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HP has finally brought the second generation of the Reverb to market. Along with the previous model's top-notch resolution, the new VR glasses promise Valve Index comfort and sound, improved tracking, and updated controllers. Read on to find out if the manufacturer's claims are true.
Like its predecessor, the Reverb G2 is based on the Microsoft WMR platform, but was also developed in collaboration with Valve and is therefore fully compatible with SteamVR.
Resolution and colors
As with the previous model, the high resolution of the Reverb G2 is the best feature of the VR goggles. The resolution is 2160×2160 pixels per eye and together with the Reverb G1 is the best among consumer VR glasses. But contrary to what the raw numbers say, the HP VR G2's image quality is significantly better than the previous model. Remarkably, the HP headset contains even more pixels than the Index 1440x1600 dual lenses.
Improved lenses co-developed with Valve, software enhancements from Microsoft, and new display technology result in crisp, sharp images with almost no flashes of light (God Rays), banding (ghosting), or color errors (chromatic). aberration). The pixel structure of the display - the door screen effect - is no longer visible, everything looks like it was made from one piece.
Thanks to the sharp and detailed image, you can see the details and textures that are lacking in the existing Index. For an LCD, the HP Reverb Pro also offers surprisingly good black levels, as in Half-Life: Alyx the stars stand out vividly against the darkness of space.
The VR experience with the second generation Reverb is like watching an old BluRay remastered classic: you discover details you've never seen before, and your entire experience is taken to the next level.
Field of view, angle of view and eye relief
The HP VR G2 doesn't clog up with any ambient glare, but that seems to come at the cost of a field of view that isn't great compared to the Index. While HP claims the G2's FOV is 114°, it appears to be at 90° or 95°. Although the field of view of VR glasses always depends on your own eye relief and head shape, but regardless.
Since the Reverb G2, unlike the Valve Index, does not offer the ability to mechanically bring the lenses closer to the face, the only thing that helps is more tension on the head strap for maximum contact pressure of the VR goggles: since the closer the eyes get to the lenses, the farther this field of view.
The mechanical interpupillary distance (IPD) controller pleases. The Reverb G1 did not have this at all, the G2 can be adjusted from 60 to 68 millimeters. This allows you to better adjust the point of view, which is the sharpest area in the center of the lens, to suit your visual needs. This is a clear step forward.
But as with the FOV object, the following applies here: in addition to the lenses themselves, the shape of the head of the wearer of the VR goggles, and therefore their fit, is critical to the individual experience of VR. After all, VR glasses are actually a piece of clothing.
Sits well, sounds good
The collaboration between HP and Valve is especially evident in the design of the Reverb G2: The VR Goggles offer a similar head mount, a nearly identical faceplate, and Index head speakers that hang elegantly in front of the ear rather than pressed against it. This makes the HP Reverb G2 VR headset much more comfortable than its predecessor.
The Reverb G2 head mount is mechanically adjustable. HP has also adopted Valve's head speakers.
The headset is well balanced in terms of ergonomics and offers a range of compromises that will appeal to the modeling target group. Like the G1, the Reverb G2 is significantly lighter than the Index. As a result, it sits comfortably on the head even during prolonged use. The head mount covers the back of the head and has some play, so the VR goggles are relatively easy to put on and take off. The display and lens module can now be folded 90° to make it easier to put on and take off, especially for people who wear large-frame glasses.
HP Reverb VR Headset fastens with Velcro. This solution has a significant advantage: it is especially suitable for flight simulators or racing games, as players can rest their head on a chair without problems and do not get stuck anywhere when turning.
The 6m cable that attaches to the goggles with a clip is long and flexible enough for Roomscale's extravagant VR adventures, also contributing to ease of use.
The two head speakers are identical to the Valve Index. Their sound quality and high wearing comfort due to the distance to the ear are a big plus. They provide a crisp, reliable, and more open sound image that makes Superhot villains feel like they're right in the room with you. It may seem paradoxical, but having speakers at your ears is better at immersing you in virtual reality than headphones. Just wearing headphones separates you from the world a bit, while the sound coming from the speakers near your ears can seem almost indistinguishable from reality.
Settings and software
Like its predecessor, the HP Reverb G2 VR is based on Microsoft WMR, so the device and the software that runs in the background are native to Windows 10.
HP Reverb connects via Displayport and USB-C (or USB-A adapter). Power is supplied via a small switch block with a power supply.
Simply plug the G2 into a USB 3.0 port and look for a free DisplayPort connection (there's also a DisplayPort to miniDP adapter in the box). Once connected, the Windows Mixed Reality utility will guide you through the setup process, which includes downloading additional software and pairing controllers. Windows 10 system settings have the necessary options for VR mode. Here the user can change the refresh rate, visual quality or resolution of the application window. Portal Windows Mixed Reality offers various rooms that you can customize to your own ideas and a separate store for VR games. The portal is always running in the background: functions such as quick access to the desktop can be launched by pressing the Windows button on the controller. However, anyone linking WMR to SteamVR rarely, if ever, uses these options.
Using the G2 with Steam is very simple: launch Steam, install the SteamVR WMR app, launch SteamVR and you're done.
VR controllers and tracking quality
Despite the headset's excellent hardware, HP hasn't put as much design energy into the G2 controllers. Of course, they are better than the standard ones found in the original Reverb, but there is still work to be done. The updated VR controllers have slightly curved grips and are much easier to hold than the angular controllers of past Windows Mixed Reality.
In addition, they finally offer analog sticks instead of touchpads and a reasonable button layout. Here HP is clearly targeting the Oculus Touch - and that's a good thing. Unfortunately, tracking rings on controllers are still large. This makes input devices rather clunky. There are no proximity buttons or pointer controllers for rudimentary finger tracking in the Reverb G2.
The new G2 controllers are a significant improvement over previous models. Unfortunately, HP still relies on wide rings for WMR tracking.
Another major update: The Reverb G2 is the first WMR headset to feature four tracking sensors. Previous Windows Mixed Reality gadgets only had two, so you didn't always know where your controllers were. Due to the additional cameras on the sides of the VR glasses, tracking has become much better. By increasing the number of sensors, HP VR can now keep up with the Quest 2 and Rift S, which have four and five sensors respectively.
Controller tracking is much better, but it still lacks precision. They can easily break the illusion of virtual reality, especially in fast-paced games where your hands are all over the place. Motion tracking glitches occur especially when you operate interface elements such as the browser or SteamVR overlay with your hands at waist or stomach level, hold a weapon with two hands, or take cover in a boxing game. Then virtual hands, for example, float away or just get stuck.
Sometimes this makes simple VR interaction a matter of patience and interferes with immersion in the game. Microsoft urgently needs to develop a better tracking solution. On the other hand, the goggles track reliably if you are not trying to play at dusk - this limitation, however, applies to all VR goggles with optical tracking cameras built directly into the body.
Reverb G2 Specification
|Panel||Two 2.89" LCDs with RGB sub-pixels|
|Permission by eye||2160 × 2160 (4.7 MP)|
|Update frequency||90 Hertz|
|Tracking||4 onboard cameras (without external beacons)|
|Field of View||114° diagonal|
|Interpupillary Distance (IPD)||60-68 mm, mechanical adjuster|
|Controllers||Reverb G2 (WMR)|
|Connectors||USB-C, DisplayPort, Power|
|Audio||Protruding head speakers|
|Weight||About 500 grams without cables|
The Reverb G2 looks more polished than any other Microsoft WMR headset we've seen. Sure, it might seem like just another VR headset, but dig a little deeper and you'll see how HP has improved its design. Its sleek plastic body feels more solid than the obscure fabric front panel of the latest Reverb. The G2 headband is also stronger and there is more cushioning around the lenses for a more secure and comfortable fit. And it's nice to see the Index's near-field speakers in a cheaper headset, even if the case feels less premium. The G2's striking profile, with its clean lines and symmetrical arc around the headband alone, can tell that HP really helped with Valve's design this time around.
Reverb G2 is for you if:
- you are a fan of simulators;
- your graphics card is looking for a challenge;
- you need a simple setup;
- You need maximum immersion.
Right now, the HP Reverb G2 is arguably the most immersive virtual reality headset on the market. And this is achieved through a revolutionary change - lenses with high resolution. Overall, this is a very comfortable headset with fantastic sound and picture clarity. The field of view is narrower than we would like, but this does not hurt at all. The HP Reverb offers better VR experience than the Quest 2 or Rift, but costs significantly more. Nevertheless, this headset will fully meet the expectations of those who are not ready for the high cost of the Index.
Reverb G2 is not for you if:
- You are looking for a budget VR headset;
- you value accurate tracking in any situation;
- You want to use your VR glasses wirelessly.
Unfortunately, HP is picking up on the biggest drawback of the previous model: imperfect controller tracking. For regular users who are looking for VR glasses for PC, this tracking will be enough. Beat-Saber connoisseurs and passionate shooter players will not be able to hide obvious weaknesses. Simulation fans, on the other hand, should not hesitate to purchase the HP Reverb G2: they usually don't need a VR controller at all and place a high value on image sharpness. Thanks to the high resolution, you will be rewarded with immersion that the Valve Index with a wider field of view cannot provide. Anyone bothered by early problems with the G1's display will be particularly pleased with the G2's much more uniform and cleaner display.
With the release of the Reverb G2, HP has established itself as a leading manufacturer in the small PC VR market. Through collaboration with Microsoft and Valve, HP has been able to take VR glasses to the next level, and it's especially pleasing that the company has also listened to customer feedback on the G1.