Earning the third-highest score of the entire group, the PlayStation VR did very well in our test. It provides a highly immersive and interactive experience and is by far the easiest of the tethered headset to set up.
PlayStation VR Review
Pros: Exceptionally visually immersive, very user friendly, highly interactive
Cons: Not super comfortable, only works with PlayStation
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Our Analysis and Test Results
For those that want a premium VR experience without all of the hassles of running it through a gaming PC or for those that already have any of the PS4 family of gaming consoles, the PlayStation VR or PSVR is a product that we would highly recommend.
To find out which VR headset is worthy of an award, we bought the best models available on the market today and put them through an exhaustive set of side-by-side tests to find the winners. These tests were divided into five weighted rating metrics: Interactiveness, Visual Immersiveness, Comfort, Ease of Setup, and User Friendliness, with our results explained fully in the following sections.
Comprising the largest chunk of the overall score at 35%, Interactiveness is our most important testing metric. The scores for this metric are based on how easy it is to interact with each headset, the accuracy of the motion tracking, and the amount of area covered by the external sensors. The PSVR did quite well in this test, earning a 7 out of 10 and comparing very favorably with the rest of the group, as shown in the chart below.
There are no buttons on the headset itself, though it is decently easy to interact with the PlayStation VR headset using the pair of PlayStation Move controllers or a normal PlayStation controller.
The PSVR used the PlayStation Camera to track your movement throughout the room, which we found to be a little limiting. The image would black out if we backed up too far from the sensor, which we found to be about 7' in our tests. The camera also failed to detect if we turned around completely when using the Move controllers. We also found the motion tracking of the controller to be a little finicky and unreliable — definitely the worst out of the tethered models. The controllers were unresponsive a handful of times and would drift off center and just felt less accurate than the other handheld controller. However, it usually only caused minor annoyances, rather than persistent problems.
Ranking second in terms of importance, this metric is responsible for 25% of the total score for each headset, based on the resolution and sharpness of the image shown, overall image quality, the field of view, and if the headset adequately prevented ambient light from leaking in. The PlayStation VR scored very well, earning a 9 out of 10 and tying for the top score, as shown below.
The PSVR blocks out the majority of ambient light, though a little can leak in around the bridge of your nose, but not enough to be distracting. The displayed text is very crisp and sharp, even though the PSVR has slightly lower resolution than the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift, 960x1080 compared to 1080x1200 per eye. The field of view for the PlayStation is claimed to be 100°, but we found we could see slightly more of our test image than the Rift or the Vive, making it an incredibly immersive experience. All in all, the viewing quality of the PlayStation VR is simply superb and one of the best when it comes to providing a rich and visually immersive VR experience.
Our Comfort metric consisted of evaluating how it felt to wear each headset for an extended period of time, whether or not there is sufficient room to comfortably wear glasses, and if the headset had enough ventilation to prevent your face from becoming sweaty and fogging the optics. The PlayStation scored decently well in this metric, worth 20% of the overall score, meriting a 6 out of 10 for its above average performance.
The PSVR felt great to wear for longer periods of time, feeling super comfortable on your face. We particularly liked that this headset doesn't feel front heavy like many other models, with the weight more evenly distributed along the larger headband. There is enough room to wear glasses, though it is a little tight for some larger framed models. However, the headset does let in a decent amount of ambient light when used with glasses.
Unfortunately, the PlayStation has hardly any ventilation and covers a large part of your forehead, which can cause your face to get decently sweaty after extended gaming periods, bringing down the score of this headset.
Taking credit for 15% of the final score, our User Friendliness metric evaluates how much work it took to get each headset ready to go after the initial installation had been completed and if you were prone to hitting buttons accidentally, as well as how much work it was to get headphones set up. The PlayStation VR scored very well, earning an 8 out of 10 for its performance, again comparing well with the rest of the pack, as shown below.
It is extremely easy to get a set of headphones plugged into the PSVR, but they can occasionally be pulled out by the headset tether when moving around a ton. This headset is very easy to use after the initial setup, with it being all ready to go as soon as you don the headset in view of the camera. There also aren't any button on the headset, so no possible way to accidentally press one while putting it on or using the headset.
Ease of Setup
Taking responsibility for the remaining 10% of the final score, this metric evaluated the difficulty at setting up the hardware and installing the software for each headset, as well as the amount of prerequisite hardware to run the VR system. The PlayStation VR again delivered a solid performance, earning a 7 out of 10.
The hardware setup for the PSVR is extremely quick and easy, by far the fastest out of the tethered headset. You just need to hook up the PS4 and point the camera in the correct direction and you are all set. The software setup is also very fast, with helpful prompts and tutorials to guide you through it. All told, we only spent about 15 minutes getting the entire VR system ready to go. This system does have limited compatibility, only working with the PS4 line of consoles.
The PSVR can be a solid value option for a premium experience, provided you already have a PS4.
The PlayStation VR provides an overall great VR experience that is interactive and immersive, though the lack of widespread compatibility is a bit disappointing. This product is for sure something to consider if you already have a PS4 and want to expand your gaming options.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer