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Oculus Rift vs. PlayStation VR: Can console convenience top PC VR power?

After months of facing off against a single big competitor, the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift finally has another headset worthy of competition, Sony’s PlayStation VR. Initially known by its swanky codename, “Project Morpheus,” the headset impressed us quite a bit when we first got our hands on it, which got us thinking about whether the console-based headset is able to compete directly with its PC-based counterpart.

Related: PlayStation VR is so good that it doesn’t need a “killer app”

The fact that we’re even considering the notion is impressive in its own right, but to know whether that opinion holds much water, we’re going to examine both headsets’ most important factors, and compare them head-to-head to see which one deserves your money.

Oculus Rift

Rift thumb

PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR thumb

Pricing $600 (requires PC) + $200 (+80) $400/$500 (requires PlayStation 4)
Display OLED RGB OLED
Panel size 3.54 inches × 2 5.7 inches
Resolution 2160 × 1200
(1080 × 1200 per eye)
1920 × RGB × 1080  (960 × RGB × 1080 per eye)
Refresh rate 90hz 90Hz, 120Hz (cinema mode)
Field of view Approximately 100 degrees Approximately 100 degrees
Sensors Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, external Constellation tracking camera(s) Magnetometer, accelerometer, gyroscope, PlayStation Eye tracking system
Connections Requires HDMI 1.3 output, two USB 3.0 ports (+ extra USB per additional camera) HDMI + USB
Audio Built-in headphones and mic, 3D audio Bundled ear buds
Input Oculus Touch, Xbox One controller (included) PlayStation Move, Dual Shock 4 controller
DT review 2.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Design

Although there are some similarities among all virtual reality headsets, there are some fundamental differences between the design of the Oculus Rift and PSVR. Physically, the Oculus Rift is more compact and features a slate grey fabric coating over much of the display portion. In comparison, the PSVR is entirely plastic and features a circular white band designed to hold the headset in place.

Both balance their weight between a large, front-panel display box and a headstrap that goes over and around the head. They both have come with a detachable audio solution; the Rift opts for an over-the-ear design, while PSVR features in-ear buds. Both are comfortable and easy to wear for long periods of time, though PSVR can get a little warm and the Rift can leave some residual marks on your face as a result of its snug padding. Both headsets use HDMI and USB for display and interface connections, respectively.

Inside both headsets you’ll find magnetometers, gyrocscopes, and accelerometers, which handle head-tilt tracking. On the outside, the PSVR system uses the PlayStation 4 camera for positional tracking, while the Rift uses the Constellation system. While neither option seems work as well as the Vive’s Lighthouse trackers, they offer solid tracking in a more restricted space. That’s not a problem for either though, as they’re both designed with forward-facing, seated or standing experiences in mind. Both (arguably) support larger field of view tracking, but that is not what either was initially designed for, and the available content reflects that type of gaming experience.

There are so many similarities between the two headsets that it’s hard to pick a winner, but we’re giving the nod to the Rift, given it offers a more refined package and less of a retro-sci-fi look.

Winner: Rift

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