Getting Started with the HP Reverb G2 Wired VR Headset

Getting Started with the HP Reverb G2 Wired VR Headset

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Beginning the Exploration of Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality Platform Using the HP Reverb G2 Headset

A collaboration between Microsoft, Valve and Hewett Packard resulted in the development of the HP Reverb G2 tethered virtual reality headset. The G2 provides features and capabilities desired by business professionals and gamers alike, at a price that is well below legacy professional-grade VR headsets.

Announced during a keynote address in May 2020, HP began taking pre-orders for the headset shortly thereafter. I was in the market for a professional-grade headset that would provide improved performance, as compared to my Oculus Rift S headset. I

I wanted open and easy access to the broad range of VR applications and experiences designed for MS Windows 10 machines, without having to rely on a never-ending series of hacks, designed to permit access to content outside of Facebook’s realm and Oculus Store.

So, I began researching the HP Reverb G2 for my business and professional spatial computing needs, in preparation for the upcoming 2021 year.

Ordering the HP Reverb G2

On September 28th, after evaluating my needs and digesting several reviews of the HP Reverb G2 wired virtual reality headset, I placed my order via the HP website. Within a few minutes, I had a confirmation email sitting in my inbox.

A few days later, I received an email from Connection, an HP supplier, that my headset was projected to ship sometime in December. A week or so before Christmas day, I received my headset and was ready to begin exploring virtual reality, from the perspective of Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) platform.

Since diving-in head-first into the virtual reality world, my VR platform orientation has been through the lens of the Oculus VR platform. My first VR wired Head Mounted Display (HMD), and Oculus Rift S, delivered stunning graphics and performance, and opened the door for me to the world of virtual reality experiences.

In the last few months, I've been primarily using my all-in-one Oculus Quest 2 HMD. I've been satisfied with both its graphics and performance running the various applications that are now the mainstay of my VR experiences. Via the wired Oculus link solution, I am able to access my library of installed VR workstation applications. I enjoy additional performance and other benefits that are not available when my Quest 2 is operating as a wireless HMD.

Though the Quest 2's performance was admirable for several of my go-to VR applications, I knew I would need a wired HMD that offered greater graphics clarity and could tap the graphics processing power of my VR workstation. VR flight simulation applications and other application use cases would require more horsepower and capabilities currently provided by the Quest 2 and Oculus platform. 

Facebook's Oculus Quest 2 is designed primarily as a general consumer product, with applications and experiences primarily available through the Oculus store platform. As I needed a VR HMD solution that would enable me to seamlessly access business and professional-grade applications available via the WMR and SteamVR application stores, the HP Reverb G2 running on Microsoft's WMR platform appeared to offer the best bang-for-the-buck.

Subject Matter Experts and Influencers Reports on the G2

In keeping up with the Reverb G2 reviews since HP first publicly announced their new headset, I learned the G2 was ideal for certain applications, such as flight simulation, due to the headsets superior image clarity and technical  design. As a general aviation student pilot and flight simulation enthusiast, the G2 appeared to be a good candidate HMD that would fulfill the two flight simulator headset use cases that I had in mind.

This Microsoft WMR headset was reported by reviewers as being lightweight and comfortable to wear, over an extended period of time. The micro-adjustable IPD would help ensure a good experience sharing my headset with others, as I could micro-adjust the IPD to adapt to most of my friends, family and colleagues IPD needs. Replacement medical-grade silicon facial interfaces would ensure good hygiene when sharing headsets, as these interfaces could be quickly swapped-out or sanitized with a disinfectant.

The Reverb G2 headset and its official launch by HP was not without issues, however. Many of the issues found by preproduction reviews were corrected by HP, with launch issues addressed as production and delivery of the headsets progressed worldwide.

Getting Started: Learning About my New G2

A good way to come quickly up to speed on new technology, is to check reviews by trusted Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and market Influencers. These reviewers are a good source of information, especially when you're interested in learning time-saving tips and tricks related to first-use HMD assembly, configuration and application information.

Cas and Chary VR, published a good HP Reverb G2 – Unboxing, Tracking Tests & First Impressions on November 12, 2020.

Cas provided a good overview of the G2 headset, including assembling the G2, initial configuration and her initial impressions of the headset's performance. If you're considering the G2 for gaming, check out their channel for more tips, tricks and insights of the G2 headset.

Sebastian Ang's unboxing and How To Setup The Reverb G2 - All You Need To Get You Started video presentation, provided much of what I needed to know to unbox, assemble, configure, connect and launch my G2 headset for the first time.

Launching the G2 and WMR Application for the First Time

Plugging my G2 into my VR workstation, the Windows Mixed Reality application launched. After running a brief PC compatibility check of my VR workstation, the app displayed a checklist of my VR machine's attributes. My workstation satisfied all of the minimum requirements for running WMR and the G2 HMD, so I proceeded with the next step to get up-and-running with my G2.

After completing a manual process to center the headset with my workstation, the app guided me in tracing an outline of the physical space that I would use when engaged in VR. Once my VR space was traced and saved, the app downloaded additional data, which took a total  of about five minutes to complete. Once completed, I was prompted to put the headset on to continue my WMR experience.

With the G2 headset on, I began exploring my new Windows Mixed Reality virtual home space.

Next Steps with G2 HMD and WMR Platform

Perceiving the virtual reality space from Microsoft's perspective, will be an interesting and exciting experience! In future articles, I'll cover VR applications and experiences for business and professional use cases.

Along with my colleague, Walter Matthews, I'll be exploring the General Aviation flight simulator use cases for flight enthusiasts, student and recreational pilots, who are interested in learning and experiencing the benefits associated with VR FlightSim applications and experiences. We'll be reporting on Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2020 release for VR and new developments for glider pilots using the Condor 2 FlightSim application.

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Virtual Reality & Tech