HP G2 review
More VR headsets are on the market than ever before, but they’re not all created equal. Some affordable models are for standalone games that don’t demand serious hardware but don’t offer the best visual fidelity. In contrast, others are built for premium performance but cost an arm and a leg.
HP went to great lengths to bridge this gap with the Reverb G2. You need to use it with a decently powerful gaming PC and to achieve impressive resolution and frame rates. It comes at a relatively reasonable price and is rather easy to set up.
To see exactly where the HP Reverb G2 virtual reality headset lies in terms of performance and cost-effectiveness, we put it to the test firsthand so you can see real-world results and decide if it’s the right VR headset for you.
What is the HP Reverb G2?
The Reverb G2 is one of the first mainstream VR headsets to offer premium performance at a midrange price, so we were excited to get our hands on it and start testing. It boasts an impressive 2160 by 2160 resolution per eye and a 90Hz refresh rate — both great specifications at this price point. Another way it departs from troublesome early generation VR headsets is with advanced exterior tracking cameras, which means you won’t have to set up a single sensor anywhere in the room to use it.
Units produced after October 2021 use the V2 version of the headset, although there aren’t any numbers or codes to help you tell the difference. The updated headset has a tweaked facial insert that you can remove in case you’re not getting the entire field of view. We tested the V1 version, so we didn’t have to deal with removing the spacer, but if you’re a person who wears glasses, your frames may have gotten in the way without the spacer there.
Another tweak made to the V2 model is an improved tracking range with slightly altered exterior cameras. This was a welcome change, because the Reverb G2 model we tested did have some issues communicating with the controllers when they weren’t directly in front of us.
Testing the HP Reverb G2
How to use the HP Reverb G2
Everything came in a single box with clear setup instructions, and the cables and controllers were all straightforward to figure out. We had to plug into a GPU and a USB port on our gaming computer and, when prompted, walk the headgear around the edges of the room so it could set up tracking.
As noted, we didn’t have to set up any external sensors, as everything is contained within the apparatus itself. This easy setup makes it reasonable to use the headset in different rooms in case you want to show it off to your friends.
We did have to adjust the eye lens position using the simple sliding knob on the bottom of the headset. This was particularly easy, and it’s something you’ll need to do with several VR headsets.
Key features of the HP Reverb G2
The most important part of a VR headset is the visual fidelity, and the Reverb G2 really shines there. The graphics are incredibly clear and crisp, and all the lines were smooth right from the start.
As a Windows Mixed Reality headset, it lets you do more than just play games. The Mixed Reality portal is easier to use than ever to watch videos, browse the internet or write emails. There’s a helpful tutorial to show you how to use it, which is ideal if you’re new to the platform and want to get started quickly.
The headset itself (including the strap and facemask) and the controllers were quite comfortable. In particular, we didn’t have any issues fitting our glasses between the headset and there were no major pressure points. This isn’t always the case with VR headsets, as we’ve used the high-end Vive Pro in the past and had issues with soreness. In comparison, the Reverb G2 is every bit as comfortable as the Oculus Quest 2, which we enjoy using quite a bit.
The sound quality is another plus. We could clearly hear the entire spectrum from bass to treble, and the vocals were especially easy to pick out. You can adjust the speakers slightly to make sure they point directly at your ears, and that was as easy as adjusting the lens slider. Altogether, it was very intuitive.
Where is the HP Reverb G2 sold?
While you can find it at various online retailers, it’s strongly recommended to purchase HP VR headsets directly from HP. This is the only surefire way to get your hands on the updated V2 model. Purchasing from third parties makes it nearly impossible to tell whether you’re getting the V1 or V2. The main way to tell the two apart is that you can remove the face insert on the V2, whereas it’s fixed on the V1.
HP Reverb G2 price
At $600, it may seem expensive at first glance, especially since you still need a gaming PC to use it. However, compared to ultra-premium VR headsets like the Valve Index, it’s actually pretty affordable.
HP Reverb G2 benefits
- High-quality graphics: The resolution and refresh rate of the Reverb G2 is right up there with the best VR headsets on the market.
- Comfort: Tipping the scales at 1.2 pounds with straps and a facemask that’s clearly well-engineered, the Reverb G2 is one of the most comfortable headsets we’ve used and one of the most comfortable on the market overall.
- Ease of setup: With no sensors to set up, highly accurate integrated tracking cameras and just two cables to plug in, using the Reverb G2 is as easy as it gets with PC VR.
- Reasonable cost: For a high-resolution PC VR headset, $600 is not an outlandish price.
- Streamlined software: For those interested in the Windows Mixed Reality platform, the Reverb G2 makes it especially easy to get started.
HP Reverb G2 drawbacks
- Minor controller issues: While they’re comfortable to hold, the controllers have a halo that made them a little top-heavy and caused us to accidentally hit the controllers together from time to time.
- Troublesome cable clip: There’s a clip on the back of the headset that’s meant to keep the cable in one place. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t get it to stay put. It didn’t directly affect gameplay, but it was a little annoying.
- Controller tracking issues on the V1 model: The only significant issue with the Reverb G2 was that sometimes when our hands were at our sides or otherwise well outside of the field of view, the controllers would lose connection. This is a known issue that many people experience. HP has already updated the headset, releasing the HP Reverb G2 V2 in October of 2021. While we couldn’t test out the tweaked version, all signs point to greatly improved tracking, although it’s still not quite perfect.
Should you get the HP Reverb G2?
The HP Reverb G2 is an excellent introduction if you’re new to PC VR. A few years ago, a new headset with its specs would have cost well over $1,000, so it’s impressive what HP can offer at such a reasonable price point. It’s also as comfortable as any other VR headset. We were extremely satisfied during testing and would recommend the HP Reverb G2 to anyone who wants a highly immersive VR experience without breaking the bank.
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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