TrackIR used to be all but indispensable for hardcore flight simmers like us. Before the days of VR and ultrawide monitors, TrackIR was the only way for you to get the situational awareness that is so necessary for flight sims like DCS.
Is it still relevant though? Let’s take a look:
1. Checking your Six
TrackIR is still the best bet here. The thing with VR is that it mirrors 1:1 movement which, while immersive, makes it rather difficult to check your six. I am not much of a PVPer so this is not that important for me, but you have to decide based on how you play.
2. Resolution/ Spotting
This is cited as a major critique of VR headsets, and with gen 1 headsets like the Vive and Rift, it really was an issue. But now with improved resolutions on headsets like the awesome HP Reverb or the Rift S, I find it to be a non-issue frankly.
3. Field of View
This is also cited as a major VR drawback but a VR headset attacked to your face has wayyyyy more FoV than a 27” or 34” monitor which is more than a few feet from your face.
That being said, it is also a matter of personal preference but I vote VR for this one.
TrackIR wins here. While comfort has improved over time and headsets are pretty light now, there is still a piece of plastic attached to your face. I normally have no comfort issues for an hour or two but beyond that, yea, I need to take a break.
5. Depth Perception
VR is the clear winner here. Depth perception requires 3D vision. With VR, I find it much easier to gauge distances which means you become much better at air-to-air refuelling, carrier landings, formation flying, helo landing and anything that requires depth perception.
VR wins big here again. It’s not even a competition. I still feel amazed just looking around the cockpit and flying nap-of-the-Earth on my favourite maps.
I still have my TrackIR and it has served me well. I barely use it now because I prefer VR. But that might not be you. If you play for hours on end or need a competitive edge in multiplayer instead of immersion, then TrackIR is still your best bet. Along with a multi-monitor setup.
I review the best VR headsets for DCS in this article here. Or you can see the summary below:
Or you can get TrackIR here: