Hands On: Sony's New Morpheus Is The Best VR Headset Yet

By Gizmodo UK on at

By Sean Hollister

I just survived a shark attack. I just stole a priceless diamond in an upscale London heist. I did it with Sony's new Project Morpheus headset. It's the best I've ever tried.

I've used a lot of VR headsets. Each one's a tiny bit better than the last. The picture's always a little clearer, the experience a little less likely to make me violently sick. Sony's new Morpheus prototype is no exception. But in one key way, it stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Sony's New Morpheus Is The Best VR Headset Yet

There are many fancy technological ways Morpheus leapfrogs the competition. The new OLED screen can update at 120 frames per second, making for smooth images than anything we've seen so far. (The one thing I'll say is while the OLED's pixels are a nice inky black when totally off, they shimmer with a weird iridescent effect in scenes that aren't well-lit.) Thanks to a expanded 100-degree field of view, I didn't have to worry about much tunnel vision keeping me from fending off British thugs and deep-sea sharks. Nine blue LEDs dotting the frame ensured that when I turned 360 degrees to check out the undersea life behind me, I didn't get dizzy from the effort.

But I'd be lying if I said they were the reason why Sony's headset is so excellent. The new Sony Morpheus prototype is the only one that's completely comfortable to wear.

Sony's New Morpheus Is The Best VR Headset Yet

I don't think it's actually as light as the flimsy-feeling Oculus Rift Crescent Bay prototype that blew me away last September. And awkwardly, it doesn't have headphones built in. But unlike Crescent Bay and every other VR headset that uses elastic bands to oh-so-gently vice grip your head, the Morpheus just rests there. You can cinch up the rear band by rotating a dial, and press a button to release its grip, but honestly the Morpheus is balanced so well you don't need to tighten extensively.

Sony's New Morpheus Is The Best VR Headset Yet

Silky soft black rubber cushions your nose and blocks out light around your eyes, but again, you don't need to squish them into your face to get the effect: the entire display just floats in the air right in front of your eyes.

Sony's New Morpheus Is The Best VR Headset Yet

Which also allows the headset to perform a truly awesome trick: you can press a button to pull the display away from your face for a sec so you can see your surroundings, without ever removing the Morpheus from your head.

Sony's New Morpheus Is The Best VR Headset Yet

So what about the games? They didn't disappoint. The Deep starts as a ho-hum "I'm in a shark cage watching marine life fly by" experience where you just look around a lot, taking in the sights, but soon there's a deadly shark ripping apart the cage. I flinched. A lot. The demo still didn't give me any arms and feet, which made for a couple awkward moments when the shark cage shook yet I remained perfectly standing still.

Sony's New Morpheus Is The Best VR Headset Yet

But the piece de resistance, The London Heist — I'd pay £50 for this to be a full game right now. Sure, it's a simple scene, rooting through some desk drawers for a key to a safe – and then a handgun and some ammo clips when you set off the alarm – but the fact that I could just reach out with the PlayStation Move and open those drawers, shove clips into the pistol, and cower behind the desk while taking out guards... it made all the difference in the world.

To feel like you're actually doing something, instead of just pressing buttons. I want more.

Sadly, we'll have to wait an entire year for Project Morpheus to become a consumer reality. Start saving now, kids.

This article originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, the tech site which is equally fascinated with design, architecture, and science.