Monday, August 10, 2020
VR HeadsetsVirtual Reality

A Closer Look at the HP Reverb G2

The history and roadmap of the Reverb G2 and how it compares to competitors.

 

HP Might not be the first name that you think of when you think of VR headsets, but that might be about to change with the upcoming HP Reverb G2.

The company’s original Reverb headset is well known to industry users, but is less popular among casual users than models by companies like VIVE and Oculus. However, the launch of their second-generation headset is drumming up a lot of buzz. And, with interest in XR technology at an all-time high, this might be the perfect time to launch a game-changing headset.

You’ve Heard That Name Before

HP Reverb G2 - trainingThe HP Reverb G2 had its initial launch in AltSpace during the third day of the Augmented World Expo. HP’s Joanna Popper said that it was HP’s first virtual reality launch of a virtual reality product.

While it lacked the pizzazz of an AltSpace event, Popper again presented the Reverb G2 at the VR/AR Global Summit the following week. All of this was to hype the launch of preorders in North America on May 28. Don’t worry – preorders open across Europe and Asia on July 6. The actual shipment is expected to begin this autumn.

While both of these events might have been somewhat underplayed due to their context in larger multi-day XR tech events, the Reverb had a smaller event all to itself on June 25. The more exclusive hour-long webinar hosted by Reuters Events provided more info on the headset as well as commentary by industry leaders that already have access to it.

What Early Users Have to Say

“We believe VR is the new revolution that is in front of us and the time is now for VR to become the new normal,” said session moderator Cecile Tezenas Du Montcel, VR Business Dev for EMEA region at HP. “The way to do computing is changing… it’s going to VR.”

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Other webinar speakers were Mimbus CEO Laurent Da Dalto, Rainfall’s AR/VR Director Keith Mellingen, and the Institute for Creative Technologies Director of Medical Virtual Reality Albert “Skip” Rizzo.

“We’re at the point where fidelity is reaching a high note, particularly in this headset,” said Rizzo. “The technical drivers in this headset are at the top of the heap.”

How the Reverb G2 Stacks Up

As a tethered VR headset, the main competition that the Reverb is walking into involves the previously alluded to VIVE Pro and Oculus Rift S. With price being a key consideration for many users, the VIVE Pro is currently available for $1,200, the Oculus Rift S for $400, and the Reverb G2 set to hit the shelves at $600.

HP Reverb G2 - designThe Reverb lands between these headsets in some ways. For example, the Reverb uses LCD displays, like the Rift S. However, the Reverb uses two displays, like the VIVE Pro does.

The Reverb’s displays are smaller than that in the VIVE Pro, but have significantly higher resolution. That’s 2160×2160 for the Reverb compared to 1440×1600 for the VIVE Pro. Like the VIVE Pro, the Reverb G2 also features adjustable interpupillary distance.

Where the Reverb really comes into its own is gesture control. The headset features two additional cameras (for a total of four) allowing tracking of motions outside of the range of other headsets. At just over one pound, it’s also one of the lightest headsets around – a good half-pound below average.

The headset’s final tricks are the 3D speakers sitting just off-ear for immersive spatial sound. If this sounds and looks familiar, the feature was borrowed from the Valve Index. Both Valve and Microsoft collaborated with HP on the headset.

Why We Love It Already

HP’s Reverb G2 is the most recent example of a lot of the best things happening in XR technology right now.

Innovation is providing more competitive solutions for more competitive prices. Collaboration is replacing competition to maintain and combine independent innovations. And, new designs are pushing the things that we’ve already come to expect from good designs even further.

Of course, none of that is meant to belittle the virtues of the Reverb G2 for its own merits.

Jon Jaehnig
the authorJon Jaehnig
Jon Jaehnig is a freelance writer specializing in Technology and Health. Jon has a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University and lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife and cat. If you have a story suggestion for Jon, you may contact him here.