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Varjo Aero Review

Varjo is a Finnish XR hardware manufacturer and has already launched a number of successful VR headsets in the past (Varjo VR-3 and Varjo XR-3). However, these headsets were aimed at the business VR market. For example, you always had to have a software license to use the headset. with the Varjo Aero changes this. The Varjo Aero is the first "prosumer" (professional Consumers) headset from Varjo. In this Review we'll take a closer look at what this new headset has to offer.

Varjo Aero Specifications

  • Screen Type: Dual Mini LED LCD
  • Resolution: 2880 2720 pixels (per eye)
  • Refresh rate: 72 - 90 Hz
  • Field of View (FOV): 115 degrees
  • Weight: 717 grams
  • Tracking method: SteamVR tracking (use of 2 base stations)

The first thing you notice about the Varjo Aero is its particularly high image resolution. In comparison: the HP Reverb G2 features 2160 x 2160 pixels per eye and the HTC Vive Pro 2 about 2448 x 2448 pixels per eye. In practice you notice with the high image resolution with in particular that texts are easy to read and details are easy to see. Where in the past you with sometimes had to close your head in a VR headset with to be able to read something properly, you can with the Varjo Aero actually do everything directly good and clear vision.

The 115-degree field of view is also a welcome addition to the Varjo Aero. You see just a bit more around you than with other headsets, which are usually around 110 degrees. This gives you less of the feeling that you are looking through a tube, but more of the feeling of a natural viewing environment.

Comfort of the Varjo Aero

When you unpack the headset for the first time, you immediately notice that the Varjo Aero has a wide cushion that sits against the forehead. This is a smart choice, because it ensures that the weight is better distributed over the entire head. You will therefore not easily suffer from red spots around the eyes, because the Varjo Aero actually with supports its full weight against the top of the head. The Varjo Aero can therefore be called one of the most comfortable VR headsets at the moment.

At the back of the Varjo Aero is a rotary knob with which you can tighten or loosen the headband. It is surprising that not every headset has this nowadays. The dial makes it a lot easier to comfortably put the headset on your head. And a big advantage of this is that you can put the headset tighter against the face, so that you can place the sweet spot of the headset in front of your eyes much better.

Tracking and Controllers of the Varjo Aero

The Varjo Aero is a SteamVR based headset. This means that the headset can be used with the hardware and software of Steam. For example, in addition to just the headset, you also need to have SteamVR base stations and SteamVR Controllers (for example HTC Vive Pro Controllers or Valve Index Knuckles).

The Varjo Aero uses lighthouse tracking. with this way of tracking puts you two (or more) base stations in the corner of the room. Make sure that the base stations are at a good height so that they have a clear field to the headset tracking and Controllers. If there is something between the base station and the headset, the tracking may be lost (or malfunction).

This method of tracking has advantages and disadvantages. The downside of lighthouse tracking is that you always need the base stations to use the headset. So do you want to take the headset to someone else to show? Then you also have to take the base stations with you and set them up. The advantage of lighthouse tracking is that this way of tracking is seen as the most accurate tracking method. Because the base stations have a 360-degree view of both the headset and the Controllers, you never lose the tracking (with a good setup), no matter how fanatically you are moving.

Varjo

Varjo Base License and Offline Mode

Besides using Steam, Varjo also uses its own software platform; Varjo Base. With the Varjo VR-3 and XR-3, this had to be purchased as a separate license for 1, 2 or 3 years. Fortunately, Varjo Base is already included in the price with the Aero. Varjo Base can be seen as an overall control center for the Varjo Aero. For example, it checks for relevant updates for the Varjo Aero headset. To use Varjo Base you must always have an active internet connection. Because some users prefer to use the headset without internet (for example, use demo or events at locations where internet is not always available), it is also possible to use a one-time subscription. Varjo Base Offline Unlock to purchase.

Who is the Varjo Aero for?

The Varjo Aero is a unique VR headset in the sense that it is currently the headset with the highest resolution possible. This comes with a with price tag: the Varjo Aero costs €1,980.00 excluding VAT at the time of writing. This is almost twice as high as the HTC Vive Pro 2 and no less than 4 times the HP Reverb G2.

The Varjo Aero is therefore intended for users who are looking for the very best performance in a virtual reality headset. Where image resolution, smooth movements and a wide field of view are important. In practice, therefore, we see that the Varjo Aero with name is used by users who play simulation games with in the headset. Think of someone who wants to play Microsoft Flight Simulator at the highest resolution. But the Varjo Aero is also frequently used for business purposes, for example by real estate agents who want to show their customers a 3D representation of a new house in great detail.

Conclusion: is the Varjo Aero worth it?

The Varjo Aero is Varjo's first Consumers and professional VR headset in one. with With a hefty price tag, it's a hefty investment, but there's nothing else on the market that offers a similar VR experience as the Varjo Aero. Are you therefore looking for a VR headset with of the highest quality? Then the Varjo Aero is definitely a good choice!

Diederik Hermsen- XR Product Specialist

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