Let the VR wars begin, finally high quality virtual reality is now affordable to the masses. Today we will be going over Sony Playstation VR (PSVR) along with the Samsung Gear VR (SGVR). We have done a good amount of testing with both systems here at the Ragin' Geek and this is what we think.
From a price perspective both the PSVR and SGVR are great entry level options to virtual reality compared to their high priced competitors the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The PSVR headset prices in at $399.99 where the SGVR is only $99.99.
The catch: Both these items are far from stand-alone purchases. The PSVR definitely taking the cake for cost. For PSVR your looking at $299.99 for a new PS4 console, $59.99 for a motion camera, $36.99 for each Move controller and you will need two. PSVR totals in at about $850 just to get started. How this worked for me being a die hard Sony Playstation user I already owned Move controllers from my PS3 days and a PS4 and a motion camera so this worked out great. So for Playstation fans the decision for entry into VR with the PSVR might be much easier. For SGVR the headset costs $99.99 and you will need a compatible Samsung mobile smartphone the best averaging around $500.00. Compatible phones are: Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy Note5, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. Plus you will want a bluetooth controller averaging at around $50. SGVR could get you into the VR scene for about $650. For myself again this was an easy sale being I am an Android user and usually only use Samsung phones my current one being the Note 5. For people in the market for an Android phone this might also be a reason to go Samsung Gear VR.
Feel and Display
For feel an display I will start with the Samsung Gear VR. To begin the SGVR headset has no cables which makes portability a clear benefit. Upon putting on the headset it is feels lightweight and for the most part not cumbersome but when you add the phone to the headset you definitely feel it to become more front heavy after a few minutes of use which will become noticeable on the bridge of your nose, forehead and cheekbones. This could be due to the three elastic straps used to fasten it around a persons head or maybe the size of my Note 5 just makes this an extreme case scenario. The display quality of the SGVR is only limited to the capabilities of your compatible smartphone so results may vary depending on your device. I feel the clarity of the display on the SGVR using my Note 5 was excellent if you get the headset focused and situated on your head just perfectly. One thing I noticed that out of the box a number of times the headset going into rest mode due to overheating which was very disappointing and discouraged me from using it as much. Navigating and some environments also produced noticeable choppiness. After some research there are some configuration steps you can take to alleviate overheating and choppiness just google your respective issues or concerns. The one thing I lastly like to add is though the SGVR offered a good display I always just felt like a spectator and never truly immersed in the VR experience.
Playstation VR, first thing I'd like to mention right out of the box is there are a lot of cables to connect (enough for me to say wow) but ultimately just one that plugs into the headset. The cable is fairly long so it makes situating yourself from the PS4 not too much of a challenge. Upon putting on the PS4 headset you definitely feel the quality of the technology your putting on your head and you might even get goosebumps. Sony definitely made comfort a priority and extended playtime with this headset does not tax you physically in the slightest. Display quality on the PSVR is also excellent and you are not burdened with technical details out of the box. PSVR display specs are a 5.7-inch, 1920 x 1080, RGB OLED display separated vertically to deliver a resolution of 960 x 1080 to each eye. Optimal display clarity is easy to obtain on the headset with minimal fuss. PSVR will definitely provide you a first taste of VR immersion as I felt disoriented a number of times upon my initially playing but this will be overcome through a short adjustment period.
For controllers the Samsung Gear VR has motion on the horizon but not yet released. There are a number of bluetooth controllers available ranging from $30 to $50 that will do the job. The headset also comes with a small touchpad which will provide you with limited control functionality. The PSVR provides a motion control option with the PS Move controller which will enable independent hand use. Use of of the Move controllers adds to the immersion feel which is a definite plus. PSVR can also utilize the standard PS4 gamepad for general use.
Samsung Gear VR being out for a much longer time definitely has a big head start on games and other VR related content. Plenty of content for Samsung VR also is for free which is definitely something to consider. Playstation VR has 50+ titles out currently and is planning on closing the gap especially in the game department in the near future. I would expect PSVR also to put out more hit game titles that regular gamers are sure to flock to.
There are a number of factors that could influence a VR headset purchase these days. Personal preference and or situation with possible already owned prerequisite equipment could influence purchase decisions especially if a tight budget is concerned. I felt being I personally was already owner of a Samsung VR compatible phone and a Playstation 4 with a motion camera and controllers would make my review more centered around the best VR experience. I have owned a Samsung Gear VR for some time now and have to say I have not enjoyed it as much as using the Sony Playstation VR for the last couple of weeks. You will really feel the weight and quality of the VR experience using the Sony Playstation VR and I am confident it will be the VR leader in the next couple of years for the mainstream community. I do not count out the Samsung Gear VR though as a viable VR option. I think SGVR for it's portability and cost definitely serve as a great way to bring VR on the road and provide a gateway for new and cost conscious VR users.