The great flagship hope of Windows Mixed Reality, the HP Reverb, has finally stumbled its way out the UK gate a month behind schedule.
It was supposed to be so different. Rocking a resolution of 2,160 x 2,160 per eye (a combined 4,320 x 2,160), Windows Mixed Reality fans have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the headset, under whose feet the weedier resolutions of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive series would be crushed.
However, with great advances come, er, great problems as the company struggled to deposit stock in the channel and buyers were left to ponder just what the heck was going on as promised shipping dates for the end of April came and went.
Screen-door? We've heard of it
VR technology has plateaued somewhat over the years, with end-user devices reaching a certain resolution and field of view before running out of steam, leaving wearers acutely aware of staring at a screen a few centimetres from their eyeballs.
The Reverb, judging by some of the more breathless coverage, addresses the former with greater-than 4K resolution rendering details such as lettering at a level that leaves the competition in a blurry mess. A few extra horizontal degrees will also help with the latter, although we suspect the whole "looking at the world through a diving mask" will persist until display makers make the FOV wider still.
Sadly, something like a Nvidia GTX 1080 is also needed to run the show from a Windows 10 PC.
However, users keen to get their hands on HP's new shiny (currently showing at $649 on HP's store – quite a bit more than the $264 Amazon wants for its predecessor) were soon reporting difficulty actually ordering the thing amid mutterings that HP had held off shipments due to problems with some of the display panels.
Nothing to see here. No, really
A person claiming to be a Quality Manager for HP attempted to clarify things on Reddit, saying that there was indeed a problem. The company "found something [it] didn't like" and slammed on the brakes before clawing back stock. The problem was "was something small, and most folks would never have noticed".
While some reviewers have remarked on mura in the display (where brightness and colour can vary across an image), a mouthpiece for HP assured us last week there was categorically no manufacturing issue with the display panels (emphasis ours) and shipping would "kick into high gear this week".
Even Apple, with its reputation for stock shortage gamification, might raise an eyebrow at the statement: "In order to meet customer demand for HP Reverb, shipping was put on hold and will resume this week." A new one on us, satisfying demand by, er, not shipping anything.
That was on the 16 May. A week passed and shipping remained firmly in neutral. Until today that is.
The Register has now learned that the headset is finally seeping into the channel today with inventory availability tool Stock In The Channel listing Westcoast and Tech Data as carrying the kit. HP has remained silent on the matter, refusing to answer further questions. ®