HP’s Hi-Res Reverb G2 VR Headset Pre-Orders Launching in June/July
This week, HP unveiled its new HP Reverb G2 VR Headset which addresses some of the criticisms that were leveled against the previous Reverb model. The new virtual reality headsets will have high-resolution specifications and the company is hoping it will give be a real competitor to the big VR headsets and attract new consumers and enterprise users.
HP will be launching its second-generation virtual reality headsets in partnership with Microsoft and Valve. The headset arrives this fall for a price of $600 with pre-orders scheduled to begin in June/July.
The headset will have a high resolution of 2,160 by 2,160 per year which will significantly increase its visual realism. The improvements in the resolutions are good for the industry as a whole. The Reverb G2 leverages a lens that was designed by a Valve with up to 2.5 times the Oculus Rift resolution so users should expect much sharper images that will convey the feeling of being taken into another reality altogether.
The Reverb G2 has brand new panels different from the ones that were used in the Reverb G1 which will deliver “some amazing improvements” in immersion according to the company’s lead product manager for VR John Ludwig. Ludwig stated that the glasses’ contrast and brightness has improved “significantly” in the brand-new panels in the G2. Additionally, HP has also reduced the persistence of the pixels. Due to the boost in the brightness and the contrast, users are now assured of a much-improved visual experience in the second-generation Reverb glasses. The new persistence now enables users to get a more fluid and comfortable experience with new headsets.
HP collaborated with both Valve and Microsoft to integrate SteamVR and the Windows Mixed Reality platforms in these second-generation headsets. The new headset will replace the company’s HP Reverb G1 that the company launched in March last year for $600. The first-generation headset was plagued with visual flaws and users got the feel of looking at the world via dirty goggles. According to Ludwig, both issues have now been fixed in the new headsets set to hit the market this fall.
HP hopes that the new Reverb G2 headset will attract even more people into VR now that the depth of immersion has improved considerably. Virtual reality still hasn’t lived up to its soaring promise but this year has been impressive with sales ramping up and stores being hit with shortages amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
With COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions on movements and face-to-face meetings, virtual is becoming the new normal for most people and many VR companies are eager to capitalize on that. With the crisis increasingly becoming more endemic, it is expected that we are going to have more and more people doing stuff online beyond such work. These might include learning and even training at home. VR is coming up with new solutions to capitalize on this new normal.
A New VR Experience
The pandemic has presented a huge opportunity for the Virtual Reality industry. Some of the existing mainstream online collaboration platforms such as Zoom lack the immersive interaction that you could only get in a physical meeting setup or in virtual reality. Since physical meetings are not possible anymore as the pandemic rages on many are looking to VR.
In April this year alone, SteamVR recorded close to one million monthly-connected headsets. This was triple its previous biggest monthly gain. According to HP projections, between 25% and 30% of the workforce will be working from the comfort of their homes for multiple days in a week by 2021 and they will be looking for new ways to collaborate virtually.
In the new HP Reverb G2 VR Headset, the company has kept some of the features found in the first-generation headset such as the high-resolution LCDs as well as the 114-degree field of view. The new headset will also be running at 90 frames per second. All this is packed within a very lightweight design.
The new headset also has enhanced audio which, according to HP, will enable users to get a sense of a 3D space when they are immersed into the virtual reality world. For example, it will enable gamers to find their foes by using audio clues. The speakers of the new Reverb G2 VR Headset are similar to those of the Valve Index VR Headset.
The new-generation HP headset will also feature inside-out tracking consisting of four cameras on the headset itself which will eliminate the need to rely on external sensors. The integration of the Windows Mixed Reality platform allows for 1.4 times more movement capture and enables users to maintain six degrees of freedom without having to rely on lighthouses or external sensors.
The improvements in the resolution will enable users to clearly see the texts as well as textures. For users, it will result in improved experienced and increased retention. It has hand controllers with new intuitive control features such as the optimized button layout, application and game compatibility as well as the ability to pair it via Bluetooth for ease of setup.
The Reverb G2 has also been designed for greater comfort. It is built with manual adjustments for the eye settings as well as a facemask cushion that provides better comfort. The facemask can be flipped 90 degrees by moving it back and forth from the virtual world to the real world. The Reverb G2 also features better comfort and weight distribution enabling you to enjoy longer VR sessions. The headset connects to a PC through a single cable.
The U.S. preorders began this week via HP.com, the SteamVR homepage and a number of select channel partners.