VR Flight Sim cockpit review of the HP Reverb

  • This is not a complete review of the Reverb - just how it feels to me with respect to being at the pilot's eyepoint and using the cockpit instruments primarily.


    I have had an Odyssey+ since last Thanksgiving and really have enjoyed it - except for the lack of clarity. Actually, that issue has improved over the last two months with some of the Microsoft and SteamVR improvements having to do with "RenderTargetScale" and other similar issues. I have a great CPU - a 9700K at 5Ghz - and a medium speed RTX2070 - so I ran the SuperSampling up to about 2000x2500 and used SteamVR "auto" reprojection for a minimum of stutter when looking out the side window at an airport full of static airplanes. Still my experience was I had to "lean in" to read gauges that weren't really close to me - some cockpits were fine but most airliners weren't - I could see the numbers on a PFD for speed and altitude but I had to know what I expected it to be and the numbers were fuzzy - a bit of strain. The Odyssey+ color vibrance was great - just makes the scenery really beautiful and especially black for night flying. With the SDE filter, it was very difficult to see pixels. When the Reverb was announced with 2160x2160 native along with the higher number of subpixels, my interest became very strong. I waited through all the introductory problems and looked for mention of clarity and performance. Then I saw chiliwili69's analysis of the Reverb and Index on the IL-2 Virtual Reality and VR controllers forum. His through-the-lens photos and comments (and benchmarks) on frametime performance really captured my interest. I waited and waited - would Samsung produce a similar resolution system with OLEDs? Then just days ago, the HP Store dropped the price $100 USD and I ordered the Reverb and after a few days use, I wanted to encourage all the flightsim pilots with a very brief report.


    First off, the installation was very easy since I had all the WMR / SteamVR software already and tested/updated with the Samsung. Unplug one, and substitute the other. I was using a powered ValveLink box for the USB3 and HDMI cables without problem. I used the ValveLink USB3 port, added a 6 foot Display Port extension cable, connected to the last Display Port of my RTX2070 (I have three HD monitors), rebooted just for luck, and all was working immediately. OMG - the clarity in the WMR CliffHouse was what I needed to see right away - just like an HD monitor - the edges were sharp and text far away was readable. I have eyeglasses that are 130mm wide and they fit inside the Reverb (carefully) until I can get the inserts from vroptician (widmovr was sold out). I am adding KlearKare lens protectors as well so that when I have friends with glasses try the Reverb, I don't have to worry. I set the SteamVR Supersampling at 2160x2116 (also tried a little more - no apparent change).

    Now for the real issue at hand. There was a lot of discussion about both physical sweet spot (how do I fit it on my head to see clearly - I have 64.5mm IPD fortunately) and then the gaze sweet spot (how clear is the display as I look to the edge of the field of view). For me, the physical sweet spot for seated VR is fine - I do have to push it around a little but maybe a little less than for the Odyssey+. The gaze sweet spot is the critical issue - how much can I see clearly so I can really read it before I have to move my whole head and re-center. My informal testing of both WWII fighters (IL-2), modern fighters (F18 - DCS and P3D) and Q400 (Aerofly FS2) airliners is the following - I get approximately 50% of total field of view away from center that is remarkably clear - crisp numbers and text in general. If the gauges outside of that are needle pointers or caution lights, I can grasp what they are indicating ( as clear as the Odyssey+ straight on was ) without changing my head position - otherwise I do move my head. As one who has worn their eyeglasses since sixth grade, I naturally move my head to center my foveal vision (about +- 5 degrees) anyway so I can carefully discern the gauge value. The center scan for most aircraft (speed, altitude, vertical velocity, heading, and possible moving map ) is all clear without moving my head! I built flight sims for big companies in my career and I know what the EFIS displays look like - just like this. For the Q400 at the left seat eyepoint, I was impressed that I could even read the right seat PFD speed and altitude numbers. The EICAS in the center, the comm panels, and even the CDU flight management display is easily read WITHOUT leaning in.

    Are there some cons - from the cockpit view arena only? A couple: the daytime scenes are a little less vibrant but probably more like real life - but the edge clarity of terrain and mountain textures, buildings, and static planes on the ground is much better. Other AI / MP traffic is clear - formation flight is better. Night-time is more gray pixels due to the LCD displays which make the ground and parts of the cockpit look washed out - but some scenery areas like Innsbruck in FS2 look very real - the building textures and lights are just so clear. The performance as compared to the same SteamVR pixel dimensions (for Odyssey+ versus the Reverb ) seem about the same (maybe 10% less) - I am testing that right now using IL-2 chiliwili69 benchmarks. Obviously, a RTX2080ti would help - but $$$. There is some minor SDE in the clear blue sky. Not sure about the need for AA yet - the clarity shows the edges.

    There are other pros and cons covered in a lot of other reviews (FOV, comfort, pupil swim (I don't notice it the cockpit), godrays,etc.) - but I am just very impressed with the clarity which was such a drag to explain to my flight sim friends who stuck to their monitors. This is really a great step forward for VR.


    chiliwili69s report:

    https://forum.il2sturmovik.com…hrough-the-lens-pictures/

  • I'm glad to hear your opinion on the Reverb coming from the Odyssey+. When I bought and tested the Pimax 5k+ I hated it color wise and I believe AF2 didn't properly support a function that was desperately needed with Pimax. It's hard to use anything else after being spoiled with the Odyssey+. I really want to experience the Reverb's clarity but I know I will moan and groan about the grayish colors. Thanks again for the detailed review :thumbup:

  • I am using a Reverb and I have glasses. There was no space in the Reverb for them and they were pushed back into my face very uncomfortably.


    So if you wear glasses I would strongly recommend prescription lenses for the Reverb. They work very well.

  • It's excellent with FS2. The clarity is great and the instruments are easy to read. I don't really notice any screen door effect unless I actually look for it.



    I use a GTX1080 card from the initial 2016 release, and was expecting to need to upgrade it for the Reverb. I was pleasantly suprised that the Reverb works with it no problem and I haven't seen any slowdown compared to the Rift.


    My only reservation with the Reverb would be for room space games. The weight of the cable would make it difficult to stand up and move a lot. Also I have read that the inside out tracking (which is great with games using the HOTAS) has limited effectiveness with VR hand controllers, although I've used hand controllers with seated games and they seem to work fine so far.

  • I have an Acer WMR headset and my biggest gripe with that is the small FOV. It's not that it doesn't render a decent FOV, you just can't see it unless your eyes stick out of your head. I borrowed a Reverb to see how it worked with AFS2 and whether it was worth shelling out the cost. My comments here are just for balance, I don't want to pour cold water on the opinions of others, but I was quite dissappointed. For me, it was sharp in the central region only and maybe this very clarity made the outer fuzineess stand out even more. It was the same with Chromatic aberration. It was there with the Acer headset, but I could ignore it; somehow with the Reverb it was a real distraction. Strangely, the SDE was just as noticeable as with the Acer headset (which was LCD). It was finer, but still there, and I didn't notice an immediate difference in the readability of instruments (only tried the R-22). The FOV was not any different either. My overall impression was that the flying experience did not change much, so not worth the upgrade for me. Perhaps my dissappointment was because I had had such high expectations, but I would certainly advise against an irreversable purchase. That said, it's great to see that others have a much better experience with the Reverb, which again shows that it's worth trying. Sorry if my comments are repeated, I couldn't remember which forum I posted on.

  • GrahamD ,

    It's obvious that each person who tries a VR system has varying responses. Unfortunately, some of the variance can come from not having "tuned" your system - like just what SteamVR beta version you are running and what SuperSampling value you are using, which Nvidia or AMD driver you are using, what version of Windows 10, what KB fixes you have, what version of the WMR portal you have. Also, for the flight sim itself, what AA, Aniso settings, which setting are you using for reprojection (ASW). There are SO SO many settings to check. I've scoured the forums in order to set up both my Odyssey+ and now the Reverb - a lot of work. Also, I have two pairs of glasses that I use and I get different results in clarity. No wonder we each have different responses - and then there is our IPD........ As I tried to portray in my report, I believe there is a wide variance in how we scan our instruments - I am willing to move my head some to read gauges that are away from center - others just aren't. It's a habit that I got from flying real planes and from the fact that I've worn glasses all my life.

    I'm glad that there are quite a few VR systems to try - and that each of us can try to find what fits us best. Check out the Pimax 8K+X (I would sure like to try it but it is $$$).

    In summary, at least for some of us, we can read our instrument panel very clearly. A great step for VR. It seems that RGB stripe at 2160x2160 is here and will be used by other VR systems - all for our benefit as flight simmers.


    Dave W.

  • The stuttering was never much of an issue and I'm sure a bit of time with the settings would have sorted it out. The problem really lies in the shape of my head, but that's not so easily tweaked (can't find the slider for eye-to-skull distance). That's why I like the Index design where you can move the lenses to adjust both IPD and lens to eye distance. I'll keep fiddling with the Reverb as I use it at work, though not for AFS2. I'll never get an Index at home as I don't want to install lighthouses in my living room, so hoping that either they use those cameras to implement inside-out tracking or someone else copies their mechanical design.

  • Ok, I will give my 2 cents on the VR/Reverb experience. 6 months ago I bought a used Samsung Odyssey 1.0 for a try out after my son came with a Samsung Gear version with his Phone in it as GPU. The impression was nice but the resolution to weak and within in minute I felt motion sickness. I was used to fly FSX and later P3dV4 in 3dVision stereo and Track-IR and was impressed by VR but sold the Odyssey after a couple of days. The immersion factor was there only for 24 hour and very quick there was the motion sickness back and the overall resolution was not satisfying compared to the 3D experience with 3DVision. As soon I collected the info on the new coming Reverb, I ordered one with the idea of returning the unit when not satisfying and guess what... It's still here.


    I was blowing away with the sharpness of the Reverb and due to the 90hz and very high frame rates there is no motion sickness at all. I have al the sims you can imagine and only Aerofly and Flyinside (the latest 6.0 runs also super with the Reverb) are optimized for flight simulation in VR and now I understand the importance of this factor and Aerofly is the top player now in this field and far ahead of the rest but please don't forget, the Reverb is a truly 4K resolution and with highest horizontal settings (3840 standard 4K vs 4320 Reverb VR) there is a demand for a beefy GPU for the best results. I was running Aerofly on my old i7-2600K with a 1060 6Gb very nice and after replacement of the Sandy Bridge with a modern i5-9600K there was only a minor improvement in Aerofly but after collecting a water cooled Titan XP with 12Gb Vram and near 2080ti performance I was suddenly running on 90Hz with a steady 90fps in both VR sims and Aerofly transformed in all her glory so please, don't underestimate the fact that high demanding sceneries as ORBX True Earth The Netherlands are using 10Gb of Vram so you can imagine what the consequences are with a under powered GPU in combo with the Reverb... It's running nice, yes... on 60Hz and sometimes on 90Hz with a re-projection to 45fps but compared to 90/90.... Oh, boy...


    Long story short, The Reverb is at these moment the best choice for passive/sitting VR due to the above 4K resolution but be aware that you need a very fast GPU and a minimal of 10Gb Vram. Only the 1080ti and 2080ti have 11Gb and the Titan's 12 or 24Gb. As soon as your system is running out of Vram your performance is dropping dramatically. Outside the scope of these topic but worthwhile to know... Also Xplane11 is using +/- 10Gb Vram in demanding sceneries but still not flyable on my system due to the lack of optimizing for VR and the poor CPU/Cores spreading and bottlenecking my GPU dramatically. P3Dv4 can handle it all much better but is still very, very minor to Aerofly and Flyinside when you have the luxury of a beefy GPU and now I understand why they asking ridiculous prices for second hand 1080ti cards.


    I only can hope that IPACS can go full throttle ahead with development for a more "living world" and functionality and also very important, that we are not bounded by small High-Res scenery areas, made by Aerofly enthusiasts.


    Happy landings...

  • Long story short, The Reverb is at these moment the best choice for passive/sitting VR due to the above 4K resolution but be aware that you need a very fast GPU and a minimal of 10Gb Vram. Only the 1080ti and 2080ti have 11Gb and the Titan's 12 or 24Gb. As soon as your system is running out of Vram your performance is dropping dramatically.

    I've been running it for a couple of months on a standard GTX1080, not a TI. Performance is absolutely fine and every bit as good as the Rift was.

  • If I could have the inside-out tracking of the Rift S, FOV of the Index and resolution of the Reverb I would be happy! I'd be surprised if AFS2 actually needs 10GB VRAM, as I have it running smoothly on my 90Hz Acer headset (GTX 1080) and the extra VRAM needed for the increased size frame-buffer is nominal. I haven't measured the framerate, but it's certainly fluid. I had thought, after optimising it for the Reverb and going back to the Acer, that it was stuttering a bit. It turned out that I had left my R-22 at high altitutde in the Swiss Alps, where I was flying at full collective and ignoring the over-torque warning, giving it the shakes. Well I think that was the cause anyway and it certainly seemed to stop when I reduced the collective. The fact that you are seeing 10 GB VRAM allocated, does not necessarily mean that it is all being accessed,; there may be some sort of memory management that only clears textures when available memory is running low.


    Back to the Reverb, it seems like I am in a minority and I put it down to the fact that I could not get into the sweet-spot. That being said, although I did not notice a huge leap in immersion with AFS2, for some reason The Blue looked aboslutely amazing; it suddenly felt like the water was much clearer. I'll have to give it another go on AFS2 sometime. It's a shame I can't run it on my work system (used for 3D X-ray imaging); i9 9900K, 64GB RAM and Titan RTX, that should do it!

  • I've been running it for a couple of months on a standard GTX1080, not a TI. Performance is absolutely fine and every bit as good as the Rift was.

    That's good for you but you are not running it's full capacity in high demanding area's. As I wrote but you forgot to quote... You can run fine on 60Hz and/or a 90hz re-projecting to 45fps. If that's satisfying for you... Great but you are also wrote, It's as good as the rift was.... Really ?/! Please keep apples by apples.

  • If I could have the inside-out tracking of the Rift S, FOV of the Index and resolution of the Reverb I would be happy! I'd be surprised if AFS2 actually needs 10GB VRAM, as I have it running smoothly on my 90Hz Acer headset (GTX 1080) and the extra VRAM needed for the increased size frame-buffer is nominal. I haven't measured the framerate, but it's certainly fluid. I had thought, after optimising it for the Reverb and going back to the Acer, that it was stuttering a bit. It turned out that I had left my R-22 at high altitutde in the Swiss Alps, where I was flying at full collective and ignoring the over-torque warning, giving it the shakes. Well I think that was the cause anyway and it certainly seemed to stop when I reduced the collective. The fact that you are seeing 10 GB VRAM allocated, does not necessarily mean that it is all being accessed,; there may be some sort of memory management that only clears textures when available memory is running low.


    Back to the Reverb, it seems like I am in a minority and I put it down to the fact that I could not get into the sweet-spot. That being said, although I did not notice a huge leap in immersion with AFS2, for some reason The Blue looked aboslutely amazing; it suddenly felt like the water was much clearer. I'll have to give it another go on AFS2 sometime. It's a shame I can't run it on my work system (used for 3D X-ray imaging); i9 9900K, 64GB RAM and Titan RTX, that should do it!

    Yep, you are a un-lucky guy I think. I have VRfps running in the cockpit to check it all in real time. Frame-time of the CPU/GPU, usage and temps and more important, the actual use of CPU Ram AND GPU Vram. It's all in real time and a necessary tool for fine tuning the VR rig in a WMR environment. Is the Reverb perfect? NO... It's still a Scuba Diving Glass looking thru due to the POV and the cable is not a perfect solution.


    The fact that you have minor performance although you have the right hardware, indicates that there is something wrong in your overall setup or your individual headset. BUT, I don't know if you have ORBX TE-The Netherlands for Aerofly? and if so, please try to make a approach at EHAM en come back and write your experience again on a normal 1080. I forgot to mentioned it here before but I also bought and tested for a week a brand new RTX2070-Super with 8Gb VRAM on my new 32Gb i5-9600K rig and I was very disappointed about the performance upgrade in Xplane11-P3dV4 AND Aerofly compared to my old GTX 1060-6Gb card and please keep in mind that the new RTX2070-Super is as fast as the older 1080ti... (but still lacking the extra 3Gb Vram) after ventilating my disappointment, a guy contacted me and was giving the tip of the Titan.


    Let's be clear about it, I am not advocating the Reverb but only communicating MY experience with my first steps in VR with the Samsung Odyssey in the beginning and comparable with the other headset's of that moment and was a nothing burger for me but the newer and much better Reverb will keep me in VR land. I am not pleased with low resolutions and stutters all over the place due to minor hardware or other things and I am definitely NOT saying or stating that the combo Aerofly/Reverb is only good working above 10Gb Vram. The most sceneries for example Switzerland you mentioned is only using approx 6 Gb of Vram but to let Aerolfy VR shine in all the potential glory with these combo, a 1080 is the absolute minimum and by the way... that's also stated in the specs of HP. a 1080 GPU is recommanded....


    Just my 2 cents....

  • Yep, you are a un-lucky guy I think. I have running VRfps running in the cockpit to check it all in real time. Frame-time of the CPU/GPU and more important, the actual use of Ram AND Vram. If you think that I am telling ferry tales? Fine, good luck with it. Is the Reverb perfect? NO... It's still a Scuba Diving Glass looking thru due to the POV and the cable is not a perfect solution. The fact that you have minor performance although you have the right hardware, indicates that there is something wrong in your overall setup or your individual headset. Don't know if you have ORBX TE-The Netherlands for Aerofly. Is so, please try to make a approach at EHAM en come back with your experience on a normal 1080 and Ohh, before I forget, between my GTX 1060-6Gb and the Titan XP, there was the new RTX2070-Super with 8Gb VRAM I have tested for a week and I was very disappointed about the performance upgrade in Xplane11-P3dv45 AND Aerofly. Remember... the 2070-Super is in lot's of games as fast as the older 1080ti... (but hé, still missing the 3Gb Vram). Just my 2 cents....

    I don't htink you are telling fairy tails at all! What I meant was that it could be the extra processing power of your Titan Xp, rather than the extra VRAM. We don't know how AFS2 allocates and releases memory, but it would make sense to use the largest texture cache that the GPU would permit; there's no way of knowing how much of that cache is being accessed. But going back to my original comments, I tried the Reverb on AFS2, but was dissappointed by the optics, so it was not worth me tinkering too much to get the best performance.

  • I don't htink you are telling fairy tails at all! What I meant was that it could be the extra processing power of your Titan Xp, rather than the extra VRAM. We don't know how AFS2 allocates and releases memory, but it would make sense to use the largest texture cache that the GPU would permit; there's no way of knowing how much of that cache is being accessed. But going back to my original comments, I tried the Reverb on AFS2, but was dissappointed by the optics, so it was not worth me tinkering too much to get the best performance.

    I was re-writing my answer in the meantime so please take notice of it, Performance is key to get a vibrant clear VR with the Reverb.

  • That's good for you but you are not running it's full capacity in high demanding area's.

    Errr. I'm suprised you know where I've been running it, are you using spyware? Maybe you can suggest a high demanding area that I might have missed and I'll give it a try.


    And yes, performance is as good as the Rift on my system.

  • Errr. I'm suprised you know where I've been running it, are you using spyware? Maybe you can suggest a high demanding area that I might have missed and I'll give it a try.


    And yes, performance is as good as the Rift on my system.

    Haha, yes, comparing a Rift with a Reverb... You are absolutely right, no difference, same as a car... most have 4 wheels, an engine and a steer, so.... they all coming from A to B. Yeah, right.