Hands on: HP Zvr review

A new contender in the VR marketplace

What is a hands on review?
HP Zvr review

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First off, I darn near broke the display by poking the stylus too hard into the monitor. You have to get pretty close to the unit to see/interact with the screen properly. Once you've situated yourself in the correct position, it's pretty easy to get going. Unfortunately, I sat a little too far away and reached too far forward and poked the monitor with the stylus.

Although HP has a ton of complex use cases planned for the monitor, I was only able to play a very simple VR game that allowed me to rotate objects, move them across the screen, and into portals, where I wound up being transported to alternate environments. The environment was so simplistic, and the objects so lacking in detail, it's hard for me to determine whether or not surgeons will actually be able to use this tool to navigate the ultra-detailed confines of organs, capillaries and veins.

My movements were tracked fluidly on the headset and with the stylus. There was hardly any lag time and after a few minutes of poking and prodding at the virtual environment you forget you're wearing 3D glasses.

HP Zvr review

Grabbing objects with the click-and-grab stylus will take some getting used to (it's almost like using chopsticks), so look for major upgrades to how you handle objects as the display ages. HP is going to want to introduce a wireless stylus for this device at some point - the wire makes object manipulation somewhat uncomfortable because you have to be careful not to pull on the wire that connects the stylus to the display.

HP Zvr review

The biggest catch is that the HP Zvr is going to cost somewhere in the mid five figures, according to an HP spokesman. Pricing will be known in the spring of 2015 and we'll be sure to update this review when more information is available. But if the price stands at mid five figures, you're probably not going to buy this display to play PC games. The Zvr is going to be purchased solely for enterprise use (unless you're just ballin' like that and want to get way, way ahead of the VR curve).

Early verdict

HP's addition to the virtual reality marketplace is a good one. Its 3D glasses, stylus pen and monitor/sensor-based approach to virtual environments provides fluid movements and an immersive experience. Unfortunately, the games I tested on the device were made for children, so it's not possible for me to say whether or not it can be used for more complex demoing and teaching. The mid five-figure price tag is going to severely limit the display's market, so we're back where we were prior to this device's unveiling: plenty of hope for virtual reality, but not much available technology.

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What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.