I’ve been on the road a lot recently, and thought I’d grab a quick VR flight in something, only to discover my HP Reverb was starting to flicker and get ‘green snow’ last week. Uh oh. All the symptoms of a crappy cable connection. Here’s the timeline of my HP headset back-story (all prices USD, although I paid Canadian pesos when in Canada):
I originally picked up a HP Reverb G1 for $470 from Amazon, about Jan 5 2020 . It was listed as ‘Refurbished’ but with existing HP valid warranty. My thinking here was that if it was terrible then I have Bald Bezo’s Easy Returns. My Rift and Odyssey Plus sit on shelves looking at me guiltily, so unless I liked it it was going back.
Still deeply suspicious of any bargain I (very unusually, I never do this) I ticked the ‘Extend Warranty for $50’ box on the Amazon order page. This gave me a ‘4 Year PC Peripheral Protection Plan’, with my thinking that if the HP warranty ended it might help. I sort of view these things as a pure fool con, so not sure what I was thinking at the time. Anyway, $50 more down.
Within a week of getting it I phoned HP and enquired about the warranty using the serial number on the unit I had. It had a HP Next Business Day Exchange Pro on it for 9 more months, which was surprising. I spoke to a nice guy from HP and said ‘I don’t think it works right’ and breezily they say ‘We will dispatch a replacement now!’. Cool, especially consider the serial number marked it as a US unit but they didn’t care and sent stuff to Canada. Fedex in about 24 hours arrives, I give the ‘old’ one back in a sack and have a now unopened new Reverb G1.
With the new unit, I pinged the HP rep on reddit (Voodoomaxx or something) and said I don’t have a cable clip. He took my address and they mailed me one. Cool (again).
About a month a go the strap broke. I taped it, for max hobo VR chique.
So, after not playing sims for a while, was kind of sad about the now broken Reverb. I googled around and seriously considered just cutting it up and modding it. Apparently the issue is the bad design of the short connector cable (the one that goes in the headset). What you can do is just bypass it and cut things up and connect the main cable direct. Tempted, but a lot of sawing, gluing and then no chance of repair if it didn’t help. Link to a how-to [here] for those being brave.
So not a trivial mod. I then remembered the 3rd party warranty and thought ‘why not try that first’. I phoned them, they sent a Fedex box, in it all went and a few days later I get a status update of 'Parts no available, tagged for scrap. Speaking to them the deal with this is that they just send me a cheque for the purchase price, so now I’m $470 back up again. Cool (we’re up to 3 of these!). The warranty place and the repair outfit acted like they had no idea what the hell this thing was, as they just seem to do HP laptops.
So now I’m thinking what to do. I look today on HP Canada and they have a 20% coupon off today, and with a credit card offer I got, I’m down to $481 for a Reverb G2. Ordered, as what could possibly go wrong?!
The only wrinkles are I trust these headsets about as far as I don’t throw them. The build design is super crappy. I umm’d and aah’d and then added a $90 3 year next day replacement HP Pro warranty to the order, as once you’ve been bitten so many times it seems prudent.
Anyway, not sure what this post is about, but to help others; my summary:
HP VR build quality is crappy, get an extended warranty (either 3rd party or not) because they don’t last. You can buy a warranty direct from HP if you are still within 1 year of a consumer purchase (local rules apply), so if you don’t have one then I would consider it. For the US, the ‘care packs’ are here with various options of coverage.
HP Support was actually very good.
For the first time in recorded history, a 3rd party warranty (Asurion) actually worked and quickly paid out. I’m still sort of shocked.
I’m now going on a trip again, but hopefully when I get back, another box to open. It’ll probably turning up with an old cable, but I’ll do that battle when I return.