As most people who have been playing around with Flight Sims will be aware there only used to be one real option for decent head tracking in game; Track IR. So, way back when, in IL2 – before even 1946 had come out – a load of us in 79vRAF took the plunge and bought Track IR 3 Pro in about 2004/5.
Well, despite having Oculus Rift I still use that very same Track IR 3 Pro that I bought all that time ago for Cliffs of Dover and Battle of Stalingrad and, until recently, I still had to wear the hat and look like a dork.
Well, I have been using it for as long as possible but I’d been getting more and more problems with the hat and clip, with the Track IR picking up movements that were not happening or getting distracted by stray sunlight on the wall behind me. So I looked at replacing the unit with a newer model, but decided the Track IR 5 was too expensive. So I looked around, found the DeLan Clip and considered it as an option, but I didn’t want to lump for the first thing I found. So I kept looking and found the TrackHat. I saw that there were a range of options, but then the TrackHat Clip Plus caught my eye…ok, so it was a bit more expensive but it was wireless! No extra cables trailing around my neck and getting caught on the chair, under it’s wheels or stuck behind the desk.
I read the reviews compared all the different models, but the big selling point was the wireless connectivity. I posted on the TrackHat forums and James got back to me saying that he was confident that it would work with a Track IR 3 Pro, but if not to send it back and I would get a refund. Sold!
I was concerned that it would not work with the Track IR but it was perfect, straight out of the box, the Track IR picked it up and tracked perfectly again, no more leaning in directions that I wasn’t, wobbling or shaking. It was back to being able to track targets accurately and precisely. The TrackHat Clip Plus comes with a velcro square that attaches it to your headset, but it does mean that it is not permenantly attached – handy for charging and putting the headset away. The unit is 3D printed and would appear to be much stronger than the Track IR Clip – which is notorious for breaking and still has a cable trailing along. The TrackHat Clip Plus has been drop tested from 10 feet and survived. It seems far more solid that I would have anticipated.
The unit comes with a 1.8metre long micro USB cable for charging, so it can be plugged in while you’re playing or just charged when you’re not. It takes 30 minutes to get to a full charge and has a battery life of ten hours, so more than enough if you insist on a round the world flight with a stop over halfway!
The Unit is light weight and I barely notice it stuck to the headset. It does protrude into your peripheral vision slightly, but I think that this is the case for all such clips and no more than the microphone. After a minute or so you don’t notice it as you’re too busy watching the screen!
This really has brought my Track IR 3 Pro back to life, I was beginning to curse it with the glitches just as I was lined up on the tail of a Bf109 in Cliffs of Dover, but these have now stopped. The other TrackHat systems work using the same LEDs so will work just as well with Track IR 3 Pro, so it may well be worth looking at this instead of an upgrade to a Track IR 4 or 5 if you are in the same position as me. There are cheaper options that are not wireless, but I would go for this one if you have the extra £20 available.
I would definitely recomment this product!