Virtual reality

Your connection between real and virtual world

The HP Reverb G2 is a new step in the world of VR headsets.

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Hp Reverb G2 is a VR device created by microsoft and valve. Launched in 2020, it was considered one of the best VR devices of the time at the time. Since then, WMR has remained largely silent as premium VR headsets such as Valve Index and HTC Vive Cosmos were launched. Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) is a platform introduced as part of the Windows 10 and 11 operating systems, which delivers augmented reality and mixed reality experiences with compatible hedsets. We previously wrote about Hololens, a leading VR headset working on WMR. Let’s examine how the HP Reverb G2 compares to other high-end PC-based VR headsets (and the original Reverb).

Requires a powerful computer

Unlike the Meta Quest 2 hedset, to use the HP Reverb G2 hedset you need a computer, and a fairly powerful COMPUTER.

The increased resolution of the HP Reverb G2 means that it will require some modern computer hardware, but there are two modes of operation: full resolution and half-resolution. You can change the mode whenever you want. As a processor (CPU) for the Reverb G2 recommends at least the modern Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5. This is equivalent to the Xeon E3-1240 v5 processor or better for those who want to use the Reverb G2 at the workstation. In addition, at least 8 GB of RAM is recommended.

For full-resolution operation, optimal results will come from the best graphics card options available now. However, you can go lower than the NVIDIA GTX 1080 or AMD RX 5700 on a gaming PC and an NVIDIA Quadro P5200 at the workstation.

In terms of half-resolution, HP says you can only work with the NVIDIA GTX 1060 or AMD RX 580 on a gaming PC and an NVIDIA Quadro P3200 at the workstation.

Resolution and frame rate

As with its predecessor, the high resolution HP Reverb G2 is the best vr headset feature. The resolution is 2160 x 2160 pixels per eye, which puts it on top of consumer VR headsets. The frame rate of the hedset is 90 Hz. However, unlike what pure figures suggest, the image quality of the new model is much better than its predecessor. Better lenses developed in collaboration with Valve, Microsoft’s software improvements and new display technology result in a sharp image that is virtually free of flashes of light (whatever rays), stripe effects or color rendering errors. The screen door effect is no longer visible – everything looks like it was made from a single piece. The VR experience with the HP Reverb G2 is similar to watching the Blu-ray remaster of an old classic: you discover details you’ve never seen before, and the whole experience has been taken to a new level.

Distance from the eyes and “Sweet spot”

In addition to the sharp image, the HP Reverb G2 has a relatively narrow field of view. This is one thing that users can feel as soon as they put the hedset on their head for the first time and can cause a feeling of negligence. The field of view of VR headsets always depends on the distance between the eyes and the shape of the head, but with the HP Reverb G2 it is much narrower than valve index and other VR headsets. Since the Reverb G2, unlike the Valve Index, does not offer the ability to mechanically approach the lenses to the face, only the greater tension on the headband helps with the maximum contact pressure of the VR headset (the closer the eyes are to the lenses, the wider the field of view becomes).

Comfort and sound

The speakers hp borrowed from Valve are great and really help improve the overall package. They sit outside their ears and emit a clear spatial sound that becomes as loud as necessary. You can have music or sound effects blaring, but the magic of positional sound means anyone not wearing headphones will only hear a quiet sound. It also means that you are not completely cut off from the outside world, others can still attract your attention without coming within range of your hands and controllers.

The Reverb G2 has not only experienced lens and sound improvements compared to the original Reverb. The G2 removed the fabric front for a more serious look and added two additional cameras to track on the side of the screen box. The headband underwent a slight redesign, particularly by adding the ability to turn the screen upwards. This allows you to quickly peek into your environment without using the built-in “Flashlight” function or spoiling the headband and adding a lot more lining for the back of the head. Everything adheres to two Velcro straps on the sides and one at the top. It now has more lining around the face gasket compared to the first Reverb. All sponge is the same antimicrobial thing you can find on Index.

As soon as the Reverb G2 is attached, one can immediately feel how balanced and light it is. It’s significantly lighter than both Index and Vive Cosmos, which is especially important when it comes to hardware that attaches to the face. It tends to stay in place even when moving more than usual. This is probably because you can really tighten the straps without discomfort, all thanks to a thicker sponge. Even with a standard docking, there is absolutely no light from the outside. Nose gasket and foam do a great job in keeping your view clean.

Controllers and “Tracking”

HP Reverb G2 is the first Windows Mixed Reality hedset that comes with improved tracking and VR controllers.

Ergonomics are improved and these controllers are more comfortable to hold. The hold button is located deep below the middle finger, and the trigger is also intuitively positioned. The Joystick is easily accessible with a thumb, as well as two primary keys and two menu keys. The controllers are mirror images of each other, and each requires two AA batteries to power. Fastening straps work tightly enough.

Finally, they also offer analog sticks instead of touchpads and sensitive key layouts. HP here apparently took a role model from Oculus Touch, which is good. The controller tracking rings are unfortunately still huge. Because of this, controllers are quite cumbersome, and VR interactions often lead to collisions, since you easily collide with each other or objects with rings. Buttons with proximity sensors as in Oculus Touch or Index controllers for rudimentary finger tracking are completely absent with the Reverb G2.

The tracking is better than in the previous model: HP installed two additional cameras on the side of the VR headset for this while the predecessor only had cameras in the front. Controller monitoring is so much better than with G1 because it is farther away, but it does not reach oculus or Index tracking accuracy. Tracking errors are especially noticeable when using your hands at hip or belly level to control interface elements such as a browser or SteamVR layer, hold a weapon with two hands, or raise your guard in a boxing game. Then the virtual hands float away or simply get stuck, for example.

HP Reverb G2 V2

Recently, HP announced the successor to the Reverb G2 hedset: Reverb G2 V2. The HP Reverb G2 V2 is now available for purchase directly from HP for $449 or around $3300. It’s hard to tell apart these 2 VR headsets without actually having them on hand. For now, the best move is to stick to the official HP website if you want the G2 V2 rather than some remnants of the original G2. You can still find a plethora of Reverb G2 V1 models from a variety of online retailers, although they all seem to be more expensive than the price currently available at HP.

Improvements versus the original

For starters, the HP Reverb G2 V2 has an additional gasket. It is a thin plastic tape that is inserted between HMD and a standard sponge gasket. It is factory installed as standard, giving the same 15 mm distance from the eye as on the G2. Strong magnets hold all these parts firmly in place, but they are easy to remove. Pulling out an additional gasket and replacing the sponge gasket reduces the distance from the eye to 9 mm. With closer eye distance you might find that some prescription frames are too large to fit inside. The last thing you want to do is scratch any lens, so be wary. It is possible to continue to use one set of prescription frames, while the rest are too great a risk. The new intermediate face gasket fits the older G2, but all it does is add eye distance up to about 21mm.

In order for VR users to increase the fun and immersion factor, they most often add a longer cable to increase the length of the strap. This may not be that much of a problem for many people, since the Reverb G2 has a standard 6-meter cable. The only obstacle is that users have to purchase an additional 6-meter cable separately. When buying a new Reverb G2 V2 hedset, the 6-meter cable is plugged in with the hedset itself. Some AMD users had trouble connecting seemingly connected to the motherboard and cable when using G2.

Retesting with the G2 V2 and its updated cameras was mixed. They’re hard to test accurately because no two exactly the same experiences, but improved vertical tracking of the new system makes a difference. The Reverb G2 V2 appears to be able to hold the controller position longer when the arms are relaxed against the side or behind the lower back. In terms of overhead targeting, it looks like in some cases it continues to fight equally. Tracking is still not quite perfect (as with most VR hedsets), but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.