PlayStation VR Specification & Performance

Tech Specs

Product Name PlayStation VR
Product Code CUH-ZVR1 series
Release Date October 13, 2016
External Dimensions
  • VR headset: Approx. 187×185×277 mm (width × height × length, excludes
    largest projection, headband at the shortest)
  • Processor unit: Approx. 143×36×143 mm (width × height × length, excludes
    largest projection)
Mass
  • VR headset: Approx. 610g (excluding cable)
  • Processor unit: Approx. 365g
Display Method OLED
Panel Size 5.7 inches
Panel Resolution 1920×RGB×1080 (960×RGB×1080 per eye)
Refresh Rate 120Hz, 90Hz
Field of View Approximately 100 degrees
Sensors Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer)
Connection Interface
  • VR headset: HDMI, AUX, Stereo Headphone Jack
  • Processor unit: HDMI TV, HDMI PS4, USB, HDMI, AUX
Processor Unit Function 3D audio processing, Social Screen (mirroring mode, separate mode),
Cinematic mode
Included
  • VR headset × 1
  • Processor unit × 1
  • VR headset connection cable × 1
  • HDMI cable × 1
  • USB cable × 1
  • Stereo headphones × 1 (with a complete set of earpiece)
  • AC power cord × 1
  • AC adaptor × 1

Display & Lenses

Of the three ‘big three’ VR headsets, Sony’s PlayStation VR is the only one that has opted not to use a Fresnel lens which eliminates one of our biggest gripes about the lens system on the Rift and Vive which is the light ray artifact. Despite this, PSVR still manages an impressively wide field of view, and one that I suspect will be reported as the largest among the three headsets because of its ease of adjustment.

Field of View

Field of view is tough to measure because there isn’t currently an agreed upon method of measurement, especially because facial structure can play a big role in how wide a field of view can be seen by each individual. With that said, Sony quotes the PSVR field of view at 100 degrees, same as the Rift. And while it’s tough to track down an official field of view figure for the Vive, it has been shown to be wider than the Rift.

Despite that, I think that many reports will state that PlayStation VR has the widest field of view, not because it has the largest on-paper field of view spec, but because of how easy it is to adjust the lenses very close to your eyes.

Because PSVR uses that ‘hanging’ style display assembly mount, which doesn’t rely on the display assembly pressing against your face to hold it on your head, the display assembly is free to move back and forth as needed, and Sony has built in a handy button under the bottom right of the assembly which allows you to slide the entire thing back and forth a significant amount.

IPD Measurement Tool

While PlayStation VR doesn’t have a physical IPD adjustment (to change the distance between the lenses to match a user’s eye spacing), it does have a software IPD adjustment which can help improve clarity and comfort in VR.

You can manually dial in your IPD if you already know it, or you can use the PlayStation Move camera to do an approximate measurement. You’ll find the option under Settings > Devices > PlayStation VR.

playstation-vr-review-unboxing-33

The tool works by snapping a stereo image of your eyes as you stand near to the PlayStation VR camera. After taking the photo, the software will attempt to automatically detect the center of your pupils, and you’ll be given the opportunity to fine tune that detection by moving a cursor on each photo of your eye to the exact center. The result will spit out an IPD measurement in millimeters and automatically plug that value into the IPD setting.

In my experience the IPD measurement seemed inaccurate by one or two milimeters, but the UI during the process does warn that it’s an approximate measurement only.

Poor Mura Correction

If you hear someone saying that PSVR has bad screen door effect, they’re probably talking about bad mura correction.

Mura is an artifact that could easily be misconstrued as the ‘screen door effect’ if you asked someone to infer what ‘screen door effect’ looks like by it’s name alone. In reality, SDE and mura are two different things with different causes.

A hypothetical ideal display is capable of emitting the exact same amount of light from every pixel on the screen. This means that when you set the pixels of the display to a specific color value, they all look exactly the same.

In the real world however, most display have small discrepancies in the amount of light output by each pixel at the same brightness setting, causing a slightly different (brighter or darker) shade from one pixel to the next, even if the software driving the headset has asked for all pixels to be the exact same color and shade.

Click to enlarge. An exaggerated visual approximation of the Vive without Mura correction (left) and with it (right).

The larger the range in brightness between pixels that are supposed to be the same color and shade, the more mura artifact you will see. The result tends to look like a thin layer of linen over the image, and in most cases it’s exacerbated in darker scenes, especially when the pixels are set to their darkest lit value, where the user will see a field of grey speckled with lighter not-so-grey pixels.

Because the mura artifact is a result of an imperfect manufacturing process, the mura pattern is essentially random, making it an especially bad artifact for a stereo view, because when you see it the mura pattern won’t line up in each eye, creating an uncomfortable stereo conflict.

The mura effect looks to my eye to be more noticeable than we see on the Vive and Rift. The good news is that you probably won’t notice it in well lit scenes. You’ll probably see it (and get that uncomfortable stereo conflict) in games and experiences that like to fade to grey between scenes and loading, but this is something that can be effectively designed around once developers catch on, except for experiences that want to put you in dimly lit virtual scenes.

Aliasing

If you hear someone saying that PSVR has bad resolution, they’re probably talking about aliasing.

aliasing

Aliasing commonly takes the form of jagged virtual edges that result when you try to represent a vector line of unlimited detail using a finite number of pixels.

aliasing_a

Anti-aliasing is the art of treating those edges to make them appear more smooth. In the exact same number of pixels, not doing any anti-aliasing will make an image look terrible compared to something that’s properly anti-aliased (see right).

Good anti-aliasing takes technical know-how and requires a good bit of processing power. A poorly optimized VR experience probably isn’t abiding by best anti-aliasing practices from the get go, and isn’t going to have much overhead for anti-aliasing when all is said and done.

Muted Colors & No Black Smear

playstation-vr-review-unboxing-36

To my eyes, the PSVR display has slightly muted colors, especially in darker scenes. This is one of those problems that can be quite effectively designed around once developers catch on by using brighter, more vibrant and contrasting colors.

Thankfully, I haven’t spotted any black smear from PlayStation VR, which was a problem that plagued the Rift DK2’s OLED display, causing black parts of the scene to ‘smear’ into lighter parts as the users moved their head (due to a slow response time from the pixels that were turned off completely to achieve true blacks).

The muted colors and lack of black smear may be interrelated, as Sony may have opted to prevent the display’s pixels from going to true black (thereby reducing contrast, but eliminating black smear).