HP has taken the covers off the Reverb G2, a high-resolution virtual-reality headset that aims to give Windows Mixed Reality a shot in the arm.
Created in collaboration with Microsoft and Valve, the $599 Reverb G2 sits somewhere between the Oculus Rift S and Valve Index VR headsets. While other VR headsets are gradually becoming self-contained, the Reverb G2 needs a connected PC and seems to be aimed at people who want a high-end VR experience.
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The Reverb G2 does offer a full suite of VR technology for its rather high price. It delivers a resolution of 2K per eye using Valve-designed lenses, which beats the Valve Index’s 1440 x 1600 resolution per eye.
With a 90Hz refresh rate, the Reverb G2 loses out to the Index’s 120Hz displays. A 114-degree field-of-view promises strong VR immersion as well.
Speaking of immersion, the Reverb G2 uses 3D spatial audio with built-in headphones, which HP claimed will make VR games more immersive and let the wearer “experience a real sensor of 3D space”.
Four-camera tracking tech should add to that immersion by capturing 1.4 times more movement than other Windows Mixed Reality headsets. This will be done without the need for any external sensors.
The only external parts, ignoring the need for a powerful PC, are the controllers. These are improved takes on the Windows Mixed Reality controllers, with a ring of LEDs on the left and right controllers, but with refined button and joystick placement and no trackpad, which could be a little fiddly to operate in other headsets.
On the hardware side, the Reverb G2 is a solid upgrade on HP’s previous Reverb headset. But with its improved resolution and other neat refinements, it should make the Windows Mixed Reality platform, built into Windows 10, and SteamVR more enjoyable. These improvements come at a good time, as VR fans now have a high-quality game in Half-Life: Alyx with which to experience the immersive world of virtual reality.
The Reverb G2 treads the line between the $399 Oculus Rift S and the high-end $999 Index. It beats both headsets on resolution and offers a faster refresh rate than the Rift S’ 80Hz, arguably justifying its $599 price. Yet it's not much more than half the price of the Index, even if it lacks a few of the advanced features of Valve’s headset such as the 130-degree field-of-view and external movement sensors.
There is now a wide range of headsets to choose from in our best VR headset selection. But good Windows Mixed Reality headsets aren’t exactly commonplace, so the Reverb G2 could a good alternative to the headsets from Oculus, HTC, and Valve when it arrives in July.
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Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.