Tobii Eye Tracker 5 - Review

Tobii Eye Tracker 5 – Review

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Epblogs verdict

Tobii Eye Tracker 5 is undoubtedly an accessory that enhances the experience in selected games, preferably various forms of simulators, regardless of whether it is a truck, aircraft or tractors that are simulated. Eye tracking is freer for users compared to, for example, VR headsets and above all does not require more of the hardware to power it all. The price tag is also not unreasonably high and this can be a very sensible purchase for you who like the simulated reality. On the whole, the Tobii Eye Tracker 5 is an affordable accessory for you who appreciate the simulated reality, an accessory that enhances the feeling properly, provided that your particular game supports it.

Tobii Eye Tracker 5 is an accessory that via close ir sensors tracks how your eyes and your head move, converts this into camera movements in selected game titles and thus gives you a clearly better sense of what you are playing.

Mounting takes place on or under the screen, depending on what suits your screen best and the brackets that come in the box fit a number of different variants of screens.

The Tobii Eye Tracker 5 is particularly suitable for various forms of simulators, regardless of the type of vehicle, and here it is very useful, with the risk that you get stuck for many extra hours, just for the pleasure of being able to turn your head in sync with the camera view.

At a relatively good price, you get clearly better empathy in a number of different games, even though it may not be at quite the same level as what a VR headset can offer.

Price and launch date

  • Released in 2020
  • Price 2590 kronor

The launch of the Tobii Eye Tracker 5 was already in the summer of 2020 and you can buy your Eye Tracker 5 either from selected retailers or directly from Tobii at a recommended approximate price of SEK 2,590.

Design and connection

  • Uses IR sensors
  • Attached with magnets
  • Does not fit all screens

Tobii Eye Tracker 5 is basically an elongated piece of space with ir sensors that you attach under the screen with the included fastening device that fits both traditional screens and curved screens. However, keep in mind that the bracket does not fit all screen types and if you have, for example, controls on the underside of the screen, these can be blocked completely or partially by the bracket.

With the bracket mounted, the Eye Tracker 5 itself fits in with the help of magnets, something that makes it easy to temporarily remove it from the screen if needed or desired.

With Eye Tracker 5 mounted, it is connected with a USB cable and any included extension cable in your computer, after which an automatic installation of drivers and support software begins in Windows. Then the calibration takes over where you have to go through a process for you and your Eye Tracker to get to know each other.

Visually, the Tobii Eye Tracker 5 may not be a particularly beautiful creation that raises the style points of the desktop, not even when it hangs under an ultra-wide screen that in turn catches most eyes. With Eye Tracker 5 running, the IR sensors are also slightly red shining and something that catches the eye from both oneself and passing family members.

The part that is perhaps most disturbing, in our opinion, is the cord which is partly permanently mounted and which goes out from the right side of the unit. Here we may think it would be better with a cord that is not fixed in the unit, to be able to easily change in case of damage or if you simply need a longer cord.

Installation and settings

  • Calibration is important
  • Best for simulators
  • Head tracking better than eye tracking

In the included support software, the process of calibrating your Tobii Eye Tracker 5 begins immediately and it is important that this is done properly for best effect. The calibration is done by looking at dots that are placed differently over the screen surface until they “explode” and this is so that the eye tracking will work as planned in the game then.

Additional calibration and adjustment of settings in your selected game may then be needed, which differs between different games. For our part, Tobii Eye Tracker 5 has been tested with a number of hours Microsoft Flight Simulator which offers full support for both eye and head tracking with Eye Tracker 5 and provides the ability to calibrate sensitivity for the various parts, including the ability to turn off eye or head tracking depending on the wishes of the user.

Although it feels time consuming, it is worth spending plenty of time on these adjustments and calibrations to get the best possible experience from Tobii Eye Tracker 5. For example, head tracking worked better than eye tracking for us and that after spending some time on to test the different methods in a number of different types of aircraft.

How does it work?

  • Infrared sensors monitor your movements

Eye tracking technology in Tobii Eye Tracker 5 is based on near-infrared sensors that illuminate the eyes so that cameras can monitor its movements and calculate where on the screen you are looking. This is then translated into camera movements in compatible games, so that you can use your eyes to control where you look in the game.

Tobii Eye Tracker 5 has also received an improved algorithm for tracking head movements, which makes a big difference in titles such as Microsoft Flight Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2.

Our experience in Flight Simulator was that the main tracking was far superior to the eye tracking, as there are always lots of instruments and other things to look at in the cockpit, something that in itself made the camera experience a bit nervous. However, this is guaranteed to differ from person to person and game to game.

Experience in games

  • Limited use in games other than racing games and simulators
  • Adjust the settings for each title for the best experience
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator has great support

It is without a doubt in various forms of simulations that the Tobii Eye Tracker 5 comes into its own. For our part, an absolute majority of the test period has been spent in Microsoft Flight Simulator, which has its own interface and support for fine-tuning the settings, and supports eye and head tracking very well right from the start.

Once you have adjusted the settings to suit you, something that can easily take an hour, it is a pure joy to use Tobii Eye Tracker 5. The feeling of being able to turn and tilt your head in different directions to get the corresponding reaction to the screen is nothing to joke about, it enhances the feeling of realism immensely, no matter what type of aircraft you prefer. 

Taking a few laps with one of the smaller planes and being able to easily keep track of the surroundings is incredibly inspiring and definitely something that attracts many hours in front of the screen in a stage of childlike delight.

These experiences are guaranteed to be reflected in the simulator you choose, provided that it is supported by the software, that is. Another type of game where Tobii Eye Tracker 5 comes into its own is various forms of car games, such as Euro Truck Simulator 2, F1 2021, Project Cars 2 or at least Farming Simulator 22, all with support for the technology.

The possibility of being able to quickly turn your head to look at rear-view mirrors or apex in the curves is undeniable and with the right training, you can certainly cut the lap times further around the Circuit de Monaco.

There are also other types of game titles like Far Cry 6 where Tobii Eye Tracker 5 is supported, but honestly, we have a bit of a hard time seeing the benefits of that type of game compared to different forms of simulators. Although it is guaranteed to have its fair share of audiences, we still see the greatest benefit in the specific simulator genre more than anyone else.

Eye tracking or VR?

  • Both enhance the gaming experience
  • Different hardware requirements
  • Differences in price

Although there are quite large differences between VR and eye tracking, the purpose is undeniably the same, to enhance the gaming feel by elevating the body’s own movements to the gaming world’s camera movements.

Eye tracking in general and Tobii Eye Tracker 5 in particular perhaps the strongest card is that it does not increase the system requirements for the same visual experience on the screen. In addition, you do not have to be stuck with cables to your computer, Eye Tracker 5 manages completely on its own there under the screen.

The advantage of VR is instead a clearly more comprehensive experience where the camera views follow you, wherever you turn your head and body. Although the Tobii Eye Tracker 5 supports head tracking, you can undeniably just turn your head to a certain limit without losing sight of the screen. 

In the end, it’s partly about how much you are willing to spend on accessories to enhance the gaming experience. A Tobii Eye Tracker 5 is undeniably relatively affordable with its SEK 2,590 and that in itself provides a lower threshold compared to VR.

Worth the money? It is ultimately up to you as a potential buyer to decide. However, we believe that it may very well be so, if you fall into the category of supported games.

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