Virtual reality was here to stay a few years ago and, since the launch of the first headsets, we have seen several different devices open up the market and give users greater decision-making power.
A great advance for this technology was the arrival of the Windows Mixed Reality “standard”, under which different viewers have been created and where more traditional brands such as HP or Lenovo have entered eagerly.
Now, and after having a great time with games like Half Life Alyx or Beat Saber, In this review of the HP Reverb G2 I tell you why it is one of the best virtual reality systems that you can buy for less than 700 euros.
Analysis sections of the HP Reverb G2:
Good quality plastic and comfort for hours
Before we start talking about the design, I want to tell you that yes, we are late to this analysis but for a good reason. We received the device at its launch a year agobut in our tests we had some problems, especially with the cable.
It seems that it did not work with certain boards and I had to try it with another computer. Also, the tracking gave me quite a few headaches and I preferred not to publish the text because I wasn’t going to leave the device in a good place, so I moved on to other pending things.
Nevertheless, this year HP sent them to us again and there are little things that have been changing. Maybe based on updates and other things, now the experience has been quite good technically.
And I have to tell you that the problem with the cable is more than solved and, if for whatever reason, you buy this model and it comes with the old cable, you just have to contact them so they can change it.
That said, which I think was important to comment, let’s start. With the design I have my pluses and minuses. On the one hand, the plastic seems to me to be of quality and yes, it is matte black with minimal traces remaining, but it does not give you the feeling of being a cheap plastic.
But hey, what the viewfinder is, it feels of quality and on the head it is quite comfortable. This is a tremendously subjective field, but hey, it seemed comfortable to me.
What I don’t like so much is that, to expand the size or adjust it to the head, we have a velcro system. And honestly, I prefer other solutions. In addition, I also like a wheel system at the rear to adjust it already on, but it has not been possible.
I imagine that HP has tried to save in this regard because inside we have very interesting things, but hey, I don’t think the Velcro system is the most comfortable on a day-to-day basis, really.
And I don’t really like a hook that has to pass the only cable that goes to the glasses from the PC. It is on the rear side and do not think that it is very stable. In fact, in the weeks that I had both this version and the previous one, I was scared to break the system.
What I do love is that you have a little lever at the bottom of the helmet that allows you to change the interpupillary distance between 60 and 68 millimeters. The slider is hard enough that you can’t accidentally change it, and it’s a great setting because so much of your gaming experience depends on it.
Once put on, you have a foam rubber that protects the face and nose and that, in my case, adapts quite well, without sinus pressure and that you can put on and take off easily thanks to a system of magnets. So, ok here HP, although if you wear very large glasses like mine, they might rub a bit.
And also for the sound system, since it is of quality and is integrated into the helmet without us having to configure anything at all. The DisplayPort also transmits sound and the truth is that the experience is great.
Of course, you may want to withdraw a little more into your world and use a conventional PC headset and here I have both good and bad news. The good ones are that by removing a simple screw, you will be able to unhook the included earphones. It’s very easy, you don’t have to study engineering… and it looks great.
However, the body does not have a 3.5mm jack, so you will have to connect the headphones you want to the PC either by cable (you will have to have a fairly long one) or by Bluetooth, which will introduce some latency.
Spectacular lenses despite being LCD and somewhat regular tracking
But hey, despite my pluses and minuses with some things, it seems like a good design for the price of the system, but I already say that it shows that HP has wanted to cut back a bit because inside, in what really marks the experience, there are very TOP details.
You have already seen that this viewer has four cameras, two in front and two on the sides. This is not normal for WMR helmets, which usually only have two cameras on the front. These cameras are responsible for following the lights of the control rings and the truth is that they do it very well.
Here you do not need to place external sensors because the recognition is based on a light system, more or less like the PlayStation VR, go. And yes, it is comfortable, but it does have some drawbacks.
For starters, if you line up the two controllers, for example as if you were holding a rifle, the helmet can get a bit confusing. It is not the most common, but in many hours of play… it can happen to you.
Nevertheless, the biggest problem is the top and bottom tracking. The two extra cameras capture a good angle, but in the end you don’t get caught if you have the controller above your forehead or at hip height.
With that you have to have some “feel” for it to be a good experience, but once you get the hang of the angle that the camera recognizes, the experience playing is spectacular.
The controls seem comfortable to me and the technology of both the lenses and the panel is the best there is in any virtual reality system. Not in vain the latter is signed by Valve and when you get the sweet spot of the screen, in the center, it is a top-of-the-range experience.
And it is because, although that sweet spot is not too big, the lenses are very good in that center of the panel and lThe panels have a resolution of 2,160 x 2,160 per eye. It is a real nonsense that allows everything to look overdefined. And they go to 90 Hz, which is not bad.
Sure, this comes at a performance cost, so you’re going to need a fairly powerful computer for some games, but the experience is very, very good. I have not noticed, neither in the sweet spot nor around, if you go to the corners, yes, chromatic aberration and the colors are very good.
Obviously it does not reach the contrast and depth of blacks that we find in OLED panels, but for an LCD, the brightness (the typical halos or ‘glare’) are very controlled and we have an excellent representation.
Of course, if they are games with many clear screens or white backgrounds, you will have a bit of a “grit effect”, but hey, since everything is in motion, it is easy for it to go unnoticed.
During the time that I was analyzing the HP Reverb G2 I played many titlesbut mostly I was with Arizona Sunshine, Beat Saber, Half Life Alyx and Moss and the experience in all of these (from Steam) was outstanding.
Possibly the best Windows mixed reality system
And, in the end, what I found with this viewer is a very good combination between the facilities of the Windows mixed reality system and technologies of much more advanced virtual reality viewers.
The resolution, although you need a fairly powerful PC to be able to play to the fullest, seems like a bestiality to me And, again, when you’re looking at the content in the sweet spot of the lens and the panel, it’s spectacular because everything is very, very sharp.
It shows that both the panel and the lenses are of quality and yes, I would have loved an OLED, but this LCD shows that, with good lenses, glares can be avoided very effectively. Not so much the sand effect, but I already said that it is something sporadic and that, easily, you will overlook.
The sound of the headphones is very good, they can be easily removed, the cable is long and yes, there are things like a better finish for the adjustment system or a headphone jack that I would like to see in a third generation, but as is currently, it seems to me a very good option if you want to enter the world of virtual reality.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism