HP has just unveiled the new HP Reverb G2, the highest resolution VR headset the company has made to date with specs that rival – and surpass – the market-leading Valve Index.
The headset was made in collaboration with Microsoft and Valve, and features some major improvements in terms of optics and comfort from the original HP Reverb that was released in May 2019.
Among those improvements, HP says, are a new flip-up visor design and lenses with a wider 'sweet spot', and extra padding on the front band to make longer sessions feel more comfortable.
In terms of hardware specs, the Reverb G2 will have a resolution of 2160 x 2160 per eye – the highest resolution of any headset – and uses the speakers from the Valve Index to enable spatial audio support.
The one area that the Reverb G2 may not fare so well against the competition, however, is the ‘new’ controllers that look a bit like the ones that come with the Oculus Rift S. While these will likely be comfortable and easy-to-use, two areas that HP hangs its hat on, it doesn’t look as though they’ll be able to track every finger the same way Valve’s Knuckle Controllers can.
Developing a universal VR headset
The benefit of being developed by three of the leading companies in VR is that the headset really borrows the best of every ecosystem – 6DoF controllers recognized on Windows 10, support from Steam VR and, of course, features directly lifted from the Valve Index like the side speakers.
This level of universal support is great for folks who don't want to feel locked into one platform, and is definitely a major trend among VR headsets these days.
With all that said, we'll still need to test the HP Reverb G2 before we make a final decision, but on paper this VR headset looks to be a good alternative to the Valve Index, a headset that has been almost impossible to find in stock since the launch of Half-Life: Alyx back in March.
...Unfortunately, it's not coming out right away. HP says the headset won't be available until the fall (September through November).
There's some good news to those who wait, however: the HP Reverb G2 will only cost $599 (around £500, AU$900). Though it's unclear if that price includes all the necessary peripherals, it would be a huge improvement on the Valve Index's $999 price tag.
- Ready to make the leap to VR? Here's our list of the best VR headsets