HP Copper: a new Windows VR headset to kill the Rift and the Vive

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Adriana Gil
@adrianagil

Summary

  • HP Copper: a definition twice as high as the Rift and the Vive

At the end of 2017, several PC manufacturers launched their virtual reality headsets running on Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality platform. This is the case with HP, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Dell and even Samsung. The goal of Microsoft and its partners was to launch an ecosystem of affordable VR headsets to appeal to the general public for whom the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive were too expensive.



Unfortunately, despite their significantly lower prices, Windows Mixed Reality headsets have never really succeeded in winning over consumers. In January 2019, helmets running on this platform only represent 9% of VR headsets used by Steam players against more than 40% for the HTC Vive and nearly 50% for the Oculus Rift.

This failure is no doubt explained by the poor quality of first-generation Windows Mixed Reality headsets. With the exception of the Samsung Odyssey (which is not available in Europe), these devices offer a significantly less convincing experience than the Rift and Vive.

If we take the example of the HP headset, its screen definition is in theory greater than that of the Rift and Vive (1440 × 1440 against 1080 × 1200). However, once the camera is on the eyes, we realize that the image is less detailed. Indeed, while the Rift and Vive are equipped with an OLED screen, HP made the mistake of opting for LCD. And the field of view of just 90 ° is clearly not there to help matters. Beyond this technical inferiority, the WMR headset from HP disappoints with its not very ergonomic controllers and the lack of compatible content. It also turns out to be rather uncomfortable.



HP Copper: a definition twice as high as the Rift and the Vive

However, Hewlett Packard has not said its last word and does not intend to withdraw from the VR headset market. The US site Road to VR has just revealed that HP is preparing a new device with the code name "Copper", and this headset offers a screen definition of 2160 × 2160 per eye.

The definition is therefore almost doubled compared to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Even if the field of view was not increased much compared to the first device from HP, the journalist Ben Lang of Road to VR who was able to test it claims to be amazed by the clarity of the Copper screen.

In addition, the design of the helmet has been completely revised to provide a much more comfortable experience. The device is much lighter, and strongly resembles an Oculus Rift with straps on the side and on the top. Knowing that the Rift is one of the most comfortable VR headsets on the market, that's a pretty good point.

Le tracking system is the same as for previous Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and is therefore based on on-board cameras. There will be no need for external sensors to take advantage of position tracking, which is a clear advantage over the competition.


Overall, the HP Copper is therefore very promising. However, we will have to wait until we can take it in hand to check if it keeps its promises. It is not yet known at what price and when this device will be available on the market, but we can expect a launch in the course of 2019. HP specifies that it is primarily a product intended for companies, and that it will probably replace its first VR headset in the bundles offered to professionals at the moment.




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