HP’s Reverb VR headset

The best yet

Robert Dow
Inside-outside. HP’s new Reverb VR headset has built-in SLAM, very high-resolution screens, built-in headphones, and Bluetooth controllers. (Source: HP)


The HP Reverb VR Headset offers 2160 × 2160 resolution per eye, plus a super-wide 114-degree field of view. The Reverb is the highest-resolution HMD (head-mounted display) that's shipping among major makers, and it only weighs 1.1 pounds.

The headset has higher fidelity and pixel density than HP’s previous version. These factors enable users to perceive less SDE (screen door effect) than any other Windows Mixed Reality VR headsets.

The unit’s 6DoF motion controllers and positional tracking enables intuitive user interaction with VR games and content. Tracking is possible without external sensors thanks to inside-out tracking with two front-facing cameras that map the environment. It has an easy plug and play setup with the 2-in-1 HDMI/power cable making it even easier. There is no need to install external tracking beacons.

The Reverb HMD is compatible with Windows Mixed Reality platform and the SteamVR platform.

HP is offering both a Consumer and a commercial version of their latest VR headset. The consumer model has a machine-washable face cushion and a longer wire harness. The commercial has a leather-style face cushion that and can be wiped clean with an alcohol swab. We tested the consumer version. The HP Reverb Consumer Edition sells for $599. The HP Reverb Professional Edition will be available for $649. 

What do we think?

Without exception, the HP Reverb was the best out-of-the-box VR HMD experiences we have had. Plug in two cables (HDMI and USB-C), turn on the computer. Follow the simple on-screen instructions. Use.

Part of the setup is establishing a virtual boundary. After putting on the headset, you look at the PC monitor and walk around the edges of your free space. The unit traces your path and then establishes it as your x–y floor limits. Then as you approach that boundary a screen like image appears and gets brighter as you get closer. It truly is very well thought out.

Whatever the user sees on the screen can also be seen on the monitor’s display, a useful feature for commercial users. However, if you don’t want someone seeing what websites or kind of games you’re playing, you can switch off the PC’s display.

Inside the headset, the controllers are intuitive and accurate. The Windows interface and environment are thoughtfully designed, and easy to use. The high-resolution displays make long-term use possible. Also, there was no sense of simulator sickness. The feedback is tight and positive. The only problem we had was in the set up was finding a computer with a good enough USB-C port. The Reverb wants a very up-to-date machine.

We found the HP REverb VR Headset quite comfortable to use for an extended period of time.

We heard other users were dissatisfied with the evenness of the display. Our unit did not show any unevenness at all. If you looked for it you could see some of the Fresnel lens rings, which is something you can see in any consumer VR HMD. However, as soon as you get engaged with the content they disappear.

There’s plenty of content available and more coming. This really is the best VR home experience we’ve had.