Sony’s new headset, officially dubbed the SRH-S1 “content creation system” combines a compact form-factor with novel controllers. I got to check out the headset first-hand at AWE 2024 and came away impressed with the headset itself, even if the input and tracking still need some work.

The yet-to-be-priced Sony SRH-S1 is being designed as an enterprise headset. It’s built with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 processor for standalone usage. Sony also tells us it can be driven by a PC through a compressed video stream (like Quest Link).

Sony confirmed to Road to VR the headset’s actual resolution is 13.6MP (3,552 × 3840) per-eye, using Sony’s own ECX344A OLED microdisplay. The display is capable of 90 FPS and 1,000 nits (at 20% duty cycle), with 96% DCI-P3 color coverage. That means the Sony SRH-S1 with has higher resolution and better color accuracy than Vision Pro:

  • Sony SRH-S1:
    • 13.6MP per-eye
    • 96% DCI-P3
  • Apple Vision Pro
    • 11.7MP per-eye
    • 92% DCI-P3

The Sony MR headset also has compact lenses with a flip-up visor, and two utterly unique controllers: one is a star-shaped pointer, and the other is a ring that goes on your finger.

Photo by Road to VR

The SRH-S1’s ergonomic design is hits all the right notes. The headset has hardware-adjustable IPD, flip-up visor, rear-mounted battery for balance, and eye-relief adjustment. The eye-relief adjustment allows you to bring the lenses as close as possible to your eyes for the maximum field-of-view.

Photo by Road to VR

And though it’s all plastic, the headset and controllers feel well built, including the flip-up visor mechanism. Sony pitches the flip-up visor primarily so a user sitting at a connected computer can see the full resolution of their display, then flip down the visor when they’re ready to view virtual content.

Photo by Road to VR

Granted, even with the eye-relief dialed all the way in, the field-of-view wasn’t expansive. It felt smaller than something like Quest 3, but not too small to be useful. A smaller field-of-view also means the headset’s pixels are even more densely packed, which—if the optics are up to the task—would mean notably sharper imagery than Quest 3 or Vision Pro.

Photo by Road to VR

In my short time with the headset the display looked impressively sharp with absolutely no individual visible pixels. However, the content I saw wasn’t great for clearly comparing how the sharpness stacks up to contemporary headsets. I can say though that the optics appeared to have great edge-to-edge clarity, rivaling what I’m used to seeing with Quest 3’s excellent lenses.

I noticed some reflections in the lenses, though I’m fairly certain most of this was due to external light reaching the lenses from the headset’s open periphery. I didn’t get to try it but Sony has shown the headset with a soft peripheral blocker add-on for when you’d rather have less reflections and more immersion.

The demo seen I saw was a virtual filming setup where I was able to move and adjust a virtual camera that was shooting a virtual scene. I could also control the lighting by moving lights around and charging their colors.

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While everything looked very sharp, the content being shown didn’t look well optimized for running on a standalone headset. That made the experience quite choppy—probably not running at a steady 90 FPS as it should—which made the head-tracking feel sub-par.

This probably impacted the feeling of the controller-tracking too, though I think the controllers had their own issues with latency and precision. The ring controller in particular had tons of jitter, making it quite bad for any kind of precision input—even just grabbing and moving things. The star-shaped controller felt much more precise, not just because the tracking was more steady, but also because you naturally hold it with an outstretched index finger, making it a natural ‘pointing device’. Even so it didn’t feel as precise as what you’d expect from a Quest 2 or Quest 3 controller.

Photo by Road to VR

I quite like the concept of the SRH-S1 controllers, but they need some work still on more than just tracking. Both controllers actually have physical buttons on them which are elegantly hidden under the skin… which also makes it very unintuitive to know they even exist.

The rep showing me the headset was trying to describe the location of one of the buttons for me to press by saying something like “it’s on your index finger,” but they weren’t talking about the button under the tip of my finger. Instead, there’s another hidden button that you press with the inside of the first segment of your index finger (before you reach the first knuckle).

The SRH-S1 controller has three buttons on it… but you probably wouldn’t notice unless someone told you about them | Photo by Road to VR

I literally don’t know if I’ve ever pressed a button using that part of my finger. So beyond being invisible, the fact that it’s in a weird place made it even more of an odd choice. It’s not necessarily a bad choice; this might be a great way to get two distinct inputs from one finger, given the unique controller design, but it needs to be much more intuitive.

And, indeed, it’s likely user experience details which will make or break the Sony’s SRH-S1 MR headset as a viable competitor to other headsets on the market. I feel fairly confident the company can get the device’s head and controller-tracking tightened up without any breakthroughs or major redesigns. But does Sony expect enterprise developers to figure out all the small details about how to teach users to use these unique controllers, and how to use them best in their applications?

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Sony says the SRH-S1 is specifically made to work with Siemens NX, a comprehensive suite of CAD tools used by Sony itself. Presumably it will work with a wider range of software too, but presently it’s unclear what software platform or software standard the headset will support. Presumably OpenXR compatibility would be a good choice as an open standard, but even beyond that it’s not clear if Sony plans to maintain a software distribution platform for the headset or leave it up to companies to figure out how to deploy and manage the software.

Despite this being an MR headset, Sony unfortunately wasn’t ready to show the passthrough view, saying it was still being worked on.

Sony plans to launch the SRH-S1 headset later this year. But pricing, regional availability, and software compatibility haven’t been announced yet.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Just when you thought Sony couldn't eff-up XR even more …. lol
    []^ (

    • Guest

      What do you mean? It's not for consumers. Looks like they have a lot more optimization to do, but the hardware design and capabilities look good when function and comfort takes precedence over form. Normally such poor optimization of input devices, passthrough and all the other stuff would be worrying, but it seems the guy said it himself that a lot of the software side stuff isn't fully baked. Enterprise usually has very strict demands, so I'm sure they'll suss it out.

  • Mike

    Impressive displays. OLED at essentially 6.5K (based on vertical resolution, where 1080 lines = standard 2K). New record in clarity.

    The datasheet for a single display states "4K" but that's based on the individual horizonal resolution. Combined in VR with overlapping images, it will look like a 6.5K display.

  • Glamorkinshire

    Unfortunately, with the lack of support on the PSVR2, although I try to support VR projects as an early adopter, Sony really dropped the ball. I wish them luck but I will not be purchasing anything VR related by Sony until after proof or support by them.

  • ApocalypseShadow

    If you listen to upload VR, they'll tell you it's terrible in their impressions. Makes you wonder on their bias.

    Anyway, it looks to be a quality headset in need of software improvement for productivity. Which is no different than any other headset.

    Quest has been updated and updated and updated for some time which is why it has gotten better over time. But still needs better software in some areas as we see them trying to copy Apple to the point that they want to be a low cost Vision Pro. Still needs more mixed reality games and we're still waiting on certain features that are only experimental at the moment and not widely released. Also, how about adding some AI to the headset so that it learns from you on what you might want to watch or play or if you want to ask it questions like chat gpt.

    Sony is going to go through the same software growing pains like everyone else. Apple is going through it. Samsung will go through it as well as the Bytedance, Pico headset.

    • polysix

      Quests being LCD already put them in a no-go zone for me and many (ex quest 2 and Quest Pro owner here).

      Sony could take VR over and be the top of the pile if they focussed more and were more aggressive with prices and marketing.

  • I tried the headset myself and I didn't know there were 3 buttons until I read this article. I think this says it all about the user experience with this device…

  • polysix

    Sony could take VR over and be the top of the pile if they focussed more and were more aggressive with prices and marketing. PSVR2 is the best HMD I've owned (of 8 – mostly PCVR ones) and this thing is already knocking at Apple's door with better ergonomics and spec (over showy gimmicks and expensive finishes). Come on Sony.. the only company that could capture standalone, PCVR/dev AND console (as the defacto leader in that space). No one else can get all 3!

    Quests being LCD (terrible for nearly all the VR I'm interested in) already put them in a no-go zone for me and many (ex quest 2 and Quest Pro owner here).

    • Ardra Diva

      Quest 3 is terrific. Sorry you don't like it.

  • Kenny

    As for transforming this to a retail headset… As a developer, Sony < Meta for sure. Jumping though the PS hoops to publish a game sets a very tall hurdle compared to Meta's. …And people complain about Meta's curation….

  • Ardra Diva

    well, you'd be a damned fool to buy another visor from Sony if they bailed out on it with their flagship hardware platform and entertainment device so quickly. Samsung looks undyingly faithful to VR by comparison.