Best answer: The HP Reverb G2 VR head-mounted display (HMD) includes two redesigned Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers. Despite being designed with help from Valve, the Reverb G2 will not work with Valve’s “Knuckles” motion controllers without some significant work.
- Brand new HP VR: HP Reverb G2 ($600 at HP)
- Premium motion controllers: Valve Index Controllers ($279 at Steam)
What’s new with the HP Reverb G2’s controllers?
Most of the HP Reverb G2‘s improvements focus on the HMD — higher-resolution display, new lenses, manual IPD adjustment, extra tracking sensors, and new headphones — but the motion controllers have also seen a redesign.
The original HP Reverb employed standard Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) controllers that fell behind the competition in a lot of categories. They did offer 6DoF (six degrees of freedom) tracking without the need for any external sensors, but the headset having just two built-in sensors did cause some spotty tracking.
The Reverb G2’s motion controllers appear to be much more ergonomic, with more of a curved handle and easier to reach button layout. There’s still a physical grip button on the handle and a joystick for the thumb, but gone is the touchpad. Instead, there are more familiar A and B buttons, as well as Menu and Windows buttons. Below is a trigger.
For tracking, there’s still a ring covered in lights at the front of each controller. Along with a total of four built-in sensors on the Reverb G2, tracking should be much better. HP claims about 1.4 times more capture area than before. The redesigned controllers will work with older WMR headsets, though the Reverb G2 will not work with the first-gen WMR controllers. Unfortunately, these controllers still do not feature any sort of capacitive touch sensitivity.
Can the HP Reverb G2 work with Valve Index controllers?
The Reverb G2 was designed with the help of Valve, so how do the Valve Index‘s controllers — often called “Knuckles” controllers — fit in? Valve does sell its Knuckles controllers separately on Steam for about $279, but buying these alone and expecting them to work will result in a letdown.
As Reddit user JstuffJr points out, the process of getting Valve’s controllers working with a WMR headset is possible. You just need to buy SteamVR tracking lighthouses for about $150, some receiver dongles, some cables, and download some software to get everything working together.
You’re looking at around $500 total for the Knuckles controllers and all supporting hardware, but this could be well worth it for anyone who needs the high resolution of the Reverb G2 and the natural input that Valve has achieved with its controllers. Otherwise, you will be using the motion controllers that ship with the Reverb G2.
HP Reverb G2
Expected Fall 2020
With a crisp, high resolution, comfortable fit, and redesigned audio, the HP Reverb G2 is no doubt an attractive option for anyone who wants the most precise picture possible.
Best Motion Controllers
Valve Index Controllers
Mix and match
Valve’s Index controllers are the pinnacle of VR input, and they technically should be compatible with the Reverb G2 after some significant effort.