There are ways to get alternate gamepads that work with the Reverb G2, including Valve’s great finger-tracking controllers. But it involves spending a lot more since you have to buy SteamVR headlight sensors and index controllers. In addition, you will have to configure them with complex software. The total cost of a G2 setup like this would easily be north of $ 1,100. At this point, you’d better just buy the Index, even if it doesn’t quite match the resolution of the G2.
I expected the Reverb G2 to deliver a great VR experience based purely on specs, and it didn’t disappoint. But let’s start from the beginning. Setting up the G2 is relatively straightforward, plug it into a USB 3.0 port and find a spare DisplayPort connection (there’s also a DisplayPort to miniDP adapter in the box). Once signed in, the Windows Mixed Reality utility walks you through the installation process, which involves downloading additional software and pairing the controllers.
The helmet is ergonomically well balanced and I had no problem fitting it onto my wide frame glasses. My only problem is the cable, which is under the upper left corner of the headset. It’s meant to squeeze through an opening in the face pillow and follow your back, but it felt awkward. I have always been aware of the slight tug of the cable on my head, and tripping is quite easy since it is six meters long.
As usual, the first game I tested was Very hot on Steam, which remains one of my favorite VR titles. It looked incredibly crisp and smooth on the G2, thanks to its high-resolution display. Very hot is not graphically intensive, but its simplistic, high contrast art style makes it easy to see the benefits of a better display. There is no screen door effect you get from lower resolution headsets, making it look like you’re viewing VR experiences through a fine mesh.
I was also immediately impressed with the speakers of the Reverb G2. They delivered a crisp, robust sound that made the Very hot the bad guys were in the room with me. It might sound counterintuitive, but having speakers close to your ears allows you to immerse yourself in virtual reality better than headphones. This is something I also noticed in the Index: just wearing headphones separates you a bit from the world, while sound coming from speakers near your ears can seem virtually indistinguishable from reality.
I spent most of my time with the G2 testing The new VR mode of Microsoft Flight Simulator, which ended up being the perfect way to experience the capabilities of the headset. We already knew it was a gorgeous game, but playing the G2 in VR felt transformative. I could almost reach and touch the lovingly recreated control panels, and fly Flight simulatorThe almost photorealistic representation of the Earth made me miss traveling even more. The Reverb G2 does Flight simulator feel so immersive that the game ended up invading my dreams, which is perhaps the highest praise I can give to a virtual reality experience.