HP’s newest Windows Mixed Reality headset is called the Reverb, and it sports impressive 2160 x 2160 resolution optics, inside-out tracking, and a lightweight design. The device, announced today, will come in two variations: a consumer model costing $599 and an enterprise Pro version, which comes with a separate 0.6-meter cable and a fabric face mask, for $649.
In addition to the resolution bump, which currently makes HP’s headset one of the highest-fidelity offerings on the VR market, both versions of the Reverb also come with an expanded 114-degree field of view. However, that’s not a significant jump over HP’s previous Mixed Reality device, which comes in at around 105 degrees.
It’s not clear why HP is offering two distinctly branded versions of what is ultimately the same product, but it’s likely due to marketing. Because Windows Mixed Reality is less geared toward gaming and more focused on business adoption of VR, HP is likely trying to frame the Reverb in the context of other enterprise VR and AR offerings, of which there are few beyond Microsoft’s newly announced HoloLens 2 and Google’s second-generation Google Glass.
Nintendo’s Virtual Boy 3D Gaming Console. Similar to SEGA, Nintendo also had the vision of putting out a Virtual Reality headset for the gaming market. They even went as far as putting a VR headset on the market, but unfortunately it didn’t make it far. Released in the mid 1990s and known as the Virtual Boy, the device was a 3D gaming console that had a 3D viewing system rigged out to look like virtual reality. While it was way cheaper than the other options on the market at the time, the device also didn’t manage to truly spark the VR movement, simply because it lacked head-tracking and quality graphics and only offered stereoscopic 3D display.
That said, the headset is very comfortable. In a demo HP provided in San Francisco last month, I was able to use the Reverb while testing a few enterprise demos and some casual VR games. It feels remarkably light at just 1.1 pounds, and the fabric face mask on the enterprise version does seem as if it’ll come in handy for longer VR sessions. HP also confirmed that the Reverb will support Windows Mixed Reality’s passthrough feature, so you can use the external cameras on the headset to view the real world and double-check your surroundings before you jump into a full-fledged VR experience.
Both headsets come with the same pair of Bluetooth motion controllers that ship with its existing, $449 Mixed Reality headset. The Reverb also supports both Windows Mixed Reality and Steam VR, so you can switch between the two depending on where your primary library of applications may be.
As for availability, HP says both models will go on sale in late April.