Apart from logo on the back (or front, or middle), there is little to no difference in the slew of Windows Mixed Reality headsets we get form different companies. Apparently, HP’s next-gen headset is shaking the scene with an improved device that will sport much improved resolution and comfort. Codenamed HP Copper, the new Virtual Reality device from Hewlett Packard may make its dramatic appearance this year, if not the next.
Windows Mixed Reality has always prided itself for being ‘you know exactly what you get’ platform. The sentiment is not exclusive to software alone, but rather extended to all the vast majority of headsets around. All of them, with an important exclusion of Samsung Odyssey+, are virtually the same, save for the esthetic diversity of course. But HP decides not to play the tune by the score Microsoft wrote back in 2017. The American tech giant is coming out with an improved headset that, according to HP VR product manager John Ludwig, will comprehensively beat all WMR competition in terms of viewing clarity.
He’d be right if reports on HP Copper are even remotely true. Rather than matching the currently highest WMR resolution on the market, Copper is doubling the number of pixels shown on displays. Ludwig is talking about the res of 2,160 x 2,160 per eye. Wanting to do something different, Ludwig asserts, HP did a poll asking customers what would they most like to see in a next HP WMR device. ‘Resolution, resolution, resolution’ the answer came. So they doubled it, which alone may turn out to be a game-changer in Windows Mixed Reality headpiece scene.
‘Comfort’ took the number two seat in the user feedback. There is two things to look for in comfort department, weight, and design ergonomics. The former we know nothing about. As for the latter, HP Copper shares its design much more with Rift than its WMR cousins. Yes, that means top-strap band rather than headband, and yes, it means side straps for better fit control. Struts are also included so that the device is much easier to position or adjust.
So far HP has answered the question of what, but how about who is it for? Though users may find the amped resolution a marvel to behold, it won’t come cheap. In the current market shape up, HP Copper will try to position itself as a clear, precise, and trusted enterprise and commercial device. Any business that benefits from close up text or distant object viewing will likely find Copper a viable solution. So, any customers dealing with VR training, architecture, or engineering should really consider their options.
More to the point, HP Copper will likely go by as part of the Z by HP product group. The current HP VR Launch Kit is a convenient option for enterprise and commercial businesses alike, but the actual headset inside is the usual run-of-the-mill WMR device. HP Copper will likely replace it, making the Hewlett Packard VR solution something new. Something else entirely.