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HP Reverb G2 Review

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VR Expert HP Reverb G2 Front view
VR Expert HP Reverb G2 sideview

The HP Reverb G2 is the successor to the original HP Reverb. The first Reverb received lots of feedback, such as its poor inside-out tracking due to only 2 tracking cameras or its poor quality lenses, which led to an unsatisfactory experience. In the newer Reverb G2, HP took all the feedback onboard and now relies on 4 integrated tracking cameras and it uses lenses from Valve. We wanted to find out to what extent the HP Reverb G2 has improved and how it compares to other PC VR headsets like the HTC Vive Pro 2 or Varjo Aero.

In this comprehensive review of the HP Reverb G2 we will take a deeper look at the following points:

  • Pros and Cons
  • Specifications
  • What is in the box
  • Design and comfort
  • Ease of use
  • Power and Performance
  • Display
  • Tracking
  • Controllers
  • Price
  • Conclusion

Pros and cons of the HP Reverb G2

ProsCons
Inside out trackingNo capacitive finger tracking on controllers
Valve lensesNo built in eye tracking
Built-in speakersOnly 98 degrees field of view
2160 x 2160 resolution per eye
4 cameras, providing 6DoF tracking
Windows mixed reality
Price

Specifications of the HP Reverb G2

The HP Reverb G2 has the following specifications:

  • Display type: LCD panels
  • Resolution: 2160 x 2160 per eye
  • Refresh rate: 90 Hz
  • Field of view: 98 degrees horizontal
  • Tracking: Inside-out tracking with 4 external cameras
  • Weight: 498 grams
  • Material: Plastic, foam facial interface
  • Controllers: 6DoF Windows Mixed Reality controller

What’s in the box

The HP Reverb G2 comes in a sleek black box. After opening the box, you’ll be greeted by the headset itself. It is packaged in foam to protect it during shipping. 

The following items can be found in the box:

  • HP Reverb G2 headset
  • Headset cable (6.0 m)
  • Power adapter
  • 2x 6DoF Windows Mixed Reality controllers
  • Displayport to mini-Displayport adapter
  • Setup guide

Design and comfort

The Reverb G2 has a sleek design made mainly out of plastic. The fitting can be adjusted by velcros on the side and top of the device. The face padding is made with soft padding and feels comfortable. It is also removable, held in by magnets. If the headset still gets dirty or sweaty, you can just remove the padding and clean it. The face padding also ensures that no light is let through.

The weight of the HP Reverb G2 is 498 grams. Compared to the 717 grams of the Varjo Aero and 850 grams of the HTC Vive Pro 2, the Reverb G2 is much lighter and therefore more comfortable to wear for a longer period of time. 

It is also possible to adjust the eye relief (IPD) manually. There is a range of 60-68mm. For most people this should be enough to adjust the displays to be clear enough. However, on the Varjo Aero and HTC Vive Pro 2 the IPD can be adjusted from 57-72mm, making them suitable to a wider range of people.

On the HP Reverb G2 there are two speakers located on the side of the headband. These can be adjusted to be directed towards your ears. The speakers sit around 2 to 3 cm from your ears. This means that you’re not secluded from your surroundings and can still hear what is going on around you. In comparison, the HTC Vive Pro 2 features built in headphones, while the Varjo Aero doesn’t feature built in sound at all.

Ease of use

The Reverb G2 is a Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headset. If the latest update of Windows 10 is installed on your PC, the WMR portal is already installed. Nonetheless, when launching the portal, the PC will do a general check of its own specifications.

VR Expert HP Reverb G2 Review

HP recommends an Intel i5/i7 or an AMD Ryzen 5 or higher for CPU. At least 8GB of RAM, although 16GB is preferred. For the GPU, a GTX 1060 or RX580 is enough for half-resolution. For full resolution you will need a GTX 1080, RX5700 or higher. Further, a DisplayPort on the GPU and a USB 3.0 port (type-C) is required. HP includes a mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort adapter and a USB-C to USB 3.0 adapter.

The setup is straightforward. There is a 6 meter long cable with a mini-DisplayPort and a USB-C connection on one end, and the Oculink connection on the other end. The Oculink connector plugs into the Oculink port on the headset. The other two connections plug into the PC. On the DisplayPort and USB-C’s end there is a breakout box in which the power adapter needs to be plugged into.

After plugging in the cables, the WMR portal recognizes the headset and will initiate setup. Connecting the controllers was as simple as holding the Windows buttons for two seconds. At the end of the setup, the portal will ask if you want to use the headset standing up or sitting down. In the first case, you will have to select your playing field by aiming the headset at the screen and then walk the border of the playing field while aiming the headset at the PC screen. For sitting down you just need to aim the headset at the monitor and it will calibrate. 

Even though the Reverb G2 is a Windows Mixed reality headset, it can be used with SteamVR, unlike its predecessor. SteamVR does not immediately recognize the headset, however. For a successful integration, the WMR plugin has to be installed via Steam. After this, Steam will recognize the headset and it will also automatically configure the controller setup. For example, when launching Superhot VR or Half Life: Alyx, Steam recognized the controller setup needed. If this is not the case, you can open the Steam menu and load a community shared controller configuration or make one of your own.

VR Expert HP Reverb G2 Review

Display

When the HP Reverb G2 was released, it’s 2160×2160 pixels per eye resolution was one of the highest on the market. However, headsets with even higher resolutions have been released since that. For example, the Vive Pro 2 features 2448×2448 pixels per eye, while the Varjo Aero even has 2880×2720 pixels per eye. It must be said that the resolution is still more than sufficient in the Reverb compared to the others.

The HP Reverb G2 supports a 90 Hz refresh rate, which ensures smooth display of graphics. This refresh rate is also featured by the Varjo Aero, while it is dwarfed by the Vive Pro 2 which boasts a refresh rate of 120 Hz. 90 Hz is accepted as a more than sufficient refresh rate to ensure a smooth VR experience.

VR Expert HP Reverb G2 Review

The lenses are designed by Valve. These are a big upgrade in comparison to its predecessor, the original Reverb. These lenses claim to offer a mura-free experience, which means that colors and brightness have been improved on all pixels. You end up with a brighter and sharper image. The original Reverb had some problems with the image being blurry in the corners. With the Reverb G2, this seems to be fixed. The colours of the display are good, but if colours are your main requirement the Varjo Aero is currently the best, due to its 1000 mini-displays. Compared to the Vive Pro 2 the HP Reverb stands up very well.

The field of view of the HP Reverb G2 is 98 degrees horizontal and quite average compared to other headsets. In comparison, Vive Pro 2 and Varjo Aero both feature outstanding fields of view. The HTC Vive Pro 2 has a horizontal field of view of 120 degrees and the Varjo Aero features 115 degrees. A high field of view results in a much more immersive VR experience.

Tracking

HP uses 6DoF tracking provided by the two side-facing and two front-facing cameras on the Reverb G2. This means that it supports inside-out tracking without the use of base stations. The Varjo Aero, as well as the HTC Vive Pro 2, both use SteamVR controllers and base stations for tracking. Stationary use (3DoF) requires 2 base stations, while moving use (6DoF) requires 4 base stations. 6DoF allows the user to freely walk around in their playing area.

VR Expert - 3DoF vs 6DoF

The advantage of HP’s inside-out tracking is, that there is no need to set up external base stations and you are able to directly jump into action. However, the tracking accuracy is higher when using base stations. However, for simple setups where travel is more often required the Reverb is a great option.

A big area where the HP Reverb G2 loses out is in eye tracking. The Varjo Aero, compared to HP’s and HTC’s headsets, offers 200 Hz eye tracking. The eye tracking can collect important information about the user’s activities. This is very useful for training, experience analysis or marketing purposes. In addition, the eye tracking enables foveated rendering, meaning the area where the user is focussing will always provide the highest resolution.

Controllers

HP improved the shape and feel of the controllers. Microsoft has a reference design for WMR controllers which do not have the best ergonomics. However, HP made the controllers different so that they fit a human hand better. It is compact and lightweight which makes use pleasant.

VR Expert HP Reverb G2

The controllers all have a trigger button, a grip button and a thumbstick.The right controller has an A and B button. The left controller has an X and Y button. Both controllers also have a Windows button and a menu button. On top of the controller is the tracking halo which remains unchanged. The controllers require two AA batteries each.

Price

The HP Reverb G2 costs 577 euros in a bundle with the two controllers. Its competitors are more expensive. The Varjo Aero is currently priced at 1990 euros, while the Vive Pro 2 costs 890 euros without controllers (Vive Pro Controllers can be purchased separately for 220 euros per controller)

VR Expert HP Reverb G2 Review

Conclusion

HP has definitely taken the criticism of the first Reverb to heart and launched a much improved and well-engineered PC VR headset with the HP Reverb G2. The significantly improved inside-out tracking and the new Valve lenses make the headset a very competitive offering, especially because of the much lower price.

Compared to the HTC Vive Pro 2, the HP Reverb G2 can keep up very well except for the low field of view and refresh rate. As expected, the Varjo Aero is still superior to the Reverb G2, mainly because of the eye-tracking capability and higher-quality screen technology. 

For enterprises that want to take their first steps in the world of virtual reality without having to spend almost 2000 Euros for the Varjo Aero, the HP Reverb G2 is a very good choice. The device has very good and completely sufficient specifications for many use cases. If you would like to get further advice about the choice of headset, you are welcome to contact us at sales@vr-expert.com.

VR Expert HP Reverb G2
VR Expert - Varjo Aero
VR Expert HTC Vive Pro 2 headset

Specifications

HP Reverb G2

Varjo Aero

HTC Vive Pro 2

Price

577 €

1990 €

890 €

Display

Dual LCD

Dual Mini LED LCD

Dual LCD

Resolution

2160×2160 pixels per eye

2880×2720 pixels per eye

2448×2448 pixels per eye

Refresh rate

90 Hz

90 Hz

120 Hz

Field of view

98 degrees horizontal

115 degrees horizontal

120 degrees horizontal

Weight

498 grams

717 grams

850 grams

Tracking

Inside-out tracking with 4 integrated cameras

SteamVR tracking (marker based) +
eye tracking

SteamVR tracking (marker based)

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