Sony stepped into virtual reality back in 2016 with PlayStation VR, a relatively niche market that aimed at delivering quality products akin to the mainline PlayStation family. With relative success, the PSVR delivered some decent games with the technology available yet couldn’t keep up with the insurmountable odds of the extended VR devices such as VIVE, Quest and Steam VR. Fast forward to 2023 and we have Sony’s second attempt with PlayStation VR 2 – this time with forward pushing technology that’s available only at the high-end spectrum, but at a fraction of the price. Granted, the overall performance is reliant on having a PS5 as well, which would total at ~$1100, but that is still ~$400 less than the leading VR headset – Meta Quest Pro – which goes for $1,499, which I will be comparing throughout my review process. The PSVR 2 is a powerhouse of a headset delivering in almost all fronts – it’s a must have for PS5 owners.
Light Touch to Build Quality
When the PSVR 2 was delivered to me, I was surprised to find that the box was a lot smaller than anticipated – I didn’t measure it due to the excitement of getting the package, but it gave the impression of a medium collector’s item box. The headset is extremely light, weighing less than 600 grams. It is entirely built with hard plastic where the strap is cushioned with pushed rubber – surprisingly comfortable design to be honest. The most jarring adjustment was the forehead cushion having a small flap – I use it as a way to properly place my headset for clarity. I can use this headset for hours on end with little to no discomfort.
The head strap is adjustable with a radial dial for further tightening – same with the visor having a forward adjustment as well. Both formats are done with a push of a button. The lens can be spaced with a radial set on the side of the headset, this is a much-preferred method given the shift to digital spacing. The front of the visor has 4 camera sensors, underneath is the Function and Power buttons, as well as a built-in omnidirectional microphone. At the back of the strap, you’ll find a headphone jack, which a custom headphone is provided if you don’t have your own. Two of the biggest elements to this whole build is the ventilation that’s embedded into the visor, which eliminates fogging entirely and the rubberized blinders that fits excellently, removing any light that bleeds into your peripheral. Normally, you would buy additional accessories to mitigate this, but Sony was thoughtful enough to add it to the overall design.
My only problem with the overall build quality of the PSVR2 is placing them down on, for example, my coffee table after use would prone it to deep scratches; although it’s built with hard plastic, it seems to have been hollowed out to reduce weight, which would reduce scratch resistance. I would highly recommend looking into getting some form of visor protector.
High-End Tech Wonder
PlayStation VR 2 is bar none the best technical hardware in the market. Here are the specs:
|Panel resolution||2000 x 2040 per eye|
|Panel refresh rate||90Hz, 120Hz|
|Field of View||Approx. 110 degrees|
|Sensors||Motion Sensor: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer))|
|Cameras||4 cameras for headset and controller tracking, IR camera for eye tracking per eye|
|Feedback||Vibration on headset|
|Communication with PS5||USB Type-C|
|Audio||Input: Built-in microphone, Output: Stereo headphone jack|
|Meta Quest Pro||Details|
|Panel resolution||1800 x 1920 per eye|
|Panel refresh rate||90Hz, 72Hz|
|Field of View||Approx. 106 degrees|
|Cameras/Tracking||3 cameras for headset and controller tracking, eye tracking|
|Sensors||10 x VR/MR sensors|
Several immediate comparisons that put the PSVR 2 at a great advantage – first off is the display methods; the PSVR 2 is using OLED displays per eye and HDR functionality which means crisp image quality with life-like color disposition. This is entirely unheard of in the VR space and from personal experience, I have never seen a cleaner VR look in any device currently. Each eye on the PSVR 2 is at 2K resolution, whereas the Quest Pro is at 1920p – granted the Pancake Lens technology is entirely forward pushing for less strain on peripheral viewing, however it still seems to match the performance of the PSVR 2’s Foveated technology – a rendering technique that helps with clarity in conjunction with eye tracking; It helps reduce strain to the eyes and motion sickness.
Field of view seems to be at a 4-degree advantage compared to Quest Pro, with addition to higher refresh rates. Honestly, with techs that’s build to be accessible, having the caveat of PSVR 2 being weird doesn’t bother me one bit. I find that most players in this niche market would play sitting down anyway. But PSVR 2’s caveat doesn’t end there; it has no PC support whatsoever which puts the Quest Pro at the top for its wireless and PC functions. Let’s hope for a PC update regarding PSVR 2 because if so, this would put the headset as the most competitive purchase for any VR enthusiast.
The PSVR 2 works seamlessly with the PS5 out the box – you’re prompted with a tutorial that teaches you how to correctly put your headset on, how the Function button works and setting your environment. It’s all intuitively done and fits well with the overall ecosystem of the UI. You will be scanning your room as expected in the VR world as well as setting your floor levels and play space. The external camera is clear in its black and white image and if you need to ever switch between that and gaming, just tap the Function button and you’re good to go.
The motion control ring design takes a bit of getting use to; it’s incredible light and has all the buttons of the DualSense controller. Haptic feedback on the controller and triggers are present for further immersion, including on the headset. These can be turned off, but I find it to make the experience much better; it isn’t as uncomfortable or disorienting as one might think – it works surprisingly well.
My time with playing Horizon VR Call of the Mountain has been nothing short of spectacular – The same feeling I got from playing Half Life: Alyx was very much present here. The image quality is through the roof alongside depth perception thanks to the eye-tracking and foveated technology. I was really impressed with how fast it rendered the image when scanning the scenes – this is coupled with the ability to choose my options with my eyes. I’m totally digging this tech and I hope it gets utilized further with great improvements.
PlayStation released the highest-quality VR headset in the market at a fraction of the price available even in combintation of a PS5 purchase. However with the absence of backwards compatibility, wired connection and PC functionality, I can understand why most people would turn away from purchasing the PSVR 2.
REVIEW SCORE: 8.5/10
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