SONY PLAYSTATION VR – VR HEADSET REVIEW
|Product Name:||PLAYSTATION VR|
|Hardware platform:||PlayStation 4|
|Software platform:||PlayStation 4|
|Sensors:||Motion, external visual positioning|
|Controller:||DualShock 4, PlayStation Move|
SONY PLAYSTATION VR
With gamers in mind, PlayStation delivers new gaming experience through PlayStation VR. PlayStation VR offers accessible way of getting into proper, immersive virtual reality gaming without breaking the bank. PlayStation VR is not perfect. But it’s going after console gamers hard and ultimately, it is still a truly awesome PS4 accessory.
Getting into PlayStation VR couldn’t be easier. Just plug the PlayStation VR headset and your PlayStation Camera into your PlayStation 4 system. You’re ready to go.
What’s in the Sony PlayStation VR headset
- PlayStation VR headset
- Processor unit
- PlayStation VR headset connection cable
- HDMI cable
- USB cable
- Stereo headphones
- AC power cord
- AC adaptor
- PlayStation VR Demo Disc
Sony PlayStation VR: Set-up
Sony really has found a sweet spot in terms of keeping the PlayStation VR practical and accessible. If you already have a PS4, setting up the PlayStation VR is super simple. Just set up your PlayStation Camera first (this is required to play, not an extra like the Move controllers). Then follow the instructions to connect all the correct cables from the Processor Unit to your PS4. (You can buy PlayStation Camera at Amazon.com for 39,49$)
The main thing to remember is that it becomes a pass-through for your HDMIs. One goes from the TV into the unit, another from the unit to the PS4. Then just connect the headset itself to the Processor Unit. And power on the PlayStation VR via the in-line controls which also include volume and mic buttons.
Sure it’s not wireless like a mobile VR headset but you won’t need to rearrange your furniture either. There’s no room mapping needed, you just need to tinker with the Camera to line it up with your head once you’ve plonked your new VR gaming chair where you want it to be. Sony recommends playing PlayStation VR seated rather than standing. Sitting 5 feet from the Camera with enough room on either side for you to lunge, and that’s about right.
It helps if your PS4 is close to your TV as the standard PlayStation Camera wire is pretty short and this needs to both hook up to your console and be able to see your face. Setup is easy and you also always know where you are with the menus, once you’ve downloaded some VR games they just appear in your regular PS4 menu for you to select. This appears in VR too using PlayStation’s Cinematic Mode, it’s a 2D screen floating in blank 3D space and you can press the PS button on your DualShock to quit apps and games and get back to it at any time, which is reassuring.
Sony PlayStation VR: Display
The display is a single 5.7-inch 1920 x 1080 OLED. It’s a 100 degree field of view which is slightly smaller than Rift or Vive. And smaller than some mobile VR headsets now. Still, Sony has a couple of things going for it with an (up to) 90Hz, or even 120Hz, refresh rate (using its ‘reprojection’ tech when games aren’t running natively at those rates) and RGB sub-pixels designed to increase the overall immersion of the picture.
If you’ve been spoiled by Vive, you’ll notice the difference immediately. But the truth is that many people haven’t used Vive yet and/or can’t afford it. And PlayStation VR will be enough to bowl them over. There’s also a slight screen door effect here. You’ll spot it in the intros of games, in particular, before they get going and you’re looking around at abstract 3D menus. But once games get going, you’ll forget all about it as you concentrate on the gameplay at hand. So it’s not the most mindblowing VR headset display but, combined with a compelling game narrative, it’s more than good enough to help you feel like you’re in that VR world.
Sony PlayStation VR: Tracking and performance
This is not a VR system built for lots of physical input and that’s okay. If you’re happy sitting down and getting the thrill of moving your head, ducking and turning round to shoot in different directions, then you are well served here. Just don’t expect to be running around your living room.
The 1:1 head tracking by the PlayStation Camera is superb. In games where you can see the DualShock as an animation in VR, this is tracked very well in terms of turns and micro movements. If you switch players of different heights or fancy standing up, you’ll have to recalibrate the Camera which quickly becomes annoying and essentially involves two people. When you’re in a game, you can hold down ‘options’ on a DualShock to reset to your view, which is quick and works like a charm. I’t’s werry good. But more impressive tech is over double the price plus the cost of a gaming PC.
Sony PlayStation VR review: Controllers
A real plus point for the PlayStation VR is that you can just play with your DualShock controller that you already own or your Move Motion controllers if you have those. It’s awesome that you can start playing with controls you’re already used to from years of gaming.
If you don’t already own the Moves, you can buy the new redesigned. There’s a lot of freedom and the PlayStation VR Aim controller, the gun shaped one which will work with upcoming sci-fi game Farpoint, will join the options soon enough too. Generally, the PlayStation Camera tracks the Move controllers well enough not to get annoying.
They aren’t as intuitively designed as Oculus Touch and don’t have finger tracking but they’re smaller, lighter and less unwieldy than Vive’s controllers. As the PlayStation VR Aim shows, the VR peripheral market for PlayStation VR could be huge and quickly gain momentum once the Sony launches more games. The Move controllers weren’t built from the ground up for VR but for now they do a decent, if not perfect, job. They need charging pretty often too but if you’re playing in front of your PS4, you can play wired with a mini USB. (You can buy PlayStation Move Motion Controllers at Amazon.com for 95,99$)
full console – 349,99$ at Amazon.com
headset – 399,99$ at Amazon.com
camera – 39,49$ at Amazon.com
controllers – 95,99$ at Amazon.com
Sony PlayStation VR review: Motion sickness
We can’t ignore motion sickness on the PlayStation VR. Maybe it’s the display resolution or some other technical difference. But we’ve had a few bouts of mild motion sickness with the PlayStation VR. More so than with more expensive headsets like Vive. It really does depend on the game and how long you’ve been playing.
Sony says to take a 15 minute break after an hour and we strongly advise sticking to this. No matter how tempting it is not to. Some games are more likely to make you motion sick than others. The other thing to keep an eye out for is headaches and eye strain. Keep blinking, close your eyes during loading screens and take regular breaks.
Sony PS VR: Comfort
With its blue lights, the padded crown section on your forehead and the black and white finish, this looks like a complete consumer headset from the near future. When newbies see it, they want to put it on their heads… like now. Once it’s on, it’s feels very light, at 610g, and doesn’t feel like it’s going to slip down your face or bother your nose like other high-end headsets can. That’s even after an hour or so of playing.
There’s no pass-through camera to see what’s going on in the real world. Instead there is a super handy button on the bottom of the headset. When pushed it slides the screen back and forth to get a secure fit or check up on the room you’re in without taking the whole thing off. The wire also doesn’t get in the way, especially as you won’t tend to be stood up moving around.
It’s easy to get to grips with but that doesn’t mean the design is perfect. Because there are no adjustable straps it can be quite uncomfortable to get on and off, catching your hair (if you have it) when you pull it off without extending the band again for instance. There is a button round the back to control this, as well as a dial to tighten it up, but often you’ll forget and just yank it off. The rubber sections around your face, and particularly to the sides, feel flimsy and don’t give you that secure feeling of being enclosed as with the cushioned Vive or even a Gear VR.
Then there’s the fog. Sony hasn’t quite managed to solve this problem of when you first put the headset on or use it in a new temperature/room. It’s not too much of a problem and it does disappear. You can tell Sony comes from a consumer electronics angle as it has built its first dedicated VR headset with a broad range of customer needs in mind. It is chunky but durable and can stand a bashing or drop. The headband is a bit more constrictive in comparison to others. Others generally use elastic materials rather than solid plastic and foam-filled rubber. But PlayStation VR feels reassuringly solid and can be adjusted to fit snugly.
Most other headsets also require you to pop on the face plate and adjust to fit after, while the PlayStation VR has a button to slide the eyepiece towards your face after. It’s important to ensure it sits as tight as possible, as visual clarity depends on it. That can also be further ensured through a clicking dial at the back that tightens the whole shebang. You can also wear glasses while using PlayStation VR.
Sony PlayStation VR review: Games
The PlayStation VR is as good as the games you play on it. Play something slick with a great story and you’ll forget its flaws. Sure, it doesn’t match the experience of Rift or particularly Vive but at this price and with this momentum, it doesn’t need to.
Sony won the VR games war even before PlayStation VR has been shipped. There are high quality demos that leave you wanting more. But there’s already a hell of a lot of variety and quality in the games. Plus it’s not all 50$ titles so you won’t go bankrupt within days.
Another bonus is the PlayStation VR’s social and sharing features both in the form of capturing your VR gameplay and livestreaming to the likes of Twitch or software like The Playroom or the upcoming Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes which we’ve seen on Gear VR. It’s something that Sony has promised to build on too to keep everyone in the room entertained. We can expect some non-game content as well in the form of shorts and VR films we’ve seen on other platforms, a Hulu app in the US, Invasion by Baobab Studios, Within’s 360-degree live action library, Fox’s The Martian and Penrose Studio’s Allumette. It’ll be interesting to see how much focus is placed on non-game experiences.
PlayStation VR benefits greatly by being a console accessory. It has the right developer and publisher support to ensure it gets the better games. And surely that’s what it’s all about.
Sony PlayStation VR: Price
PlayStation VR connects to a PS4 rather than a top-grade gaming PC. So, instead of the grand you can expect to pay for a VR-ready computer, you can run the PlayStation VR from a 350$ (349,99$ at Amazon.com) console. Another important factor is that PlayStation VR headset is reasonably priced, at 399,99$ (You can buy it at Amazon.com). Oculus Rift, on the other hand, is 499,99$, while HTC Vive costs a massive 799,99$. What’s more, to have an equivalent experience on the Rift you need spend an extra 100$ on the Oculus Touch motion controllers.
The PlayStation VR simply requires two PlayStation Moves. Which you might even have tucked away in a drawer from the PS3 days. Otherwise, they’re just 95,99$ a pair (at Amazon.com). Even when you add the cost of the required PlayStation Camera, priced at 39,49$ (at Amazon.com), it’s considerably less expensive than any and all major rivals. Saying that, if you own none of the kit then the full console (349,99$ at Amazon.com), headset (399,99$ at Amazon.com), camera (39,49$ at Amazon.com) and controllers (95,99$ at Amazon.com) will total 885,46$.
Setting up the PlayStation VR is a troublesome project, especially with Camera placement and calibration. But the pay-off at the end is a superb virtual reality experience. The PlayStation VR headset was engineered to be balanced, comfortable, and completely adjustable. Like it’s not there. It’s keeping you free from distraction as you explore new gaming worlds.
Being a stronger and more robust headset ensures PlayStation VR is less likely to be hidden away each time after use. It is less likely to be forgotten or abandoned. It is also easier to pop onto your noggin each time you fancy a play. And as the PS4 home screen pops-up immediately in the virtual space, you don’t have to do all your navigating and nonsense before you even put it on. It just makes sense.The games could be better priced, though, but that could drop in time. And if there’s even a hint of sales success, you can bet plenty will be happy to jump on board with new, exciting titles.
PlayStation VR is an affordable introduction to quality VR. Many of the experiences aren’t as crisp or as immersive as the ones found on the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive but, for a system that uses a PS4 instead of an expensive PC gaming rig it’s more than great VR experience.
Is PlayStation VR the device to bring virtual reality to the masses?
Need to know
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Refresh rate: 90Hz (or even 120Hz)
FOV: 100 degree
Controller: DualShock 4, PlayStation Move
Sensors: Motion, external visual positioning
Price: 399,99$ (at Amazon.com)