PlayStation VR review – Best-value VR headset in South Africa

Having used the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets, I finally got the chance to spend some time with Sony’s PlayStation VR unit.

While the Vive and Rift headsets offer advanced graphics and impressive hardware specifications, the PSVR offers a comparable experience for less than half the price of its PC counterparts.

Most of my gaming is done on PC these days, but I was impressed by the capability and performance of the PSVR headset coupled with a standard PS4.

The PlayStation VR’s relatively low price and accessibility therefore make it a serious contender against its far more expensive counterparts.

Set-up and Accessibility

Setting up and connecting the PlayStation VR is straightforward, and a quick start guide is included to help you connect all the hardware.

Once connected, you will need to set up and configure the PSVR headset with your PlayStation Camera.

The PSVR is comfortable and easy to put on, thanks to a two-step headband and display adjustment system.

It is noticeably more comfortable than the Rift or Vive, thanks to better weight distribution.

I did notice slightly more light bleed than I experienced with the Rift and Vive, but using the headset in a dark room means this is not an issue.

The headset forgoes the Fresnel lenses used by other VR displays in favour of more traditional dome lenses.

Changing the focus of the PSVR display means adjusting the display’s position on your head. Achieving a good focus and comfortable fit for the PSVR was simple, even while wearing glasses.

Unlike the more advanced Vive, the PSVR does not require any tracking hardware – besides the PlayStation Camera mounted on your TV.


Graphics and Games

The PlayStation VR display features a 1,920 x 1,080 (960 x 1,080 per eye) screen – by comparison, the Vive and Rift’s resolution is 2,160 x 1,200 (1,080 x 1,200 per eye).

However, the PSVR boasts a refresh rate of up to 120Hz – higher than either PC-powered VR headset.

When it comes to VR gameplay, the PSVR delivers an experience similar to that of high-end headsets and I did not experience any head tracking or latency issues.

The PSVR includes a demo disc which allows you to test various games and tech demos for the headset, letting you get a feel for the new hardware.

Some games were more suited to VR than others, with cockpit games like Eve: Valkyrie and RIGS Mechanized Combat League delivering fast, immersive gameplay and using the headset’s tracking features.

While these games were best played with a controller, using the PlayStation Move controllers in games such as first-person shooters and other tech demos provided a more direct immersion.

No additional set-up was required to use the Move controllers, and both devices used the PlayStation Camera for motion tracking simultaneously.


Pricing and Value

The PlayStation VR is priced at R6,499, but you’ll need to pay R7,299 for the Camera bundle if you don’t have the PlayStation Camera.

At this price, the PSVR is a more attractive prospect for VR gaming than the R14,999 Oculus Rift and R19,999 HTC Vive – as gamers can buy a new PlayStation 4 and PSVR for less than a single headset.

It doesn’t offer the same resolution or tracking features as the Vive, but it does not require the purchase or upgrading of a gaming PC to meet hardware requirements.

While the Vive impressed me with its advanced hardware and cutting-edge room-scale tracking, the PlayStation VR is equally impressive – due to its comfort, accessibility, and value.

The PSVR has been designed to deliver a decent VR solution to a mainstream audience, and although it has performance drawbacks, they are outweighed by its price and ease of use.

Now read: How to play PC games using a PSVR headset

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PlayStation VR review – Best-value VR headset in South Africa