If you're looking to get into VR gaming, you're probably torn between the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and the higher end (and pricier) Vive Pro, the three best VR headsets for all practical purposes. Those are all good options, though HP is building a mixed reality headset with a higher resolution than all three.
Codenamed 'Copper', the folks at Road to VR recently had a chance to preview the headset in prototype form. It reportedly boasts a 2160 x 2160 resolution per eye, putting it at the top of its class in the mixed reality space. The bulk of mixed reality headsets offer 1440 x 1440 per eye, while Samsung's Odyssey+ ups the ante to 1440 x 1600 per eye.
It also compares favorably to traditional VR headsets. Here's a look:
- HP Copper: 2160 x 2160 per eye
- HTC Vive Pro: 1440 x 1600 per eye
- HTC Vive: 1080 x 1200 per eye
- Oculus Rift: 1080 x 1200 per eye
The reason this matters is because higher resolutions play an even bigger role in VR, since these headsets mash the displays so close to your eyeballs. This close proximity leads to what's referred to as the screen door effect, which describes seeing fine black lines between pixels.
"Looking through Copper’s lenses, sharpness is a drastic step forward over Odyssey+. And while the Odyssey+ uses a diffuser on the screen (which sacrifices some sharpness in an effort to hide the screen door effect), Copper hardly has a need for a diffuser as the pixel dense RGB-stripe displays make the screen door effect vanishingly apparent," Road to VR noted.
That said, the resolution on HP's Copper still falls short of headsets like the Pixmax 8K, which requires a burly GPU. However, it's a big step up from every mixed reality headset currently on the market.
That's the other important distinction—Copper is a Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headset, which means it conforms to certain design standards and features inside-out tracking. Unlike the Rift or Vive, no external sensors or base stations are required.
As to the field of view (FOV), it sounds like there will not be much improvement there. HP said its customers care more higher resolutions than they do an expanded FOV. So, we'll have to wait and see how it all pans out.
How long we'll have to wait is not yet known—HP isn't offering up any details on when Copper will launch or what it will cost.