Sony PlayStation VR Review


Games had been one of the most important program since the day HMD boned, VR is also belonging to the HMD. Now, this console generation is able to cope with 3D VR rendering at an entry level. As a leader in entertaining, technology and beloved, Sony, also a leader in console, released PlayStation VR in Oct. 2016.

Appearance and Accessories

Without doubt, Sony PS VR looks much better than HTC vive and Oculus Rift. The combining of black and white makes this PS VR looks more like a home appliance, not a hi-tech gadget. The white engineering plastics extending to headband, black cloth and sponge cover the inner side of the headband. In front your eyes, it is almost all dark, as other colors may reflect lights and affect image quality. In the front of this device, we cannot find cameras, while some LED lights are scatted and glow blue in the center and edges. On the back of the in-line remote controller is a headphone jack, while the sound quality of the earphone that Sony placed in the package is not satisfied.

The eye relief (distance between eyes and optics) can be further adjusted by manually pulling/pushing the whole visor back and forth while holding a button located on the bottom, and then on the upper side of the button is a gear, which is able to make you more confortable. The forehead part is PS VR's design highlight; it distributes lots of weights to your forehead, not all to your face, such as HTV VIVE. Although PS VR is heavier than HTC VIVE, PS VR is more comfortable when wearing, as you do not feel that weight. PS VR has a Unlike PC headsets like Vive and Rift, PlayStation VR does not provide means to mechanically adjust the optics to match the user's IPD (interpupillary distance). Apparently the lenses accommodate a wide range of IPDs as is. However, the myopia has to wear glasses. As PS VR is a new product, we believe modified glasses will be online in a short time.

The power socket is a Sony one, and the HDMI ports are standard. PS VR also uses a Processor Unit, which is larger than HTC VIVE's, for power and data, so it needs a fun for cooling. This little box may serve the purpose of motion recognition and PS Move to help the console have a better gaming performance.

In China, we can choose from three bundles, a single PS VR, PS VR + PS Camera, and PS VR + PS Camera + PS Move. PS camera is used for tracking your body, so you have to have one. The PS Camera is more advanced than the previous one that used for competing with Kinect. This tracking system is based on optical camera, while HTC VIVE uses 2 base stations emitting pulsed IR lasers. You don't have to locate it precisely, just put it on the top of your TV. Also, PS VR has fewer cables than HTC VIVE, easier for setup.

Playing with PlayStation Pro

PS VR is easy to use, you do not have to setup Steam or other software like PCs, PS4 will download and update interfaces and entry games automatically. The PS VR user guide is a free game, Robot Rescue, a game using PS VR based robot to move and solve. Another game, the scene displayed on PS VR and the TV is different, you have to call a friend to help you to describe the criminals' photo on TV, so you can choose the guy. YouTube panorama videos are also a free resource to choose.

Except the contents above, and some game DEMOs, other PS VR contents are not free. You can play VR specific game, or some VR parts of other games. By now, both physical box set and digital version are the same in playing. The most famous VR game is Resident Evil 7. The VR version of RE 7 is much more real and scary than that on PC or TV, you can move your head and see every detail in this game, such as seeing breeding maggots in rotting meat when stretching your head into the refrigerator, watching the stitch details of the wall corner, or peeping someone. When you are talking to the NPCs, you can gaze around intending not intending. Of course, all those makes this game much more scary than on TV.

When you use VR device for displaying ordinary photos, videos and games, those contents would be displayed like you are in a cinema, leading some users to misunderstand that VR device is just a traditional head-mounted display. Sony provided HMZ-T series head-mounted display years ago, but those products cannot display VR contents. Of course, PS VR can be used just as a traditional head-mounted display, but just like HTV VIVE, it cannot instead your monitors or TVs.

PS VR has a 1920x1080 resolution (960x1080 per eye), which is lower than that of HTC VIVE. However, PS VR has an even better image quality, why? First, resolution is not the only fact that affects VR display performance, PS VR has more pixels-pre-area and thinner wiring than HTC VIVE, which makes PS VR display better. Second, most PC VR games are just crude, and cannot be conveyed to VIVE with high resolution, Project Cars can be displayed in just 570p by my GTX970, most others are running at 720p. Although HTC VIVE supports 2x supersampling, it needs a graphics card with higher cost than a PS VR. Last, the game makers, the games on VIVE are not as good as the games on PlayStation. However, if you are using a PS4, not a PS4 Pro, those games will also be running under 720P or lower resolution, but it is still better than HTC VIVE.

PS VR relative position is detected by the PlayStation Camera, which tracks the glowing LED on the headset, PlayStation Move motion controller and the DUALSHOCK 4. You can also move your head in a certain area, but the refresh rate of the camera can hardly reach 1000Hz, the tracking speed and accuracy is not good as HTC VIVE. Also, the PS Pro cannot track PS Move and Dualshock that accurate, so you have to reset location in frequently especially when your room is not bright enough. If you are shooting, it is hard to shoot at your target.

So, which one to choose, HTC VIVE or PS VR? First, let's talk about the cost. HTC VIVE is about twice price as PS VR, but PS VR's contents are much more expensive, even a panorama video may cost you over 50 Yuan ( about $7), and PS Pro, with a higher price, is not that easy to buy, and just a few games worth long time playing. Second is the motion tracking, HTC VIVE wins on high accuracy location and tracking, but PC VR games are not appealing enough, and do not have Resident Evil 7 VR version. If you are paying more attention to games, PS VR is a better choice recent years, while if you are a geek and wanting to explore what you can do with VR, HTC VIVE is able to provide various applications, not just games.

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