Varjo Aero Review – A VR Simmer’s Dream – Road to VR

Varjo at the moment introduced Aero; whereas it’s the corporate’s most inexpensive headset but, its $2,000 worth level nonetheless limits its to companies and rich fanatics. However with beautiful readability its certain going to be a dream headset for VR simmers who aren’t afraid to commerce money for immersion.

Varjo Aero is a pared down model of the corporate’s high-end enterprise headsets, notably with out the ‘bionic show’ which gave the headset retina decision on the middle of the field-of-view. Even with out the novel bionic show, Aero nonetheless affords beautiful readability (claimed to be 35 PPD) that’s crushed solely by the corporate’s dearer headsets. You may learn up on the Aero’s announcement and launch date right here; let’s begin with the complete specs under:

Varjo Aero Specs

Decision 2,880 x 2,720 (7.8MP) per-eye, mini-LED LCD (2x) Refresh Price 90Hz Lenses Aspheric Subject-of-view (claimed) 134° diagonal, 115° horizontal (at 12mm eye-relief) Optical Changes IPD (computerized motor pushed) IPD Adjustment Vary 57–73mm Connectors USB-C → breakout field (USB-A three.zero, DisplayPort 1.four) Cable Size 5m Monitoring SteamVR Monitoring 1.zero or 2.zero (exterior beacons) On-board cameras 2x eye-tracking Enter None included (helps SteamVR controllers) Audio three.5mm aux port Microphone None (helps exterior mic via aux port) Move-through view No Weight 487g + 230g headstrap with counterweight

Varjo Aero Overview

Earlier than we dive in too deep, let’s check out the place the Varjo Aero suits into the panorama of comparable headsets from a worth standpoint:

Varjo Aero Vive Professional 2 Reverb G2 Valve Index Headset Solely $2,000 $800 – $500 Full Equipment $2,580 $1,400 $600 $1,000 * contains MSRP of Index controllers and 2x SteamVR Monitoring base stations

Up to now Varjo’s headsets have been finest identified for his or her ‘bionic show’ system, which truly makes use of two shows per-eye, a big show to cowl a large field-of-view, and a smaller inset show with excessive pixel density which affords real retina decision (60+ PPD) within the middle of the headset’s field-of-view.

Varjo Aero does away with the smaller show and looses its true retina decision, however even with simply its massive show it nonetheless retains a whopping 35 PPD and main readability over all non-Varjo headsets available on the market.

Readability

Varjo Aero Overview – A VR Simmer's Dream – Street to VR 12Picture by Street to VR

It wasn’t way back that we noticed the discharge of Vive Professional 2 and Reverb G2, with resolutions of 2,448 x 2,448 (6MP) and 2,160 × 2,160 (four.7MP), each of which have fairly spectacular readability.

And although Varjo Aero’s 2,880 x 2,720 (7.8MP) decision doesn’t look like that rather more, it will get an additional readability increase because of its aspheric lenses which all however eradicate glare and god-rays that are prevalent in different headsets.

With the fitting content material, trying via the lenses of Varjo Aero seems like trying on the world with new eyes. Inside minutes of donning the headset, I noticed particulars in Half-Life: Alyx that I couldn’t even see on prior-generation headsets, just like the textured tip of a screwdriver.

Varjo Aero Overview – A VR Simmer's Dream – Street to VR 13Captured by Street to VR

The readability of the Aero is so crisp that it simply reveals content material that isn’t as much as par; for the primary time in Alyx I instantly observed that the sport’s chain-link fences are literally utterly flat, largely because of the headset’s elevated resolving energy which reinforces stereoscopy (or lack thereof).

This additionally has an affect on presence—that feeling when your eyes are being tricked into believing that what’s in entrance of you is definitely there. Whereas enjoying Alyx with Aero, there have been a number of rooms I walked into the place I simply needed to cease and stare… when the lighting was good, it felt like I used to be truly standing there in that place. It’s an extremely highly effective feeling that goes past mere immersion, and Aero appears to elicit it extra simply than any headset I’ve tried earlier than.

Past just about eliminating ghosting and glare, Aero’s lenses additionally make for an extremely massive sweet-spot which signifies that a lot of the picture stays sharp even once you rotate your eyes away from the middle. That is an absolute reduction from most different Fresnel headsets which have tight sweet-spots that make issues look blurry even if you happen to transfer your eyes only a bit.

Varjo Aero Overview – A VR Simmer's Dream – Street to VR 14With the ability to learn labels, gauges, and dials with out zooming or centering your field-of-view is a boon to flight sims| Captured by Street to VR

Whereas Aero has unimaginable readability, it’s picture isn’t with out flaws; there’s two issues stopping it from trying like a near-perfect picture. The primary is chromatic aberration (the separation of colours), which stood out to me immediately, even earlier than explicitly analyzing the headset’s picture high quality.

That is stunning as a result of chromatic aberration isn’t a difficulty on different VR headsets because it’s simply corrected in software program. Varjo is both doing a poor job with their chromatic aberration correction, or there’s one thing concerning the lenses that make it a larger problem than with different headsets. Hopefully the previous, which might imply that it might doubtlessly be solved with a future software program replace.

The opposite difficulty with Aero’s picture is distortion on the excessive edges of the field-of-view. It’s sufficiently subtle that if you happen to aren’t transferring your head you gained’t discover it, however as quickly as you begin transferring you’ll discover it because of the sensitivity of peripheral imaginative and prescient to ‘movement’. Different headsets additionally appropriate for distortions in software program, and with Aero, a lot of the picture is distortion free; provided that it’s simply on the perimeters, I’m much less hopeful that this may very well be fastened with a software program replace.

The distortion doesn’t really feel like a deal-breaker, but it surely’s a bummer that it detracts from what would in any other case be an almost pristine view.

General: Right here’s the factor about Aero. It’s readability and resolving energy is past the constancy of most VR content material up to now. There’s lower than a dozen VR titles in existence with the visible chops to actually make use of Aero’s constancy. Upgrading to Aero from any latest era VR headset isn’t going to imply a lot if you happen to’re enjoying Beat Saber, VRChat, or most indie VR titles; they merely weren’t authored with the required stage of element. However if you happen to’re utilizing a handful of functions the place resolving energy is essential (like flight sims), Aero’s visuals will delight.

Subject-of-View

Varjo Aero Overview – A VR Simmer's Dream – Street to VR 15Picture by Street to VR

Varjo quotes Aero’s field-of-view at “115° horizontal, 134° diagonal at 12mm eye-relief,” although my private measurements fell nicely in need of this, even when eradicating the facepad to get my eyes as shut as potential. Right here’s the way it stacks as much as latest headsets:

Private Measurements – 64mm IPD
(minimum-comfortable eye-relief, no glasses, measured with TestHMD 1.2)

Varjo Aero Vive Professional 2 Reverb G2 Valve Index Horizontal FOV 84° 102° 82° 106° Vertical FOV 65° 78° 78° 106°

 

Private Measurements – 64mm IPD
(absolute minimal eye-relief; facepads eliminated, no glasses, measured with TestHMD 1.2)

Varjo Aero Vive Professional 2 Reverb G2 Valve Index Horizontal FOV 102° 116° 98° 108° Vertical FOV 77° 96° 88° 106°

For such an costly headset, the dearth of eye-relief adjustment to maximise the field-of-view is a disgrace.

Regardless that the field-of-view is mostly lower than these different headsets, the massive sweet-spot goes a great distance towards making it really feel bigger than it’s.

Much like Vive Professional 2, the precise form of the field-of-view doesn’t really feel fairly as spherical as another headsets. As an alternative it feels barely cropped vertically, a bit extra on the backside than the highest.

IPD & Eye-tracking

Varjo Aero contains the corporate’s 200Hz eye-tracking answer which is paired with an computerized motor-driven bodily IPD adjustment that ranges from 57–73mm.

While you placed on the headset you’ll be requested to stare at a white dot on the middle of the display for a couple of seconds to calibrate each the eye-tracking system and your IPD. If the IPD must be adjusted, you’ll hear the headset make a little bit whirr sound because the lenses slide shortly and simply into place.

You may see a readout of the measurement via the Varjo software program (mine was spot on), and you’ll even manually set the IPD if you happen to’d like, in zero.5mm increments.

The attention-tracking system in Aero can be used for foveated rendering to extend rendering efficiency, but it surely’s solely supported in functions that make use of the Varjo SDK (that are few and much between).

With Aero more likely to attain a wider viewers than the corporate’s dearer headsets, it’s potential we’ll begin to see extra functions tailored to assist the Varjo eye-tracking system—the corporate claims it’s pretty simple for builders utilizing Unity or Unreal Engine.

In my restricted testing with foveated rendering in Aero, I discovered it to be successfully invisible; the one time I might discover that it was even lively is that if the eye-tracking wasn’t calibrated accurately.

Proceed on Web page 2: Shows, Audio, Monitoring & Controllers »

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