2020 Update: The Oculus Quest has been discontinued and replaced by the Quest 2. If you are more interested in reading the comparison between the Index and the Quest 2, head on to our article here.
With the successful release of Half-Life Alyx, there has been a scramble among gamers to get a compatible headset to try out the game. Any computer-powered headset (to know what that is, read our article here) will work with Steam VR. Which one is the best one to play the return of Half-Life?
Valve sells it´s very own Index headset as the premier choice, but it´s quite expensive and is usually sold out. The Oculus Quest is often touted as the most popular and cheap alternative, but how does it measure against the Index? Let´s find out.
Oculus Quest vs Valve Index Infographic
I need to put a couple of small caveats in the comparison. Remember, the Quest is a standalone headset, it can´t connect to a computer on its own.
To play Half-Life Alyx or any PC game with the Quest, you need to download the Oculus Link software and have USB 3.0 cable like this one. With the Link, you can plug your Quest it to a computer just like if it was the Index or the Rift S, as long as the machine is up to it.
Speaking of computer requirements, the Index requires a Displayport to work. The problem is that not all modern computers come with a DisplayPort, and HDMI ports don´t cut it for the Index.
If your computer only has HDMI ports, then the Index will not run. If you have a USB type C Thunderbolt 3 port (or one with DisplayPort Alt Mode) then you can buy an adapter like this one to make it work.
And that´s it for the caveats. In summary, the Quest is a cheaper and more well-rounded headset, while the Index is the better option for PC gaming, as long as you don´t mind shelling out a thousand dollars.
Now, a little side note about compatibility. You can use the Index´s controllers on other VR headsets that use base stations, like the Vive. Oculus controllers and hardware are only compatible with other Oculus headsets, so keep that in mind if you acre about spare parts or reselling your platform.
Which headset is better for you?
It depends on what do you want to do with the headset. If you only want to play Half-Life Alyx, then I would recommend the Quest with the Link over the Index, as it is cheaper.
If you are interested in comparing other VR headsets, check out our infographics on the Quest vs the Rift S and the Rift vs the Go. We also have a selection of PC headsets and their accessories on our page over here, give it a read to learn about other VR platforms that you can buy.
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