TrackHat plus clip review

It’s a great emotion to write down our first hardware review. This is some kind of sequel of my “How To” article that showed how to build something similar to this clip, but very different in the reality.

A massive thank you to TrackHat LTD for providing us with this clip plus kit, but this didn’t influence what you are about to read.

Packaging

I have been, and I am still, busy with personal problems so I couldn’t do an unboxing video.

Anyway, the package is a simple white box with the shipping sticker on the main face.
A classic cardboard box that hides some cool stuffs.

First of all every part of the kit comes with a custom sticker that declares that the item has been tested and it’s ready to use.
I found this thing quite cool, even if you might consider that as a secondary aspect it underlines a professional treatment for the customers.

The tracking cam (a PS3 eye modded cam like mine, but modded in a slightly different way) is separated from the very long charghing cable, the clip, and the velcro that is specific of the plus kit and it allows to mount the clip on the side you prefer.

Another noticeable difference between the standard and the plus kit is that the clip features a rechargeable battery that was enough to calibrate and test the clip for a total usage of aproximately five hours.

The classic USB recharge port

The mounting clip

The PS3 eye has a very annoying defect: it doesn’t feature a mounting clip.

The TrackHat team found a very good solution by printing a support, that’s a valid effort to deliver a “plug and play” device to the users, but I found some bad sides.

Default clip on the right

As you know I bought a mounting clip for a couple of Euros for my project, and it has a great grip even on thin monitors.
The one that comes with the kit is not really good because it’s less elastic, has almost no grip on my monitor and it seems more fragile than the one I got.

Anyway you have to consider that I waited almost a month for mine to arrive, so my advice is to start using your device with the default mounting clip, then consider to buy another.

The camera on the right is unstable because of the TrackHat’s clip

Getting started

The first step is to download the PS3 camera drivers, as the cam is designed to work with the PlayStation 3, not with your computer.
You will need to set the Gain and Exposure sliders to the left, as indicated on the quick start guide included in the package

In order to start tracking you need to download the TrackHat version of OpenTrack, a widely famous head tracking application.
This version is available on the TrackHat website and, if you are already familiar with OpenTrack, you won’t need to learn a lot.

The next step is calibration, but you should refer on the quick start guide, as it’s very specific and you need to find your own confort.
Indeed many factors, for example monitor setup, distance from camera, may affect the calibration/mapping.

Conclusion

I completed a couple of very short flights with the clip, and it’s been a real pleasure.
The experience is more than good and it will soon become a game-changer.

The design is really good (although I’m not a fan of 3D printed objects) and it’s rich of particulars such as the status led.

The clip we reviewd costs more than the basic, but the price difference is consistent.
Consider that the absence of the power cable gives you more freedom, especially if you are using a wireless headset.

The basic clip is also specific because it can be mounted only on one side of your headset, consider it if you are planning to change your headset as the microphone might interfere with the infra-reds making the clip almost useless.
As stated, the plus clip has the velcro.

X-Plane might limit your experience because you won’t be able to move across the 3D cockpit and the cabin unless you don’t select and deselect the option in the rendering page each time.

But if you love to spend your flights in the cockpit then you might have found the perfect product at the right price.
Indeed the price, compared to the low cost tracker I made, is not so higher and the experience is similar.
Of course TrackHat is a little bit better and it looks very good.

I cannot say anything about the hat, but in my opinion it would be uncomfortable to spend two or three hours with the hat and its cable.

To finish the review I must admit that this clip is the best alternative to TrackIR that I ever tried, and it’s much cheaper (especially in its basic version).
It’s versatile, looks good, and it’s surprisingly confortable: you recharge it, attach the velcro, and your into the cockpit.
Great effort!

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Forza!


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