HP unveils their ultra comfortable VR headset at HP Reinvent global partner conference.
The Windows Mixed Reality platform has seen its fair share of ups and downs since the introduction of Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and HP third-party headsets back in October of 2017. The initial offerings suffered from inconsistent tracking and subpar controllers, but a low cost-of-entry made it an appealing alternative for entry-level users looking for a cheaper route into VR.
Since then, Microsoft and its hardware partners have done an incredible job at rehabilitating WMR into a viable VR platform capable of standing its ground in the face of industry-leading headsets, such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. With the announcement of the new HP Reverb, however, Windows Mixed Reality is now officially on the offensive.
Revealed earlier this morning during the companies global partner conference–HP Reinvent–the HP Reverb delivers the most powerful Windows Mixed Reality experience yet thanks to a bevy of upgrades that put the headset in direct competition with not only consumer-focused headsets, but enterprise devices as well.
With impressive 2160 x 2160 panel per eye visuals and 114-degree field-of-view, the HP Reverb boasts twice the resolution of the original HP Windows Mixed Reality headset. This removes the dreaded screen door-effect that plagues a majority of VR headsets, creating crystal clear visuals with immensely detailed textures. Also missing from this newest iteration is manual IPD adjustment; HP instead opted in favor of a new set of optics designed to “increase the visual “sweet spot”’ without the need of a physical knob/slider.
The Reverb will come packaged with the same controllers utilized by the other WMR devices, but will feature improved tracking thanks to built-in bluetooth functionality on the headset itself as opposed to the PC. In terms of audio, the headset features removable headphones with spatial audio and dual microphones.
During our brief time with HP’s powerful new headset, one of the most noticeable aspects of the device was its extremely comfortable design. Weighing in at a total of 1.1 pounds, the HP Reverb is roughly two-thirds the weight of the Vive Pro, while at the same time still maintaining better overall visuals. This increased comfortability is due in large part to the oval-shaped support located at the back of the users head which distributes weight evenly for a more immersive experience. The company also ditched the original headband design for a more convenient velcro strap.
“As the commercial VR segment is expected to grow to $34 billion by 2022 2 , customers are seeking lifelike VR viewing to help open doors to new business opportunities in product design, training, and engineering,” spoke Spike Huang, vice president and global lead of VR of HP Inc, in an official release. “The time for commercial VR is now and adding HP Reverb to our broader virtual reality portfolio is an important step in addressing this growing market.”
The HP Reverb will be available in two models. The HP Reverb Consumer Edition will include a machine-washable face cushion and long wire connections for their PC’s. The HP Reverb Professional Edition features an easy-to-clean and easy-to-swap leather face mask along with shorter wires; HP assumes most enterprise use-cases will involve PC backpacks, requiring less cable than its consumer counterpart.
With improved optics, visuals, tracking, and comfort, the HP Reverb is easily Window’s Mixed Realities most impressive offering so far. With the Odyssey+ also making great improvements on its previous iteration, it appears as though Windows Mixed Reality has finally begun gaining its footing within the industry.
The HP Reverb Consumer Edition will be available next month for $649, a relatively fare price for the considerable amount of upgrades being offered. No word yet on a set price for the Professional version.