The HP Copper (code-name) VR headset was revealed in part this week as a topmost best-in-class device. Other companies either have their own ecosystem (Oculus or HTC Vive with Steam VR), or are part of Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform – and are relatively bland in industrial design. HP seems to want to break out of that mold, while continuing to utilized Microsoft’s program in the process.
Mixed Reality means virtual reality with augmented reality and real reality, which is what’s delivered with Microsoft HoloLens. Microsoft still uses the Mixed Reality brand to harness brands like HP to make virtual reality headsets. Look upon the lot of them and you’ll find some very similar-looking devices. Very similar-looking indeed.
All that save the Samsung Odyssey, which seems to be a bit more sleek, albeit significantly more expensive. The Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is more extravagant than the first edition, and was the one HP compared with in a basement viewing session provided by HP to Road to VR this week.
The name Copper is a code-name, not necessarily meant to follow the device to full production. This headset is meant for consumers, but isn’t ready for manufacturing just yet. It’ll likely be revealed when Microsoft reveals their second wave of Windows Mixed Reality headsets – or enough in advance that they’ll be able to sell a few before the next wave makes this wave look less-than-desirable.
The Copper’s LCD displays are what’s most important here, it would seem. They’ve got more than twice the total amount of pixels of each display in the Odyssey+, at 2,160 x 2,160 per eye. That’s very good – amongst the most pixels smashed into such a small space in the industry today.
At least a couple other VR headset prototypes beat the Copper for per-eye resolution. Google and LG have a prototype with this display in each eye – that’s 1443 pixels per inch. There’s also the lesser-known Pixmax 8K headset with a monster-bonkers gigantic panel the likes of which you’ll need to look at twice.
HP’s headset is meant to look and feel sleek and comfortable. It’s got built-in headphones and a big circle on the back of the strap to cup and cradle the head. This makes the headset fit a lot more like the high-end headsets HTC Vive and Oculus Rift – more than the first round of Windows Mixed Reality headsets, anyway.
The launch of this “Copper” device is tipped to be likely for 2019, though HP’s not been particularly specific about when that’ll actually be. Pricing, similarly, is well away from finalization. This headset is aiming to be the best of the best – and this is likely the new benchmark other headsets will reach before the year is over, too – but we’ll see!