HTC Vive Cosmos Review. How much does the vive cosmos cost

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HTC Vive Cosmos Review

HTC Vive Kosmos

The HTC Vive Cosmos VR Headset is a technically impressive upgrade to the original Vive, but it’s very expensive and you still have to deal with the cable.

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  • No external sensors required.
  • Improved motion controls.
  • Sharp display.
  • Large software library from Viveport and SteamVR.
  • Expensive.
  • Clumsy cable.
  • Requires a full size DisplayPort 1.2.

HTC Vive Cosmos Specs

Type Captive
Resolution 1700 by 1440 (per eye)
Refresh rate 90 Hz
Motion detection 6DOF
Controls Motion controllers
Hardware platform PC
Software platform SteamVR

The Vive Cosmos is the latest VR headset from HTC, a significant upgrade to both the original Vive and the more expensive Vive Pro. It completely eliminates the need for external sensors, and the redesigned motion controllers are a big step forward. However, its $ 699 price tag is hard to bear when the Oculus Rift S can be purchased for $ 399. As a PC-powered headset, you still have to struggle with a clunky cable while playing virtual reality, and once you use the all-standalone Oculus Quest, it’s hard to get back comfortably, no matter how much more powerful your tethered system might be.

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Are Vive Cosmos controllers better than past ones?

Vive’s controller wands have been a bit clunky so far. They’re not ideal for smaller hands, the grip buttons are often not particularly well used in gaming, and the industry has moved on. With the Oculus Touch and Valve Index controllers in the wild, HTC was desperate for an upgrade for its game.

Cosmos controllers are nothing like what you’ve seen before on HTC. The design is smaller, more ergonomic, and the tracking ring flexes upward so that tracking from the inside is directed towards the cameras in the headset. The tracker ring shines in a cute little cyberpunk style that not only looks good but is also a functional part of the tracking.

The best part about these controllers, however, is how convenient they are. Smaller grips are designed to be fully wrapped around the palm of your hand, and the curved grips ensure a natural positioning of your fingers on all the different buttons. When I first gave these controllers my head was already in the headset so I couldn’t look down and see them, and it felt like I was holding two halves of a gamepad. For a while I sincerely believed that combining these two halves would make a standard console controller, it was such a natural feeling in my hand.

These controllers are noticeably heavier than their Oculus counterparts. The weight is well-balanced so it’s not very noticeable after the first few minutes of use, but if you’re used to ultra-light touch controllers you’ll absolutely notice the difference. Some of them come from the two AA batteries used in each controller which, according to HTC, will provide up to eight hours of gameplay.

How comfortable is the new Vive Cosmos design?

HTC’s design language for headsets continues to take shape with Cosmos. The dial you use to clamp the headset on your head, the built-in earbuds, and the way the headset fits around your face are familiar if you’ve ever used an HTC headset, but a bit more polished.

Cosmos uses the same connector as the HTC Vive Pro to connect to your computer, and there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the side if you don’t want to use the included headphones. The gorgeous large lenses covering the HTC display with the highest 90Hz and 2880 x 1700 resolution provide fantastic visuals, while the same interpupillary distance (IPD) dial found on all HTC headsets is present and very useful. (IPD is a measurement of the space between students of people.)

It’s also the lightest HTC headset to date, weighing 651 grams. It’s a bit heavier than the Oculus Rift S, no doubt thanks to the included over-ear headphones. And pour one out over Windows Mixed Reality (WMR), because the Cosmos has a hinged display and a halo headband so you can stand up and see the real world if you need to. The top bar comes off completely if you just want a halo.

The biggest feature, however, is how modular the headset is. The face seal and halo lining are easily removable, allowing you to replace them with whatever you want. The headphones also take off in seconds, so you can use whatever you want. Even the front panel falls off, and with it several cameras. This design decision allows HTC to sell additional faceplates to people with different needs. If you prefer to use the standard Vive lighthouses for 360-degree tracking instead of inverted 310-degree tracking, you can do so with ease. And according to HTC, there are several other front panels in the pipeline serving different audiences.

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  • There is no need to install sensors
  • Bright and sharp screens
  • motion tracking works fine
  • Much more expensive than Oculus headsets
  • Motion controllers feel outdated
  • Headphones do not reach your ears

It is possible that HTC is only relying on Cosmos specifications to justify the costs. It has a resolution of 2880 by 1700 pixels in both eyes, which is slightly better than the Rift S and Index, and a big step further than the original 2160 by 1200 pixels Vive. It has internal tracking, which means its sensors are built into the headset. Cosmos also comes with new motion controllers which are a huge upgrade over the original Vive’s huge controller.

It’s also worth noting that the Cosmos LCD screens run at 90Hz while the Rift S is only 80Hz. And frankly, 90Hz is usually considered the bare minimum for smooth and immersive virtual reality. But if you’re looking for some real top-of-the-line gear, Index is sure to beat everyone with its 120Hz screens and experimental 144Hz mode.

The cosmos is not much different from most modern VR headsets: there are six cameras on the front, a halo-like headband and built-in headphones. It has a neat dark blue and black aesthetic that looks more interesting than the original Vive. It looks and feels like a much higher quality product than the Rift S that Oculus designed and built by Lenovo. Another plus: you can pick up the Cosmos while you wear it, as do many Windows Mixed Reality headsets, in case you need to take a short break. And the front panel is removable, leaving room for mod installation to customize your VR experience.

HTC made sure there is plenty of comfortable cushioning throughout the headset, especially where it rests on the forehead and around the eyes. The Cosmos was easy to put on thanks to the flexible brim, but it wasn’t as comfortable on my head as the Index or the Rift S. No matter how much I played with the headband, I always felt a little uncomfortable. It didn’t stop me from wearing it for shorter sessions, but it definitely hurt my sense of cosmos as I was always aware of it. Another serious problem is the pattern along the forehead pad as it inevitably leaves strange imprints on the head.

HTC has also created a software package to guide you through the installation process, rather than relying solely on SteamVR setup. The new process looks better than before, but the software is still pretty buggy. It had trouble recognizing that my zip code is in the US, and it crashed several times during setup. I was able to go ahead by plugging in a random zip code, but the whole process didn’t inspire much confidence in the HTC app. There is a short tutorial as part of the extensive new “Vive Reality System” experience, but you’ll spend most of your time in Lens, HTC’s new interface for exploring your VR library.

Cosmos also comes with the annual Viveport Infinity Service, an HTC subscription that gives you access to massive games and experiences. It typically costs $ 13 a month or $ 108 a year, so getting a free year is a solid deal.

Viveport Infinity is also integrated directly into the Lens, so the games you grab there will appear with anything you’ve already bought on Steam or the Vive store. HTC makes sense to try to offer Vive users a more personalized experience, but Lens still feels a bit underdeveloped. Navigating the menu is slow and clunky, and I also had trouble launching some games.

Vive Cosmos seems to be the sum of many different trends in VR. It has a halo bar, ring controllers, inside tracking, and real-life camera vision. Let’s see if this adds up to something spectacular.

HTC Vive Cosmos review: the modular VR headset with all the right ideas

VR goggles have always been quite an expensive proposition for many people. Oculus may have slowed down the price of VR over the past few years with its PC-based Rift S headsets and the standalone Oculus Quest, but the HTC Vive headsets remain decidedly at the higher, more damaging end of the VR gaming pool since the first Vive released in 2016. At first, the idea was to give you a great experience with the right Oculus headsets thanks to HTC’s excellent tracking technology, room-scale VR, and a higher-resolution display, but as the technology continues advancing, it meant that upgrading the Vive headset was getting more and more costly with each passing year a new iteration.

HTC Vive Cosmos tries to solve this problem with the modular design of the faceplate. Instead of throwing your entire headset away when a new one comes out, all you have to do with the Vive Cosmos is buy a new tracking pad and snap it on the front. In theory, this is a brilliant idea that is only just beginning to materialize with the upcoming launch of the even cheaper Vive Cosmos Play headsets and the more advanced Vive Cosmos Elite. You can read my HTC Vive Cosmos Elite here, but needless to say, buying a new faceplate for £ 200 / $ 200 is a lot easier on your wallet than spending almost a chunk on a brand new headset. However, is it an ecosystem worth buying into?

Compared to the original Vive and Vive Pro, the Vive Cosmos is a big advance, both in terms of design and overall specs. Not only does it have a sharper display with a higher 1440×1700 resolution per eye, creating a total resolution of 2880×1700, but the overall ergonomics of the headset has also been fine-tuned to look like a more modern, high-quality kit that its £ 699 / $ 699 price tag deserves more.

To adjust the head strap on HTC Vive Cosmos, you can twist the rear dial or close the top Velcro strap.
The rear dial, for example, makes it much easier to stretch overhead than its two predecessors, and its front hinge allows you to raise the display if you want to talk to someone or check something on your computer without having to take the whole thing off your head. The Velcro strap that goes over the top of the head admittedly still feels a bit on the budget, but when most of the weight is concentrated around the front of the headset it helps to reduce the pressure on the cheeks and forehead. Plus, even the more expensive Valve Index still has a Velcro strap, so that’s probably just something we’ll have to put up with until someone comes up with something more elegant.

The Vive Cosmos also has built-in headphones, which eliminates the need to plug in a separate headset and has one more device that weighs you down like the original Vive. Most importantly, it has internal tracking which means you don’t have to search for multiple plug sockets for external tracking devices. Instead, everything you need is built into the headset and its accompanying controllers. This was one of my biggest problems with the original Vive as there wasn’t a single room in my house where I could really position it without dragging long cables across the floor.

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Katharine is the editor-in-chief of the RPS, which means she is now to blame for it all. After joining the team in 2017, she spent a lot of time in the mines of RPS gear testing all the components that are in our computers, but now she can write about all the cute games we play as well. She will play pretty much anything she can get her hands on and is very biased in JRPG games and quest downloads.

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For people who wear glasses, the additional padding provides plenty of space. There is also a very wide range of physical IPD adjustment available so you can adjust the focus correctly.

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite review: standing in the shadow of the Valve Index

When HTC first announced that their new Vive Cosmos headset has a modular faceplate design that will allow you to upgrade to “other VR needs in the future,” it was not entirely clear what those needs would entail. Would this be the front counterpart of their Vive Tracker gadget for carrying real objects in VR? Or will they somehow introduce eye-tracking like their Vive Pro Eye headset?

But is it really worth an upgrade since the Valve Index only costs a little more? The answer is it’s complicated.

As I mentioned in my original Vive Cosmos review, I’m very committed to thinking about the latest VR headset for PCs. Being able to just add a new item to an existing headset instead of throwing it all out when a newer, fancier version comes out is a great idea on paper, and it’s also a lot friendlier on an old wallet. In practice, the Cosmos doesn’t quite live up to these high expectations, but the Cosmos Elite burns a little brighter than its standard siblings if you want to put your work in.

Now I have been sent the Vive Cosmos Elite as a separate standalone faceplate to add to the standard Vive Cosmos. HTC also sent me two old Vive wand controllers and two SteamVR 1.0 base stations, so my main experience of booting up and running the headset will be very similar to the ones it “tweaking” from the regular Cosmos, not someone who gets the job a lot as complete headset. The £ 899 / $ 899 headset package does indeed include the aforementioned Vive Wand Controllers and SteamVR 1.0 Base Stations in the box, but as I’ll explain in a moment, the upgrade process isn’t as easy as it should be.

Have you ever wondered what the Vive Cosmos looks like without a faceplate?
First, the Elite tracking faceplate did not include any instructions for removing the original Cosmos faceplate from the headset and putting on a new one. There is no button on the headset itself that you can use to take it off, so the only way to replace the faceplates is to really poke your fingernails and pry them up by hand – which is’ t really what I want to do with a 900 VR headset GBP / $ 900. Still, I took off the old Cosmos cap, at least it was relatively easy to just stick the new one on, pressing it down firmly until it clicks into place.

Tagged With

Katharine is the editor-in-chief of the RPS, which means she is now to blame for it all. After joining the team in 2017, she spent a lot of time in the mines of RPS gear testing all the components that are in our computers, but now she can write about all the cute games we play as well. She will play pretty much anything she can get her hands on and is very biased in JRPG games and quest downloads.

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HTC offers support to people who have already invested in the original Vive and promises to support them with new updates.

Display (Lens) Quality: Sharp and wide

This is perhaps the biggest advantage of Cosmos: it has 1440×1700 LCD displays for each eye that look sharp and vivid – yes, the Cosmos screen looks better than the Index and Vive Pro screens. The field of view is wide enough to feel submerged, and the white light isn’t too bleeding or blurry if you’ve positioned the headset correctly. However, this is a 90Hz screen so motion sickness is more likely than the 120Hz screen in the Index but will be less noticeable than the 80Hz screen on the Rift S.

Since the launch of Space a month ago, tracking has definitely improved. It’s fine in the end. Is this a good base station? No. Index and Vive Pro are still tracking kings. However, space tracking is about as good as tracking with the Rift S. The controllers will fall out if you hold them with your foot in front of the headset or behind your back, but retain tracking in most other ranges.

The headset itself works fantastic. The framerate remains constant, the games look great and it holds its position. We tested the Cosmos on a purpose-built PC with an Intel Core i7-8700k processor and an NVIDIA GTX 1080 card. When I played No Man’s Sky, however, I had some problems reading the text – the sweet spot for the display is unfortunately small, leaving the text on the periphery as a blurry mess. Honestly, the blurry field is much smaller than the Vive or Rift, but much larger than the Index.

The controllers are responsive, but I feel like I have to consciously grab them properly so I don’t accidentally press any buttons during gameplay. The center handle button is inconvenient and hard to hold when using the joystick (I have small hands). Meanwhile, there’s no way to hold this controller without resting your hand on at least one button, which is a big problem in buttonless games like Beat Saber which rely on treating controllers like a buttonless wand.

live the cosmos

Audio: Solid sound

The headphones that come with the Cosmos sound great. They are rich, detailed, dynamic and give a sense of being in VR. The treble is more resonant than I would like, but it is not overwhelming and helps to hear the beeps. The bass on the Cosmos is fine – weak, but there is. Overall, the profile is about as detailed as the Index, but the Index has a more balanced sound. The space is much better than the Rift S in terms of audio.

Of all the VR headsets I have tested, the Cosmos is by far the loudest. For comparison, I set the volume to around 50 percent when using my Index, Rift, and Vive Pro, but had to set the Cosmos volume to 25 percent.

On paper, the HTC Vive Cosmos still looks like a real winner. It comes with some interesting design changes, tracking and usability improvements, as well as an amazing-looking design. But is this VR headset worth the money?

PC spec requirements

  • The recommended specs for the new HTC Vive Cosmos headset are:
    • PC / laptop with Windows 10 or newer
    • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or better
    • Processor: Intel i5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 or newer
    • Memory: 8 GB of RAM
    • Video output: DisplayPort 1.2
    • USB port: 1x USB 3.0 port

    If you are unsure if your machine can handle these requirements, you can do a test here.

    Improved tracking

    • Six camera sensors for tracking from the inside
    • G-Sensor, Gyroscope, IPD Sensor, Hall Sensor, Touch Sensors
    • An external Vive Cosmos tracker is also available

    In addition to better visuals, the highlight of the Vive Cosmos could be the tracking system from the inside – meaning you don’t need additional sensors set up in the room. We really enjoyed it about the Oculus Rift S, and it’s great to see HTC moving in the same direction. The new inside-outside tracking system means the headset does all the work; Six cameras are built into the front, top, sides and bottom to monitor the outdoor space.

    HTC Vive Cosmos 15 review photo

    The original Vive and other HTC Vive headsets needed at least two external tracking base stations connected somewhere in the room to track and monitor the headset, controllers, and movement in the play area. This system has always been a bit quirky, unless you had a dedicated play area and had a place to permanently mount these base stations. This is still the case with the Vive Cosmos Elite, although even this device combines internal tracking with external tracking base stations for greater accuracy.

    The standard Vive Cosmos uses a much more convenient tracking system from the inside, which makes the setup process much easier. It also means you can theoretically plug it in and use it in more places. All you need is a free DisplayPort output and a single USB 3.0 port on your gaming machine, and you can start playing with ease.

    Like other HTC headsets before it, the Vive Cosmos connects first to the Link Box and then to the gaming machine. But other than that, it’s a straightforward setup process that is plug and play (although of course you’ll have to go through setting up a VR room first as usual).

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