Do you want to use the best virtual reality out there? Are you having trouble deciding what to purchase? Well, I’m going to be comparing 2 of the newest and most popular VR headsets money can buy – The HTC Vive and PlayStation VR.
When we’re talking virtual reality there are a lot of different things that you need to consider.
Which one is more immersive?
The most important feature of virtual reality is the realism and immersiveness. This can be affected by graphics, frame rate, the field of view, movement and controllers.
Let’s start by looking at graphics. Both the Vive and PSVR have OLED screens, but the Vive has a higher resolution at 2160 x 1200 (1080 x 1200 for each eye), compared to the PSVR’s 1920 x 1080 (960 x 1080 for each eye). This means that the Vive can support clearer graphics, making it more realistic.
The next point of importance is frame rate. There is nothing less immersive than unsmooth frame rate. Both the Vive and PSVR have a refresh rate of 90Hz. THIs means that they can both support a frame rate of 90, which is more than enough to run a smooth game. The PlayStation VR can also be used in cinematic mode, in which you play a non-VR game on a virtual screen. Cinematic mode runs at 120Hz.
One more important feature of VR is the field of view, or how wide your view is. The PSVR has a field of view of 100 degrees, and the Vive has 110 degrees. This means that you can see more of you surroundings without turning your head on the Vive.
What about motion tracking?
Both the Vive and PlayStation VR use motion tracking, but which one does it better? Well, the Vive has a tracking area of 15×15 feet (4.6×4.6m), which is plenty to cover most rooms, and movement based games will allow you to teleport or walk using the controllers. The PSVR has a tracking area of 10×6 feet (3×1.9m), from the PlayStation Camera. Both the Vive and PSVR have sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes, but both have some that the other doesn’t, the Vive with front facing cameras and a lighthouse tracking system and the PSVR with a magnetometer and the PlayStation Eye tracking system.
And finally, one of the most important parts of any gaming system – The controller. The Vive and PSVR can both be used with gamepads or motion controllers. The gamepads are for games where you can just sit down and look around with your head, and do everything else with the controller. The PSVR has cinematic mode designed for this, but if you have a wired controller you will need to rearrange some furniture to sit within range of the Playstation Camera. The motion controllers are the important ones, though. The Vive uses its own Vive controller with buttons, sensors and a trackpad for the most realistic VR hand movements possible. The PSVR doesn’t have it’s own VR specific controller, but you use PlayStation Move. The Move controllers were not originally designed for VR, as they were released in 2010 for the PS3, but they are still recommended for a realistic VR experience.
The PlayStation VR costs $400, and the HTC Vive costs $800. Most of the specs on the Vive and PSVR are similar enough that it won’t matter to the average gamer, but the Vive is technically better in most respects, which is expected at the higher price. The PSVR also requires the PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move, PS Camera being $40 and Move controllers being $100 for a twin pack. You will also need a PS4. This brings the total price of PSVR from scratch to $790, just shy of the Vive base price. To buy a Vive and a PC to run it on you will need somewhere between $1000 and $1200
So which one do I buy?
Because the HTC Vive specs are better than the PlayStation VR, it comes at a higher price, making the important factor in this decision console preference, PS4 or PC. If you only own only one of those I would naturally recommend buying the corresponding VR. If you own both a PC and a PS4 and do not own a PlayStation Camera or PlayStation Move, I would recommend purchasing the Vive. Most computers can run the Vive (you can run a check on their website), but a lot of the games you would play on it require above-average specs, so only buy the Vive if you can run the games. If you own both a PC and PS4 with PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move, you should buy PSVR. It will cost you much less money than a Vive and you have everything you need to use it.