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PlayStation VR review




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PlayStation VR review
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Our Score:



  • Amazing games already available
  • Simple setup
  • Movies look great in the headset
  • Comfortable to wear even with glasses
  • Better value than Oculus and Vive


  • Processor unit needs to be unplugged to power down
  • PS4 console desperately needs another USB port to charge all the controllers
  • PlayStation Camera still fiddly

Key Features

  • 5.7-inch OLED Screen
  • Resolution: 1,920 x RGB x 1,080 (960 x RGB x 1,080 per eye)
  • Refresh Rate: 120Hz, 90Hz
  • 100-degree field of view
  • Integrated microphone, accelerometer, gyroscopes
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £349.00

What is PlayStation VR?

Sony has joined virtual reality gaming with PlayStation VR. The headset represents the cheapest of the “big three” on the market right now, and is the only option for console gamers interested in the technology as things stand.

Priced at £349.99, it’s significantly cheaper than both the Oculus Rift (£549 without Oculus Touch) and HTC Vive (£759). However, players will also need to invest in a PlayStation Camera priced at £44.99, and, to enjoy the “full” experience, a couple of PlayStation Move controllers, with a twin pack costing £69 (although you could probably find them for less). This brings the total cost to £464, which is still cheaper than the Rift headset, with Oculus also charging £189 for its own controllers.

Video: Playstation VR review

PlayStation VR – Installation and setup

In the box is the PlayStation VR headset, a processor unit, an HDMI cable, instruction manuals, a set of in-ear headphones, a lens-cleaning cloth, a demo disc and all the power cables you need. So many cables.

For the longest time I believed it was witchcraft that made the PlayStation VR work. Having taken a boxed one home and set it up, I’ve discovered the truth: it’s all about cables. Lots and lots and lots of cables. And then some more cables.

The setup process, to be fair, sounds trickier than it actually is. The whole process took around 30 minutes, feeding a series of HDMI cables from the PS4 to the PSVR processing unit, then to the headset itself.

Related: Best PS4 Games

The processing unit was a mystery for a long time before Sony revealed what it actually does – and it’s all pretty important stuff.

While the processing unit adds no power to the console itself, nor can developers actually program anything into it, it handles a few key functions. Firstly it helps carry out object-based 3D audio processing, which basically means you can pinpoint exactly where noises come from in games – so far, in my experience, it’s made sound design in games brilliant and terrifying. It also displays the “social” screen, basically rendering the image you see in VR onto the TV, though at a lower resolution and framerate. It also displays the standard PS4 screen in “cinematic” mode, allowing you to play non-VR games or watch movies on a display the size of a movie theatre screen.

PlayStation VR

The one annoying thing about this processing unit is that it requires a dedicated power supply, which is fine in itself, but when you turn the PS4 completely off, the unit remains in a semi-powered state, with a red “off” bar permanently lit. This means the thing is constantly using electricity, so even when the whole setup is powered down you’ll have to unplug it if you wish to save the pennies or simply get rid of the annoying light before bed.

But, once everything is plugged in, the headset simply works. No drivers to update, no system requirements to fiddle with, no graphics options to tweak; you’re simply ready to go. Yes, there’s a software update, but let’s not split hairs.

Related: Best PlayStation VR games

PlayStation VR – Design and comfort

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets aren’t the snazziest bits of kit. The first consumer models look like glorified prototypes. The PlayStation VR, on the other hand, looks like an expensive bit of tech that you’d be happy to have on your shelf.

Everything about it looks gorgeous: the sleek white edging, the black fascia and the cool lights to allow for motion tracking.

The headset is pretty sizeable, with a cable coming out of the back, trailing down to a small adaptor with controls to turn the volume up and down on your headphones (which plug into the adaptor), as well as a power button to turn the headset on or off. Putting the headset on, I immediately noticed how comfortable it is.

Unlike other VR headsets, PSVR doesn’t fasten to your face with Velcro. Instead you press a button at the back of the headset to extend the plastic band, place it over your head and then it automatically adjusts to fit, kind of like a vice – a cuddly vice.

Related: PS4 Pro vs PS4

PlayStation VR

If the headset still feels a little loose, there’s a plastic dial you can turn to tighten it a bit more. The reason why the headset is so comfortable is because it never feels like it’s “gripping” around your head. The weight of the headset rests equally on your forehead and the back of your head, and there are small rubber flaps to sit on your nose to help block out external light. Unlike with Oculus and Vive, wearing glasses in PSVR isn’t a problem either.

Related: EVE: Valkyrie review

Another thing that’s very easy for the PlayStation VR to pull off, and something I only noticed while playing Batman: Arkham VR, is allowing the player to turn 180 degrees while still tracking movement.

Thanks to two tracking lights on the back of the headset, I was able to turn and face the opposite direction and the game still worked perfectly. The Vive does this well with multiple sensor installations while the Rift seems to struggle when the sensor is behind you. I was very impressed once I discovered this little trick up the PSVR’s sleeve.

Also, another great feature is the ability to move the box on the front of the headset, which houses the display, forwards and backwards. Primarily this is done to find the “sweet spot” of the image, where it’s no longer blurry, but also it enables you to perform simple real-world tasks like send a text or find the controller after you’ve put on the headset.

However, there is one downside to this design, and that’s permanently being able to see beneath the headset. Even when you push the display as close to your face as it can go, there’s still a gap, which can break the immersion. While focused on a game you won’t notice it, especially in a low-lit room, but it’s still there, and that’s a bit of a shame. But considering how comfortable the headset is to wear for prolonged sessions, I don’t think it’s a huge deal.

Related: PlayStation VR vs HTC Vive

PlayStation VR

Another issue with the headset is that, due to its bulky nature, larger headphones can be troublesome. Standard over-ear headphones probably won’t fit – my Bose ones weren’t up to the job – but gaming headsets may be more adaptable. I was surprised at the quality of the bundled earphones, though, which proved to be more than serviceable during my review.

PSVR is also not massively demanding on space. The room in which I’ve used the headset isn’t massive, and was able to play games with relative comfort even with the Move Controllers. It helps that very few games require you to stand, and none require you to move around the room. The only time I ran into trouble was in Arkham VR, which demanded a decent chunk of space between the camera and myself, and also had some moments where I had to turn, which completely disoriented me, leading me to punch my bedroom wall.

What will be annoying is having to put away PlayStation VR’s chunky mass of cables while still having a presentable entertainment centre. Without packing and unpacking the entire VR headset each and every time you want to play, prepare to have some unsightly cables dangling about the place.

Related: PlayStation VR vs Oculus RiftPlayStation VR

PlayStation VR – The PlayStation Camera

Sony has launched a new PlayStation Camera to coincide with the PlayStation VR launch. The new camera comes with its own stand, which can be raised and the lenses tilted upwards or downwards to accommodate your setup. The cable also now sits at the back of the camera – on the version launched with the PS4 it was at the side, which caused it to drag and alter position if the wire dropped off your TV cabinet.

However, despite being an improvement over the launch camera, it’s still incredibly fiddly. The cable is simply too thick and heavy compared to the weight of the camera and stand, meaning whenever I set it up, the cable would pull it out of whack. I ended up having to wedge the cable in order to fix the camera in place.

playstation vr

PlayStation VR – Display

Sony’s PlayStation VR display is the lowest in quality on the three big-name VR headsets. PSVR uses a single 1080p, 5.7-inch OLED screen, while both Oculus and Vive deliver a 2,160 x 1,200 resolution to each eye. The thing is, unless you had the spec sheet in front of you, or all the VR headsets side by side, I doubt you’d notice a huge difference.

There are certainly times when the lower screen quality is noticeable – screen jaggies in certain situations will be so big you’ll think you can climb them, and in low lighting the “screen door” effect is very obvious. But in brighter setups the latter isn’t anywhere near as apparent as on the Rift.

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Rather than displaying a drastic drop in quality, the games actually look excellent. There’s great detail and colours are sumptuous, too. Where PSVR falters compared to its rivals is with details at a distance, where things can become a bit blurry. While playing Battlezone, a cluster of tanks in the distance simply becomes a wash of colour, while characters’ faces in VR Worlds’ The London Heist lack detail, and this is where the screen quality begins to have an impact.


What PSVR offers that neither Rift nor Vive can is the ability to render games at 120Hz as well as 90Hz. This makes for a much smoother and more comfortable virtual reality gaming experience. I felt no motion sickness in any of the games I played, be it riding Until Dawn: Rush of Blood’s rollercoaster, Battlezone’s tanks or even EVE: Valkyrie’s spaceships. All were perfectly fine.

You can also play regular PS4 games in the PSVR headset, thanks to the “cinematic” mode. There are three virtual screen sizes available: small (117 inches), medium (163 inches) and large (226 inches). I gave Resogun a crack on the large cinema-size screen and the experience was excellent. Naturally there’s a sacrifice in image quality, because you’re so close to a stretched picture, but it was still excellent fun to play.

I also stuck Inside Out on to give that a watch. The picture quality is best on the mode’s largest screen setting, which of course is still streets away from how a Blu-ray would look on your TV, but it still looks very good. The best way to describe it is that it actually looks like a cinema screen.

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PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR – Verdict

PlayStation VR is simply the best virtual reality headset you can buy right now. It’s cheap while not compromising on performance and quality. The headset is simply stunning and incredibly comfortable to wear, and the games already available are some of the best VR experiences I’ve ever played.

Compared to the Oculus Rift it offers a far more comfortable gaming experience at a much lower price point. Against the Vive it may not offer the level of detail and immersion, but is pretty darn close and doesn’t require the installation of additional sensors in your home and will not demand as much space for many games, either.

Don’t think of PSVR as the “cheap” alternative to what the PC has on offer right now. It’s definitely worth investing in a couple of Move Controllers to enjoy the true experience in all games, though.

The only minor irks are its dedicated power supply which needs to be unplugged to fully power down and the lack of enough USB ports on the console to charge all your controllers. Other than that, this is simply an astounding feat of engineering. I have no idea how Sony has pulled it off, but my word I’m glad they have.

I was so excited about virtual reality, but this was replaced with frustration the longer I tried to use the Oculus Rift. Now? I couldn’t be more enthused, and it’s all thanks to PSVR.

Overall Score


Tom Green

March 17, 2016, 1:11 pm

Does anyone know how prominent the screen door effect is? I'd heard that whilst the resolution was lower than the competitors, the screen door was actually less pronounced.


August 23, 2016, 11:46 am

I had a Vive and Rift DK2. I sold the Vive because the blacks are poor, just like on Rift CV1. Also both suffer from awful immersion breaking god rays. outside of that the vive is the ultimate system at the moment, roomscale and proper FAST tracked controllers are amazing, but the HMD lets it down. Also it's heavy and fussy. Rift is a bit better but has its own flaws.

PSVR, while technically inferior in some specs, is actually BETTER in other ways. It uses standard lenses not fresnel (fresnel used in Rift CV1 and Vive) so you don't get god rays with PSVR (or DK2). ALso it has RGB screen vs Pentile (both oled) and if Sony haven't messed up they may have solid blacks (like the OLED on DK2) while on Rift/Vive they have made them dark grey to combat another (less vital) problem, bad move by HTC and Oculus imo.

So sony stands to have the most comfy, most 'easy' and fun HMD with the clearest display, even with lower res. However it will be severely outclassed come 2017, by Gen 2 pc HMDs that will leapfrog gen 1 massively, res, fov, eye tracking, foveated rendering. Also PSVR will really need NEO to get the best from it by next year (and even that'll still not compete eventually).

So for now PSVR is the wise choice if you are a gamer who doesn't have tons of cash. Because PC VR isn't quite ready yet (for the stupid prices it costs) so you may as well get PSVR now for a year or two then upgrade to Gen 2 (PS5/Xbox Scorpio or PC HMD in 2018!).

Tom Green

September 7, 2016, 9:40 am

Thanks that's exactly the answer I've been looking for!


September 29, 2016, 2:09 am

The PSVR has more subpixels than its more expensive counterparts, so I dont know if the writer actually has tried it, but it has far less screen door than its expensive counterparts.

To be exact it has 10 degrees less field of view and about a million more subpixles.

M T Mabowels

October 4, 2016, 5:33 pm

Why is it going to be so much more expensive to buy here in the UK? The US get it for $399. Conversion today (3 October 2016) makes that roughly £312. So why do we have to pay £349?

Not only that but the game package that comes with the PSVR contains 18 games in the US. Here (and in Europe I understand) we seem to be getting only 8 games. I'm betting they will be none of the best ones (like Batman) too.

M T Mabowels

October 4, 2016, 5:45 pm

"...res, fov, eye tracking, foveated rendering...". What do these mean?


October 5, 2016, 12:54 pm

US pricing doesn't include taxes. Also the pound has dropped in value :(


October 5, 2016, 4:23 pm

Resolution, Field Of View (current headsets have a horizontal field of view of 100-110 degrees, while human see around 200-220 degrees in their field of view, so we're half way there).

Foveated Rendering renders at a higher resolution at the center of your field of vision and a lower resolution near the edges, increasing efficiency and performance while having minimal impact on apparent image quality; Eye Tracking could be used to determine the center of your field of vision.


October 5, 2016, 5:43 pm

"PlayStation VR is simply the best virtual reality headset you can buy right now"... you should probably caveat that with "for seated/standing VR".

No room-scale here!

David Hale

October 5, 2016, 6:39 pm

A very interesting review. It is amazing that Sony appears to have made something that sounds to be capable of competing against the Rift and the Vive.

In the review Brett mentioned that image quality is affected in cinematic mode, does anyone know if there are any specifications on what resolution it provides in cinema mode?
Specifically he said:

"I also stuck Inside Out on to give that a watch. The picture quality is best on the mode’s largest screen setting, which of course is still streets away from how a Blu-ray would look on your TV, but it still looks very good."

"streets away' is a bit vague to know how different it is.

Iown You

October 5, 2016, 6:47 pm

I barely consider it competition. The Vive and Rift have completely bombed in sales, so Playstation VR is all but guaranteed to beat Vive and Rift combined by the end of December, and by miles.

Iown You

October 5, 2016, 6:48 pm

Bleh. Room scale is impractical and was/is never going to work. Great idea in theory, horrible application in practice.


October 5, 2016, 6:52 pm

Ass kissing Sony fanboys. That's all I got out of this. Someone pining for a job at Sony.

David Hale

October 5, 2016, 7:00 pm

Interesting point of view, if you consider sales as the only indicator of success. Sony will most definitely win, due to the much lower price compared to the competition. As it is cheap enough for people to 'give it a go".

Although I was thinking more along the lines of it providing as good an experience as the higher priced products.


October 5, 2016, 7:31 pm

Great idea in theory? In practice it is amazing.

Yeah some people don't have the room, but most people that afford a $1000 gaming PC and a $800 VR system have enough space.

Everyone that I've demo'd the Vive to (and thats a LOT of people) has asked me what is the Rift like, and I explain it's 'pretty much the same but only stood still or sat down', to which EVERY single person replies 'why would anyone buy that over the Vive then? It wouldn't be any where near as good'.

Room scale VR with the Vive has to be experienced.


October 5, 2016, 8:51 pm

Erm, it does work and it's fantastic. Being able to walk around within a virtual environment takes the immersion to another level.

Also most Vive games support getting up and moving around. Most Rift and PSVR games don't/won't even if the hardware is capable of some (inferior) version of it.

Jacob Dixon

October 5, 2016, 9:46 pm

Actually they have a small room-scale where you can take a few steps around the play area. Granted it is not as massive as what room-scale on the vive can be, but it does have a little more then just standing and sitting experiences.

Kris Coffin

October 6, 2016, 1:35 am

Completely bombed is a pretty big misnomer, they sold about 100k+ out of a market that is only comprised of close to 1 million systems that can actually use the tech due to a powerful enough PC.

So a brand new technology, completely untested, took 10% of the entire PC market, that is a HUGE win.

Landon Donavan

October 6, 2016, 2:04 am

given the tracking is terrible and the move controllers are very outdated.....im not sure i can trust this review.


October 6, 2016, 5:48 am

I own a Rift CV1 and am absolutely dismayed by the choice for Fresnel lenses. So glad I kept my PSVR preorder.


October 6, 2016, 5:51 am

I agree completely. I have a CV1. They ruined it with the Fresnel lenses. PSVR is hands down the best VR headset this generation.


October 6, 2016, 3:36 pm

you have to add sales tax to the $399 which brings it closer to the UK £349 which includes VAT - just seen previous comment ;-)

Iown You

October 6, 2016, 3:43 pm

Roughly 15 Million units are capable of running Vive and Rift, not 1 Million. Bombed is not a misnomer, it is a statement of fact backed by numbers.

Iown You

October 6, 2016, 3:46 pm

It works if you have the space, most don't, it's therefore impractical for most. I should also point out that Oculus and Sony did a lot of focus grouping to determine that people aren't interested in room scale because of the impracticality of the application, this is why words like "seated experience" were used often by both companies. They know what their customers are looking for and room scale is not it.

Iown You

October 6, 2016, 3:49 pm

No, you mean MOST people don't have the room. Not some, most. And what you can afford is not directly tied to that since the typical home even in an upscale neighborhood doesn't have the kind of space to make room scale in Vive's rendition practical.

I think Vive's low sales numbers speak to how many people don't want it, so the comment about what every single person replied is a nice anecdote, but cold hard numbers means those same people likely didn't buy it.

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