This week, HP has introduced the latest in portable computing, the HP Z VR Nvidia Quadro P5200. Touted as “the World’s Most Powerful Wearable VR PC”, it is quite the mouthful and packs a serious punch. Portable computing is not exactly new but there hasn’t been anything like the HP Z VR Backpack before. A multi-purpose machine, it is perfect for VR experiences and serious work equally.
The unit is sleek, thin and is capable of transforming from a portable backpack computer to a solid, docked workstation suitable for any desktop. As you would expect from any VR capable machine, the HP offering is impressively stacked:
• Intel Core i7-7820HQ
• 1TB of storage
• Nvidia Quadro P5200 – available only with the HP Z VR
• 32GB DDR4 RAM
That is some serious hardware for something that will predominantly live on your back. The HP Z VR is compatible with the major VR headset makes too including the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive which obviously makes it a touch easier getting everything up and running
Use cases for the backpack VR computer
There are some obvious benefits to not being tethered in place by wires going into the back of a computer or console that is sat on a desktop or TV stand. Video games would certainly become much more immersive – assuming lots of open space with nothing to trip over or fall into!
Portable VR is possibly best used in a more functional environment however, such as a design studio or a manufacturers R&D department. Architects, also, would greatly benefit from something like this so that they could get really hands on with their designs.
The HP Z VR is potentially a game changer in terms of cost cutting exercises for companies such as car manufacturers. Being able to fully design and build a prototype in easily malleable virtual reality is much cheaper than actually building that same prototype, just to realize that it looks horrendous ‘in the flesh’.
Virtual reality technology has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. The backpack method of portable computing is exceptionally useful but it can only ever be as useful as the components that go into making it – VR isn’t much use, and can have negative side effects, if the image quality / FPS / latency isn’t up to scratch.
Thankfully, HP seem to have that nailed down and the fact that the unit can double as a desktop computer is just icing on a superbly functional cake. Highly functional it may be, but the HP Z VR is almost certainly going to be exclusively for work and not play.
With a starting price of $3,299 USD (which is likely to be a similar amount in GBP), the unit may well prove to be well beyond the budget of the average consumer. That said, the HP Z VR Backpack isn’t intended for ‘home’ use. You do get everything you need with the unit, including a harness, dock and two batteries that can be hot swapped.
For the design and manufacturing industries, the HP Z VR is going to answer a lot of questions and ultimately, one would think, save companies a lot of money in manufacturing as well as cutting design and build times.