TrackIR or VR for DCS?

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.

4. Comfort

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.

A TrackIR clip on my Star Citizen cap! It’s pretty comfy.

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.

6. Immersion

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.

Final Thoughts

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:

BEST FOR FLIGHT SIMS!
Value for Money
Best Entry Level
HP Reverb Virtual Reality Headset - Professional Edition
Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset
Samsung HMD Odyssey+ Windows Mixed Reality Headset with 2 Wireless...
HP Reverb Virtual Reality Headset - Professional Edition
Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset
Samsung HMD Odyssey+ Windows Mixed Reality Headset with 2 Wireless...
BEST FOR FLIGHT SIMS!
HP Reverb Virtual Reality Headset - Professional Edition
HP Reverb Virtual Reality Headset - Professional Edition
Value for Money
Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset
Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset
Best Entry Level
Samsung HMD Odyssey+ Windows Mixed Reality Headset with 2 Wireless...
Samsung HMD Odyssey+ Windows Mixed Reality Headset with 2 Wireless...

Or you can get TrackIR here:

TrackIR
  • Increased realism enhances your game experience through subtle immersion. Note:Item does not include...
About the Author

Gary (Flanker)

Gary has been "hard landing" into runways and driving his Mitsubishi Evo off of cliffs since the early 2000s. These days, he spends most of his precious hobby time with his favorite flight, racing and space simulations in VR. He also has an Engineering Degree in Computer Science which helps a lot with his obsession with optimizing PC hardware like CPUs, Graphics Cards, VR Headsets, HOTAS, Racing Wheels etc. for high end sims.