HP today announced its Reverb G2 headset, bringing with it a wishlist of improvements to the WMR product ecosystem. With leading visual clarity, high quality off-ear headphones, improved tracking, and new controllers, there’s a lot to look forward to. The headset is available for pre-order starting today at $600 and is set to launch this Fall.

HP launched the original Reverb headset back in May, 2019; now just a year later the company is revealing its successor, the Reverb G2.

From the upgrades and improvements, it seems quite clear that HP has been listening carefully to feedback from users of the original Reverb and other WMR headsets at large. Reverb G2 is shaping up to be the next generation of Windows VR headsets.

Four Camera Tracking for the First Time on WMR

Reverb G2 has two cameras on the front and two on the sides | Image courtesy HP

Windows VR headsets were the first major headsets out of the gate with inside-out tracking back in 2017. While it was impressive for the time, competitors like Oculus have since launched headsets with four or more tracking cameras which offer a much larger tracking volume.

Reverb G2 is the first WMR headset to move from two-camera tracking to four-camera tracking. HP says that the additional cameras offer “1.4x more movement capture” compared to other Windows VR headsets.

New Controllers, Compatible with All WMR Headsets

Image courtesy HP

Reverb G2 will also be the first Windows VR headset to offer a substantial controller redesign. While Samsung made slightly more ergonomic versions of the original Windows VR controllers for its Odyssey headsets, HP is bringing significant changes to the shape and input layout.

The original WMR controllers had both a thumbstick, trackpad, and one application button on the face. That was accompanied by an analog trigger and a grip button.

The Reverb G2 controllers—which appear unabashedly shaped like Oculus’ Touch controllers—offer a much closer input layout to other modern VR controllers: a thumbstick, two face buttons, an application button, an analog trigger and a grip trigger. There’s also the ‘Windows’ button for core WMR functionality.

What’s more, HP says that the G2 controllers are backwards compatible with other Windows VR headsets, which means that WMR users who are happy with their current headset will have an option to upgrade their controllers. HP says it plans to sell the G2 controllers separately from the headset for this purpose, but that may not happen until sometime after the launch of the headset, and pricing for the controllers alone has not been announced.

Impressive New Display & Optics

Image courtesy HP

In the display department, Reverb G2 technically has the same resolution as the original Reverb (2,160 × 2,160 per-eye), but it’s an all new display which brings some key improvements over the original. HP says it has better contrast, brightness, and lower persistence.

Combined with new lenses—which HP says Valve helped design and calibrate—Reverb G2 has incredible clarity; easily the best among consumer VR headsets. Check out our exclusive hands-on with G2 for more on the headset’s impressive visuals.

Part of why Reverb is leading the pack in clarity is because its displays are not just higher resolution but also smaller than some other headsets, making the pixels per degree higher than if they were spread over a larger field of view. HP says Reverb G2 maintains the same 114-degree field of view as the original Reverb (which we’ve found to be comparable in FOV to Oculus’ headsets).

New Off-ear Headphones, Courtesy Valve

Image courtesy HP

HP makes no secret that it has worked directly with Valve on Reverb G2, and that’s meant adopting Index’s impressive ‘off-ear’ headphones.

The original Reverb headphones gave us nothing to complain about, and were quite a bit better than the default audio in Oculus’ latest generation of headsets. Even so, G2 is bringing upgraded headphones to the table.

HP tells us that these are the exact same amp and drivers that have made Index the audio king among VR headsets. The G2 headphones also adopt the smart ‘off-ear’ mounting approach which we’ve found on Index to be more comfortable and even more immersive than ‘on-ear’ headphones.

SEE ALSO
Index's 'Off-ear' Headphones Are Its Most Surprising Innovation

Ergonomic Improvements & IPD Adjustment

Image courtesy HP

Also pulling a few pages from Valve’s playbook, Reverb G2 has a redesigned head-mount shape, improved padding, and a magnetically attached face-gasket.

The circle design on the rear of the original Reverb has been eschewed in favor of a wider oval which the company says is better shaped to the head. The new padding is notably thicker and wider, better distributing pressure around the eyes and back of the head.

While G2 is borrowing some ergonomic notes from Index, HP’s new headset will retain the side-strap approach for fitting and tightening the headset rather than a tightening dial which has become popular on recent headsets.

G2 thankfully also adds a physical IPD adjustment which allows users to change the distance between the lenses from 60mm to 68mm. This is an important feature for allowing users to get their eyes aligned with the ‘sweet spot’ of the lens.

SEE ALSO
How to Measure Your IPD and Why It's Important for VR & AR Headsets

The headset’s display housing can also rotate 90 degrees relative to its head-mount. This isn’t the ‘flip-up’ function offered by some other headsets, but it adds more flexibility when putting on the headset.

Reverb G2 also brings a lengthy 19.5 foot (6m) cable which is thinner and lighter than the somewhat bulky tether on the original Reverb. The cable connects to PCs via DisplayPort and USB-C; if the USB-C port can’t provide adequate power, an included power adapter can be connected to the tether.  HP also noted that the new cable has been redesigned to eliminate the display issues that plagued early models of the original Reverb.

HP Reverb G2 Price, Pre-order, and Release Date

Image courtesy HP

HP has priced Reverb G2 at $600, the same as the consumer version of the original Reverb. The headset’s release date is planned for Fall 2020.

The company is taking pre-orders for G2 in the United States starting today at HP.com, Steam, and “select channel partners.” The company says pre-orders for other “select countries” are expected to open between mid-June and July.

HP Reverb G2 Specs

  • Platform: WMR (with SteamVR compatibility)
  • Resolution: 2,160 × 2,160 LCD per-eye @ 90Hz
  • Field-of-View: 114°
  • Tracking: Inside-out, four cameras
  • Weight: 1.21 pounds (0.55kg)
  • Cable Length: 19.5 feet (6m)
  • Connector: DisplayPort, USB-C, power adapter (optional) [DisplayPort to mini-DisplayPort adapter included]
  • Controllers: Removable batteries, 2x AA (included)

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  • blue5peed

    This is exciting something that truly sits between the underwhelming Rift S and venerable Index. I think the most exciting thing is that the controllers are backward compatible and familiar. A bit of standardization for VR devs.

    • Kyokushin

      Honestly – Even 1st Reverb is much better than Index (its still low-res headset with a pixel in a size of fist)

      • Index paired with powerful PC is very impressive, 90hz is comfortable whilst enabling higher levels of super resolution without reprojection. Half Life Alyx on ultra settings at 90hz is incredibly vivid and immersive.

        It’s Achilles heel is lens glare and to a lesser degree limitations of LCD screens.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          And appearantly the glare isn’t a problem anymore with this headset, and it does support 90hz. So the HP paired with a powerful PC should be even more impressive..

          • James Cobalt

            I think he meant to say 144hz?

          • Andrew Jakobs

            but the index is 120hz

          • Juan Fran

            The Index can switch between 80, 90, 120 or 144Hz, it’s not just 120Hz.

          • James Cobalt

            Like Juan explained, the Index supports many different refresh rates for better system compatibility. If your system can push 144+ fps, then you can do the 144hz. It’s really wonderful in twitch action games. Everything feels more real… but also “slower” in a way because your eyes are getting more movement information.

            Beat Saber is harder on the Quest in part due to weaker tracking, but in large part because of its super low refresh rate.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Oh yeah thanx, I forgot about that experimental 144hz mode..

          • James Cobalt

            While it hasn’t been updated in a lot of the marketing material, there was a post-launch firmware update that took it out of “experimental” mode. It’s now just a standard feature on all Index headsets.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            oh thanx for the info.

      • James Cobalt

        Hard to take that comment seriously. If you want to plant your flag that X is better, you’re gonna need to qualify for what. For your personal tastes? For your budget? For your work?

        There’s a lot to be said for the Index’s super high refresh rate, off-ear sound, better comfort, far superior controllers and tracking volume, and larger FOV if you want to contrast with the 1st gen Reverb. Reverb’s clarity can’t be beat in the consumer/prosumer market but it’s the one (admittedly huge) thing it has over Index.

        Not sure you’ve spent a meaningful amount of time in *both* HMDs, or what you primarily use them for. I certainly think the Reverb is better for almost any seated experience (except streaming, for which I prefer OLED HMDs like Quest/Odyssey+/Vive Pro) but Index shines with any sort of twitch gameplay (FPS, bemani, etc), complicated body positioning, detailed hand interactions, larger play spaces, et al.

        • Kyokushin

          Horizontal fov i only 108vs95 for Index, but in a case of resolution its a day and night for 1st Reverb.

      • Mei Ling

        There’s nothing objective about your comment :)

        • Kyokushin

          Objective are numbers – as twice of pixel density on a only slightly smaller fov.

  • As an Index owner since launch, this new Reverb looks very promising and perhaps the next purchase.

    Critically though, has the lens glare problem from Index been reduced or eliminated with this new Reverb?

    • Rudl Za Vedno

      It has been according to HP. Watch MRTV on YT- It had HP developers talking in depth about all specs of Reverb G2. They said chosen lenses are different than in Index because they wanted near zero glare/god rays effect in G2.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        If that’s the case, then the G2 might really be one of the best headsets around. Only question is, how does the tracking behave in different lighting conditions..

        • James Cobalt

          It’s the same as Hololens 2 tracking – it relies on light. It does ok in low lighting – better than Cosmos, but noticeably better in good lighting. Thankfully you can use an IR emitter to light your room so you can play in the dark.

      • A comparison of the lenses and displays is something I look forward to seeing.

        I understand Reverb is single lens Fresnel, whilst Index is dual lens Fresnel – perhaps dual lens internal reflection generating optical artifacts in higher contrast scene?

        Keen to understand difference that Valve took with both lens design, and trade offs between FOV, clarity, stereo overlap ,etc.

  • TLDR it is a more affordable Index. In a good way. The perfect middle ground between the Rift S and Index. Now if Valve will throw in another Alyx bundle…

    • Adrian Meredith

      Why is it a middle ground when the screen is massively better?

      • mellott124

        Because an HMD is more than just a screen

        • Andrew Jakobs

          But ‘on paper’ the G2 seems to beat the Index…

          • James Cobalt

            On paper it seems to match the index in sound and lens quality.
            It clearly beats it on clarity.

            It does not beat it in refresh rate, tracking volume, tracking accuracy, FOV, or IPD range.

            We don’t yet know how it compares on comfort for extended use, hardware reliability (something Index fumbled), warranty, customer service, display contrast/brightness/color-accuracy/persistence, et al.

            So from a technical and value standpoint, like foxrevolution said, it seems like it falls somewhere between the Rift S and Index (both in price and features); which is surely what they were aiming for from a business strategy perspective. Cosmos should have been that, but they botched it, so there was a clear space for a new entrant. G2 offers an enticing enough value proposition that people on the low end and high end can give it some consideration.

          • Juan Fran

            And the Knuckles, I have the Rift S, a WMR headset and the Index, once you get used to the knuckles is hard to go back. The other controllers just feel awkward.

          • James Cobalt

            For sword-based gameplay, I think I actually prefer the shape of Vive’s Wands for Beat Saber… But doing hand interactions on anything but Index creates a sense of longing. And even with the Index, it’s not quite “there” for natural hand interaction. It’s a step in the right direction, but more like a taste of the future than the future itself.

          • Rik Wild

            What I would like to see is a pair of gloves with sensors built into them. And possibly with some inflatable panels in the palms that could automatically inflate to the size of the object you were picking up.

          • Mozzie

            I would disagree with you. I got the Rift S & Index when they launched. Index controllers were heavy, clunky, and buggy (it didn’t pick up my finger inputs properly, even after using them a fair amount). The Touch controllers are more ergonomic, lighter and fit in my hands way better.

          • Juan Fran

            We must have veeeery different hands, I’m always picking the wrong controller with the touch and when I open my hand a bit the controller drops to the side as it is top heavy, for me the touch are tiny, shorter than my thumbs and the magnetic battery cap is too easy to unintentionally open.
            But I was talking more about the motion you do when picking something, with the touch you press a button, with the knuckles you do a grab, you can’t get more ergonomic than that and you don’t have to keep a hold on them either, how can the touch be more ergonomic?.
            Your opinion is in the minority, in fact it’s the first time I read someone liking the touch more and I read a lot of opinions.

          • mellott124

            Things almost always look better on paper. G1 looked awesome on paper. Not so much in person. But we can hope.

    • Can’t wait to try those controllers, they look very comparable to the Touch controllers I’ve been using for so long.

      • James Cobalt

        If these are weighted similarly to the 1st gen WMR controllers, they could feel more natural than the 2nd gen (top heavy) Touch controllers.

      • Kevin White

        I wonder if they have high definition haptics (like Vive wands, Touch, etc.) or still low definition like the old WMR controllers (more like “rumble”).

        Battery usage was also ridiculous on my Odyssey controllers compared to Touch.

        • James Cobalt

          The battery use was inexcusable. On Beat Saber Ex+ I’d get 90 minutes before the tracking started getting crap. That’s 4 AA batteries every one or two days…

          I ended up 3D printing some dummy batteries and put a resistor in each, then paired them with a 3.7V lithium ion rechargeable (the kind made for cameras). That would get me a few hours with no gradual drops into lower-hertz tracking (just a sudden drop off at the end). Drastic, but made a world of difference.

          • Kevin White

            Wow, that’s an ingenious little mod.

        • Mei Ling

          The Touch has high definition haptics? :)

          • Kevin White

            Yes: https://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-touch-buffered-haptics-feedback-sdk-documentation/

            Touch, Vive wands, Index controllers all do. The Steam gamepad does too, as do the Switch gamepads. The WMR controllers and the PS4 and Xbox One controllers don’t — they have Eccentric Rotating Mass haptics (rumble) but I’ve heard the new consoles will get LRA (Linear Resonance Actuator) haptics. So I’m curious about these next gen WMR controllers.

  • doug

    “1.4x more movement capture,” which literally means 140% more, is almost certainly HP’s mistaken attempt at saying 40% more. Otherwise, doubling the number of cameras more than doubled the movement capture.

    • Probably meant 1.4 times the movement capture. xD good catch

    • John

      1×1.4= 1.4. That is 40% more than 1, not 140%. Your maths is wrong, quote is right.

  • Brent Arnold

    Went to HP and there is no pre-order page yet.

    • Anfronie

      It’s up now

  • Brent Arnold

    Nothing will touch the Pimax 8KX when it comes out, but it’s also $1899.

    • James Cobalt

      I believe this still has higher clarity (pixels per degree) by comparison due to its much, much lower FOV and higher panel utilization.

      • Mei Ling

        They should give approximately the same level of clarity.

    • dz11

      8kx has distortions that will make it unusable for many people.

    • Mei Ling

      It runs at 75Hz (at native) and has severe distortion issues. Colors and contrast are also sub-par at best.

      It’s a small Chinese company with roots in low quality, and cheap devices.

  • lnpilot

    Exciting news. 2k x 2k per eye, RGB stripe is my absolute minimum resolution before I’m willing to spend a dime on a VR headset, so it’s very cool that it’s finally available.

  • James Cobalt

    Yeah I’m a bit surprised it’s so low. Granted, the first gen did have a surprisingly large tracking volume for just two forward-facing cameras, but it was still nowhere near enough. Felt like it needed to double.

  • Kevin White

    Do the controllers have high definition LRA-based haptics, or low definition ERM-based haptics like the old WMR controllers?

  • Alextended

    So, this is basically WMR 1.5 but a really nice high quality
    implementation, like Samsung’s Odyssey was in its time. Hopefully the
    tracking matches Oculus in quality. Still, I doubt this thing will be
    worth it for most, especially if Oculus drop the price of the S (it’s
    already ~200 less for its lower resolution and lesser audio), though
    it’ll probably kill HTC’s VR with their Cosmos mishaps. Hopefully other
    companies will follow suit and provide their own take on WMR 1.5 for
    varying price ranges that can compete, down to the $200 of last gen WMR
    models but with the base improvements seen here, just different
    HMD/screen/build quality specs and stuff. Otherwise if you’re gonna
    spend a premium you might as well go full Index. Although it can also be
    a great choice for simmers as it has really great resolution for that
    $600 it costs, not like a Pimax or XTAL kit (though simmer games like
    DCS and IL-2 struggle for performance already).

    I like seeing new VR models that don’t overhaul stuff too much though,
    lol, first Cosmos, now this use a very similar controller layout, it
    only means Oculus controllers/features remain competitive and on par
    longer (it’s crazy they got it so right in ~2016) and I don’t need to
    upgrade except when some real sweet stuff arrive for modest prices: VR
    2.0 with eye tracking for foveated rendering/gameplay features and
    finger tracking smoother than index for less moneys or whatever. Maybe
    wireless connection to PC if that becomes possible already (without
    crazy extra costs like the Vive wireless adapter). I feel like Quest 2
    should have proper wireless (5G?) for PC finally, not the laggy homebrew
    stuff. But not the other things, too premium to sell any time soon
    unless they also maintain Quest alongside it and that becomes Quest Pro
    rather than 2, using its power to run the same games at higher
    res/hz/settings until they abandon the first.

    • Mei Ling

      You need the addditional FOV to get the most out of simmers so I don’t believe this device is a perfect match for that genre of gaming.

    • Alextended

      We found the Pimax shill trying to justify his boss/purchase, lol. No
      sim has viability issues on lower fov sets and for most simmers Pimax aint worth
      the price and trouble and distortion (and lack of suitability for non
      sim things they also dabble in).

  • Bumpy

    Seems to be a great refresh fixing all of the main complaints of the original.

    The best simmers headset just got better.

    • Mei Ling

      Simmers need FOV. This does not provide that in spades. It has the same FOV as the Rift S which is notorious for a cramped binocular toilet paper roll FOV.

      Yes it has resolution but FOV is just as important when you’re in that cockpit where situational awareness in your periphery is absolutely vital, and critical in some cases.

    • Alextended

      We found the Pimax shill trying to justify his boss/purchase. No sim has viability issues on lower fov sets (I mean, simmers used to buy the Samsung Odyssey for its clarity compared to Vive and the like ffs) and for most simmers Pimax aint worth the price and trouble and distortion (and unsuitability for non sims).

  • Rupert Jung

    Seems like a much cheaper Index with better visuals and without all the lighthouse hassle. Sounds great to me. :)

  • Nicolinux

    The question is – does it have the same problems with vertical banding like the Index? That would be the only reason for me to “upgrade” to the G2 from the Index.

  • Joseph Stradling

    If you purchased games through Oculus for the Rift S, will you have to repurchase those games when switching to the Reverb 2?