HP Reverb - Review of the New VR Set
The family of virtual reality sets from many manufacturers under the same Windows Mixed Reality flag has been around for a couple of years, and finally HP is making its attempt to release the second generation of this line - at least in terms of the helmet itself (HMD).
Before that, we saw helmets from Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung and HP that were almost identical in terms of filling - each of them (with the exception of Odyssey) has identical 1440x1440 panels, all of them use the same tracking system from Microsoft and share common controllers. Of course, it is worth mentioning the Samsung Odyssey +, which stands out from the general line, which demonstrates higher characteristics, but HP Reverb really raises the bar to a new level, at least in terms of displays.
The resolution of each of the two panels in the HP Reverb is 2160x2160. This is a great leap forward not only for WMR family helmets, but also in comparison with all other modern VR helmets in the consumer market. (Of course, you should not discount Pimax 8K / 5K +, on which there are high-resolution displays, but there we see a "smearing" of this large amount at a rather large viewing angle (170 horizontal), which reduces the "concentration" of pixels).
Therefore, if your main enemy is the so-called screen door effect (when individual pixels stand out clearly and you feel as if you are looking at the screen through a mosquito net), then I advise you to pay attention to the HP Reverb helmet. SDE does not disappear completely (for this, according to Michael Abrash, a resolution of 4x4x4K per eye is required), but the difference is significant.
Of course, such a high resolution display requires high computing power, so even owners of the GTX 1080 will experience performance problems when using the helmet at full resolution.
The helmet connects to the PC via USB 3.0 and DisplayPort, and the cable itself can be disconnected from the HMD without having to disassemble the latter.
The weight of the helmet keeps up with the rest and is about 500 g, taking into account the built-in headphones, which we saw, for example, on the Oculus Rift.
The design as a whole resembles the Oculus Rift CV1 in many ways. Semi-rigid mount with velcro straps on the sides and on the top of the head. The same position of the microphone (which, by the way, is even better than in the rift) and headphones. However, on this helmet you will not find an IPD regulator that physically changes the distance between the lenses.
Sweetspot (the area in the center of the field of view without blurring) is quite small, so when you change the object of attention, you will have to move your head more than your eyes.
The most discussed issue of the helmet was the presence of the Mura effect - the unevenness in the brightness of the screen in different parts of it (see the example in the picture below). This is especially noticeable in monochromatic brightly lit scenes. Contrary to rumors, this problem was not fixed by the developers after the release and it must be taken into account when deciding on the purchase of a helmet.
Since HP Reverb uses LCD panels, another disadvantage compared to OLEDs is not deep black levels. And even if you compare the helmet from HP with competing Rift S and Valve Index, then black here is “even less black”. Contrast is generally not so high compared to other helmets.
All other aspects of WMR remained at the same level as they were at the time of the launch of the first generation. Tracking is still carried out with two cameras and shows far from the best performance, and the controllers are all the same obscenity as on other VR networks from WMR. And the saddest thing is Microsoft’s lack of interest in improving tracking and WMR controllers, so you should not hope for an upgrade soon.
Who in the end might like this helmet? First of all, those who need high resolution. Perhaps those who have HTC Vive and are eager for an upgrade (since HP Reverb can be used with Vive controllers). The helmet will appeal to fans of racing and flight simulators, as well as to everyone who works with text and small details in virtual reality, but is not ready to pay several thousand dollars for a Varjo VR helmet.