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HP Reverb G2 Review

A high-performing headset, with great immersion and tracking, designed for Windows integration
HP Reverb G2
Credit: HP
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $600 List | $624.98 at Amazon
Pros:  Great visuals, easy to set up, fluid tracking
Cons:  Incompatible with glasses, a strong PC needed
Manufacturer:   HP
By Austin Palmer and Conrad Salonites  ⋅  Oct 21, 2021
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 10
  • Interactiveness - 35% 8
  • Visual Immersiveness - 20% 9.4
  • Comfort - 20% 6.3
  • User Friendliness - 15% 9.1
  • Ease of Setup - 10% 6.8

Our Verdict

The HP Reverb G2 is a high-performing VR headset that easily warrants praise. The level of immersion this headset provides is genuinely amazing, and the tracking is very impressive. Most unique about this model, though, is its implementation of Windows Mixed Reality (WMR). There aren't many VR headsets available that use WMR, and this is the best model we have ever tested that has it. While this innovative technology has room to improve in future iterations, this model is a great introduction. As for downsides, this model is uncomfortable when wearing glasses, and the setup wasn't smooth sailing for us. You'll also need a very fast and powerful PC to harness the capabilities of this headset. If you're interested in tapping into Mixed Reality, this is our top recommendation.

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HP Reverb G2
This Product
HP Reverb G2
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $600 List
$624.98 at Amazon
$799 List
$799.00 at Amazon
$300 List
$299.00 at Amazon
$50 List
$49.99 at Amazon
$25 List
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Pros Great visuals, easy to set up, fluid trackingIncredible tracking, fantastic visual quality, Built-in headphonesVersatile, easy to use, very immersiveSuper easy to set up, very user-friendlyInexpensive, easy to setup
Cons Incompatible with glasses, a strong PC neededPricey, multi-sensor set-up requiredCould be a little more comfortableNot very interactiveUncomfortable, not as immersive or interactive
Bottom Line A high-performing headset, with great immersion and tracking, designed for Windows integrationFor the best VR experience available today, look no further than this premium modelIf you are searching for the best of the best when it comes to VR, we think this product is hard to beatThis relatively inexpensive headset designed for kids is compatible with many different types of phonesThis bare-bones headset is the best way to experience VR on a budget
Rating Categories HP Reverb G2 Vive Pro 2 Headset Oculus Quest 2 Merge VR Google Cardboard
Interactiveness (35%)
8.0
10.0
8.0
1.6
1.6
Visual Immersiveness (20%)
9.4
9.6
8.2
4.8
5.3
Comfort (20%)
6.3
6.7
6.4
6.1
4.2
User Friendliness (15%)
9.1
7.9
9.1
6.9
7.2
Ease Of Setup (10%)
6.8
5.0
9.0
9.3
9.3
Specs HP Reverb G2 Vive Pro 2 Headset Oculus Quest 2 Merge VR Google Cardboard
Field of View 114º 120º 92º 95º 90º
Tracking type Onboard cameras External sensors Onboard cameras Phone Phone
Resolution 2160 x 2160 pixels per eye 2488 x 2488 pixels per eye 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye Phone dependant Phone dependant
Phones that fit N/A N/A N/A iPhone 6 and newer, Galaxy S5 and newer, HTC One M8 and newer, LG G4 and newer. Compatible with most iOS and Android devices from the last 2 years and fits iPhone 5 to iPhone 6 Plus in size. Most 4" to 6" phones
Adjustable Lenses IPD IPD Slight IPD Only side to side No, need to move the headset around
Sound Integrated Integrated Integrated Phone Phone
Available Controllers / Remotes Yes Yes Yes Yes, Merge Cube No
Refresh Rate 90 Hz 90Hz, 120Hz 72Hz, 80Hz, 90Hz N/A N/A
Room For Glasses? Very little Yes Glasses get pressed against the face Less snug than Bnext Less snug than the Merge VR

Our Analysis and Test Results

One of the selling points for the HP Reverb G2 is the Windows Mixed Reality portal. This attempted integration of the real and the virtual is an admirable feat, with aspects that our testers liked, and others they expect to be improved in the future of VR. There is a Virtual Desktop, which allows you to access various parts of your computer's Windows operating system from a first-person perspective, with also areas for displays and to watch movies. Performance wasn't as strong in the portal as it was in other functions on the HP Reverb G2. We expect Mixed Reality technology to improve over time, but this offering from HP is a great introduction to this innovative capability that combines elements of both the real and virtual worlds.

Performance Comparison


The HP Reverb G2 offers a strong showing as one of our...
The HP Reverb G2 offers a strong showing as one of our highest-scoring VR headsets.
Credit: Laura Casner

Interactiveness


Our interactiveness metric, which gauges how well the VR setup performs, accounts for 35% of a total score. The HP Reverb G2 offers a strong showing, falling on the higher end of our tested headsets.


The HP Reverb G2 works with VR controllers, as well as with Xbox controllers and keyboard, allowing for a wide variety of playstyles. Likewise, the tether is 20 feet long, and our testers had no problem walking all around our testing room. The minimum room size to operate the HP Reverb G2 is 5' x 7', and everything needs to be conducted within view of cameras, so no external sensors are necessary.

Although coming equipped with VR controllers, the HP Reverb G2 works...
Although coming equipped with VR controllers, the HP Reverb G2 works with keyboard and Xbox controllers.
Credit: Laura Casner

Concerning tracking, our testers found the HP Reverb G2 to offer a nice and responsive experience with hardly any issues. Likewise, the controller tracking is also very strong in all lighting scenarios, although they definitely need to pass in front of the cameras with relative frequency. As with any camera tracking setup, everything works best when the controllers are in clear view of the headset. Our testers only lost tracking when they were actively trying to do so, except for when in the Virtual Desktop. There, we found a major increase in tracking issues, especially when the controllers were down by the waist.

You really need to put in the effort to get a tracking error on the...
You really need to put in the effort to get a tracking error on the HP Reverb G2.
Credit: Laura Casner

Visual Immersiveness


To assess how immersive a VR headset is, we conduct a series of tests analyzing the quality, light-shielding, and technical specifications of each product. The HP Reverb G2 excels with incredibly high-quality immersive visuals.


For starters, the HP Reverb G2 does a great job at blocking out all external light. Even after our testers wore the headset for a while, no ambient lighting degraded the HP Reverb G2's visual splendor. A 2160 x 2160 per eye resolution and a field of view that extends to a commendable 114 degrees are all further evidence of the incredible levels of immersion which this VR headset is capable of. Moreover, our testers found the quality of virtual horizons to be incredible, and even the simulated text, though a bit fuzzy in the peripheries, to be impressive.

The HP Reverb G2 boasts an impressive level of visual immersion.
The HP Reverb G2 boasts an impressive level of visual immersion.
Credit: Laura Casner

Comfort


Our comfort metric leaves the virtual in favor of the tactile experience. The HP Reverb G2 does offer some comfortable aspects but really suffers from its inability for spectacled users to experience comfortably.


For users who don't require glasses, the HP Reverb G2 is a very comfortable headset, with a lightweight design and nice fabric that doesn't heat up too quickly. In fact, the headset needed to be worn for a while before our testers began to feel uncomfortably warm. The padding was nice and firm, without the discomfort of constant adjustment; our testers did think the padding along the back did squeeze a little tight, though.

The HP Reverb G2 is quite comfortable unless you wear glasses.
The HP Reverb G2 is quite comfortable unless you wear glasses.
Credit: Laura Casner

Users who do wear glasses, however, may want to avoid the HP Reverb G2. Where without glasses, the headset fits nice and snug, once spectacles are introduced into the equation, everything becomes much more uncomfortable. The glasses squished up against our testers' faces, even with some of the more conservative frames.

User Friendliness


The HP Reverb G2 continues its high performance under our user-friendliness metric. Here, our testers put the pressure on the tactile elements of this headset and came away genuinely impressed.


The HP Reverb G2 comes equipped with integrated headphones, which technically don't have padding. However, the headphones do not rest on your ears, so there is no pressure or discomfort at all. With about 90 degrees of rotation, the headphones also retract and extend a little bit, aspects our testers found made it easier for any head size.

You can comfortably adjust the headphones to get them in just the...
You can comfortably adjust the headphones to get them in just the right spot.
Credit: Laura Casner

Hopping into the virtual world on the HP Reverb G2 is an incredibly simple process. Our testers found the most time-consuming aspect of getting started was just tightening and adjusting the headset to comfortably fit their faces. The tightening is done via straps, as opposed to knobs, but that is very much a nitpick of the HP Reverb G2. Another great part of the design is the location of the interpupillary distance (IPD) slider; located on the back of the device, you can easily adjust to match your eyes, without having to worry that you'll accidentally hit the button and throw the experience out of sync.

The longest part of setting up is adjusting the straps to fit your...
The longest part of setting up is adjusting the straps to fit your skull.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Setup


The Ease of Setup, our final metric, is where we test the amount of work required to set up your VR headset for the first time. The HP Reverb G2 specifically skews more toward software setup than hardware.


Hardware installation for the HP Reverb G2 is very streamlined, with no sensors to put up. All you need to do is plug in the cords and you're ready to set up the room barrier. For the software setup, you will first need to ensure that your PC is powerful enough to meet the HP Reverb G2's requirements. Once that has been met, you'll need to ensure that your operating system is functioning at the most updated version. At this point, you can commence the barrier setup. Our testers did have a few difficulties setting up the barriers and perimeters, but all were solved in a fairly timely manner.

You don't need to wear the HP Reverb G2 to set up the barrier...
You don't need to wear the HP Reverb G2 to set up the barrier perimeter.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


Although the HP Reverb G2 won't be winning any awards for being inexpensive, the product still well warrants its price. Anyone looking to splurge on a quality headset, without breaking the bank, will be extremely pleased by the HP Reverb G2.

Although a little pricey, the HP Reverb G2 is well worth the price.
Although a little pricey, the HP Reverb G2 is well worth the price.
Credit: Laura Casner

Conclusion


Offering up an incredible visual feast, as well as high-quality performance and envious ease of use, the HP Reverb G2 is one of the strongest contenders in the VR headset market. Although the advertised Mixed Reality portal may not intrigue or satisfy everyone, that should not distract from what is genuinely a fantastic product, especially for its price.

As long as you don't need glasses, the HP Reverb G2 guarantees a...
As long as you don't need glasses, the HP Reverb G2 guarantees a great VR experience.
Credit: Laura Casner

Austin Palmer and Conrad Salonites

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