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HP is making a new VR headset with a super high resolution

HP is planning a comfortable, high-resolution headset for Microsoft’s virtual reality (technically, “Windows Mixed Reality”) platform. Road to VR published a preview of the headset, which is codenamed “Copper” and has no official price or release date. It doesn’t look much like other Windows Mixed Reality devices, including HP’s first-generation headset, which launched in 2017.

The Copper headset features a resolution of 2160 × 2160 pixels per eye. That doesn’t beat Pimax’s 8K headset or Google and LG’s super high-resolution display prototype, both of which are closer to 4,000 pixels per eye. It’s still a huge jump from first-generation VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, or even from the upgraded Vive Pro, which offers 1440 x 1600 pixels per eye. Resolution also isn’t the only factor in a good display, and Road to VR’s Ben Lang reports being impressed by Copper’s clarity. But HP isn’t significantly expanding the field of view — a noteworthy limitation for most VR headsets.

The new headset is designed to be far more comfortable than its predecessors. We don’t know the weight, but it supposedly feels fairly light. Where most Windows Mixed Reality headsets rest on a plastic ring around users’ heads, Copper’s design looks extremely similar to the Oculus Rift, with straps on the side and over the head. But it features the same built-in tracking cameras as other Windows Mixed Reality headsets, which add some weight but also make these headsets simple to set up.

Copper will be available for anyone at launch, but like most Windows Mixed Reality products, it’s primarily built for businesses rather than consumers. Road to VR writes that it will “eventually” replace HP’s current headset in its bundle for professionals, though that doesn’t rule out the products coexisting for a while — especially if there’s a big price gap between Copper and the existing device.

We haven’t heard much hardware news about Windows Mixed Reality lately, although Samsung refreshed its Odyssey headset late last year. That might change in a few weeks: Microsoft is expected to unveil a second-generation HoloLens mixed reality headset. (HoloLens is its own subset of Windows Mixed Reality, and it’s the only headset to feature actual mixed reality, Microsoft’s horribly confusing branding efforts notwithstanding.)

HP will release more details about Copper at an unknown future point, but Road to VR reports that the headset feels close to a finished product and that it’s a “strong bet” it will launch sometime this year.