PSVR 2 Review

PSVR 2 Review

Published: 27-02-2023
Updated: 30-05-2023

In this detailed PS VR2 review, we help you decide if you should buy the new gaming headset or slot it onto your waiting list. We will cover its rich features, if the specifications match its reality, and how the cons stack against the competition.

The PSVR 2 is six years after Sony first defined console VR gaming with PlayStation VR. Yet, today virtual reality is miles apart from back then, and the new PSVR 2 must prove itself on many fronts to win the hearts and minds of VR gamers.

Pros and cons of the PSVR 2

Pros

Cons

Eye tracking for foveated rendering

Requires a PS5

Powerful plug-and-play experience

Locked in the PlayStation ecosystem

Enlivens VR games with next generation haptics in controllers and VR headset

No wireless option

Vivid colors and deep blacks with dual OLED and High-Dynamic Range

Fresnel lens means a bulky and heavy VR headset

Access to exclusive games from first-party developers

Specifications of the PlayStation VR 2

Display Type

Dual OLED (4K) with HDR

Resolution

2000 x 2040 pixels per eye

Refresh Rate

90-120 Hz

Visible Field of View

110° diagonal

Lens Type

Fresnel

Weight

560 grams with head strap

Tracking

6 DoF Inside-out from 4 cameras

Eye tracking

Yes

Dynamic Foveated Rendering

Yes

Controllers

Dual Playstation VR2 Sense Controller (6 DoF)

Price

€599,99

What comes in the box of the PS VR 2

  • 1x PSVR 2 headset
  • 2x Playstation VR2 Sense Controller
  • 1x Controller charging station
  • 1x USB-C
  • 1x Stereo earbuds with three pairs of earpieces
  • 1x documentation

Design and Comfort of the PlayStation VR 2

Instantly, you notice the recognizable design of the PSVR 2. The VR headset has a panda, black and white color scheme with soft curves and edges, giving it a modern look even non-PlayStation fans wouldn’t hate to have displayed.

But it is when you pick up the headset you are reassured that Sony has been a technology manufacturer for decades. The VR headset feels premium with elegant touches, having minimal rattles, open seams, or give.

While that is said, the PS VR2 is a bulky box on your head due to the fresnel optics compared to headsets like the Pico 4, HTC Vive XR Elite, and Meta Quest Pro, using the newer pancake lens to slim down the size and shed off weight. We will circle back to the pancake lens later.

The original PlayStation VR pioneered comfort in virtual reality, and while the PS VR2 is lighter with 560 grams, the comfort is not industry-leading.  This is not because the VR headset is uncomfortable but because other VR headsets have caught up and increased their comfort and weight distribution.

The PS VR 2 has well-cushioned back padding to counteract and balance the weight around your head. When placing the headset on the halo strap extends with the press of a button after which you use a fit dial to tighten everything up.

Lastly, the heavy vizor on your face is comfortably snug using a unique accordion-style gasket. This design is one of the best I’ve seen, blocking out the outside light entirely for a fully immersive VR experience. Yet, the snug face-hugger gasket doesn’t mean the headset runs hot as there is built-in cooling which also was quiet.

As a note, I am a prescription glasses user, and I tested the PSVR 2 while wearing my glasses. All in all, the design and build quality are excellent, but for the PSVR 2 to be truly modern, it needed to be slimmer and lighter.

Ease of Use of the PS VR 2

Compared to its predecessor, PlayStation VR, the setup process on the PSVR 2 is much easier and user-friendly: no more breakout box, tracking station, or cable spaghetti.

The setup only takes five to ten minutes as you connect the one-cord VR headset to your PlayStation 5, start setting it up on your TV and then finish everything in the PSVR 2 itself.

Notably, we loved seeing the headset auto-mapping your room, after which you manually draw your guardian. In particular, the PSVR 2 remembers playspaces, making sharing your PS VR 2 with others easier. 

We would have loved automatic IPD adjustment and facial relief as the PSVR 2 features eye tracking, because when automatic IPD works well, like on Pico 4 Enterprise, sharing your VR headset with friends and family is a breeze. Alleviating this a bit is the manual IPD adjustment is aided by eye tracking to find the perfect length, is overall easy to understand, and has neat features such as setting height adjustment within your playspace. Yet, resetting this every time different people play VR games on the headset is less than ideal.

The PSVR 2 is also a tethered headset, meaning the wire connecting you to the PS5 frequently gets in the way in games like Beatsaber and HyperDash. And while I would have loved to tell you that you can stream your PlayStation games wirelessly, unfortunately, the PS VR 2 doesn’t support this yet.

In summary, the PSVR 2 is a great and powerful plug-and-play VR experience compared to tethered PC VR and, in some cases, all-in-one VR headsets like the Pico 4 and Meta / Oculus Quest Pro.

Power and Performance of the PSVR 2

The PlayStation 5 has a compelling offering. It is easy and more user-friendly compared to PC gaming’s numerous variations and technical aspects. Whereas games for the PS5 always work and are optimized perfectly for that system.

The same is the case for PSVR 2 vs PC VR. A game released for PlayStation VR2 will run smoothly, as is tailored to give you the best VR experience possible. Due to this convenience and the optimization technology foveated rendering, the PSVR 2 delivers truly immersive VR experiences with games like Horizon Call of the Mountain. In fact, the PSVR 2 feels like you are playing a PS5 in virtual reality.

Display of the PlayStation VR 2

What blew us away with PSVR 2 was the crispness and contrast of its visuals. The display type is dual OLED panels featuring High Dynamic Range. Practically, this means the displays are vibrant with popping colors and deepest blacks, turning darker VR games like Saint & Sinners into delightfully terrifying experiences. Whites are brighter, blacks are darker, and I am pretty sure I discovered colors I didn’t know existed.

Next, the resolution per eye is 2000 x 2040 in a diagonal FoV of 110°. This means a pixel density per degree of 18. And while this is not the highest we have seen, like Pico 4’s 20,6 PPD, it is plenty enough to see intricate details in your VR games. The PSVR 2 also has a responsive refresh rate of 120 Hz with an option for 90 Hz. However, we did notice a smearing effect in fast scenes and movements. While we don’t think it is related to the refresh rate, but is a complication with the rendering, this is something that must be sorted in a day-one patch.

What disappointed us was that the PSVR 2 is one of the few headsets released recently featuring the dated fresnel lenses rather than the better and newer pancake lenses. The older lens choice, besides making the hardware bulkier and heavier, also means bright scenes suffer from lens flairs. So while the fresnel optics in the PSVR 2 are one the best we’ve seen, it doesn’t compare to the clarity of pancake.

Regardless, I don’t want to end on a negative note. The PSVR 2 delivers outstanding visuals as the tradeoffs of a lower PPD and fresnel lenses are made up for the HDR-enabled OLED panels, foveated rendering, and PS5’s beefy processing power. But it is the plug-and-play convenience in combination with the other pros that the PSVR 2 turns into a compelling VR headset.

Resolution

2000 x 2040 pixels per eye

Field of View

110°

Pixels Per Degree

18 PPD

Display Type

Dual OLED (4K) with HDR

Refresh rate

90-120 Hz

Foveated rendering

Dynamic

Tracking of the PS VR 2

Uniquely to consumer VR, the PSVR 2 features eye tracking. This enables new control schemes like using your gaze to navigate menus which I felt were more intuitive to the Sense controllers. Additionally, eye tracking can be used in VR like Don’t Blink, where scary bits inch closer every time you blink. Quite horrific.

Finally, eye tracking also means the technology of dynamic foveated rendering (DFR). This innovation means VR games are optimized graphically to where you are looking and promises to increase performance by up to ten times. In fact, in the headset, it is invisible to see. But when an outside monitor shows what you play, outsiders can see the blurring effect in the periphery.

Interestingly, while we see a battle for mixed reality rage in all-in-one VR headsets, the gaming-focused PSVR 2 only has black and white video pass-through. And while VR games like Demeo are more fun in mixed reality, it is not detrimental to what the video pass-through is meant for, which is grabbing your controllers or beverage between play sessions.

What we found to be a significant upgrade from its predecessor is the PSVR 2 is now an inside-out tracked 6DoF headset.

When we test VR headsets’ tracking reliability, we do so in different light conditions, from brightly lit fluorescent rooms to dim tungsten lighting resembling evening hours. Here the PS VR 2 was nigh flawless in tracking position and movement.

However, the controller’s outside-in tracking will have to be improved in a day-one update, as we experienced frequent tracking delays and input stutters, yanking me out of my VR gaming and bringing nausea. For example, when I used the right thumbstick to move around game worlds, it would frequently move for longer than I dictated, making nausea bobble up.

How are the PSVR 2 Controllers?

The PSVR 2 controllers are 174 grams each and magnetically attach to a charging dock not included in the box, recharging its internal batteries, and providing roughly 6 hours of run time.

Hands down, the PSVR 2 controllers are some of the best, as they immerse you in VR games physically, not just virtually. The controllers are 6DoF and mirror in many ways the innovative PS5 DualSense controllers. They have advanced and dynamic haptics mirroring different textures and surfaces in your VR games. While the triggers are adaptive and programmable, making you feel the tension of a bowstring being taught.

Similar to the new Pico 4 controllers, the tracking ring is not a halo at the end of your hands but instead wraps around your wrist like a bracelet. This is a vastly superior design choice, as the rings rarely get in the way of your gaming, while we found the pose recognition was excellent, reliably portraying a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘pointing’.

PSVR 2 Games at Launch

30 VR launch titles are ready when you boot up your PlayStation VR2, with exclusives like Horizon: Call of the Mountain, Gran Turismo 7, and Resident Evil Village.

Out of these games, Call of the Mountain acts as the showpiece. But while the Horizon VR game is great, with breathtaking visuals and a 6-hour campaign, it does not feel like a system seller to me. In this instance, you need VR games like Half-Life Alyx or No Man’s Sky VR. 

The good news is the games are coming. Sony has stated that over 100 VR games are in development for the PSVR 2, meaning you can look forward to titles like Among Us VR, Beat Saber, and Saints & Sinners Retribution.

Making up for the limited launch lineup is the cinematic mode. This mode is like having a movie theater-sized and HDR-enabled flatscreen TV in a virtual room to enjoy movies, 2D PS4 and PS5 games, or YouTube.

I would have loved the ability to connect your PSVR 2 to your PC via the included USB-C or even through a wireless connection.

While we did make it work in a tethered connection, getting Microsoft to recognize the headset as a second monitor, SteamVR didn’t identify it as a VR headset. Someone will probably make this work in time, but officially Sony has not stated their new flagship VR headset will be compatible with Steam.

The sound quality of the PlayStation VR 2

Commonly for VR headsets, both standalone and tethered, mini-speakers are embedded in the halo strap, pushing the sound into your ears while VR gaming. Personally, this has puzzled me as the sound quality from micro-speakers isn’t great, whereas everyone around you can hear what you are gaming.

Thankfully, PSVR 2 doesn’t do this, as earbuds come included. These aren’t audiophile-level quality with advanced noise-canceling but are much better than speakers, deliver good 3D audio, and neatly attach to the back of the VR headset when not in use.

CB Insights Responsive Audio - VRX

PSVR 2 Price

The price of the PSVR 2 is €599,99, including controllers, meaning with the required PS5, it will run you a total cost of €1050. North of a thousand euros can be daunting, though when you compare it to the Valve Index kit priced at almost €1000, excluding a gaming PC, the PSVR 2 turns into a good choice. Yet, when you compare the price of the PSVR 2 to all-in-one VR headsets like the Quest 2 at €449,99 and Pico 4 at €429,99, you suddenly have a more nuanced choice to make.

Conclusion: should you buy PSVR 2?

The PSVR 2 is the best between two the VR categories of standalone VR and PC VR, while the PlayStation headset delivers features not seen in this price bracket like eye tracking and in-headset haptics.

In fact, the PSVR 2 is incredibly convenient as VR games in the PlayStation ecosystem will run perfectly for your new VR headset, making it the ideal plug-and-play VR solution. But because the PSVR 2 is tethered, it is not as convenient as all-in-one standalone headsets. Likewise, while the PS5 is a powerful gaming console, it cannot match the customizability and performance of a computer, while you are locked into the PlayStation ecosystem.

Conclusively, the PSVR 2 is an excellent VR gaming headset offering features like eye tracking and dual OLEDs not seen on consumer VR headsets. With the PlayStation VR2, you will get better VR experiences than standalone VR and exclusive PSVR 2 games like Horizon Call of the Mountain and Gran Turismo 7. But you won’t have access to SteamVR nor be able to play mods that turn traditional games into VR experiences as you get with the PC VR category.

I have a PS5, but I am unsure if I want the PSVR 2.

Wait about six months, as then the over 100 VR games in development for the PSVR 2 will have been released.

I love VR gaming, but I don’t have a PS5 or PSVR 2.

Decide what you care most about in VR gaming: convenience or the most cutting-edge VR experience. If you are somewhere in the middle, the PS5 and PSVR 2 combination is for you.

I have a Meta / Oculus Quest 2 and a PS5, but not a PSVR 2.

If you want to upgrade your VR gaming experiences with more immersion and better graphics, go with the PSVR 2. However, be mindful that you are stuck in the PlayStation ecosystem.

I have a powerful PC rig and a PS5, but no VR headset.

Only buy a PSVR 2 if you are a PlayStation fan and love their first-party exclusives. Further, only get the PSVR 2 at launch if you crave more Horizon. Otherwise, wait until the content library expands. Alternatively, you have more options with the Pico 4 or Quest 2, in that you can connect your VR headset to your powerful gaming PC, even opt for a better tethered VR headset like Valve Index or Varjo Aero.

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Jakob

Written by Jakob

Jakob Pii is Writer at VR Expert and currently lives in the UK. He started his career in VR gaming in 2015 and has stayed in XR since, from exposure therapy in VR to 360-degree video documentaries. He is fascinated by how emerging technologies change how we live, play and work.

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