HP today announced it is building a new VR headset, called Reverb G2, in collaboration with Valve and Microsoft.

There’s very little to go on, as the only thing available right now is a single teaser video. Here it is, in all its ambiguous glory:

HP also left us with this statement, which may give us at least one clue as to what we’re seeing here:

“Through this collaboration, Valve, Microsoft and HP are bringing a more immersive, comfortable and compatible VR experience,” an HP spokesperson told Road to VR. 

Healthy speculation: by the looks of it, the Reverb G2 may make use of Microsoft’s Windows MR optical inside-out tracking, which is available on a host of Windows MR headsets dating back to the first generation of devices in 2017, including the original HP Reverb.

Launched just last summer and aimed at enterprise users, the HP Reverb was an impressive piece of kit despite the compromises on its generally tepid Windows tracking quality and aging WMR controllers. It includes 2,160 × 2,160 per-display resolution, which is a big step up over the next highest resolution headsets in the same class—the Valve Index, showcasing a resolution of 1,440 × 1,600 per display, and HTC Vive Pro’s dual 1,440 × 1,600 AMOLEDs, making the OG Reverb an impressively pixel-dense headset.

The “more compatible” part of the statement however might just point to the inclusion of SteamVR tracking as a secondary standard, embedded within the headset’s exterior. Windows MR headsets are already compatible with SteamVR by default, and their controllers have a standard input layout, so making it “more compatible” from a software perspective seems like a moot point.

Here’s a better look, brightened for clarity.

Image courtesy HP

If it includes SteamVR tracking, where are the dimples then? Although HTC Vive and more recently Vive Cosmos Elite contain characteristically dimpled faceplates for SteamVR tracking, Valve’s Index has them invisibly embedded, so there’s no telling what lurks underneath that front portion of the headset.

Another bit of speculation: the headset’s integrated audio looks strikingly similar to Valve Index’s, which might suggest an off-ear headphone design. Should that be the case, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they’ve also borrowed some of Valve’s optics as well.

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What definitely isn’t clear is whether Reverb G2 will come with the aging Windows MR controllers, or whether that reveal will come later with a prospective Windows MR/SteamVR tracking combo. We’ll have our eyes peeled for more info on Reverb G2, which symbolizes Valve’s first headset collab outside of the original HTC Vive from 2016.

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Is HP pushing out another enterprise headset, or heading HTC off at the pass with an impressively speced headset which could potentially trump the Vive Cosmos’ modularity? We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled in the coming weeks for more info on Reverb G2, so make sure to check back soon.

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  • impurekind

    Are they sure there’s “no compromises”?

    I’ll be the judge of that!

    • Popop971

      Who said you can be the judge ?! I’ll be the judge of that !

      • impurekind

        No probs. Let me know what you decide. :D

  • Ben Bega

    The two front cameras are either gone or covered up in the picture. Im guessing its either LH or a modified inside out with 4+ cameras instead.

  • Sofian

    Chances of being OLED are too low to get me excited.

    • Charles

      It better be OLED. They did say it’s “more immersive”, which could indicate OLED. If it’s not OLED (or Micro LED) it’s dead-on-arrival for me and many others. Surely HP has heard some of the widespread complaints about LCD VR. It’s just a question of whether or not they listened.

      • Sofian

        I ve seen some prototypes of MiniLED panels but I doubt we are going to see MicroLED anytime soon. Or perhaps micro-MicroLED for small fov small form factor HMDs.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Hmmm. So the index was also dead on arrival for you then..

        • Charles

          Yep. Which is a shame, because I’m interested in 120Hz. But I’ve owned 2 LCD headsets and just can’t do it anymore.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            But not every LCD screen is the same, just look at the OLED screens, Sony’s PSVR screens are much MUCH better than any of the other OLED screens, so even with OLED there is a big difference.

          • Charles

            Right, Not every LCD screen is the same. But in terms of black levels and contrast ratios, every VR LCD screen is, in fact, the same. They’re very low-end LCD screens in terms of contrast ratio (around 600:1). I owned a Pimax 5K+, and compared it to a Vive – it was a joke in comparison. Then I heard that the HP Reverb supposedly had better contrast. I tried it – it was just as bad. Supposedly the Index is similarly bad if you do some searching in forums – measured at 600:1 contrast (whereas the best LCD monitors are around 10x higher, and the best OLED screens are infinity:1).

          • Bob Smith

            Which is exactly why I ended up buying a Pimax 5k XR. Highest FOV available at the consumer level and OLED too. Can’t go back to cramped FOV or LCD now.

        • Bob Smith

          DOA for me too. Was excited until I saw those black levels in action. OLED is a must.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Why such uninspiring name? HP Corona would sound sooo much better.

    • Jistuce

      That sounds like the beginnings of a viral marketing campaign.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    If they supported SteamVR tracking, this would also enable using the Reverb with Index controllers, solving the WMR subpar controller issues.

    • Would be very interesting to see that.

    • Rogue Transfer

      All WMR headsets can use Index controllers, with re-flashed bluetooth dongles(used for Steam controllers) and Lighthouses. They just need the extra, free software to keep the headset & controller playspaces in alignment.

      It’s one of the advantages of the marker-based inside-out tracking with the sensors inside the Index controllers, making them independently tracked.

      • James Cobalt

        And it’s a huuuuuge pain in the butt, sometimes with annoying drift issues. Putting a handful of SteamVR trackers on the headset would be a godsend for this

  • mirak

    at 2160×2160 per eye eye stracking is starting to be needed

    • mfx

      can’t agree more.

    • Rogue Transfer

      The Reverb runs nicely at 100% SS on a GTX 1080, for practically everything. If needed, turn down settings a little for the few more strenuous games.

      With the upcoming RTX 3000 series, we’re soon getting to a point where even the latest base GPU will be capable of 2160×2160 per eye – by the time this HP G2 launches. It’s clear the G2 will be aimed at high-end users, with the ‘no compromises’ marketing.

      • Kyokushin

        Reverb is working slightly better than previous gen headsets with 1440×1600, because you do not need to so much supersampling to have good.
        Reveb even with lowered SS have much better image and performance quality than any other.

  • mepy

    An Index for WMR?

  • MosBen

    As always, the big question is price.

  • Bumpy

    I have zero issues with my Reverb v2, its fantastic for all games. The colors and clarity are top notch. Wand tracking works great if you understand they need to be in view of the cameras.

    The G2 can only be better. Looking forward to reviews.

  • Ryan McClelland

    I hope the controller tracking is decent. Samsung Odyssey was not usable for me.

    • Charles

      The tracking of the Odyssey+ was greatly improved upon the original Odyssey. I’ve owned both. The original was pretty bad. The Odyssey+ works fine as long as you don’t hold the controllers behind your back.

      • Rogue Transfer

        Or too high – it’s still a problem, due to the lack of camera FOV.

        • Charles

          True. But I think it’s easy to adapt to. An acceptable tradeoff for what I consider to otherwise be the best headset available.

      • Bob Smith

        Had no issues with tracking on the +. I was coming from a three sensor CV1 setup and I thought the + tracking was just fine. Hope Samsung sticks with OLED and adds higher FOV.

  • blue5peed

    I wish it was Valve embracing inside out tracking but I think its a light house tracked Reverb which is cool too.

    • brandon9271

      Valve using inside out would be taking a step backwards. SteamVR might be more expensive and more to set up but it’s the most robust tracking solution there is.

      • gothicvillas

        Exactly. If anyone want anything different, there is Quest and RIFT s

  • Charles

    Please be OLED (or MicroLED).

    • Tunk

      The colors are very good for LCD by the Reverb.

      • Sofian

        Main concern with LCD is black levels.

      • Fabian

        Good for LCD is still bad

        • Tunk

          Then watch the brightless colors of the Rift S and you will see what ist bad for an LCD. :)
          Black Levels are also OK by Reverb.

    • ArtemiyNeko

      99% sure it’s going to be LCD, and likely the same general model of screen as the current Reverb, just with better optics and possibly mura issues ironed out.

      I’d like OLED as well, but the industry decided otherwise for the time being, and at least I’m fortunate enough not to have much interest in horror games and space sims.

      • Charles

        I hope you’re wrong. They said “no compromises”, so I’m like 60% sure it’ll be OLED. OLED’s usefulness isn’t limited to “horror games and space sims” – even bright daylight environments benefit from decent black levels (shadows, etc). And I would say at least half of VR experiences that are not horror games or space sims still have dim or dark parts, which don’t look good with 600:1 LCD contrast.

        • Sofian

          Our best hope for the moment is the next Samsung Odyssey.

          • Moe Curley

            What are you basing that on? We have no information at all yet. What you’re saying is you like Samsung.

          • Sofian

            On the fact that so far all HP hmd where LCD and all Samsung were OLED, + Samsung is the only one to build its own custom panels.

          • ColdHardFacts

            And the Odyssey’s panel is top notch

          • Moe Curley

            It is but we know nothing about this headset yet.

          • Moe Curley

            If you said “I’m sure Samsungs next headset will be better than the Reverb” I would bet you’d be right but you know nothing about this headset yet, right?

        • kontis

          They said “no compromises”, so

          It’s BS. It’s impossible to make HMD without compromises. Even choosing between OLED and LCD is a compromise (colors and contrast vs sharpness).

          • Rogue Transfer

            There’s no reason now for OLED not to be as sharp – see Kopin’s upcoming 1.3″ 2560×2560 per eye prototype. Another example from a couple years ago, is LG & Google’s collab prototype.

            There are RGB OLED panels that give as much sharpness as LCD, just they aren’t used yet in consumer devices.

            The only real (potential) compromise with OLED is the possibility of black smear, but that has yet to be tested with newer panels.

            But, I do agree that this “no compromises” is marketing rubbish. The more likely compromise will be FOV versus size.

          • Charles

            Black smear is a software issue to fix. Vives forces prevention of it with software, and there’s a plugin that works with the Odyssey to prevent it. This plugin would also work with the new HP headset, since it’s a generic plugin for SteamVR.

          • Moe Curley

            Interesting. Hadn’t heard about that.

          • Charles
          • Moe Curley

            Cool

          • Moe Curley

            1.3 is small but I agree, it shows that the tech is definitely here, now.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Well I still think Sony’s PSVR headset is a good example of sharp imagery.. The biggest problem today is the awful fresnel lenses..

          • Charles

            Not impossible – it just would be very expensive. They might have meant “almost no compromises”, or “more than one version, with the most expensive version having no compromises”. Also, OLED doesn’t always have worse pixel density – it’s just more expensive for more density. The PSVR is non-Pentile OLED. And 4K Pentile would have better density than 1600p RGB.

          • Moe Curley

            They did do a pretty damn good job in they’re first effort. I’ll give them that.

          • Charles

            Technically the Reverb was their second headset. But yeah, one of the best LCD headsets.

          • James Cobalt

            Reminder that it’s possible to produce OLED that is full stripe like LCD – this is what Sony does for the PSVR. That is surely NOT what’s happening with this though. Almost nobody manufacturers full stripe OLED panels. It’s just too expensive for most companies when 99.9% of consumers aren’t even aware OLED vs LCD is an option in the VR space.

          • Moe Curley

            Semantics

        • Moe Curley

          Charles, I’m with you but if your basing your assumptions on the hope that they’re not using hyperbole in their marketing materials I think you may be disapointed.

          • Charles

            Haha, well we’ll see. With claims like those, from a major company like HP, it’s gotta big a major improvement. I doubt they’d go for more than 4K right now. So that leaves FOV, refresh rate, and OLED.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          It all depends on what you think is a compromise. LCD might not be a compromise for person A but might be for you. The no compromise might be directed at the tracking, you get inside out through camera’s and inside out through lighthouse.. it’s all marketing.. To me the Index headphones are compromises as I like the tight fitting of headphones just like I like a tight fitting of the headset itself, it makes sure I’m more cut off from the outside.

      • Moe Curley

        If they get Reverb resolution, Index FOV, solve the Mura and lower the price it will be the headset for me.

      • Nowry85

        If it is the same resolution the same LCD, how are they calling it next generation? Also, from the image, it is not going the new compact factor so no micro-displays. I think that is only marketing hype.

        • Rebecca Yoder

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        • Moe Curley

          How do you know anything about the panel. Or resolution?

    • Tunk

      Much more interessting is the question about the cabel.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e1ff44267b2dc1fc2b8f9f62269f3d5cc504b89e507453b38a3f4f7c72ea6b0a.png

      Wireless could be a part of Gen2 “no compromises”. ;)

      • Moe Curley

        Very interesting, I second your guess. nice pic. Can’t believe you didn’t get more upvotes for this.

      • Moe Curley

        Tunk, just found this image of the Reverb V.2 And … enhance, enhance, enhance… it has a cord dammit. https://i.imgur.com/OPQ1IP6.jpg

  • Johnatan Blogins

    My guess this will be Valve entering the inside out tracking mid range HMD, hence MS.
    More compatible is probably about no WMR though, that software layer is redundant, straight to Steam, it’s an interesting proposition if fov and controllers are right, what Cosmo could have been…

    • Rogue Transfer

      WMR is the only reason Microsoft would be involved in this – it’s their VR/AR standard, integrated deeply into Windows.

      Valve entering camera-on-headset tracking only, without integrated support for their SteamVR Lighthouses also seems unlikely. Esp. since they want their Lighthouse-based, Index finger-tracking controllers to be used for their game.

      I doubt they’d partner with HP on this, without their tracking solution embedded, as they already support camera-on-headset trackign via MS’ SteamVR drivers(who are also mentioned).

      They could offer complete compatiblity though by allowing a native switch between both MS WMR and Valve SteamVR drivers, like 3Glasses did with their WMR headset.

      • James Cobalt

        Yet, Valve has supported every possible controller and headset combo for their games. It’s possible the only partnering involved here is the off-ear speakers, but since the partner logo is SteamVR and not Valve, I’m hoping HP threw a few SteamVR sensors on it too. In which case, the ‘no compromises’ is in reference to ecosystems rather than hardware.

  • brandon9271

    Is that an Index or Vive?

    • kuhpunkt

      Index.

    • Immersive Computing

      Index with aftermarket Vive face cushion

  • Moe Curley

    Funny, my mind played a trick on me when I read- Reverb collaboration with Valve. I looked at the picture and thought “Yeah, the faceplate camera location looks like they’re from the Index”. It the exact same layout as the original Reverb.

    • ArtemiyNeko

      Not quite, actually. The original Reverb had the cameras pointing outside, the render has them pointing inside. Hope that means there’s more to the tracking than just those two cameras.

      • James Cobalt

        If there are cameras to the left and right now, then the front cameras don’t need to track such a wide field anymore. They’d be free to focus on higher resolution details for AR passthrough and hand tracking.

        It’s also possible someone in marketing threw this together at the 11th hour and f’d up the render, or that the dimples speak more to the surface shape of the visor than the angle of the cameras.

  • Thoemse

    I never owned a WMR headset and I am happy with my Pimax 5K+ but it makes me happy to see that HP keeps being invested in the vR market. From what I read the Reverb is not a bad headset at all. Good to hear they make it evenbetter!

  • Arashi

    The current gen has quite a few compromises:

    * controllers
    * tracking
    * small Fov, both horizontally and vertically
    * LCD colors

    Let’s see which one they’ve improved.

    • Mei Ling

      Everything across the board needs to be a major improvement over what came before to do justice on the terms that they used in that ad – “next generation”, “no compromises”.

      So far nothing like that exists (Valve Index isn’t a monumental leap over the “first generation”). This begs the question: Is HP the right company to finally unveil something that is a monumental evolution over the first generation? Well personally speaking I don’t think so. They are hardware company just like HTC and their experience in this field is low.

  • Trip

    I’d probably be using Reverb right now if it wasn’t for the tiny FOV. I returned it, but it kinda ruined me as far as the resolution of my Index. I sold my Index (for a profit after seven months of use!) and ordered a Pimax 8K X as a result, but who knows how long that might take to ship now. =( If the Pimax doesn’t work out, maybe this HMD will be an acceptable compromise.

  • Trip

    Just for the fun of it, I’ll give my prediction: This will be a Reverb that is native SteamVR with Lighthouse tracking. A Reverb that ISN’T WMR is what I think they mean by “no compromises”. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are wisely using the exact same audio solution as the Index, and optionally bundle it with the Index/Knuckles. I suspect we may not see any major change from the current Reverb in terms of the display, optics, and comfort.

  • Rupert Jung

    Only 2-cam tracking, Rift-1-style headstrap. Pass. Sorry. Nice they integrated proper audio, though.

  • Alextended

    It just looks like just another WMR kit to me, that initiative failed for a reason (sadly), unknown degree/point of Valve collaboration some choose to focus on over it or not. It seems to sport the same 2 front cameras. A good successor to the Samsung Odyssey would be nice indeed but only if it costs way less (just like Odyssey now that it’s discounted to hell and back, it certainly wouldn’t be a good competitor when its launch price was inbetween Oculus and Index levels, hence the 50% discounts they soon did and continued to increase) than Oculus which has superior tracking range and quality yet this appears to be aiming to be a premium expensive product rather than something to fit in the budget category that even Rift S is a bit above. With Microsoft seemingly abandoning WMR and sticking with the old
    tracking/controller standards such products aren’t going to be very interesting no matter what cool display/audio technology varied manufacturers add. If it’s not actually WMR based but using Valve’s lighthouse tracking (though I think the tracking points would be visible somehow, this doesn’t seem to have any of those) much like HTC Vive/Pimax and others, basically a third party Index level alternative product with its own twists & balance to the specifications on
    offer, then there’s no reason to collaborate with Microsoft at all. Maybe they’ve somehow worked on some hybrid implementation that means they use WMR inside out tracking yet the superior controller technology/form factor of the Index with compatibility modes for both depending on the game/app, that could be interesting but it doesn’t seem likely, WMR has controller standards as well as tracking standards, Samsung was the only one to deviate from the template design and it was to improve the form factor and build quality, they couldn’t change or add inputs. And if HP can deviate from WMR so much this time then why not also add a couple or more tracking cameras and match Oculus performance on that (software too) front? We’ll see I guess.

  • The Reverb was an interesting headset, so I’m very intrigued by this one!