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Virtual reality (VR) headsets are currently experiencing unprecedented success. However, the market is currently dominated by a few brands. In purely PCVR headsets therefore requiring to be connected to a PC, Valve, owner of the Steam platform for 3D and VR games, has created its own Valve Index headset; HTC offers its Vive range; and HPHP has recently released the Reverb G2. Facing these three giants, we have the Oculus Quest 2 that we have already tested. Today we are going to take a closer look at the Vive Cosmos and the Vive Cosmos Elite from HTC, a headset that works thanks to Steam VR on the PC.
Click here to buy the Vive Cosmos Elite Headset
Vive Cosmos or Vive Cosmos Elite?
We have the chance to test the Vive Cosmos and the Vive Cosmos Elite at the same time. In reality, it is the same helmet, only the faceplate (and the colorcolor of the shell) changes. This makes it possible to associate base stations with it for more precision in monitoring. Otherwise, it remains completely identical, with the same screen, the same lenses and the same audio system.
So our test begins with the Vive Cosmos. The box contains the headset itself, two controllers, a five-meter cable and a connection box with its mains, USB and DisplayPort cables. For the installation, HTC has printed in large the address to download the softwareinstallation software inside the box. Start here before wondering what all these cables are for. The installation software will guide you step by step through the connections and download the necessary software to use the headset with Steam VR.
A headband that does not suit all body types
The headset uses a “halo” headband like the PlayStation VR headset. Rather than connecting to the headset on the sides, it connects on top. This choice is generally highly appreciated by users. However, it does not seem to be adapted to certain morphologies. It is impossible to keep it in place, it slides non-stop, even scrupulously following the video published by HTC. Given the popularity of this kind of headband, this problem must be quite rare.
Note, however, that the choice of this headband makes the headset incompatible with the HTC Delux Audio Strap headband. Despite everything, it offers the advantage of being able to rotate the visor. It is no longer necessary to take off the helmet to see the outside world since it stands up.
HTC explains how to place HTC Vive Cosmos on the head. © HTC
The Vive Cosmos displays a definition of 1,440 x 1,700 pixels per eye, which is a little less than the OculusOculus Quest 2 (1,832 x 1,920 pixels per eye) but a little more than the Valve Index (1,440 × 1,600 pixels). It offers a refresh rate of 90 hertzhertz and a field of view of 110 degrees. The good news is an almost absence of the “god rays”, these luminous halo around light objects on a dark background which are very present for example in the Oculus Quest 2. However, the “grid” effect, where the spacing between the pixels is visible, is a little more present than on the Quest 2, but you get used to it quickly and it is much less pronounced than on older headsets.
One of the highlights is a very fine adjustment of the interpupillary distance (IPD). HTC does not indicate the minimum and maximum values but, in our test, we were able to go down to 62 millimeters (or even 61.80 by slightly forcing) and go up to 74 millimeters with a graduation at 0.1 millimeters. This is incomparable with, for example, the Oculus Quest 2 which only offers three settings: 58, 63 and 68 mm. People with a small IPD might encounter some problems but this headset will be much more comfortable for people with an IPD of 70 mm or more.
A correct internal tracking system and a much more accurate Elite version
The controllers are a good size and handle very well. They should be suitable for most users. They are very bright but this is, of course, not visible when you have the helmet on your head… In-game, the tracking is correct. The helmet relies on six tracking cameras to dispense with base stations. We are a little below the tracking of the Oculus Quest 2, and the effect is visible for example in the scores in the Beat Saber game. However, the difference is not very significant in terms of the feeling in play.
It should be noted, however, that the headset is very sensitive to the brightness of the room and hardly works near a windowwindow in daylight. In the evening, with all the brightlights on, he complains that it is too dark. A floor lamp solved the problem. The headphones are very good, easily put on the ears and the sound is very immersive. The only black point is that this headset heats up a lot, which triggers a rather noisy fan.
The helmet is modular. To switch to the Vive Cosmos Elite, we just need to change the faceplate (the front part of the headset). It works with two HTC base stations compatible with Steam VR, and two Vive controllers, much more imposing. Again, to do the installation, you must follow the link printed in the box. A video shows us how to remove the Cosmos faceplate and install the one for the Cosmos Elite. However, we had a little problem, since the link for the installation of the base stations did not contain any guide. We had to search on GoogleGoogle to find the right page.
Finally, the operation is very simple. Despite several sockets at the back, it is enough to plug into the mains and place them face to face in the two opposite corners of the playground, diagonally. The rest works wirelessly with the headset. No need to have a Bluetooth sensor or to connect a cable to the PC. In case of a glitch, a USB cable makes it possible to synchronize the two bases.
The tracking is clearly much more accurate and we understand why HTC has named this version “Elite”. Here, the controllers are those of the older Vive headset. They are much more bulky and probably not suitable for small hands. However, in fighting games, the sensation is not unpleasant since you can feel the weight of the weapons in your hands.
The opinion of Futura
Whether it’s the HTC Vive Cosmos or the Elite version, this headset is very good. However, it is not free of defects. The image is sharp and the grid effect remains acceptable. The controllers of the Cosmos version are very nice, although the follow-up could be better. The modular side is very practical and allows you to change the type of tracking without changing headphones. However, it is expensive compared to the Oculus Quest 2 in particular. However, the price is much more reasonable if you are already equipped with base stations.
- The adjustment of the interpupillary distance very fine
- The “god rays” almost absent
- The visor that rises
We don’t like
- The grid effect is a little more present compared to those of the competition
- The fan noise
Specifications of the HTC Vive Cosmo Elite
- Definition: 1.440 x 1.700 pixels per eye
- Refresh rate: 90 Hz
- Field of view: 110 degrees
- IPD adjustment: 62 to 74 mm
- Weight: 645 grams
- Price: € 599 for the Vive Cosmos Elite headset alone (for those who already have the base stations and Steam VR controllers), € 799 for the Vive Cosmos and two Cosmos controllers, € 999 for the Vive Cosmos Elite with two Vive controllers and two base stations.
Click here to buy the Vive Cosmos Elite Headset