Sony’s next-generation virtual reality headset is very soon to be unleashed upon the world, and we’ve been lucky enough to finally have our hands on the PlayStation VR2. While you’ll have to wait a little longer for our full, detailed review, we’re able to start talking about the hardware itself and how it looks and feels – especially in comparison to its predecessor.
Unboxing The PlayStation VR2
The very first thing I took notice of when I received my delivery of the PS VR2 was how ridiculously light it felt. I was visibly surprised when the courier handed it over to me and I mentioned they must have forgotten to put it in the box. They laughed, but I wasn’t joking. The headset itself is around 50g lighter than the first PS VR, but it’s also unburdened by the mess of cables and breakout boxes that made the previous iteration feel far bulkier than it actually was.
This time around, there’s no extra box or HDMI passthrough or any of that junk. It’s just a single USB-C cable for the front of your PS5. A very, very long 4.5m USB-C cable that’s also surprisingly light and definitely will have enough give for most people to unknowingly wrap themselves in it a few times during play without any disaster striking. The whole unboxing is a stark contrast to the PS VR1’s IKEA puzzle of bits. You get the headset with cable attached, the two Sense controllers (more on those in a sec), a single controller charging cable, the detachable earphones and that’s it. Nice and simple.
The PlayStation VR2 Headset Design
Putting the headset on is a breeze, as well. Not a whole lot has changed from the last one, which is absolutely a good thing when that design was already fantastic. The headset is incredibly adjustable so once you slip it over your head by holding the button at the back and stretching it to accommodate your noggin, you simply spin a dial to tighten it up and then manoeuvre the front visor until it’s sitting comfortably in front of your face.
One new wrinkle is a small dial at the front that adjusts the distance between the lenses to suit your eyes, which is a fantastic feature and will surely come as a massive relief to anyone who had to mess around with the PS VR1’s software-based eye distance solution. It’s far more granular than the Meta Quest 2’s three preset distance options as well. The PS VR2 is actually about 60g heavier than the Quest 2, but due to the design with the back piece its weight is spread far more evenly, so it feels significantly lighter to wear.
Many will also be happy to know that the cushioning inside of the visor is made of different stuff to the previous PlayStation VR and seems far less likely to start flaking off over time. The blinders around the lenses are also not as rigid so there’s a lot of room to move inside the headset, which is great news for people like me who wear glasses. While I haven’t tried every VR headset out on the market this is definitely the first one where my glasses haven’t been jammed against my face and pressed up against the lenses (and my current frames are quite large).
The set of in-ear headphones that come in the box come in an interesting design, with a bar that fits snugly into the design of the headband and plugs into a discrete 3.5.mm port. The left and right buds then hang directly to where your ear holes should be, with minimum cabling so you’re not going to feel a rogue length of wire brush the back of your lobes when you’re skulking through House Beneviento. Not everyone can do in-ear buds so you’re absolutely able to just plug any other headset into the same port, but Sony has included different-sized tips in there as well.
Another significant point of difference in unboxing the PlayStation VR2 in comparison to the previous generation is that this one comes packed with a pair of controllers, dubbed the “Sense” controllers. Because they’re like two halves of a “DualSense” maybe? Let’s go with that. If you’ve used a Quest 2 or anything similar you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect, here. The controllers are ergonomically designed for each hand to ensure every button is within reach and easy to read without the benefit of being able to see them, with your fingers naturally positioning around the analogue sticks, L1/R1 bumpers and L2/R2 triggers. It’s kind of like wearing a pair of sci-fi gloves with their stark black and white, orb-like design and I’m here for it.
They’re slightly heavier than the Quest controllers but they have built-in rechargeable batteries to account for the difference, the only annoyance being that the box comes with a single USB-C cable to charge both so you’ll want to root around in your desk drawer for another or you’ll be waiting double the time to get them juiced up – or buy the optional dual charger that Sony will be selling at launch. And of course, each has an adjustable wrist strap so that you’re not going to inadvertently fling them into your telly.
Unboxing the PlayStation VR2 hardware shows a headset design that takes what worked the first time around and adds thoughtful new wrinkles. Coupled with the packed-in and more modern Sense controllers plus a near-total lack of extra junk to clutter your living room with and it bodes well for the final experience – you’ll have to wait a little longer to hear about that, though.
The PlayStation VR2 releases on February 22nd, 2023.