HP is giving VR headsets another shot: After first releasing a fairly unremarkable PC-based headset among a wave of similar Windows Mixed Reality devices in 2017, the company is now back with a device that aims to trump competitors like HTC’s Vive Pro with a higher display resolution.
HP’s new Reverb VR headset offers 2160 x 2160 pixels for each eye, compared to the 2,880 x 1,600 pixels total resolution of the Vive Pro. The company also tried hard to make the Reverb as comfortable as possible, with a total weight of 1.1lbs, notably less than some of the other headsets on the market. And finally, it features a 114 degree field-of-view, slightly above the 110 degrees of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive Pro, respectively.
The announcement of the new device coincided with the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, but HP actually unveiled the Reverb at its own World Partner Forum in Houston, Tx. That choice is more than coincidental: The company is first and foremost targeting enterprise customers with the new device, with HP’s global VR headset lead John Ludwig saying that the company got a lot of inbound requests from companies after releasing its first headset 2 years ago.
“Text legibility is super important” for corporate trainings and other enterprise uses cases, said Ludwig. A demo given to Variety recently showed that the higher resolution indeed does help with reading in VR. Medical or health and safety trainings shown during the demo also benefited greatly from the higher resolution.
HP is selling the Reverb’s Pro edition to enterprise customers for $649 starting in late April. But while most of the promotion will be focused on this enterprise version, there will also be a consumer version for $599. “Commercial needs and consumer needs overlap a lot,” said Ludwig.
The Reverb headset is once again based on Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform, which directly integrates with the Steam store for access to the most popular VR apps and games. HP also decided to stick with Microsoft because of some of the technical advances around Windows Mixed Reality, said Ludwig. “The tracking has improved a lot.”