First off, this is a great headset. I feel privileged to have received it so early and am loving the experiences I am having with it.
This is going to be my daily driver until the next big leap in headsets, I do not regret pre-ordering it in any way and if you pre-ordered it, don't worry you will have great fun. The Reverb G2 is way
better than the Rift S and Lenovo Explorer (that's all I have to compare it with). If I were given the choice, even with my criticisms, I would buy the G2 again - it is a generational leap, think PS1 vs PS2. It's not a PS3, but at least you can see what's going on.
With that said, I am going to be critical and compare the headset a lot to the Rift S, that doesn't mean it's bad, but it will hopefully provide some balance to the overwhelmingly positive reviews this headset got before release.
If you have any specific questions, games or experiments you want me to run, let me know and I'll add them to this.
I will be updating this as I clock more hours in the headset. For now I took the day off work and have spent an entire whole day playing mostly Half Life: Alyx, Onward and Boneworks. It's annoying (in a good way) because I want to play them through from the start but I also want to play them all right now. Feeling really enthused right now. Notes
I realised that I was playing games using automatic resolution which may have masked the performance of the 5700xt. I will be extending the reviews to include what the performance and clarity looks like when sampling is set at 50%, 100%, 150%.
Looks like the auto setting had my games running at 40% super sampling. Just tried 150% super sampling in Skyrim and quick preliminary write up. I am blown away. It's seriously seriously unbelievable. People in the far away distance look like they would appear on a 1080p monitor. The game runs at 50fps though. I ran the stock game but I will be running through it using mods when I get to it properly. FPS benchmark json files to read in the fpsVR viewer https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gjpoSQzg-0qdaqNiS-Ig1laNNM_gyjOW/view?usp=sharing Specs
My computer is mid-ranged:
|Motherboard ||Asus Prime B450-PLUS AM4 ATX |
|CPU ||AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6 Core |
|Graphics Card ||Radeon RX 5700 XT 8G |
I believe the 5700xt graphics card performs around the same as a 1080ti or 2070 Context
My first headset was the Lenovo Explorer, so I started my journey in WMR and am used to the ecosystem. The "house on the hill" menu and the interconnectivity with Steam, etc.
Charmed by VR I upgraded to a Rift S, which I imagined would be a huge step up and it honestly wasn't. The Oculus software was a bit of a germ, only allowing me to install it on the C drive and all sorts of crap. Heavy, janky and my general experience with it was "finding the quickest route to Steam VR"
Setting up the Oculus play space was great, though. You'd do so from within the headset, where the headset passes through the outside world into the headset and I would point at the ground with the controller and draw the border on the floor. With WMR you have to hold your headset in your hand and walk around the perimeter of your play space with the headset at stomach height, tracing the border with it that way.
The Rift S controllers were the big step up from the Explorer. The Rift S had smooth, responsive controllers that felt very premium and of everything, they were the big upgrade from the Explorer. Setting up the G2
We are all early adopters of VR and with that comes jank! It's a crazy cool technology and we put up with a little bit to get it all up and running. Might be worth not expecting a perfect plug and play experience right away, you may have some teething pains getting set up as I did, but everything ended up just fine.
After unboxing the headset, I quickly rushed to my computer and plugged it in. My motherboard has USB-C so I tried that. I was greeted with an error:
Your headset failed to start at 90Hz. Make sure your headset's cables are plugged in correctly
Error code: 13-14
This is no fault of HP, my 5700xt has been very janky for VR even with the Rift S. So I updated my graphics drivers to the latest "optional" (beta?) Radeon ones and that did the trick.
I got another error related to the USB-C port, so I used the included adapter and plugged the headset into a USB 3.0 port and everything was fine from there (note, the USB 3.1 port did not work either).
From there everything was working great and I jumped into Steam VR to start my session. Steam VR 100% resolution
In Steam VR settings the 100% custom render resolution is 3164 x 3092 but I have been playing everything at "auto".
Windows has the resolution of the screen as 4320 x 2160 (2160 per eye). I assume this means that "100%" to steam is actually 150% super sampling.
I guess "auto" will downsample as required for my PC specs. I will try manually mess with the sampling settings. First Impression Holy Sh\
t.) Holy Shi*t
. Super high clarity. The screen was so bright. The colours are so vibrant. I kind of felt the difference was like opening your eyes fully when you'd been squinting the whole time you were in the Rift.
The FOV was slightly wider in the G2 and that's nice. The head tracking also feels a little tighter than the Rift and strangely I fell less discomfort/nausea in the G2.
I remember moving from the Explorer to the Rift and noticing the head tracking in the Rift being a bit worse and causing discomfort.
The headset itself is very well balanced, the straps are great and let me customise the headset to my head perfectly. It's well balanced and the foam cushion is nice - great for long play sessions - better than the Rift S for sure.
Sucks when getting other people to use the headset, I share it with my partner and adjusting it to her head every time is a little annoying, but the comfort boost is worth it. There are worse things in life than taking 30 seconds to adjust a strap - haha.
Cable length is great
EDIT: I might be a little overly critical of the controllers because I had so much pent up expectations for the headset and after some play time they really didn't annoy me as much as I rag on them below, but nicer controllers would have been better for sure. Controllers The Feel
The controllers feel a little out of out of place with the rest of the headset, honestly. The headset itself is very very high quality, the plastics feel premium. The HP logo looks tasteful and lights up subtly. It feels like so much attention to detail was paid to the headset and then we get these toy controllers.
They feel cheap in the hand. The button clicks are shallow and feel like those little 2mm switches
. Occasionally I wouldn't actually notice when I press a button because the click isn't very decisive. I worry about the longevity of the controller buttons. Jitter
I have experienced the Jitter of the Lenovo Explorer and don't worry
, the G2 is much
better than the first round of WMR headsets.
They were jittering a little. I played around with the room lighting and the jitter was minimal.
For comparison, the Lenovo Explorer would jitter relentlessly to the point where often I couldn't play certain shooting games. The G2's jitter is very mild, not enough to compromise aim in a game. I also experienced jitter with the Rift S touch controllers and I would say this is 95% as close.
It had a minimal impact on my games - I spent about an hour playing sniper in Onward and I never noticed controller jitter, though it popped up in HL: A and Boneworks when using pistols and rifles. My room is mildly lit with lights on. Haptics
Haptics were nothing to write home about but I don't mind them. Some people have been trash talking them but I'd rather have them than not have them.
They don't break immersion for me, but I know it's really important to some. They were a little noisy and feel between the Lenovo and Rift in terms of fidelity.
Compared to other reviews, nothing about the haptics was offensive to me, but it's possible I don't have a taste for quality haptic feedback. Ergonomics
The ergonomics feel like larger Rift S controllers, which I am neutral about. They are a bit heavier than the Rift S controllers which might impact me on longer play sessions - or maybe I just need to go to gym. Latency
I mentioned latency earlier, this was my bad. I messed around with the WMR settings (documented below) and that sorted it right out. The latency is identical to the Rift S and practically undetectable.
Okay, moving onto games. Beat Saber (2 hours)
I figured it'd be the fastest game to get set up with. No complex controller bindings and quick load times. I am not Beat Saber master but can complete most songs on expert.
The atmosphere immediately feels more awesome. The game pops more and started seeing details I never noticed before. The neon colours looked more explosive the fog felt more foggy, the dots more dotty.
The headset is visually smoother than the Rift S and the controllers tight and responsive. The G2 will not hold you back if you're coming from the Rift S. The controllers are a little heavy though and my poor frail wrists didn't like some of the faster songs.
The headphones are really nice, obviously better than the Rift S. The quality is okay, probably similar to $40 over ear sennheiser headphones.
I preferred to use my Sony 1000xm4 headphones whenever I played anything more immersive (like HL:Alyx, Onward or Skyrim). I definitely prefer the sound quality of dedicated headphones over the ones built into the G2 and would have rather traded down the built in headphones to Rift S style in exchange for better controllers.
It's disappointing that there isn't an AUX port on the headset so upgrading the audio solution isn't an option.
I will be trying to pair my headphones via Bluetooth and use them over the built in headphones soon. Super Sampling
Some notes on the different sampling settings to give you an idea of the performance of the hardware when matched with this HMD.
Delivered 90fps all the way up to 150% super sampling https://imgur.com/a/Sbs3iRf
Half Life: Alyx 4+ hours Quick note for 5700xt owners, the game is unplayable using Vulkan. The game flickers and dances, setting it to Direct X 11 fixed that. This was the same on the Oculus Rift S too.
I started playing this game on medium settings and bumped it up to ultra. Turns out the automatic resolution and game fidelity in the game engine is highly optimised. I turning off the auto adjustment via the console and ran the game at a fixed resolution. While not playable in the higher end resolutions, it looks crazy good. This headset has potential far above what the my hardware combination can deliver - but the game still looks amazing with the auto settings.
Using the automatic mode though, the detail in the game is STUNNING
. I feel like I am playing it again for the first time. In that first scene on the balcony, I look down and can see people in the streets talking. I can see the feathers on the wings of the birds flying above me. It was spectacular.
I ran inside because I couldn't wait to play with the whiteboard markers.
Using the gloves to flick things to you was fine, using guns was great, reloading and gun play were all great.
I can not get over how incredible Half Life played. It was smooth as butter and the detail was unbelievable. I can not state this enough, unbelievable
. I could read the text on the little microchips on the gloves. The Vortogot looks craaaazy cool. You can see details in his eye as he blinks.
I found the level of detail so high that it increased the immersion.
I also felt less motion sickness when using continuous motion, but that might just be my VR legs getting a boost from my enthusiasm and on a long play through, the headset remained comfortable.
I pushed the settings up to Ultra with the render resolution set to auto. Will try again with different super sample settings. Super Sampling
Some notes on the different sampling settings to give you an idea of the performance of the hardware when matched with this HMD. Details https://imgur.com/a/vA3HzbA Low @ 50% Super
Felt smooth and playable 84fps average https://imgur.com/xRn8lQB Medium @ 50% Super
Felt mostly smooth, action got a little choppy 74fps https://imgur.com/GdXQpV5 Ultra @ 50% Super
Pretty choppy, not playable 60fps https://imgur.com/8l1rz1c Ultra @ 150% Super
The game looks unreal but you will feel significant discomfort 35fps https://imgur.com/DCAD2mG
Automobilista 2 30 minutes, seated, fanatec clubsport 2.5 racing wheel
My friend is a massive sim racing fan and he had a go with my G2. His exact words were
It feels like going from a CRT monitor to your first high definition LCD screen
He described that it changed the game for him and he was on the fence about upgrading from his Rift S but this is another level of immersion.
Personally, when sitting in the cockpit of the car, I could read the dials on the dashboard and they looked like reading text on a 1440p screen. No screen door effect and perfectly clear.
I can see considerably further down track and it's kind of like the upgrade between racing games for the PS1 and the PS2. You can see more, but it's still not a 4k 144hz monitor - not that I could afford the kind of PC needed to run that kind of headset.
Boneworks 2 hours
Dope dope dope dope dope dope dope dope.
Already loved this game but oh my god. The lines on the nullbody dudes are so crisp. In terms of performance, it ran, but struggled at some points.
The game did not come with controller bindings that worked for the G2. I spent 30 minutes stealing another binding and fixing it up for the HP controllers and intend to publish it to the Steam Workshop.
I spent 20 minutes in the arena and started a new story.
The game itself was perfect. Noticed no issues with gunplay, reloading/load weapons, time warp, movement, telekinesis. It felt very smooth and enjoyable.
The controller did get occasionally mildly jittery when aiming down the rifle, which I reset by dropping my aim down and bringing the sights back up. Didn't always fix it but yeah, hoping for a software fix to that.
As is customary in Boneworks, I have already punched my wall and can tell you the controllers are sturdy and can take a hit.
I felt less nausea than the Rift S and more comfortable in a long play session. When coming out of the Rift S, I would look like my face was sunburned around where I wore glasses (because of how tight the headset is on my face). Super Sampling
Some notes on the different sampling settings to give you an idea of the performance of the hardware when matched with this HMD. https://imgur.com/a/uSUUnfy High settings @ 50% super
Smooth and playable 89 fps https://imgur.com/EBXNavD 100%
Yeah this is not playable. Any action would drop frames like crazy. 72fps https://imgur.com/O83Ksqd 150%
So so bad. The FPS average is brought up by the menus no doubt. 55fps average https://imgur.com/EBXNavD
Onward 2 hours
This headset is almost an unfair advantage. The view you get into the distance lets you spot people earlier. It's the only way I can play given they always spot me first close range - haha.
The buttons all mapped perfectly right away, which was nice.
All the basic expectations were met, grabbing the pistol from the hip while running was fine. Tablet over the shoulder was fine. Aiming was fine.
Grenade throwing was something I was anxious about but it's actually better than the Rift S.
It felt like the Rift S in all respects.
Using a rifle with a scope was the same as the Rift S - I had to hold my right controller in front, conscious of the tracking cameras. The higher resolution was very noticeable in the scope, very very clear.
Would be extra fun with a gun scaffold.
Gunplay was fine, though the larger controllers took a little adjusting to when I am used to not smacking together the Rift S controllers.
Once again, obviously, the visuals - oh my god.
It turned out to be a good test of the high resolution because looking down long distances in Onward (like down a street in Bazaar) in the Rift S, it would be hard to see people standing against the walls whereas the Reverb was much clearer, but still not perfect.
If the Rift was a 4 in clarity, the Reverb is a 7. It's honestly really clear.
Sitting in the spectating room and looking at the in game footage on the big screen, it looks like you're looking at a 1440p screen. Super Sampling
Some notes on the different sampling settings to give you an idea of the performance of the hardware when matched with this HMD. 50%
Notes, FPS 100%
Notes, FPS 150%
Minecraft 5 minutes
Quick first impression was that the settings don't seem to run the headset at it's full resolution, downsampling it heavily - any ideas how to override the resolution settings in Minecraft Bedrock?
Will need to dig into this and find out.
Star Wars: Squadrons
Suggestions for HP Controllers
This headset is perfect in every way except the controllers feel a little bit cheap.
I realise it's too late for me but if HP were to offer a model of the Reverb with upgraded controllers with better tracking, also offering those controllers as an add on for existing headsets, you best believe I'd pre-order.
Off topic rant: Personally I don't see the fascination with AA batteries. I have been recharging my wireless controllers since ever and it's not like I died waiting for a controller to charge. I would prefer lighter controllers with built in lithium batteries but that's just my opinion.
Debugging for New Starters Flickering screen and controller latency
Make sure you have your headset set to 90Hz in the WMR settings panel in the control panel. Windows might set it to 60 Hz and this will affect controller tracking, introducing latency and an annoying flicker.
https://preview.redd.it/kpc197e54jy51.png?width=821&format=png&auto=webp&s=9486ea6e7d1b62516fb7195bcb80a53595d29c0a AMD Drive issues
If you're using an AMD GPU and you're greeted with this screen: https://preview.redd.it/374pydu14jy51.png?width=1311&format=png&auto=webp&s=0586af11a3c349e0436330563688d8a46f91e56b
Make sure you download the latest "optional" drivers from AMD's website (they may be the mainstream version by the time you're reading this)
Sweet spot and edge clarity
Performance in fixed resolution gaming, try to get some numbers
Watch a movie on free cinema and report back on the clarity