HTC’s next PC VR headset is priced at $699. Pre orders are now live, and it will launch globally on October 3.
Cosmos replaces the original HTC Vive, which HTC tells us is “coming out of the market very shortly”. The original Vive launched at $799 over three years ago, then was cut to $599 in late 2017, and finally to $499 in 2018.
What’s Changed: Specs
The original Vive has the lowest angular resolution of any PC headset on the market today. Cosmos solves this with dual 1440 x 1700 LCD panels, giving it higher resolution than anything but the HP Reverb and Pimax headsets — higher than even the Vive Pro Eye and Valve Index. These new panels are paired with new lenses which have a larger area of clarity.
Whereas the original Vive used the SteamVR “Lighthouse” tracking system, Cosmos uses inside-out tracking. This means buyers no longer need to set up base stations. The headset features total of six onboard cameras instead, more than we’ve seen in any other headset. HTC claims this provides a 310 degree controller tracking range. We went hands on with Cosmos and found that while tracking mostly worked well, it sometimes took multiple seconds to re-establish when a controller goes completely out of view.
Like the Oculus Rift S, when you leave your play area you’ll see the real world through these cameras. But unlike the Rift S, this view is in full color.
The iconic Vive wand controllers have been replaced with Oculus Touch-like controllers. Unlike Touch however, they feature dual index finger triggers and use two AA batteries each instead of one. This should give developers more options for control schemes and increase battery life, though we haven’t tested that yet.
Finally, the ski mask strap has been replaced with a halo band with integrated headphones. HTC claims Cosmos has the best weight distribution of any of its headsets yet, though it’s not overall the lightest. The headset itself also flips up to allow you to easily see the real world whenever needed.
Phone Compatibility Missing
When Cosmos was first announced back at CES in January, HTC suggested that it would have support for smartphones as well as your PC. That feature won’t be available at launch. HTC told us it’s “on the roadmap”, but declined to give any further details.
That means we still don’t know which phones will be supported and what actual apps they will be able to run. For now, think of Cosmos as squarely a PC VR headset.
Editor’s Note: We added a reference to Pimax when discussing the resolution compared to competition.