Virtual reality (VR) burst onto the tech scene a few years ago, but its advancements were mainly restricted to the field of gaming. Only recently has VR been inducted more seriously into the higher echelons of consumer technology. The latest example of this is Hewlett-Packard’s “VR PC”, a device that aims to take the VR experience onto a whole new level.
This is touted as the world’s first ever wearable VR PC, and it is now available in India at a whopping Rs 3,25,000. The gadget is officially named the HP Z VR Backpack PC. According to an HP statement, “The HP Z VR Backpack PC is an ideal for product development, employee training, walk-through simulations, immersive customer experiences, and so much more.”
The newly launched VR backpack—it was launched worldwide on 16 April—comes with add-ons like the HP Z VR compact workstation, an HP Z VR backpack dock, a 330W smart AC adapter, an HP Z VR backpack harness, two external batteries, a battery charger, a 180W smart AC adapter, and an HTC Vive combo cable and dock.
The 4.6kg harness is light, ergonomic and comfortable to wear as a backpack. Its long-life swappable batteries allow users to dive into virtual reality in a fully wireless mode. The harness itself is made of durable, easy-fitting mesh designed to keep the user comfortable. You can also choose your preferred VR headgear to go along with it: the available options include the HTC Vive BE and the HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset. The VR PC supports multiple displays, up to four, two direct from the HP Z VR Compact Workstation and two additional via the docking solution.
Beyond the VR features, if we look at the device’s bare-bones structure, we find a machine that is all about speed and power. The PC runs on a Windows 10 Pro edition that provides users with comprehensive security, collaboration, and connectivity features. It also sports the latest NVIDIA QuadroP5200 GPU with 16GB memory that allows you to stretch the PC’s graphic processing properties to the maximum. The PC contains by a 32GB DDR4-2400, non-ECC unbuffered SDRAM to avoid lags and hiccups, and is powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processor with dual-battery system that has a swapping power cells feature.
According to HP, the dock that you get with the whole pack lets you quickly transition back and forth between high-powered desktop for content design and wearable VR PC to validate your creations. You can create and interact with complex simulations with a high-end performance VR gadget and the latest high-fidelity graphic card. The VR backpack solution features Intel vPro with iAMT, TPM 2.0 security and a commercial BIOS. HP claims, “The rugged, wearable VR PC that stands up to extreme durability with 120,000 hours of HP testing and is designed to pass MIL-STD 810G tests.”
The PC comes with numerous ports that include one HMD power port, two USB 3.0; one HDMI 2.0; one mini DisplayPort™ 1.3; one Thunderbolt™ (USB Type-C™ connector); one headphone/microphone combo, one dock connector, two external battery power ports, two USB 3.0 and one DC-in power connector.
“The HP Z VR Backpack,” says HP’s official press statement, “uses the white LED HP logo and LED light bar located on the PC unit top to report the status of the internal and external battery charge levels. The reporting behaviour of battery charge level status is dependent on the HP Z VR backpack PC system BIOS revision level… For maximum performance while in battery operation mode, the external batteries must be charged. If they fall below a certain threshold depending on the system BIOS revision level on the PC unit, the VR experience will quickly become suboptimal and compromised if the external batteries are not swapped with charged battery replacements.”