Good / The PlayStation VR is an intuitive, affordable, comfortable, and pleasurable VR experience that is great for first time VR experiences as well as VR veterans since it has an already great and soon to be expanding exclusive VR catalog.
Bad / The PlayStation VR lacks some of the technical prowess of something like the HTC Vive. You won’t get the same immersive experience regarding graphical fidelity, allowed movements, resolution, or FOV but it will come close.
Verdict / While it’s limited by the Playstation 4’s computing power, the PlayStation VR is a great addition to any living room that wants to experiment and explore the world of virtual reality.
PlayStation VR Review
The PlayStation VR has been a long time coming. It’s the third mass market VR experience we’ve seen in 2016 and with its low price, it’s made it a huge attraction for console VR enthusiasts. The PlayStation VR is made for any PlayStation device–including the new PS4 slim, and original–although the new Playstation Pro has an enhanced experience with more textures and shaders.
In this PlayStation VR review, I will go over the specs, features, and overall feel of the device–as well as what audience I think it is for, to help you make a decision if you should purchase it or not.
Unlike the HTC Vive which retails for $799, the full PlayStation VR Bundle retails for $499 (this includes the camera, two controllers, and the VR headset). This is quite a bit cheaper, and if you have the controllers and camera alone you can get the headset for $399–or you can just skip the controller experience and just experience VR with the headset and your standard DualShock PS4 controller.
Whatever the case, the PS VR is the cheapest VR experience on the market, especially when you consider the price point of the PlayStation itself (now around $300 for the slim) or $399 for the Pro. Your total entry point into the PS VR experience without a Playstation is about$798, whereas the PC experience would be more around $1800 (cost of computer capable of running VR + HTC Vive).
So why is the PS VR so cheap compared to the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift? Well for starters, the experience is much more minimal. The HTC Vive has two base stations for room tracking, whereas the PS VR only uses one camera from the PlayStation Camera to track your head and hand movements.
This gives the device some serious limitations, and if you move too much, the experience can get muddled and not work right. This means the PS VR is best used mainly when you are standing still, taking a few steps, or sitting down. Also, since the PS VR headset doesn’t come with a camera on the top of the headset, you have to take it off every time you need to do something outside of the game.
However, even though the tracking might be limited to something like the HTC Vive the results are still good. Even with the one camera, you will find that the results are very accurate, and playing games doesn’t feel unresponsive or jittery. The PS VR also doesn’t have any latency since the response rate is minimal around 18ms.
The Playstation VR’s screen runs at 1920xRGBx1080, and the FOV is around 100 degrees. This isn’t as sharp as a resolution or as big as an FOV as the Vive, but the experience and resolution are still fine for consumer use and much better than the developer VR sets we’ve tested in years prior. For the price, the screen feels fine, and the actual feel of the headset might be it’s the greatest strength.
Whereas the HTC Vive is a bit heavy, the PS VR is much lighter–so much so that some say it feels a bit “toy like” but the experience wearing the PS VR headset is a bit better than the alternatives since you won’t experience as much weight fatigue, and the adjustable headset feels a bit more comfortable than the other VR headsets. One of my favorite things about the headset is the lighting–since it makes it look very futuristic, and it gives it a sort of “sex appeal” to the product that the other headsets don’t have.
The PS VR, might be limited in the specifications of it’s design and lower cost point–which might lead to a less immersive experience–especially with some lower quality textures and presentation (due to being hosted on the Playstation 4 instead of a powerful PC) but the experience still feels unique since it has exclusive games that are some of the best VR has to offer–like Batman Arkham VR, Until Dawn Rush of Blood, and VR Worlds.
Each one of these exclusive games cements the PS VR’s strengths–and there’s only more to come. Each one of these games takes advantage of the PS Move controllers, and while they might not have trackpads or feel like they were made for VR–the controllers are still a huge complement to the experience and worth picking up.
How are the Cables?
Lastly, we should mention that the setup isn’t TOO bad. Some criticize the HTC Vive and Oculus for having too many cables, and for someone who is familiar with how simple the Playstation 4 is to set up (doesn’t even need a power brick) you will still find the PS VR a bit of a hassle and strain in the minimalist living room. However, unless you want to wait years and years for an entirely wireless setup, you might have to deal with a few of these minor inconveniences.
The PlayStation VR is the perfect experience to sit on your couch, and play these games with your friends. The cool blue lights, lightweight headset, and the appearance of the device in the living room (thanks to the Playstation hookup) makes the PS VR one of the most intuitive and comfortable approaches to VR we’ve seen yet.
Specs of the PS VR:
Display Method: OLED.
Panel Size: 5.7 inches.
Panel Resolution: 1920×RGB×1080.
Refresh Rate: 120Hz, 90Hz.
Field of View: Approximately 100 degrees.
Sensors: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer).
Connection Interface: VR headset: HDMI, AUX, Stereo Headphone Jack.
PlayStation VR on the PlayStation Pro?
The PlayStation Pro is more powerful than the PlayStation 4 original or PlayStation Slim. With the pro, you get enhanced processing power that can create a better experience for supported games. With the upgraded specs, the pro can give PS VR something more like it’s PC VR counterparts to include better draw distances, enhanced details and textures, and a reduction in graininess. As a whole, it will be more immersive but only for the developers who implement “Pro mode” into the games.
PlayStation VR Review Conclusion
The PlayStation VR is more capable than we thought. It’s also one of the most comfortable experiences on the market. As you might compare a PlayStation 4 to a PC, the comparison here also stands.
The other PC VR headsets might be more immersive with better graphics, and in some ways–as with the Vive, better more immersive VR experiences overall, but the PS VR excels by making VR accessible since you can play it with friends on the couch and enjoy some awesome experiences with Sony’s oncoming VR game lineup.