HTC Vive Cosmos VR hands-on: $699 and inside-out monitoring


The HTC Vive Cosmos is the follow-up to the unique Vive and gives important enhancements and adjustments.

Angela Lang/CNET

HTC did one thing radical when it designed its latest VR headset for customers: It listened to its prospects. The result’s a brand-new headset known as the Vive Cosmos. It is principally higher in each approach than the original Vive that preceded it. The Cosmos is aimed toward current HTC Vive house owners and VR lovers who need higher consolation, improved visuals and the simplicity of not having to arrange these Lighthouse base stations round a room. I spent somewhat time with the $699 Cosmos and was positively impressed by it. However I am interested by the way it will honest in opposition to the Oculus Rift S, one other premium shopper VR headset that solely prices $400.

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HTC launches the Vive Cosmos VR headset


HTC Vive Cosmos looks like a shiny polish on what a VR headset is immediately somewhat than a daring futuristic leap ahead. For HTC’s buyer base, the Cosmos looks like it’s precisely what they wished. However for the VR panorama as a complete, one has to hope that the following wave of VR headsets pushes the medium even additional.

The HTC Vive Cosmos might be obtainable on Oct. three and you’ll preorder it now. By the way in which, if you preorder the Cosmos, you get a 12-month Viveport Infinity subscription with entry to over 700 video games and VR experiences.

The Cosmos has Frank Gehry appears

The Vive and Cosmos appear like they had been made by totally different firms. The Vive is outlined by its bulbous spider black headset suffering from massive dimples. The Cosmos alternatively appears good-looking with its navy blue mesh entrance. The faceplate appears like one thing the architect Frank Gehry sculpted. On the entrance are vents that might simply double as a public artwork sculpture albeit a really small one. Total, the Cosmos appears far more approachable and pleasant than the unique Vive.

However these vents on the entrance aren’t only for present. In addition they permit for air flow to assist maintain your head and face from getting too scorching. The mesh face plate is detachable underneath which you will discover a small fan to chill the six built-in cameras in addition to assist alleviate among the warmth round your face.

Take a extra in-depth look at the Vive Cosmos and all its parts under.

No extra Lighthouse base stations

The unique Vive relied on outside-in monitoring which concerned establishing laser-emitting packing containers that HTC calls Lighthouse base stations round a room. Positioning the bottom stations and attaching them to partitions or cabinets was a little bit of a problem to say the least.

To simplify issues, the Cosmos makes use of inside-out monitoring by way of six cameras that continually scan the room. AI is used to determine elements of your surroundings. Inside-out monitoring is rapidly turning into the brand new commonplace in VR as Microsoft and Oculus already use it of their headsets.

Larger decision and improved readability

One of the crucial spectacular options of the Cosmos is the decision. It is 1,440X1,700 pixels (per eye) or 2,880X1,700 pixels mixed with a refresh charge of 90Hz. The unique Vive had a decision of 1,080X1,200 pixels (per eye) or 2,160X1,200 pixels mixed. Every pixel has RGB sub-pixels to assist decrease the “display door impact” aka these rainbow patterns you see on a display. HTC claims the lenses have 40% higher readability than the Vive.


The Cosmos provides the next decision and RGB sub-pixels to reduce the “display door impact”.

Angela Lang/CNET

There are VR headsets that offer even more resolution, but it surely’s good to see HTC make such an enchancment for a shopper headset.

I attempted the VR experience theBlu on each the Vive after which the Cosmos and will instantly see the distinction. One of the crucial noticeable enhancements was textual content. I might truly learn it with out having to maneuver ridiculously near it.

The Cosmos was designed to be modular

The detachable mesh faceplate I discussed earlier serves one other goal. It permits the Cosmos to be modular. The thought is that HTC will introduce “mods” so as to add extra performance to the Cosmos.

The primary official one is the Vive Cosmos Exterior Monitoring Mod (yeah, that is a mouthful). So to illustrate you’ve the unique Vive and you’ve got all of your Lighthouse base stations wired up and mounted neatly in an area. You possibly can swap out the default mesh face plate for the Exterior Monitoring Mod on the headset so you need to use your current base stations for monitoring as a substitute of the cameras constructed into the Cosmos.

I ought to observe, that it isn’t potential to make use of each the built-in cameras and the Lighthouse base stations each for monitoring. The Exterior Monitoring Mod might be obtainable early subsequent 12 months.

Lighter, extra snug and flips up

Once I first put the Cosmos on I used to be impressed by how a lot lighter it was. It did not have that entrance heavy really feel the Vive did. The Cosmos has a halo-style headband which makes placing it on and off simple and intuitive. On the again of the top band is a single knob you twist to suit extra snugly round your head.


There’s a “halo” band that has a single knob to tighten or loosen the Cosmos in your head.

Angela Lang/CNET

The headset also can flip up just like the Hololens 2 or Microsoft’s VR headsets. This not solely makes it simpler to placed on and off, however offers you fast entry to the actual world whilst you’re in VR. The Cosmos is not the primary headset to do that, but it surely definitely makes it really feel much less suffocating than some VR headsets on the market.

HTC additionally improved the move via cameras which at the moment are in colour. The standard is unquestionably low-res but it surely’s good to know you possibly can double press the Vive button on the controller to right away see what’s round you with out taking off the headset. The move via cameras additionally robotically activate any time you step exterior the play space.

A wholly new software program expertise 

Once I first donned the Cosmos, I went to a spot known as the Origin — which seems like one thing out of Westworld. Mainly it is a extensive open deck that is elevated over water with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. At one level, there was an orca swimming by.

The Origin is type of like your private home base. It eases you into VR and teaches you find out how to use the controllers by undertaking small duties. There’s even a pod-like homestead which you’ll discover.

One other new function is a heads-up show known as The Lens — once more very Westworld-y. You possibly can convey up the Lens throughout a VR expertise to entry controls in addition to the Viveport library of VR experiences and video games.


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