Is the Valve Index Better Than the Rift S?

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By Eric Wilson

If you’re in the market for a high-end virtual reality headset, you’ve likely come across two popular options: the Valve Index and the Oculus Rift S. Both offer impressive specifications and features, but which one is better? Let’s take a closer look.

Display Quality

When it comes to display quality, both headsets offer impressive visuals. The Valve Index boasts a resolution of 1440 x 1600 pixels per eye with a refresh rate of up to 144Hz.

On the other hand, the Rift S has a slightly lower resolution of 1280 x 1440 pixels per eye with a refresh rate of up to 80Hz. However, the Rift S uses an LCD panel instead of OLED like the Index, which means it has better subpixel density resulting in sharper images.

Winner: Tie

Comfort and Fit

The Valve Index has been praised for its comfortable fit with adjustable head straps and a cushioned face pad. It also comes with interchangeable face gaskets to accommodate different facial structures. The Rift S also offers adjustable straps and a comfortable fit but lacks the option for interchangeable face pads.

Winner: Valve Index


One major difference between these two headsets is their tracking systems. The Valve Index uses external base stations that provide precise tracking with six degrees of freedom (6DOF) for both headset and controllers.

The Rift S, on the other hand, uses inside-out tracking technology that relies on sensors on the headset itself to track movement. While this technology is convenient as it doesn’t require external sensors, it can be less accurate than external base stations.


Both headsets come with their own unique controllers. The Valve Index controllers feature individual finger tracking which allows for more natural and intuitive hand movements.

The Rift S controllers, while comfortable to hold, lack this feature. However, they do come with a built-in joystick which some users may prefer.


The Valve Index is significantly more expensive than the Rift S. The full package, including headset, controllers, and base stations, costs $999. The Rift S, on the other hand, costs $399 for the full package.

Winner: Oculus Rift S


Overall, both the Valve Index and the Oculus Rift S offer impressive features and specifications. However, for those who prioritize comfort and precise tracking, the Valve Index may be the better option despite its higher price tag.

On the other hand, if budget is a concern but you still want a high-quality VR experience, then the Rift S is a great choice. Ultimately it comes down to personal preferences and priorities.