Just got my G2 yesterday, and thought I'd share some thoughts on how it stacks up against some of the other VR headsets I own. For reference, I'm comparing the stock G2 to a modded Vive Pro and a modded Quest 2.
NOTE: These are my initial impressions after only about 4 hours of time with the G2, as compared to a couple months with the Quest 2 and about a year with my Vive Pro, so my opinion is subject to change as I spend more time with the G2 and try more settings, etc. I've seen some comments about folks cancelling their G2 orders based on my opinions here, and I certainly wouldn't recommend that, particularly as it pertains to visuals, as this can be very subjective. https://preview.redd.it/l0ded1zpbuz51.jpg?width=2560&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=cfae4d7acd56dfd2b6f7e954d0cea7c6386a2844
I first dipped my toe into VR last Christmas with the Quest 1. I was immediately smitten by the technology, and as I'm also just a bit of an obsessive-compulsive technophile (is there any other kind of technophile?), I've actually owned several different headsets over the past year in search of the most optimal VR experience available, including the Quest 1, Vive Pro, Valve Index, Quest 2, and now the Reverb G2. The Quest 1 and Valve Index have since found new homes, but I still actively use the Vive Pro and more recently the Quest 2.
My Vive Pro is modded, with USB-C earbuds, non-fresnel Gear VR lenses, a Vive Wireless Adapter, and a custom-made battery clip
that allows the wireless adapter battery to be mounted directly beneath the adapter on the HMD, resulting in a truly wireless PCVR experience. This headset has the typical level of SDE associated with pentile OLED displays, but especially with the Gear VR lenses installed, it has zero god-rays, and is the true king of black levels, contrast and clarity. I picked up the headset used on Craigslist for a good price, so total cost to me after upgrades was just a bit over $1K, including base stations.
My Quest 2 is also modded, including the Deluxe Audio Strap and a custom battery mount
to extend play time and provide a counter balance to the otherwise front-heavy headset. As I primarily consume PCVR content, I also have a dedicated WIFI-6 router directly connected to my RTX-2080TI gaming PC, which I use in conjunction with Virtual Desktop to stream PCVR games to the Quest 2. The only thing that connects to that dedicated router is the PC (via Gig-E) and the Quest 2 (via WIFI-6), resulting in a surprisingly low-latency (~20ms-25ms) connection, with virtually no compression artifacts that I can perceive (92mbps). I honestly didn't expect to be, but I'm thoroughly impressed by what the Quest 2 can manage with PCVR when paired with a powerful gaming PC and a good WIFI router. It is worth noting that you do need a beefy GPU to hit this performance level...running this same configuration from my GTX-1070 gaming laptop resulted in visible compression artifacts and noticeable lag even when connected to the same dedicated router. Total cost for this solution, including the deluxe audio strap, dedicated router, and virtual desktop was right around $600.
So, this is what the $600 Reverb G2 was up against as I evaluated it. It's worth noting that when I placed my G2 pre-order back in May, I didn't expect the Quest 2 to be in the picture at all, but it is, and so I'm left to answer the question of where, or if, the G2 fits into my VR lineup.
Given that the G2 would re-introduce wires into my now fully-wireless PCVR setup, I'm looking for either a pretty significant bump in overall visual clarity as compared to the near-4K Quest 2 display, or enough of an improvement in black levels that it could supplant my Vive Pro for games that are heavily dependent on darkness (a feat that the Quest 2 with it's LCD panels failed to accomplish).
These headsets are all very comfortable. The Vive Pro has always been (and still is) my most comfortable headset, even when wearing glasses, to the point where I haven't even bothered with a prescription lens adapter.
With the Deluxe Audio Strap and 10,000mah extension battery acting as a counter-weight, the Quest 2 is also very well balanced and comfortable. It's a bit cramped for wearing with glasses, so I do use it with a prescription lens adapter.
The G2 is a snug, but also a very comfortable fit. I really like the padding HP used on the face plate. It's very similar to the foam on the Vive Pro, as compared to the much harder and rough foam used on the Quest 2. It's also fairly comfortable with glasses, much more so than the Quest 2 with glasses, though in extended use, I did start feeling the pressure of my glasses on my nose, so if I keep this headset, I will opt to use it with a prescription lens adapter (once one is available to 3D print).
I'd say on the whole the G2 is slightly more comfortable than the modded Quest 2, but still not quite as comfortable as the Vive Pro. Also, with the snug fit, I did find my glasses fogging up a bit more on the G2 than with the other two headsets, so a vented faceplate would be nice at some point, but it wasn't a major issue.
Any of these headsets are fine for longer gaming sessions without comfort issues. Light Blockage
Figured I'd throw this one in there simply because the G2 does such a fantastic job here. Unlike both my Quest 2 and Vive Pro, the G2 nose piece pretty much blocks all external light...nothing sneaks in. Not sure why more headsets don't offer a similar solution. This is also true for light leak around the faceplate. I do get some subtle light leakage shining through and reflecting off my lenses from the sides on my Vive Pro, but with the snug fit of the G2, there's no such issue there. Controllers & Tracking
My controller experience with the G2 so far...OK.
Ergonomically, the G2 controllers are very comfortable to hold, and the button placement is great. In my opinion, the Oculus touch controllers are still king in the ergonomics department, but I'd put the G2 controllers in an easy 2nd above both the Valve Knuckles and Vive Wands. The one exception being Beat Saber, where the Vive Wand in a B grip reigns supreme (that happens to be the only area where the Vive Wands reigns supreme in anything).
In the haptics department, the G2 is fairly anemic. I feel like I hear the haptic feedback almost more than I feel it. In Beat Saber, for example, I really don't get that sense of striking a block with my saber, and I actually had to pop my headset off the first time I played it to convince myself they were actually vibrating (they were). I didn't realize just what an important element of the game that haptic feedback was until I used the G2 controllers and couldn't really feel it as much as I am used to with all the other controllers I've used.
Much has already been said about the fact that the G2 controllers are battery hogs, so I already had a set of four rechargeable 1.5v batteries standing by, 2 per controller...but just to underscore the point, I didn't even make it through a full evening of testing before my first low-battery warning popped up. Compare that to my Quest 2, which I think I used heavily for over 2 weeks before I needed to swap out the single AA batteries. Rechargeable batteries are a must with the G2 controllers.
Now, for what is probably the most important aspect of the controllers, the actual tracking performance... EDIT (11/17/2020): I realize at this point I'm not the only one who's called out the tracking deficiencies on the G2 controllers, but in fairness, my observations were based primarily on one game, and it happened to be an Oculus game running via Revive, so it's possible there may be a software compatibility issue that may have been a factor there. I will try out a few more native Steam VR games to see if it changes my initial impressions on the tracking.
I've never used a WMR headset or controllers before, so these may be a great upgrade in tracking as compared to the first generation WMR controllers, but coming from exclusively using Steam VR and and Oculus Touch controllers, these fall short in this area. To be fair, the tracking is fine when they are out in front of you moving around. When I was swinging at blocks in beat-saber I can't attribute any misses to the tracking. That said, my hands actually spend a lot of time at my sides in many games, and the G2 controllers really do not like being at my sides. In Drop Dead: Dual Strike, for example, you have to drop your hands to your side in order to reload your weapon. The game had a really hard time registering that I'd dropped my hands to my side, and it was sometimes necessary to move my hands out or look down at them before the reload sequence would initiate (which is a problem when hoards of zombies are bearing down on you). Also, when the G2 loses track of the controllers, they have a tendency to pop-up in unexpected places before snapping back. It's a bit unnerving to be playing a game with hands resting at your side, and suddenly see your hand and weapon temporarily floating out in front of you. Again, this only seemed to happen when my hands were resting at my side in the G2s blind spot, but it's not something I've ever experienced with the the Steam VR controllers or the Oculus Touch controllers. Edit (11/18/2020): I do think perhaps there is an issue with Revive and the G2. I popped some fresh batteries into the G2 controllers, and played through another quick round in Drop Dead, and I encountered all the same issues I described yesterday. I then fired up Arizona Sunshine (native Steam version), which has many of the same tracking mechanics, and I didn't see any of the same issues. No problems grabbing or holstering weapons from my hip, even with hands resting at my side for an extended time. I even dropped a weapon on a crate, turned away from it and reached behind my back to where I thought it should be, and I was able to grab it, so hard to fault the tracking there. I also did another round of beat saber...noticed my left saber sometimes got a bit flighty while it was by my side...jumping forward a bit, but when I swang it up to swipe a block, it went where I needed it to go, and as I said yesterday, when actually swinging it in front of me, no problems with it going where I expected it to. I also observed a few more instances where my hands danced around a little forward of me while wandering around my Steam Home environment, even when I wasn't moving them. So, there still does seem to be some wackiness with the tracking when the controllers are in the blind spot as compared to the Steam VR or even Quest 2 controllers, but aside from Drop Dead, which may be a software issue, nothing I can say disrupted the actual gameplay in any way. So, still not up to the standards of the competition overall, I think, but probably not a reason to walk away from the G2 if it checks all the other boxes for you. (11/18/22-1): Adding another example where I noticed tracking differences between the Quest 2 and the G2 controllers. As has been mentioned elsewhere, anything close to the head isn't tracked very well. A good way to see this is to just take your hand in Steam VR Home, hold it to one side of your head, and slowly move it across the front of your face to the other side of your head...and then back and forth. With the Quest 2, your virtual hand moves smoothly with the controller back and forth. With the G2, it stops about half way and then jumps around. Probably not a scenario you will encounter a lot in a game, but I did first noticed this in a game where I held something up to my ear to listen to it, and then tried to bring it into my field of view to take a closer look.
I actually picked up a couple of Vive receiver dongles during the long wait between pre-order and my G2 arriving so that I'd have the option to use my Valve Knuckles with the G2, and after using the G2 controllers for an evening, I do plan to set that up so I have that option. Field of View
I have never owned or used any of the Pimax headsets with an ultra-wide FOV, but I did briefly own the Valve Index with it's 130 degree FOV. I could see the improvement there, but at the time I evaluated that headset, my focus was really dominated by the stark differences in black levels and clarity between my modded Vive Pro and the Valve Index, and those aspects trumped both the FOV and the higher refresh rate of the Index for me at that time.
With regard to the G2, Vive Pro, and Quest 2, I have not yet attempted any objective measurements, but subjectively, I actually find they are all in the same ballpark when it comes to FOV. There's no question I get the widest FOV with the Vive Pro when I have the lenses adjusted to sit as close to my glasses as possible, but it's not really significantly better than the G2 or Quest 2, with their fixed lenses. The variance between them is probably on the order of a few degrees, as compared to something like the Valve Index, with 10's of degrees of difference. I will try and take some actual measurements this evening and post those results here. EDIT: I took some quick measurements via Steams "ROV Test FOV & Resolution" environment. Here's what I observed in terms of FOV:
- Vive Pro (w/Gear VR Lenses): H=98º, V=75º
- Quest 2: H=88º, V=70º
- Reverb G2: H=92º, V=65º
This is probably the main reason I pre-ordered the G2. At the time of pre-order, the Vive Pro was my sole VR HMD, and frankly, I think the combination of the Vive Pro + Gear VR lenses still offers one of the best overall visual VR experiences available. The OLED displays with their vivid colors, high contrast, and and near-perfect blacks, uninhibited by fresnel lenses, really is something to behold. While there is certainly visible SDE on the Vive Pro, unlike poor blacks or contrast in a dark games, I find that the SDE mostly disappears when I'm engaged in active gameplay and not looking for it. On the flip-side, the SDE does stand out and is much harder to ignore in more passive activities, such as watching a video or movie...which is something I typically haven't done in VR for precisely that reason. With the G2 I was hoping for more of a best-of-both worlds compromise.
So, with regard to SDE, both the G2 and the Quest 2 effectively eliminate it as compared to the Vive Pro. Between the G2 and the Quest 2, I wouldn't say one is better than the other in this regard...the SDE simply isn't there in either case.
As for blacks and contrast, I had no illusions that an LCD would be as good as OLED, but I was hopeful based on early review reports of black levels from the G2, that it might be "good enough" to use in place of my Vive Pro for cases where I find deep blacks are important. It is not, and it's not even a close call. I'd say the black levels are fairly comparable between the Quest 2 and the G2, with neither being even in the same league as the Vive Pro, so no miracles from those LCD panels here. To be clear, I'm not talking about games like Elite Dangerous here, where you have a bright cockpit to stand in contrast to the blackness of space. I think all of these headsets look fantastic in scenarios such as this. I'm talking about games where you are meant to feel that you are in the dark, think caves, the darkness of night, dimly lit rooms, etc. Some examples of games that fit this mode would be the Mine and Refinery levels in Arizona Sunshine. Night and Caves in The Forest. The Room VR, etc.
In terms of lens clarity, the Gear VR lenses exhibit no glare or godrays with pretty much edge-to-edge clarity. With both the G2 and Quest, I really have no trouble finding the sweet spot, so it's a pretty healthy size, and clarity across the field of view is pretty good once I have the sweet spot. Both Quest 2 and G2 do exhibit godrays and blur on high contrast white-on-black, but not as bad as I recall with the Valve Index. The G2 is slightly better than the Quest 2 in this regard, but neither is particularly bad as far as fresnel lenses go.
In terms of brightness, The Vive Pro is the brightest, to the point that I typically reduce brightness to around 80% via the Advance VR Settings app. The G2 is just a tad brighter than the Quest 2, which gives the display a bit more "pop", but I personally find the colors on the Quest 2 to be just a bit
warmer overall. It's a subtle difference though, and not something I think I'd notice if I wasn't going back and forth A/B style.
The G2 is also sharper as compared to the Quest 2, as would be expected from the difference in actual panel resolution. This is most notable when viewing the PC desktop, but I don't really see any distinguishable difference in this regard when watching videos or actually playing games, even if I stop and scrutinize what's being displayed. EDIT (11/17/20): Based on some of the comments, I've gone back and taken a closer look at some different content, also ensuring that I'm driving the resolution in games to fully utilize the higher resolution and display bandwidth of the G2 via Display Port, and I am able to see the differences between the G2 and the Quest 2 in game a bit more pronounced here. Overall, the nod goes to the G2 display, but the differences are actually not as pronounced as I thought they would be. EDIT (11/18/2020): I spent a lot of time during those first several hours with my G2 in Virtual Desktop comparing the difference I could see from the actual desktop, watching videos, etc. In further testing I've discovered that Virtual Desktop apparently reverts the display to 1080p each time you fire it up, even if your desktop is set to 4K before you run it, so for that portion of my evaluation, I was effectively comparing 1080p content to 1080p content there, which obviously will skew results. After bumping the desktop back up to 4K, I saw an increase in sharpness in both the G2 and the Quest 2, but the improvement was more profound with the G2. At 300% desktop scaling, the two were still pretty darn close, but at 100% scaling, the desktop on the G2 was quite usable (though still not as crisp as an actual monitor), whereas the desktop on the Quest 2 was not...text just didn't resolve well enough there. As far as video content from the desktop goes, it's honestly still very hard to distinguish any notable difference between the two on that type of content. The desktop resolution would not have impacted my observations in actual VR, so let me add one more example of what I'm seeing there. Let's just take something from my Steam VR Home environment, which is currently "The Gulping Goat Space Farm". When I pop into that environment on the G2, I get a general sense that it's a bit more crisp, but it's not an immediate "Wow, this is just so much better"...this is a very subjective observation, but back when I moved from the Quest 1 to the Vive Pro it definitely was a "Wow, this is so much better moment". Perhaps my impressions are skewed by the lack of SDE on both headsets here, but it just looks really good in both cases as you casually look around the environment. Now, if I walk out the door, and around the corner of the house, there's a sign in the distance by the chicken coop. On the Quest 2, I can make out "No Trespassing", and there are two small blurbs of text below that which I can't make out. On the G2 I can make out "No Trespassing - Violators will be Milked", still can not make out the 3rd blurb from that distance even on the G2. I'm also finding that the more time I spend in the G2 headset, the more the visual differences stand out when I move back the the Quest 2.
Conclusions (Updated 11/18/2020)
The biggest conclusion I would draw is that even with the Reverb G2 now on the scene, there is no "perfect" VR headset. Pick your poison...you either get Screen Door Effect, or less than ideal blacks and contrast...there is no one option that eliminates both. Perhaps someday we'll have VR displays that eliminate SDE while maintaining OLED level blacks and contrast, but that day is not today. That means one way or another I'll be keeping my Vive Pro around for the foreseeable future. I play too many games where those black levels take priority over SDE for me.
At the same time, the overall quality of the LCD and lenses on the G2, and to a lesser extent, the Quest 2, are quite simply amazing, particularly for content that is mostly bright or mixed bright and dark, which probably represents the bulk of what we consume in VR.
I'm finding that the G2 is definitely a bump up in visuals and sharpness as compared to the Quest 2. For desktop use, it's pretty significant, and this probably translates to SIMs as well, but for run-and-gun shooters, or even a game like Beat Saber, the differences are visible, but subjectively perhaps a bit more subtle than I might have expected. At this point, it's a question of whether or not those improvements are enough to offset the conveniences of the Quest 2 with regard to wireless capability and mobility given how well it performs in that regard. Dollar for dollar, I might actually give the early nod to my $600 Quest Bundle (including router, DAS, and power-pack) over the $600 G2. More so if you opted to replace the G2 controllers with a couple of base stations and a pair of knuckles controllers, as that would add quite a bit more cost to the latter. In my case, I already have the latter, so that's not so much of a consideration.
Now, If I was basing this decision solely on the visuals, and not the full packages (as described in the opening section), the G2 is the clear winner here. I don't see myself parting with either my Quest 2 or Vive Pro given their individual strengths, so it's really a question of whether there's a place for the G2 with it's sharper visuals in my specific situation.
I know that was a bit long-winded, but hopefully someone will find my observations helpful.
Final Words (Added 11/19/2020)
I realize that even though this post is only a few days old, it's stale in reddit-time, and probably not getting that many views, but I wanted to add one final update now that I've had a few more days with my G2.
Yes, I will be keeping my G2, but I'm also keeping my Quest 2 and Vive Pro as well for now...it's going to be interesting to see how I decide when to use each, but they each excel in different areas, so until someone can build a wireless 4K+ OLED HMD with no SDE and great tracking...
With regard to the tracking on the stock G2 controllers, I'll let my comments above stand where I left them. As for my own setup, I now have the Valve Knuckles controllers working with the G2, and I don't expect the G2 controllers will see much action going forward.
With regard to the visual fidelity and sharpness of the G2, yes, it is visually superior to the Quest 2 with the VD streaming setup I have described above, but with the exception of the G2, I think the Quest 2 does a great job as compared to every other VR headset I've tried, including the PCVR headsets.
When compared to the previous generation VR headsets, it's very subjective, but I'd say visually the Quest 2 is maybe 85% of the way to where the G2 landed...but the more I use the G2, the more that last 15% really stands out, so no question that HP nailed it with the G2 HMD.