HP hasn’t yet made a huge mark on the consumer virtual reality market, but its newest product could change that. Reverb is a Windows Mixed Reality headset with 2,160 by 2,160-pixel screens and a 114 degree field of view, enabling users to experience VR with sharper graphics than before — at a $599 starting price.
The displays are really Reverb’s key selling point. By contrast with HTC’s $800 Vive Pro, which has 1,440 by 1,600 resolution per eye, HP’s headset delivers considerably more pixels that can further reduce the “screen door effect,” where pixels and the gaps between them are visible to users. Reverb actually has twice as many pixels per eye — over 4.66 million versus Vive Pro’s 2.3 million — which is very impressive, assuming a computer’s video card has enough power to fill the screens 75 times per second. HP also is using improved lenses that enable the screens to deliver a wider field of view than the 105 degree FOV predecessor.
Made from a combination of plastic and fabric, Reverb is designed to be lightweight — only 1.1 pounds, slightly more than the original Oculus Rift — while packing integrated cameras for inside-out tracking. Windows Mixed Reality mode incorporates a view of the real world without the user having to take off the goggles. Reverb also supports Steam VR’s large collection of apps and games.
In addition to the $599 consumer model, a $649 “Professional” enterprise version will ship with a replaceable fabric face mask and separate cable so multiple users can use the headset. Each version will include the same dual Bluetooth controllers HP previously released for its lower-end VR headset.
Both versions of Reverb will ship in April. HP will continue to sell the lower-end model for $449.