The PSVR2 is the materialization of Sony’s new vision for virtual reality, on PS5, obviously. But more than a successor to the first model, the VR headset represents an important change in direction.
When Sony released the first PSVR for use on its PS4 , the virtual reality market was much different. No one really knew if this technology would reach the general public, and the Japanese manufacturer seemed best placed to reach it. Come 2023, we know that the Meta Quest has fulfilled this function, and that the market has not exploded as much as analysts imagined. Then enters the arena the PlayStation VR2, or PSVR2 for short , which at 599.99 euros compared to the 399.99 euros of its ancestor has a very different ambition: to speak to already established and more demanding VR players.
Comparative analysis of technical data sheets
Why more demanding? Because unlike its first generation, the PSVR2 makes almost no sacrifices on its technical sheet. First we have the chosen screens, which use an OLED panel . We have the definition of the image itself, which, at 2000 x 2040 pixels per eye, is simply between the Valve Index (1440 x 1600 pixels) and the HTC Vive Pro 2 (2448 x 2448 pixels). We have the 110° field of view , which is located here between the Valve Index (130°) and the Meta Quest 2 (89°). And we have a refresh rate of 90 or 120 Hz , quite simply the standard currently for all headsets, with the exception of the HTC Vive Pro 2 which can reach 144 Hz.
The PSVR2 makes an important choice: rather than working with studs to be placed across the room to successfully follow the player, it integrates four cameras to determine the player’s position in space. But above all, it has a very big argument for it: it automatically provides its two Sense VR controllers , which integrate infrared sensors to be easily followed by the device, as well as providing the haptic feedback of the original DualSense, i.e. a Very precise vibration motor and triggers with programmable tension. It adds to all this a vibration motor integrated into the helmet .
Highlight of the show: Sony understood that the biggest weakness of its first model was its complex connectivity. Here, we have the right to a single USB-C cable to plug into the PlayStation 5, with an appreciable length of around 5 meters. Enough to move around quietly in front of your TV, without getting too tangled in the wires. A cable securely attached to the back of the device, but which unfortunately cannot be simply changed by the user. This is a detail that we would have appreciated to increase the potential longevity of the PSVR2, even if the inclusion on the back of the headset of a simple jack socket and the solid attachment system for the in-ear headphones provided are on the side positive.
All this to emphasize one thing: if the price of the PSVR2 at 600 euros may seem high, it must be put into perspective compared to its competitors. When a complete Valve Index kit costs 1,079 euros, an HTC Vive 2 Pro costs 799 euros, and a PC optimized for virtual reality will have to be built for 1,000 euros at the very least, the couple PS5 and PSVR2 at 1149 euros in total (and even 1049 euros with a PS5 Digital Edition) is actually… a bargain. Because it is these products, and not the Meta Quests of this world, that the PSVR2 wants to face today.
The real strength of this PlayStation VR2 is its comfort of use . Sony’s engineers really worked hard to deliver a headset that’s as light as it is easy to use. You have three possible settings. A dial placed on the left of the glasses allows you to manage the spacing of the lenses , as is the case with most helmets. A button on the right side of the helmet then allows you to release the “bezel” part of the helmet , which slides on a rail to move away from or towards your face. And finally, the headband that encircles your skull can be released by pressing the center of the button on its back, while the dial closes and tightens it.
When receiving the product, our editorial team wrongly believed that this helmet would rest minimally on the user’s nose. Also, the very soft rubbery protections surrounding the PSVR2 seemed much too light to be comfortable. In use, this is not the case, since this is not the operating principle of this headset. The idea is on the contrary to place the hoop rather low at the back of the head, and to tighten it on the forehead, which frees up the possibility of wearing your glasses without discomfort. It is this system which supports the weight of the device, when the movements of the main glasses are there to allow you to properly adjust your vision, of course, but also to properly place the rubber protections which actually play the roleblack curtains for total immersion .
And there is immersion. Light leaks are almost imperceptible , since the black bellows surrounds the nose quite well. You really have to look down, in a way that isn’t particularly natural, to feel the influence of ambient lighting in a gaming session. This is sometimes useful, when looking for a controller for example, and it’s never disturbing. The PSVR2 headset also includes two buttons on its lower part : a classic power button and a real vision button, where the camera feed is transmitted to you in black and white to observe your immediate environment.
Afterwards… It’s still a VR headset. After a few hours of play, you won’t miss the big red mark on your forehead , a possible marked crease in your skin, and a certain feeling of discomfort linked to having a product continually resting on your head . That being said, on the PSVR2, we’ll put it on par with the discomfort of a traditional headset . We would have liked to be able to raise the bezel portion to return to real life without too much effort, but, by design, Sony’s solution doesn’t seem to be able to allow this.
It is perhaps the Sense VR controllers which are the least remarkable , and we understand this as a positive point. They simply blend into the experience, offering much the same comfort as the already excellent Quest controllers. What more could you ask of them? It’s quite simple: better autonomy. At 4/5 hours of battery life in our tests , they are not particularly durable, and since they incorporate batteries rather than relying on an interchangeable source like batteries, gaming sessions will naturally be limited. Unless you agree to add two USB-C cables to your equipment to connect your controllers to their respective chargers, but that’s not quite the idea of virtual reality, is it?
Setup with the PS5
It is not always possible to capture the interface while configuring the PS5 gaming space. Also, sometimes we will have to settle for a screen photo to explain to you how the PSVR2 is disconcertingly easy to configure. The PlayStation 5 automatically recognizes this, and guides you clearly and concisely on everything you need to understand. Whether it’s wearing your headset correctly, understanding the headset’s features, but above all determining your gaming space.
It is in fact possible to play with two different modes: with a circular area around you, standing or sitting , or in a defined area . The first will need no description, but the second is particularly interesting, since the cameras integrated into the PSVR2 will scan your immediate environment to define your gaming zone over several meters.
Having tested it by moving furniture in a small Parisian apartment, this solution is impressive. We can see it in real time determining the existence and spacing of objects, with a little help at the end of the configuration from the player: you will simply have to touch your controller to the groundto clearly define its position. From there, if you have enough space, the PS5 will determine a play area in which you can move freely. If you exceed these limits, you will be warned in-game.
THE VERDICT OF THE TEST
Sony PlayStation VR2
The PlayStation VR2 fulfills all its performance promises, and succeeds in positioning itself as a console alternative to the PC’s biggest competitors, Valve and HTC. The success is all the more impressive as its price of 600 euros, seemingly high, actually defies all competition in this area. However, it places itself there as a closed alternative, which has also dared to reset its library. Sony has really made every effort imaginable to make its headset the easiest to use, both software and hardware, and has done it brilliantly. At the end of the day, the immutable rule of consoles applies to him too. A console is only as good as its games, and this PSVR 2 too, only the games and the software monitoring will make the difference.