The HP Reverb G2 is the lacking piece to your sim rig.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

Sim racing is a superb factor, an opportunity to construct and check your driving expertise in a secure, (comparatively) inexpensive setting. And, given the state of the world for the previous 12 months, titles like iRacing and Assetto Corsa Competizione have been the one method that the majority of us have needed to scratch the racing itch. 

I have been simming for 20 years now and, whereas many main developments have are available in that point, simple and inexpensive digital actuality has been the largest. A VR headset not solely spares you the expense of a large, triple-monitor setup however offers you a degree of immersion you’ll be able to’t get in something wanting one of many multimillion-dollar simulators of the professionals. 

VR helps you to look via corners much better than any triple-rig setup. That is particularly useful when you’re doing a little rally motion. For wheel-to-wheel racing, it is useful having the ability to look over your shoulder and see whether or not that rando with the rookie license is basically severe about making an attempt to make a cross.

The benefits are actual, however VR has some severe drawbacks, too. Headsets are uncomfortable, particularly in case your racing skews towards the endurance facet, and so they can introduce one more supply of lag or glitches into the combination.

The largest subject, although, is decision. 4K gaming screens are commonplace lately, providing someplace within the neighborhood of three,840×2,160 pixels. The Oculus Rift S, the most typical VR headset utilized in simming right this moment, presents simply 2,560×1,440 pixels. That is roughly a 23% discount on the floor, however the actuality is even worse. The Rift S splits that show into two, half for every eye, so its efficient decision is 45% lower than a single 4K monitor. 

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This is not as dangerous because it sounds, as more often than not once you’re racing you are taking a look at giant, well-defined objects like automobiles or apex curbing painted in contrasting colours. However in the case of recognizing the braking markers at Monza, or making an attempt to learn tire temps on a tiny digital dashboard, extra pixels positive could be good.

Enter the HP Reverb G2. Whereas wanting little completely different from an Oculus Rift S on the skin, it is what’s inside that counts: a whopping 2,160×2,160 pixels per eye. Complete decision is definitely increased than a 4K monitor, and every eye will get extra pixels to itself than the Rift S presents in complete.

Once I examine this improve I used to be naturally fairly desperate to strive it out, however for awhile there the $599 Reverb G2 was as onerous to seek out as, effectively, each different fascinating piece of laptop gaming {hardware} lately. Fortunately, HP was type sufficient to ship me one to check out.


The Reverb G2 has 4 cameras (two entrance, two on the edges), and off-ear Valve-designed spatial audio headphones.



When you’re coming from a Rift S like I used to be, connecting the Reverb G2 is straightforward. It depends on the identical USB and DisplayPort connections. The software program configuration is sort of completely different, nevertheless. Whereas the Oculus headset depends on a devoted utility operating within the background, the G2 makes use of Home windows Blended Actuality. So, setup was a breeze.

Most significantly, the headset is instantly suitable with each SteamVR and OpenVR, the 2 VR requirements you are most probably to make use of in fashionable sims like iRacing or ACC. So, for instance, when loading right into a session in iRacing, now you will merely choose “Steam” as an alternative of “Oculus” within the VR pop-up. 

That half’s simple. The subsequent step could also be just a little tougher.

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System calls for

Whereas the relative decrease decision of VR is an obstacle in the case of readability, it is truly a bonus in the case of system calls for. Fewer pixels means much less load positioned in your graphics card, so you’ll be able to dial up all the beautiful results and nonetheless keep a stable body fee.

With the HP Reverb G2 and all its pixels, I needed to make some compromises. I am operating an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, highly effective sufficient to run iRacing with all the pieces on max and nonetheless get a stable 80 frames per second with my Oculus Rift S.

With the G2, I shortly realized that I wanted to make some changes. To start with, the G2 has a 90Hz refresh fee, so I wanted to seek out 10 extra fps. That, plus all these additional pixels, meant dropping some settings like mirror element, shader element and some different environmental results.

In ACC, a much more visually demanding sport, I needed to make some drastic modifications, dropping element all the way down to the minimal and even then lowering it to solely 10 seen automobiles. I lowered the sport’s efficient rendering decision, too, all simply to get a stable 90fps.

When you’re fortunate to be rocking an RTX 3090, likelihood is you are within the clear, however you probably have something lesser, be ready to make some sacrifices.  

However don’t fret, it is value it.

Evaluating the Oculus Rift S (left) versus the HP Reverb G2. This provides a tough thought of the impact of all these additional pixels. 

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

The end result

I assumed it’d take me a short while to identify the distinction within the G2’s decision, that possibly I might must run a couple of observe classes on a couple of completely different tracks earlier than I might actually really feel the development.

I used to be mistaken. The distinction was apparent the second I jumped into the primary digital automobile. It was like I might been sporting a set of glasses smeared with Vaseline and was solely now seeing the world for the primary time. I actually spent a minute simply wanting across the cockpit of my Subaru WRX STI rallycross automobile in iRacing, admiring the weave on the carbon-fiber steering wheel and all the opposite particulars beforehand misplaced within the blur.

As soon as I bought transferring, issues bought even higher. Having the ability to spot and skim braking markers farther down the street gave me extra confidence on each lap. I might give attention to different issues.

In ACC, I might lastly learn the tiny tire stress indicators on the sprint at only a look. Dropping all of the graphical results to allow this undoubtedly made the sport general much less stunning, however the improve in sharpness greater than made up for it. 

I used to be fairly blown away, however the Rift S does have some benefits over the G2. For one factor, it is simpler to regulate. The Oculus headset has a knob on the again that makes tightening simple, one thing I usually discover myself doing midrace. Adjusting the G2 requires fiddly Velcro straps, inconceivable to do whereas driving.

Moreover, I like the froth padding on the Rift S greater than that on the G2, which begins to really feel tough after prolonged classes. And, whereas the audio system on the G2 are nice, I miss the Rift’s 3.5mm headphone jack, which let me use noise-blocking in-ear screens. 

The largest subject I’ve with the G2, nevertheless, has to do with the dimensions of my head. Extra particularly, the gap between my eyes. Interpupillary distance is a measurement of how far aside your eyes are; that is vastly essential in VR, because the headset must line up exactly together with your eyes. The G2 has a bodily IPD adjustment, a pleasant function, however its vary is considerably restricted: 60 to 68mm. My IPD? 72mm.

The G2 nonetheless works effectively sufficient, but it surely needs to be very exactly positioned for me to get a transparent focus and, even then, I’ve a considerably claustrophobic perspective. It is just a little just like the world is closing in on me left and the appropriate. 

Most of you will not have a difficulty, but when your head is on the massive or small measurement, it is undoubtedly one thing to think about.

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Despite my IPD incompatibility, I’m blown away by the HP Reverb G2. It’s truly a leap forward over other, lower-res headsets. I am loth to go back to my Oculus.

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At $599, the G2 is an expensive but worthy upgrade for anyone who’s serious about simming in VR. Just make sure you budget a little extra for a graphics card to match.

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