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Sony PlayStation VR2 review: Near-perfect hardware

Sony PlayStation VR2 review: Near-perfect hardware

Sony PS VR2

Virtual reality (VR) fans, rejoice! The Sony PlayStation VR2 is a top-tier VR headset that rivals the best PC headsets out there. In fact, the VR2 arguably offers better value than its competitors — if you already have a PlayStation 5 console. However, things are not as clear-cut if you're still on the fence about VR. Now, Sony's excellent headset may potentially change your mind. But there are question marks over whether there will be enough exclusive, and must-play games for the VR2 platform. Not to mention, the issues that prevent VR from going mainstream aren't going away.

Quick specs

  • 4K HDR OLED display (2x 2,000 x 2,040 pixels, 120Hz)
  • Eye-tracking cameras with foveated rendering
  • VR2 Sense controllers with haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, precision tracking and finger touch detection
  • Single USB cable to connect to PS5 console

The original PlayStation VR was a clunky, cumbersome affair cobbled together from existing accessories (Move controllers and PlayStation Camera). That's history now. The new VR2 headset uses a single USB cable that plugs into the PS5. It's about as lightweight (560g) as PC ones, with plenty of adjustment for the best fit. For example, you can adjust the headband, and the distance of the scope from your face (accommodates glasses, too). There's a dial to adjust the lenses setting (IPD or interpupillary distance) to align your pupils for the sharpest possible images. And a see-through button that lets you view your surroundings (in black and white) while wearing the headset. Together with a slick setup process — it's cool how the headset scans your surroundings to mark out obstacles and generate your play area (at least 1m by 1m space) — the VR2 gets full marks for ease of use.

Sony PS VR2
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

If you're sharing the headset, you probably have to redo the lenses setting when swapping to another person. A small but unavoidable inconvenience. The VR2's orb-like Sense controllers are light, and handy. You'll find the same buttons and triggers as the PS5's DualSense controller, but shared across the two VR2 controllers. Each controller charges via USB-C, though Sony also sells an optional charging station. Tip: Don't throw away the packaging, the box can be used to store the headset and controllers. As mentioned, the VR2 can hang with the best headsets in the market. It has all the key features: Crisp 4K HDR OLED displays, inside-out tracking, foveated rendering (optimises performance, and hence visual fidelity), and gaze control. The headset doesn't have built-in speakers. Sony includes a pair of middling headphones that plugs into the 3.5mm audio jack. You can use your own headphones.

Sony PS VR2
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

The VR2 performs great for a VR headset. Graphics are excellent, especially in Horizon Call of the Mountain (COTM). There's just the tiniest hint of the screen door effect if I'm pixel-peeping. There's also no light bleed to break the immersion. Gaze control is spot-on, and useful for navigating menu and dialogue options. The headset supports vibrations, though this feature wasn't evident in the games I tried. The controllers are amazing. They can sense your finger positions, and render them accurately in games. However, the headset would occasionally warn that my room wasn't sufficiently well-lit. It's jarring, and breaks the immersion when it happens. The issues of VR also remain unsolved. The headset feels increasingly heavy the longer I wore it. And it inevitably got warm and sweaty, especially in action games like COTM. Lastly, the VR2 is wired, which enables better visuals, but is also a potential hazard.

Sony says there will be more than 30 VR2 games at launch, including COTM, Resident Evil Village, and GT7, with over a hundred to come. But some of these games are already available for PCs. The new VR2 is also not backward compatible with older PlayStation VR games. Some developers may update their games for VR2 — possibly for a fee. For example, the VR2 update for Tetris Effect: Connected costs US$9.99, while GT7's update will be free. At S$869, the Sony PlayStation VR2 costs more than the PS5 console (digital). The price is actually reasonable compared with similar PC VR headsets, which also requires a high-end computer. But convincing the general public that VR gaming is worth their time and money, and that there will be exciting, must-play games, is a challenge. The Sony PlayStation VR2 launches on Feb 22, and is available for pre-order from Sony, Lazada, and Shopee.

See Also
Goodnotes 6

Note: Review unit provided by Sony.


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Verdict



CAN BUY

Excellent VR headset, but doubts remain over games.

Buy it from Sony PlayStation
Available at Shopee
Available at Lazada

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