PlayStation VR2 (PS VR2) Review
| Tony Mowbray
The PlayStation VR2 (PS VR2) is Sony’s latest VR headset available to purchase now. This headset is designed to work exclusively with the PS5 console and offers a host of new features and improvements over the previous model, but is it worth the $549.99 price tag? Find out here in our PS VR2 review.
The PS VR2 has a single 4.5-meter USB-C cable that needs to be plugged into the front of the PS5 to begin the setup process. This is a marked improvement over the original PSVR which required multiple cables, connections, breakout boxes, and an external camera just to function. The setup is very straightforward from start to finish and covers the essentials.
The standout part of the setup for me was the eye tracking calibration where you used your eyes to follow a dot around the display. Once complete, an impressive visual representation of your eyes appear on the screen and mimics their movement in real time.
Another impressive eye-tracking feature of the PS VR2 is a piece of software that lets you know when the IPD (Inter-Pupillary Distance) of the lenses is set just right for your eyes. Unfortunately, it didn’t show the numerical measurement of my IPD which would have been nice to know.
The final setup steps involve looking around your playspace to map your play area before marking the boundaries using the controller. I found that once the playspace had been mapped, the PS VR2 did a good job at keeping the physical dimensions of my room even after it had been turned off.
The only drawback to the setup was the absence of any demo to try out the tracking and other features of the headset. Once setup is complete, you are taken to the PS VR2 home page but it would have been nice to have experienced a short demo to get better acquainted with the headset before diving into the menu.
When I tested the headset with the PS VR2 exclusive Horizon: Call Of The Mountain I got to experience some of the best visuals I’ve experienced in VR to date. A palette of rich colors, high-contrast blacks, and crisp graphics were offered up from the 2000x2040 per-eye resolution dual OLED displays.
The display significantly improved over its predecessor, with PS VR2 offering around four times the pixel count giving it a much sharper image quality. The Field of View (FoV) is about 110 degrees diagonal which is slightly larger than the Quest 2 and the original PS VR but I didn’t notice much of a difference between headsets during testing.
The PS VR2 also comes equipped with Fresnel lenses which have some drawbacks such as being prone to glare and God rays. Another limitation is that Fresnel lenses have a small sweet spot - meaning you have to adjust the headset into a specific position to get the best viewing angle.
Personally, I would have much preferred the PS VR2 to come with the more expensive alternative of pancake lenses. This might have upped the cost but it would have also reduced glare and given a larger viewing sweet spot when compared to their Fresnel counterparts.
However, once the headset was in the right position and I found that perfect spot for the best viewing experience it stayed in that same place throughout so there was no need to re-adjust.
The PS VR2 retains the halo head strap design from the original PS VR and it works well. I was able to play for hours at a time with the headset secured firmly to my face and without discomfort. The gasket or facial interface is made from a soft silicone material that conforms nicely to the face and does a great job of blocking out external light.
The gasket’s smooth surface makes it easy to wipe down after a sweaty play session. However, because the gasket is not absorbant I found the sweat tended to pool and drip down my face which was unpleasant, to say the least. The excess sweat also made the lenses a little foggy but fortunately, the PS VR2 comes with fans built into the headset to help reduce lens fog.
The PS VR2 comes with a pair of in-ear earbuds as its audio solution. The earbuds attach neatly along the back of the head strap and sound great with Sony’s Tempest 3D audio software. This software only works with specific earphones like the earbuds you get with the PS VR2 but it delivers a realistic 3D sound that, according to Sony, “could allow gamers to hear where individual virtual rain drops are landing in the game's environment”.
The PS VR2 Sense controllers are a monumental improvement over the wand-like Playstation Move motion controllers that came with the original PS VR headset. The PS VR2 controllers have an orb-like ergonomic design that conformed to my grip well and felt nice to handle. The buttons, triggers, and thumbsticks feature capacitive sensors that are able to track when your fingers are resting on them and represent their position in VR - allowing for better hand presence.
However, the thing that set these controllers apart from anything I have tried in the past was the adaptive triggers that can adjust tension in response to gameplay. For example, I could feel the resistance of the trigger button as I was shooting the weapons in Star Wars Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge Enhanced Edition.
The amount of tension in the controller trigger button was also a little different between the guns too, giving each one a distinct feel. The adaptive triggers significantly boosted the feeling of immersion in the game and are something I hope more headset manufacturers include.
There were some occasions where I lost tracking holding the controller directly in front of the headset. There seems to be a little blind spot in that one specific area that can make tracking go awry. This happened infrequently and was by no means game-breaking, but was a minor annoyance when it did happen.
The only drawback to the controllers was the limited battery life - with them lasting about 4-5 hours before needing a recharge. This is on the low end when you compare them to the Quest 2 motion controllers which last about 60 hours or more on a single AA battery. Another minor quibble is the fact that you receive one USB-C charging cable with the headset that only allows you to charge one controller at a time, making the PlayStation VR2 Sense Charging Station a fairly necessary purchase.
Advanced haptic features inside the controllers are similar to those found inside the PS5 controller. The haptic sensations go beyond a simple rumble sensation and are capable of delivering a range of sensations including pulsing, thumping, buzzing, and more. There’s also a single haptic rumble motor built into the front of the headset that’s used at certain points in some games to give feedback to the head.
The PS VR2 offers a simple plug-and-play way to have a top-quality virtual reality experience. The cutting-edge tech inside the headset and controllers combined with the power of the PS5 delivers some of the best-looking and immersive VR I have had to date. Whilst it would be nice to see more PS VR2 exclusives the biggest sticking point for me is the price - which comes to around at least $950 for both the headset and PS5 together. However, what you get for your money is an impressive piece of kit that will please even the most ardent VR enthusiasts.
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