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PlayStation VR Review: An Easy-To-Use Headset That Doesn’t Cost A Bomb

PlayStation VR Feature

Designed to deliver compelling games, PlayStation VR is an easy-to-use headset that you can get your hands on without emptying your pockets.

Design

PlayStation VR is highly focused on offering comfort rather than adopting the standard format, which usually comprises a large piece of plastic along with a pair of cloth headbands attached. A large black faceplate dubbed, the scope is the main part of the headset, and it has a centrally-placed tracking light.

The sides of the faceplate feature glossy PlayStation logos that add a nice visual contrast. The 5.7-inch, 1920 x 1080p OLED display and the lenses are placed inside the headset, along with a black soft-touch rubber light shield. Unlike other VR headsets that use some sort of foam cushioning, the PS VR’s rubber flaps gently brush against the top part of the wearer’s face.

PlayStation VR_Design_1

At the bottom, there’s an integrated microphone and an adjustment button that allows you to slide the faceplate forward or backward for a comfortable fit and a better viewing angle. A white halo, which is made of white hard plastic lined with black textured foam is attached to the top of the scope.

PlayStation VR_Design_2

Pulling on the back of the strap unveils black stretchy cables that let you fit the device on your head. Aside from that, there’s a white adjustment dial placed in the back to tighten the grip, but if it is too uncomfortable, you can use the headband-release button to loosen things up.

The left side of the headset features a long black cable that extends all the way downwards into the headset’s inline remote. To operate the remote while wearing the headset, Sony has added tactile cues.

The power button is attached to the control, while the mute button sits flush and the power buttons jut outward. The remote comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack to plug in a pair of headphones.

Comfort

The PS VR is designed to offer a secure, comfortable fit. Even when worn for a longer duration, there is no discernable pinching or pressure since the light shield rests gently on your face.

PlayStation VR_Comfrort

Moreover, there won’t be any telltale headset marks on your face.

Setup

Setting up PS VR for use is relatively less complicated as compared to prepping HTC Vive, however, it has a few more plugs and cables than you’d find with the Oculus Rift. You’d need to charge the pair of Move controllers, so keep a couple of outlets available when the time comes.

Next, it is time for you to piece your virtual station together. The HDMI cable that usually runs between your console and the television will connect to the small box, considering that the processor unit is running the show. Another USB-to-micro-USB cord and HDMI wire are tethered between the processor unit and the console.

PlayStation VR_Setup

Jeremy Lips / Tom’s Guide

You then need to connect the included camera to the PS4 and connect the power cable. Lastly, you slide back the right-side compartment on the processor unit to access the pair of connectors for the actual headset.

Once you turn on your television, PS4 and PS VR, the system will run a quick update for my new piece of hardware before the software setup, which takes about 7 minutes to complete. When everything is finished, you’d see your PlayStation dashboard in your PS VR.

Specs

The resolution of the PlayStation VR is 1920 x 1080 pixels per eye at a refresh rate of 90Hz or 120Hz, depending on the game, as well as an approximately 100-degree field of view. The headset adopts Sony’s Sixaxis motion-sensing technology, which comprises a three-axis gyroscope and a three-axis accelerometer.

In terms of play-area dimensions, PS VR’s recommended measurements are 9.8 x 6.2 feet with the PS camera about 2 feet away. The Rift needs 5 x 11 feet, while the Vive requires 15 x 15 feet. The PS VR offers comparable visual performance, but it doesn’t stack up to the Rift or the Vive.

In terms of actual room tracking, the Vive is still the only system that lets you walk around your play space without worrying about crashing into a wall. As of now, PS VR and the Rift can be touted as semi-stationary experiences.

Little black box

The little black box is one of the most important components of the PS VR, just as in an airplane. However, the PS VR’s processing unit transmits rather than records.

PlayStation VR_black box

It is responsible for powering the Social Screen, which in the case of multiplayer titles such as The Playroom VR ensures that the person wearing the headset will see one thing, while others watch the TV will see another.

PlayStation VR_black box_2

In most cases, however, Social Screen just mirrors what’s playing in the headset onto the TV. Other main functions of the processing unit include supplying 3D audio to headphones plugged into the headset’s inline remote.

Sony’s virtual world

Sony is focused on offering a quality gaming experience. For a whimsical experience, you can explore the world of Wayward Sky, making your way past robots, and solving puzzles to get to the next level of the game.

The Oculus and HTC both offer an impressive array of games, however, most of them are demos that give players a glimpse of what the future has to offer. PS VR titles, on the other hand, feel complete and offer the challenging gameplay you’d expect out of a video game.

The return of Move

PlayStation Move controllers debuted back in 2010, but it was considered a Failed Tech amid the lack of compatible games. However, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Move controllers made a successful return as a pretty solid pair of virtual hands.

The controllers haven’t changed much, Weighing in at 8.2 ounces, they sport a long black plastic body with a white circular bulb that rests at the top, which lights up based on the game you are playing. The front of the device houses smaller versions of the PlayStation traditional face buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, and Square) accumulated around the large oval Move button.

The PS button is placed directly below them. The PS button can launch the system menu when held for a couple of seconds. The buttons for Select and Start with a single trigger in the back are placed on the sides.

PlayStation VR_Move

You’d need some practice to navigate the PlayStation dashboard using Move. You can capture a video or screenshots by holding down the Select button instead of the Share button on the traditional controller.

PlayStation VR_Move_2

The only downside is how the Move controllers to charge. In a world ruled by USB and USB Type-C devices, Sony has attached a mini USB charging port on the controllers.

Games and apps

PS VR players at launch will have access to 30 games that they can choose from with prices ranging from $59.99. Thirty launch titles are quite good, especially when Vive and Rift launched with 28 and 30 titles, respectively.

PlayStation VR_games

It is, however, worth mentioning here that Vive’s library has expanded to more than 600 games and apps. PS VR’s success is likely to rely on the developers’ and publishers’ willingness to create games for the platform.

Verdict

With the arrival of the $399 Sony PlayStation VR, the battle for VR supremacy just got more interesting. It is an easy entry to gamers intrigued by virtual reality but unwilling to shell out $1,000 or more. PlayStation VR’s main attraction is its games, which is an outcome of Sony’s relationships with popular developers like Rocksteady, Capcom, and Double Fine.

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