HP announces HP Reverb G2 VR headset

Written by Jennifer Allen

June 1, 2020 | 15:00

Tags: #hp-reverb-g2 #virtual-reality #vr

Companies: #hp

As teased back in March, the HP Reverb G2 now has a price, a release date, and some concrete details and specs. 

A collaborative effort between Valve, HP and Microsoft, the HP Reverb G2 is an upgrade on the previous HP Reverb. It's a Windows Mixed Reality (MR) PC-powered headset with SteamVR support but unlike its predecessor, it's aimed squarely at gamers rather than business needs with some crucial tweaks. 

It's the first Windows MR headset to have more than two cameras using four inside-out tracking cameras. That also means no reliance on base stations like some other VR headsets, albeit with less fidelity as the base station based models such as the Valve Index. 

On the surface, it looks a lot like the original HP Reverb being the same size, using the same panel, offering the same refresh rate and only being a tiny bit heavier than the previous incarnation. That's certainly a good thing given the original unit was considered comfortable by many, as well as offering a consistently high-resolution image. This time round, the HP Reverb G2 doesn't just rely on Windows MR though because as mentioned, it can run SteamVR apps which is where things get far more appealing for gamers. 

It also uses hardware-adjustable interpupillary distance (IPD) instead of its predecessor's software-adjustable IPD. That's been designed with gaming in mind rather than business applications. Its Fresnel lenses have been made by Valve and calibrated accordingly. Lead VR product manager at HP, John Ludwig, also claims that it has reduced image persistence which results in less of a smearing effect on the display leading to less nausea for those of us who don't get on with VR. Whether that'll actually be in the case in practice, we'll have to see. 

The HP Reverb G2 also hopes to offer better controllers with 6-degrees of freedom tracking that hope to be far better thanks to the headset using four cameras instead of two like the previous model. That's thanks to HP adding a camera to each side of the unit to track hand movements. 

Like the previous unit, the HP Reverb G2 supports SteamVR applications via the Windows Mixed Reality for Steam VR app but Ludwig reckons that it's seen huge improvements in recent times so it's comparable to native SteamVR gaming. Expect to need a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 or above alongside an Intel Core i7 and 16GB of RAM to use it. 

The HP Reverb G2 is expected to launch this Autumn. Pre-orders are available with the unit costing $599 which we suspect will be a direct swap to £599. 

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