarVR for a couple months and had barely touched my Index.
When I started using the Index again recently, I really appreciated the vast increase in resolution. Half Life Alyx looked like a totally different game due to the level of detail.
After selling my StarVR One, I had already begun missing it. The blacks on the Index looked so grey in comparison and it felt like there was a bit of a grey overlay on all the other colors too. There was also a dullness to the color. The smaller FOV greatly reduced my sense of presence and the SDE was there where I could see the pixel patterns.
Once a few more days passed and I got used to the Index again, my brain seemed to adjust to the blacks and they look acceptable now but nowhere near StarVR. I also noticed the really good resolution of the Index eventually made me feel pretty immersed in games again despite the smaller FOV.
Overall, I sold the StarVR One in favor of the resolution, performance consistency, and consumer friendliness of the Index (in terms of not having that occasional disconnect issue). I also had trouble justifying keeping such an expensive headset after having already pre-ordered a Pimax 8KX and Reverb G2 which I’m hoping to receive soon. Once I receive those headsets, I plan to sell my Index.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with both the StarVR and Index. They have their own strengths and weaknesses. You can get pretty immersed in a VR world in both headsets, but the sense of presence is still way better on the StarVR.
I was surprised to learn that the 8KX has 160 degrees horizontal FOV but MRTV considers only 140 degrees to be usable. I think I could live with a headset that has between 140 to 160 degrees and 4K resolution. I noticed it becomes hard to see what’s in your peripheral vision beyond about 150 degrees. After that point, it is less vision and more of a sense of movement/change.
Overall my conclusion is that if you combine the resolution of the Index or higher with an FOV of 140 degrees or higher and no SDE, you would have the most immersive VR experience ever. And that’s what I’m hoping the Pimax 8KX would achieve for me.
I’ll do a full review of the Pimax 8KX and Reverb G2 once I receive those. Most likely, I’ll end up preferring the 8KX because wider FOV is so important for sense of presence.